Vibrant with colour and full of fresh flavours Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas is a fiesta on a plate. This no-fuss meal is a healthy treat and perfect to serve as an easy weeknight dinner or add some sides and share with friends.
Origination of Fajitas
I think it’s fair to say that most of us associate Fajitas with Mexico but their origination is actually similar to Chilli con Carne, being Tex-Mex cuisine.
Around 100 years ago Mexican ranch workers in Texas created a fresh and flavourful meal by seasoning and grilling the off-cuts of beef (typically skirt or flank cuts). This idea was later popularised in the 80’s and 90’s throughout America as a fast food option. Here they were served with soft tortilla wraps and a range of condiments. Recognition of the dish gradually filtered down to restaurants and kitchens across the rest of the world.
The Fajitas we know today are strips of meat, peppers and onions coated in a fiery seasoning then cooked quickly on hot sizzling skillets. At home it’s common to cook them on the stove but, for a really low fuss method I often make fajitas in the slow cooker!
Why Make This Recipe?
- An easy-prep recipe that can be in the slow cooker cooking away in minutes.
- Perfect to serve with a variety of sides and condiments to vary the meal.
- Easy to change the ingredients to include different types of meats or pulses.
- It makes a great healthy weeknight family meal or can be served at larger gatherings.
I made this recipe in my crockpot time select 5.6L slow cooker.
What You’ll Need
Exact ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Chicken Breast
- Bell Peppers (capsicum) – I like to go for mixed colours of pepper to add variety.
- Onion – Red or white onions.
- Garlic – fresh minced garlic and dried ground garlic.
- Sugar– dark brown soft sugar compliments the sweetness of the peppers.
- Tomato paste– to provide a base to the spice blend.
- Fajita Seasoning – a fresh blend of spices. See below for the ingredients.
To serve, soft flour tortilla wraps, sour cream, guacamole, salsa.
Fajitas have a reasonably simple list of ingredients, onions, peppers, meat (or sometimes without). So really, the thing that makes this dish is the seasoning. A great fajita seasoning shouldn’t just be hot, it needs to have plenty of aromatic flavour too. Since we know that the dish is Tex-Mex cuisine that means plenty of smokey flavours, citrusy herbs, a hint of sweetness and heat from chilli. So here’s what I include in mine:
- sweet and smoked paprika
- coriander and oregano
- chilli (or cayenne pepper for a dryer, stronger heat)
- garlic granules
- brown sugar
- salt and pepper
I’ve been making fajitas for years and this is a well honed seasoning mix! It always gets excellent results. For ease you can make up a larger batch of this and store it in a sealed container for future meals.
If you do want to make this recipe even simpler try a pre-prepared seasoning like this one by Schwartz which is available in most shops.
How To Make It
Here’s how to make chicken fajitas in the crockpot.
- In a bowl mix together the herbs, spices and salt and pepper to make the seasoning mix.
- Cut the peppers and onions and place in the slow cooker.
- Add the whole chicken breasts, sugar, tomato paste and minced garlic then mix well to ensure everything is coated with the seasoning. Cook for 3 hours on high or 4 on low. If preferred lift and turn the lid of the slow cooker ajar for the final thirty minutes of cooking to allow excess moisture to escape.
- Once cooked, check that the chicken breasts are cooked through and then remove to a chopping board and cut into thick slices.
- Place the pieces of chicken back in the slow cooker and stir well. Serve in soft tortilla wraps with your choice of condiments.
What To Serve With Slow Cooker Fajitas
I make fajitas pretty regularly as it’s an easy, quick and tasty option for a weeknight. When I do, I usually serve them in a soft tortilla wrap with some homemade guacamole, sour cream (thick set natural yogurt does just as well!) and grated cheddar cheese on the side.
When I’m serving this for a meal to share I will go a bit more ‘all-out’ and add:
- White and wild rice.
- Wensleydale or cheshire cheese- creamy crumbly cheeses work amazingly well with Tex-Mex style foods. They provide cool contrast against the fragrant spices.
- Refried beans. You can make these yourself at home or buy them canned like these by Old el Paso.
If you are serving a group why not also make some Slow Cooker Chilli Beef Brisket for a tasty Tex-mex banquet!
Meat– For a change I will make these with beef instead of chicken. I buy bavette steaks as these are the cheaper cuts of steak but are full of flavour and perfect for the slow cooker. If I want to have an even leaner option I opt for turkey escalopes cut into thick strips.
Vegetarian fajitas– It couldn’t be easier to make this recipe meat-free! I replace the chicken with tinned mixed beans to add protein and some texture to the mix. I also add an extra pepper.
Vegetables – Keep the strips of pepper and onion around 1 cm thick to retain crunch.
Moisture– Don’t be tempted to add any liquid as peppers and onions release plenty. So much so that I advise turning and then resting the lid of the slow cooker ajar for the final 30 minutes of cooking to allow it to escape. No one wants a soggy fajita wrap!
Heat– Dial up the heat by increasing the amount of chilli powder in the fajita seasoning. For a dryer heat use Cayenne pepper instead. Chilli flakes or finely chopped fresh chilli can also be added.
How To Wrap a Fajita
The word fajita is Spanish and means ‘little belt‘ which is indicative of the way that the meat and vegetables are wrapped in the soft flour tortillas.
You can just wrap them by spooning some of the fajita mix into the middle of the wrap and rolling them up but you do have to take care not to lose the contents out of the bottom! So a great way to do it to fold the bottom half of the tortilla up first. Here’s how.
- Start with the flour tortilla flat then spoon some of the mixture in a horizontal line slightly off centre.
- Fold up the bottom of the tortilla over the fajita mix, hold that in place with one hand.
- Begin to roll it up starting from the bottom.
- Wrap right up and serve. You can hold the wraps in place with a cocktail stick or with a foil wrap around the bottom half if needed.
Can you prepare Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas ahead of time?
Fajitas are a great meal to meal prep. You can make a large batch, divide it up into boxes or plastic bags and freeze. Then its just a case of allowing to defrost and putting them in the freezer. A great slow cooker dump bag, so quick and easy!
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three days or freeze immediately in a sealed bag or box for up the three months. Defrost and reheat thoroughly.
What can I do with leftovers?
Fajitas are great reheated and served in wraps again the following day!
I also like to set some aside and use it as a pizza topping when making homemade pizzas.
Soft flour tortillas are soft, round, unleavened Mexican flat breads typically made from wheat or corn flour. Tacos are corn tortillas which have been lightly fried and molded into a crisp shell shape and then filled with various fillings.
The seasoning for this Slow Cooker Fajitas recipe works amazingly well with chicken, beef or turkey. All three types of meat make delicious fajitas.
Many shops sell both wheat and corn soft flour tortilla wraps. So the fajita mix can be added to either type of wrap! The corn flour wraps can make a great gluten free option.
Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas
- 650 g (1.5 lb) chicken breasts skinless and boneless
- 2 onions white or red
- 3 peppers bell peppers (capsicum)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp coriander dried coriander leaves
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder alternatively use cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- Mix the ingredients for the fajita seasoning in a bowl.
- Cut the peppers and onion into slices (1cm thick) and peel and mince the cloves of garlic. Put these in the slow cooker.
- Add the chicken breasts (see recipe note 1), sugar, tomato puree and spices. Stir everything well to coat the chicken and vegetables in the mixture. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 4 hours. If you want to reduce the amount of moisture in the pot, at 30 minutes before the end of cooking time lift and turn the lid of the slow cooker and leave it ajar.
- Check that the chicken breasts are cooked through, you can either use a meat thermometer to do this (the chicken should be 75°C/165°F in the centre) or cut a piece of chicken and check it is white and hot in the centre.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker and slice into thick slices.
- Put the pieces of chicken back into the slow cooker and stir everything together. Serve in soft flour tortilla wraps with condiments.
- Add the chicken breasts into the slow cooker whole as this ensures that they retain moisture when cooking.