How to Make Chicken Fajitas in Instant Pot – Easy Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas AND Vegetables Cooked Together!
Now you can whip up juicy, tender, flavor-packed chicken fajitas without the steaming, sizzling pan… This instant pot chicken fajitas recipe lets you cook your meat AND veggies in the pressure cooker, at the same time—in under 15 minutes! All you’ll need are tortillas and toppings, and you’ve got an easy weeknight dinner ready to serve.
Or, skip the tortillas and serve up Paleo approved & Whole30 chicken fajitas instead!
Don’t worry, these instant pot chicken fajitas are just as tasty as the classic recipe. You’ll just spend way less time and effort in the kitchen making them! The chicken breast turns out so satisfyingly juicy, with that savory, zesty, fajita-flavor kick we all know and love. And the peppers cook through until perfectly tender but not soggy at all, with just a slight crunch.
Seriously, despite the very short cooking time of
most instant pot recipes, it surprises me how much flavor pressure
cooking can pack into a dish! These
instant pot chicken fajitas turned out so melt-in-my-mouth good—with a
deeply-infused flavor that was almost like they’d been slow-cooked. But, I didn’t have to wait around ALL day
for it to cook!
Oh yeah, and did I mention this
healthy chicken fajitas meal will FREEZE really well for later? Clean and wholesome, quick and
easy, and totally freezable—safe to say this instant pot dinner is a
Healthy Instant Pot Recipes: 2-in-1 Weeknight Dinners!
Part of the beauty of instant pot meals is the instant convenience. Just have your chicken marinating ahead of time (rather than running your slow cooker or crock potall day), and you can toss it into the instant pot half an hour before dinner time! Plus, I absolutely LOVE the added convenience of 2-in-1 pressure cooker recipes.
In this instant pot chicken fajitas recipe, you can cook your chicken AND your veggies together in the cooker, simultaneously! But, I’ll also show you how to keep your marinated fajita chicken separate from your seasoned fajita veggies. While they’re both in the cooker at once…
…Say whaaaa?! It is possible—with the help of an
oh-so-handy instant pot steam rack!
To start, you’ll need to marinate your chicken breast for a short
while. A good marinade needs a bit of acid in it (like the lime juice in this
recipe), because it loosens up the tightly-coiled proteins in the meat. That
loosening makes room for some moisture and your flavorings to get trapped inside the meat—making these instant pot
chicken fajitas even juicier and tastier!
You can marinate in a dish or bowl if you like, or I personally prefer
to use a large zip-top bag for ease and convenience. (And less mess!) I just add all of my fajita marinade ingredients to
the bag, seal it up, and shake to mix everything together.
Then, add sliced chicken to the marinade and
seal up the bag again, with a little air left inside. Give it a good shake once
more so you coat the chicken thoroughly with the fajita marinade. Finally, remove
as much air as you can and reseal the
bag—you want as much contact between the meat and marinade as possible—before
storing in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
If needed, either for meal prep purposes or on busier days, you can also allow your fajita chicken to marinate overnight. But, I don’t recommend leaving it any longer than that! After about 2 days, meat left sitting in an acidic marinade can actually become tougher and drier as the proteins tighten up.
Now, for the veggies—which you can prep
right before you’re ready to cook. Some
people make instant pot chicken fajitas simply by tossing their sliced veggies right
on top of the chicken in their cooker and letting ‘er rip. Which you’re totally welcome to do! OR, you can cook your chicken and
veggies separately with the neat 2-in-1
steam rack hack I’m about to show.
So, for the fajita veggies made 2-in-1
style, you’ll need a large mixing bowl lined with a large piece of foil. You’re basically going to wrap up your
seasoned vegetables in a foil pocket/pouch, so make sure you’ve got enough foil
to wrap them up completely!
Add your sliced bell peppers and onions to
the foil cavity, followed by your oil, seasonings, and lime juice. Give it all a good toss with your hands to
coat well, then fold the edges of the foil together to seal up your foil veggie
With your bag of marinated chicken, pour both the chicken and the rest of your marinade into the
instant pot. Use a spoon to arrange the chicken pieces
in a flat/even layer, making room for the most magical of 2-in-1 tools: an instant pot steam rack.
A steam rack lets you pressure cook 2 separate items in the instant pot at once, and it’s such a solid (and cheap!) investment. It makes instant pot meals of all kinds even more versatile, convenient, and customizable. I got a super affordable pack of 3 steam racks from Amazon, and they’ve changed my life…
When making chicken fajitas in the instant pot, simply
place your steam rack into the bottom of the cooker so it’s hovering over the
chicken. You want the rack to be
touching the bottom of the pot, but tall enough so it’s not crushing your meat.
Then, add your foil pocket right on top of the steam rack, and you’re ready to
Close up the lid of your pressure cooker and cook on your machine’s
manual setting at high pressure for just 7 minutes. Easy-peasy! Granted, it will take a few extra minutes to heat up
before the pressure-cooking actually begins,
but overall this recipe is SO quick and easy thanks to the magic of the instant
Quick note: I have a Crock-Pot brand pressure cooker, not the official Instant Pot brand, so I access
my manual setting with the ‘BEANS/CHILI’ button. This may be different for your
cooker, depending on the brand/model, but just check your machine’s
instructions or the brand’s website if you need help!
After the 7 minutes of cooking has
finished, turn off the heat but don’t open
up the lid just yet. First, flip your
Quick Release valve and let the steam release for 6 minutes.
Even after the steam release finishes, be careful opening
the lid because it will still be very hot and steamy! Grab some oven mitts or kitchen towels to protect your hands
while you remove your foil veggie pocket, followed by the steam rack in the
bottom of your cooker.
Underneath, you’ll find your juicy, HEALTHY fajita chicken
ready to go and perfectly-cooked—in just about 15 minutes! Use tongs or a spoon to remove the chicken from the cooker, open up
your foil pocket full of tender fajita veggies, and it’s all ready to serve straight
out of the pot.
Serve it up
buffet-style for the whole family with tortillas and your favorite fajita
fix-in’s, so everyone can customize their own meal! It doesn’t have to be
complicated—I’m a big fan of guacamole, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime
juice, but use whatever you enjoy. Or,
allow your chicken and veggies to cool before storing in separate containers in
the fridge for the week.
BONUS: You can also FREEZE this instant pot chicken fajitas meal after cooking, so you’ve got a flavorful and fuel-filled meal on-hand in the freezer when needed! (You can check out the specific steps for freezing in the recipe below.)
Substitutions: Do I Have to Use Chicken Breast in this
Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas Recipe?
Absolutely not! Chicken breast
is a great option for this recipe if you’d like to use it—it slices up easily,
it stays tender and juicy in the instant pot, and it makes for a protein-packed
dinner. But, you can also use chicken
thighs, or even sliced steak if you prefer!
Personally, I prefer chicken thighs over chicken breast, because the higher fat content makes the thigh meat for more flavorful and just plain ol’ scrumptious after cooking. Those fats are also highly nutritious for our bodies and make chicken thighs a more satiating protein option. And they’re packed with loads of essential micronutrients!
Steak can substitute just as
well in this instant pot chicken fajitas recipe—just be sure to cut it into fajita-sized
strips/slices before cooking. Again, I enjoy steak because it tends to be a bit
higher in fat, making for a juicier, more flavorful meat in my fajitas.
Whatever you choose—chicken breast, thighs, or steak—the
pressure-cooking time and temperature provided in the recipe be the same!
Add marinade ingredients to a large zip-top bag, seal, and shake to mix. Add sliced chicken, seal bag once more, and shake to coat chicken thoroughly with marinade. Refrigerate 1-2 hours, or up to overnight.
For fajita veggies, line a large bowl with a large piece of foil. Add sliced peppers and onions to the foil along with flavoring ingredients and toss to coat. Fold over the edges of the foil to make a foil pocket.
When ready to cook, pour chicken and marinade from bag into pressure cooker. Arrange in a flat layer on the bottom of the cooker.
Place a steam rack into the bottom of the cooker (that’s tall enough so it’s not crushing your chicken), and place the foil packet of veggies onto the rack.
Secure the lid and cook on manual setting at high pressure for 7 minutes. (See note below about manual setting on different pressure cookers.)
Turn off heat and flip Quick Pressure Release switch to release steam for 6 minutes.
Carefully open lid—watch out for steam! Use oven mitts or towels to protect hands while removing foil pocket and steam rack from cooker. Remove chicken using tongs or a spoon.
Serve on tortillas with your favorite fajita fix-in’s, serve, and enjoy!
This recipe also freezes well after cooked!
Yields 4 servings.
To freeze after cooking
Allow cooked fajita chicken and veggies to cool completely.
Place cooled chicken into its own large freezer-safe bag. (Or, divide chicken into individual portions and freeze in smaller bags, if preferred.) Remove as much air as possible, seal the bag, and label with the prep date.
Freeze chicken for up to 2 months.
Arrange cooled veggies in a single layer on 1-2 baking sheets—leaving some space between slices so they don’t clump. Transfer baking sheets to the freezer for ~1 hour, or until frozen.
Remove trays from freezer and transfer frozen veggies into freezer-safe bags. (Either one large bag, or divide into individual portions.) Remove as much air as possible before sealing, and label with the prep date.
Freeze veggies for 4-6 months.
To reheat, transfer frozen fajita chicken & veggies (or desired portions of each) to the fridge to thaw ~24 hours before you want to eat.
Heat until warmed through in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop, serve, and enjoy!
*I have a Crock-Pot brand pressure cooker, not an Instant Pot brand cooker. They both do the same thing, you’ll just need to know how to use the “manual” setting on whichever pressure cooker that you have.On my Crock-Pot pressure cooker, I access the manual setting using the “BEANS/CHILI” button. If you’re unsure about your machine’s manual setting, refer to its instruction manual or check out the brand’s website!
Nutrition per serving of Chicken & Veggies separately:
Per serving (~6 oz) fajita chicken, yields 4 servings 236 calories | 8g fat | 0g carbs | 0g fiber | 0g sugars | 38g protein *Nutrition accounts for marinade left behind in pot.