Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas are a modern derivation of the much loved Tex-Mex innovation, originally prepared using skirt steak and cooked over coals. Fajita comes from the Spanish word faja, meaning 'belt' and which was used to describe the tough cut of beef that was used in traditional fajitas. These were the innovation of Mexican cowboys and ranch hands working in the Rio Grande Valley in West Texas in the 1930s. The workers were often given lesser cuts of beef as part of their pay, and they cooked this meat and wrapped it in tortillas, thus creating an easy and filling meal.
The fajita rapidly gained popularity over the decades, and it is not difficult to see why. Flavourful meat that you wrap and assemble in tortillas with your choice of toppings - it couldn't be easier and is the ideal relaxed meal to enjoy with friends over a few pints. So it's also easy to see how the dish quickly evolved. The modern fajita now refers to any type of cooked meat that is rolled up in soft tortillas. It is this form of relaxed dining that makes the dish so popular.
Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas are great and extremely versatile to serve. But let's just be clear here - because you're cooking the meat in the Instant Pot, you won't get crisp charred edges as you would if you seared it over a cast iron pan. But you will get lovely, tender and moist meat, and it's an ideal way to cook chicken breast, typically a very lean and dry cut. I add a bit of heat to this dish by using chipotle cooking paste, which you can adjust to your taste.
Although my kids love to assemble the Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas and roll it in tortillas (great fun indeed!), you could easily eat the chicken from a bowl with your choice of toppings and tear off small pieces of tortilla to use for dipping. Or you could skip the tortilla altogether and add rice to the mix, it's hard to go wrong.
Some of our favourite fajita toppings include mashed avocado (with a bit of salt and lime juice), grated cheese (we like Cheddar) and shredded lettuce.
You could also add soured cream or tomato salsa to your fajitas, or customise it any other way you'd like. And because there is already such variety, fajitas are really a meal in one, so it's not necessary to serve anything else on the side (although I wouldn't say no to tortilla crisps and chunky guacamole!).
Here's what you'll need to make Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas:
(Click here to jump straight to the recipe)
4 chicken breasts (500-600g)
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tsp chipotle cooking paste
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground coriander
2 small red bell peppers, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (plus extra for serving)
And here's what you'll need to do:
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