Cilantro-and-Lime Marinated Chicken Fajita Kebabs Recipe

A cilantro and lime marinade gives cubed chicken thighs a bright and fresh flavor, while peppers and onion round out the fajita flavor in these kebabs. Joshua Bousel

Chicken isn't generally the go-to meat for fajitas (flavorful skirt steak is the deserving star usually), but this flavor-packed marinade made with cilantro, tart lime juice, brown sugar, cumin, and crushed red pepper makes it a worthy stand-in. Here, we thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and cook them kebab-style. It's everything there is to love about chicken fajitas on one stick, minus the tortilla, of course.

Why this recipe works:

  • Chicken thighs stay juicier and have more flavor on kebabs compared to chicken breasts.
  • The cilantro and lime-heavy marinade gives the chicken a bright and fresh character.
  • Red and green bell peppers and white onion soften well over direct heat and round out the fajita flavor.

Note: If chicken thighs do not cube well, cut the meat into strips larger than 1 1/2 inches and fold it over when threading onto the skewers to make a cube-like shape.

Recipe Facts

Active: 45 mins
Total: 105 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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  • 1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 1/3 cup lime juice from about 6 limes

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (see note)

  • 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes and separated into 3-layer segments


  1. Place cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, brown sugar, salt, cumin, and crushed red pepper in the jar of blender. Pureé until smooth. Place chicken cubes in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade and seal bag, removing as much air as possible. Place in refrigerator and marinate for at least 1 and up to 5 hours.

  2. Thread chicken onto skewers, alternating with pepper and onion squares.

  3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Alternatively, set all the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers until well browned on all sides and center of chicken registers between 160-165°F on an instant read thermometer, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer skewers to platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Special equipment

Blender, grill, wooden skewers (pre-soaked in water 30 minutes prior to use)

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
465 Calories
33g Fat
9g Carbs
36g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 465
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 193mg 64%
Sodium 687mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 53mg 265%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 529mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)