Instant Pot Fajitas are all the rage. At least, at my house Instant Pot Fajitas are all the rage! This Tex-Mex dish is easy to create in your kitchen and so simple to adapt to your family preferences. Get out your Instant Pot, you’re going to love this recipe!
Why I never order fajitas in a restaurant or #myrulesforeatingout
Who doesn’t love a sizzling plate of fajitas? Every time I go to a restaurant and someone orders fajitas I ooooh and ahhhh (to my self, of course) when the plate goes by. I oooooh and ahhhh, but I never order fajitas in restaurants unless I’m in the “nothing looks good on the menu and fajitas are the safest bet here” frame of mind. Why? Because I have a rule about NOT ordering menu items I can easily make at home. I also have a rule about not ordering menu items I make better at home (this list usually includes pancakes, biscuits, and of course, fajitas). Instant Pot Fajitas has to be one of the easiest dinner dishes ever. Meat, sliced vegetables, a few spices, and a hot pan. Just like that, you have dinner!
Beauty and the Beast
The beauty of fajitas is simple, fresh, tasty, and you can turn the heat level up or down to please your crew. AND if you’re using the Instant Pot, you can use cuts of meat that are not usually found in fajitas, meaning meats with less fat because of the tenderizing of the meat in the Instant pot. Many recipes for fajitas call for skirt steak, which can have a lot of marbling (fat) and usually has a higher price point than say, round steak which is lower in fat and usually quite a bit less expensive.
Brown is best
As I discussed in my Instant Pot, Now What? post, I’ve found that browning meat or veggies improves the flavors in the finished dish. I’m sold on browning before cooking in the Instant Pot. I’m also a fan of adding flour during the browning process. It’s an easy way to thicken the sauce. Pressure cooking traps most of the liquid inside of the pot, which creates extra moist meats, but can leave sauce a bit watered down. Adding a little flour in the browning stage helps offset watery sauces.
Wild game and my Instant Pot discovery
My husband is a bow hunter. As in, he takes a bow and arrows and goes hunting. You can read more about his bow hunting obsession here. We often have elk steaks in our freezer, because he is committed to using the meat or donating it to the food bank if we have an abundance. This presents a challenge for me… how to cook 500 lbs of elk meat and make it taste good? Here’s the challenge with wild game. It is extremely lean meat. As in, almost no fat. The problem with no fat in wild game- it’s difficult to cook without drying out. Enter the Instant Pot. Wow, I have to say my wild game cooking challenges are over! For years I have tried everything under the sun to cook elk meat in particular, and avoid drying out the meat. Even slow cooking is a challenge because the meat can still turn out dry in the long cooking process. The Instant Pot cooks the meat at a high temperature and locks in all of the moisture through pressure cooking, which is the best method I’ve found for cooking lean meats, another huge benefit of using the Instant Pot.
Now that you’ve heard my take on the simpicity of fajitas, why I never order fajitas in restaurants and my challenges cooking wild game, you are ready to plunge in and make this recipe! Everyone who tried this dish loved it, and so far, I think it’s my favorite Instant Pot recipe. Great for a crowd or a couple of people.
- 2 teaspoons chili powder*
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Mexican or regular oregano flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1½-2 lbs round steak or skirt steak *, sliced thin
- 1 onion, chopped or sliced
- 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
- juice of one lime
- 1 tablespoon flour
- ⅓ cup water or broth
- 1 each, red, green and orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- sour cream, guacamole and chopped cilantro for garnish
- Turn the Instant Pot to the SAUTE mode and let it heat up without the lid on while you prep the meat.
- Combine chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and cumin in a bowl or Ziplock bag.
- Place cut up meat into bag with seasonings, seal and give the bag a good shake. Massage the seasonings into the meat. Set aside. You can also do this up to three days ahead if you'd like and store in fridge.
- The Instant Pot should be heated up at this point. Pour the oil into the pot and then throw the meat and chopped onion in as well and stir while browning.
- When the meat is browned, squeeze the lime juice over the meat and add flour and continue to cook until the flour disappears. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add a little olive oil.
- Add water or broth to the meat and onion mixture in the pot.
- Turn the pot OFF.
- Place the lid on the pot (make sure the seal is in place inside of the lid, and the pressure valve is turned to the sealing position (not to the venting position).
- Lock the lid in place to CLOSE.
- Hit the MEAT/STEW setting or manually enter 35 minutes. The pot will automatically start the cooking process when the time is selected and the lid is in the close position.
- Let the meat cook until the timer is finished (about 45 minutes from the time it starts cooking) and then let the pressure release naturally for about 10-15 minutes.
- When you are ready to serve the fajitas, release the remaining pressure in the pot using the pressure release valve. Turn the valve to the VENTING position. Remove the lid when pressure is released, and add the remaining sliced vegetables (peppers).
- Close the lid again and hit the STEAM setting. I let the veggies steam for about 5 minutes or less and then place the pressure release to the VENTING position.
- Serve fajita filling with warm tortillas, guac, and sour cream.
-The spice level in this dish is moderate. If you would like to tone down the heat, mix the spices together, and use about half of the spice mixture on the meat. You may also add double the amount of liquid to reduce spice/heat level.