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Instant Pot | March 10, 2017

Instant Pot Fajitas

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!

Instant Pot Fajitas


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!

Instant Pot Fajitas

Beauty and the Beast

Instant Pot Fajitas

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.

Instant Pot Fajitas
Instant Pot Fajitas
Instant Pot Fajitas

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.

Instant Pot Fajitas

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.

4.79 from 14 votes

Instant Pot Fajitas

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen


  • 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
  • 1 1/2-2 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
  • 1/3 cup water or broth
  • 1 each red, green and orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • sour cream guacamole and chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Turn the Instant Pot to the SAUTE mode and let it heat up without the lid on while you prep the meat.
  2. Combine chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and cumin in a bowl or Ziplock bag.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Add water or broth to the meat and onion mixture in the pot.
  7. Turn the pot OFF.
  8. 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).
  9. Lock the lid in place to CLOSE.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. Serve fajita filling with warm tortillas, guac, and sour cream.

Recipe Notes

-This recipe may be adapted to use up to 3 lbs of meat with the same amount of spices. -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.

66 thoughts on “Instant Pot Fajitas

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    These were amazing! The meat was so delicious–even our kids ate it. Thank you for posting this. I’m looking forward to more instant pot recipes.

    1. Thanks Kim! Im glad you loved this recipe. We love dis as well! A good recipe to double 🙂
      Thanks for reading ABK!

        1. Chris,
          Yes- you can substitute chicken in this recipe. If the chicken is thawed, cook for 8-10 minutes.
          I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and cooking with the IP!

  2. OMG my first time out with my brand new instant pot that my kids bought me for my birthday, and yours was the recipe we started with tonight. A.MA.ZING!!! Thank you so much for sharing this easy and delicious recipe.

    1. Im a HUGE fan of the Instant Pot too! I’m honored that the first dish you tried was an ABK recipe! Give the others a try, I know you’ll love them!

  3. These were delicious!! The meat was so tender! I’m new to the Instant pot and really appreciate this recipe and am excited to try your others, thank you!

    1. Haley, I’m in love with the Instant Pot! I think you’ll love all of ABK’s Instant Pot recipes. Thanks for reading ABK!

  4. 5 stars
    All I can say is…WOW!! Not only was this recipe easy to make, it was DELISH! My husband’s reaction after his first 3 bites made me chuckle. Let’s just say he loved every morsel! Hahaha! Thanks for another fam favorite.

    1. Katherine, So glad your hubby loved this recipe! Isn’t it so satisfying when you cook something your family loves?! Thanks for your note and for reading ABK.

  5. I was really excited to try this because I love so many of your other recipes. But I’m sorry to say that this did not turn out for me at all. The meat tasted like a dried out pot roast and the veggies were mush. I did have to do a natural pressure release on the meat for 10 min. longer than the recipe said, but the veggies I only steamed five minutes per the recipe. None of my kids would eat it. 🙁

    1. Annie,
      I am so sorry you had bad luck with this recipe! We absolutely loved it and I’ve had lots of positive feedback here, on my Instagram and Insta stories from readers who have loved this recipe. Did you use the same meat called for in the recipe? It is puzzling that it tasted like dried out pot roast, although the extra 10 minutes in the cooker would have definitely made a difference in the final product. That extra ten minutes is cook time at a high heat and pressure. If anything, my issue with this dish was too much liquid, which of course caused the meat to be extra moist…

  6. Made this today and it was a hit! Meat was so tender and flavorful. Definitely a keeper, will be making it again. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  7. Love this recipe!!! The flavor was so good, meat was moist and the vegetables were done just right. I loved all of the suggestions and the mixture of flavors. One of my new favorites. Five star rating for sure!

    1. Thanks Lorie! Glad you loved this recipe. It is one of our favorite Instant Pot recipes!
      Thanks for reading ABK

  8. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! The flavors were amazing, the meat was tender and the vegetables were done just right. Loved all of Si’s suggestions. One of my new favorites.

    1. CJ,
      I haven’t tried it with tri tip, so I am not sure how it will turn out, but my guess is yes. Let us know if you try it!

    1. Brooke,
      Yes you can but I would suggest making the recipe and freezing half for later. When you’re having a crazy day, you’ll be glad you have dinner ready to go.
      Thanks for reading ABK!

  9. Love this recipe!! I’m new to the instant pot, can you tell me how to adjust for chicken instead of beef? Thanks!!

    1. Elizabeth,
      I would try 10 minutes for cooking time with chicken. It cooks quickly and does not need extra time in the pot as compared to the beef I used in this recipe. The chicken will dry out if cooked for 30 minutes. Try ten minutes after sautéing, and then let the steam/pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes. Let us know if you try it!
      thanks for reading ABK!

    1. Hi Nichole,
      The Instant Pot i Use is a 6 QT. After the recipe is complete, my IP is only about 1/3 full. This recipe could definitely be doubled, maybe even tripled in the 6 qt pot.
      Thanks for reading ABK!

    1. Sarah,
      Sorry I missed this question earlier! yes, a thin cut church steak will work in they recipe!
      Thanks for reading ABK

  10. This sounds amazing. However, I think I could saute/grill the meat faster and have the whole meal on the table faster instead of using the instapot. 45 min cook time and 10 min for steam release. If grilling, the time would be maybe 10 -15 min, remove meat and saute the veggies for 5 min. I’m looking to the instapot to decrease my prep/cook time and my time in the kitchen.

    1. 4 stars
      I had the same thoughts. We did try this recipe with chicken, just to learn how to use the insta pot, and it was DELICIOUS, but the time issue was definitely not what I would have hoped for with fajitas.

    2. Debra,
      I agree with you- sautéing the meat rather than using the IP is a much quicker method of cooking meat. This particular recipe was written with a tougher and less expensive cut of meat in mind, Round Steak, which is tenderized easily in the Instant Pot! Give it a try I think you’ll love it. Let me know!

  11. I am trying this recipe for the first time today… not my first time making fajitas but it will be my first time in an IP, also my first time ever cooking or eating deer…. so wish me luck (using flank steak)

    1. Jade,
      I’m very interested in how you liked this recipe, how you liked cooking with the IP and how the deer meat worked! Please let me know your results.
      Thanks for reading ABK!

    1. Christina,
      Yes, you can use venison. I would use the same time as cooking beef. Please let me know how it tastes!
      This recipe is simple and so delicious. I hope your family enjoys it.

  12. 5 stars
    You mentioned using Elk and my husband just brought home his first one. Would you use the same time with Elk meat? Thanks!

    1. Gwyn,
      Congratulations to your husband, and I bet your freezer is full! Go ahead and use the same cooking time, the elk will taste great with this recipe.
      Thanks for reading ABK

  13. I made this and mine tasted like roast…was I not supposed to move the top lever to sealing? This was the first recipe I made in the Instant Pot.

    1. Amanda,

      Yes, always use the seal position while cooking in the IP. Not sure why it tasted like roast…did you use the seasonings called for in the recipe? I’ve received lots of positive feedback on this recipe through social media!

  14. 5 stars
    made these tonight instant pot success!! very tasty no leftovers. I used a flat iron steak probably will stick to a 25 min mp next time as these were almost to tender!!

  15. We’ve made this a few times and enjoy it! However is there liquid with you after all is said and done? I thought all of the cooking liquid would be gone but it’s not.

  16. First time I made this, the meat literally disappeared. 3 pounds of meat melted away into about 1 pound…it way more like fajita/tortilla soup than fajitas (TONS of liquid). Decided I must have gone too thin and tried it again. This time, even though I’m using less meat than indicated and used the full amounts of liquid, I got the “burn” message on the pot. So depressurized. scraped off the burn and am trying to save what I can, but not sure I can use this recipe again. I love fajitas, but twice burned…:(

    1. Hi Wendy,
      Sorry you didn’t have good luck with this recipe. I’ve made it several times and had success, as have many readers. And I’ve never heard of anyone getting the BURN message! Yikes! Thanks for your feedback.

  17. Do you thaw the meat first? Solme IP recipes do and some don’t buy I wanted to check. Looking to use Venison

    1. If you have time, I always thaw the meat first. If using wild game, I believe thawing works best before cooking!

  18. This was so delicious, the seasonings were perfect and the meat came out so so tender! I added a half cup of broth and had too much liquid so will add less next time!

    1. Mindy,

      the recipe calls for 1/3 cup try that next time! The liquid from all of the veggies also add a lot of liquid to the recipe when pressurized!
      Thanks fo reading ABK and for your feedback.

  19. 5 stars
    I made this last night. I always have a problem with my meat being overcooked when I saute it, so I gave this a try. Really great results – meat was super tender. I added mushrooms in with the meat too. I actually made baked burritos using this recipe. 1/2 cup steak fajitas (drained the liquid), 1/4 cup white rice, a handful of chopped avocado, and a sprinkle of cilantro rolled up in each burrito. I filled a 8×12 with 9 burritos and poured a red sauce (tomato sauce, cumin, garlic powder, sugar, cilantro) over them. Then baked uncovered for 25 minutes @ 350. Husband loved it, and our 10 month old loved it too.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Shannon. That recipe sounds delicious! I love the idea of adding mushrooms to the meat. The instant pot does a great job at keeping the meat really tender. Thanks for reading ABK,

  20. 4 stars
    I love this recipe. Thank you for sharing it. like you, we have a freezer full of game meat, but we also have freezers full of fish. I made this tonight in my InstaPot using halibut & it was excellent, but I modified the browning & cooking time a bit. On Sauté , I threw in the peppers for a few minutes then dumped the spiced halibut in to sauté for just a couple minutes, then poured on the lime juice & the broth, then sprinkled on the flour and stirred it up. Then I sealed it in steamed it for five minutes. It was perfect. Thanks for the ideas.

    1. I’ve never tried this with fish, and not sure I would have in the Instant Pot! Glad to hear this worked so well for you. Thanks for sharing!

  21. So, just making sure, this really cooks for 35 minutes? I have done babyback ribs that are tender in 30. That just seems like a very long time???

    1. Hi Dale, you can try it for 30 minutes and see if it’s cooked enough. This is just the time that I found to cook the meat thoroughly. Thanks for asking!

  22. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I used a piece of Beef Tenderloin, because that is what I had, and cooked it for 6 mins – it came out perfect. I do agree that tough cuts need longer, but tender cuts don’t need that long. If ground beef is all you have – 6 mins is probably good as well, based on what I just did. I made Mexican rice in the Instant Pot and then made the Fajitas in the same pot and served them over the rice.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Dave! I agree, tough cuts do take longer but the instant pot makes this recipe so easy to make.

  23. 5 stars
    These are the best beef fajitas I’ve ever had! They turn out perfect every time. So tender and juicy! This is now a staple meal in our home.

  24. I just stumbled upon this recipe without even typing in elk, and I’m so glad to have found your site! My husband is also a hunter and we have a freezer full of elk right now. I also struggle with it drying out so I’m so excited to try your recipes!

  25. 4 stars
    Great Spice mix. I added Chipotle Flakes for added heat. This will be my Fajita spice mixture for beef going forward. Please note, the recipe as written produced a very good Carne Asada. I served this recipe with all the usual Fajita trimmings. I asked my family and a guest what the beef tasted like and got “Spicy Roast, Brisket with sauce and Carne Asada” as the responses. In the future I’ll use the spice mix and marinade the sliced beef and then grill the marinated meat to produce fajitas. I will use the recipe sans veggies as my new Carne Asada recipe and cube the meat instead of slicing the meat.

    1. Hi Jenny,
      You’re welcome! I appreciate your positive comments and I’m so thrilled your family loves this fajita recipe. It’s so great to have a go-to recipe that is easy and will please the whole gang. Thank you for reading ABK!

  26. 5 stars
    I was so excited when I discovered these. It is the most requested recipe in my home. It has so much good flavor and we have also done it with chicken. This is a go to. I have made a whole bottle of the spices so I don’t have to make it every time. Better than any restaurant.

  27. 5 stars
    These are incredible!! So flavorful and juicy – love the spice mix recipe she uses, and so easy in the instant pot!