This flavor-packed fajita sauce recipe works for beans, chicken, steak or shrimp! It’s quick to put together with a handful of ingredients.

Fajita Sauce

Here’s a fantastic trick that makes fajitas in minutes: this easy Fajita Sauce recipe! The great thing about this sauce: it works with any protein: beans, chicken, shrimp or beef. This makes it ultra customizable for meals for any diet! Or, you can split it half and half if you’re cooking for eaters of different types. The zingy flavor of bright lime and smoky adobo sauce makes the perfect pinto bean filling in Vegetarian Fajitas, or you can turn around and use it for shrimp fajitas. Here are the tricks to making this tasty homemade marinade.

Ingredients in this fajita sauce recipe

This easy fajita sauce takes just 5 minutes to put together, and it’s loads better than most store-bought brands. (Though these days, there are some great all-natural brands out there! Comment below if you have a recommendation.) Here’s what you’ll need (or jump right to the recipe for quantities):

  • Lime juice
  • Adobo sauce: from 1 can chipotle peppers (see below)
  • Olive oil
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt

That’s it! Whisk together everything in a bowl, and it becomes a seriously delicious Tex Mex marinade. It’s got a kick from the lime and a smoky nuance that’s incredibly irresistible. Speaking of…

Fajita sauce recipe

Key ingredient: chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

The key ingredient to this fajita sauce? Adobo sauce. There’s no great substitute for this magical ingredient, so you’ll want to find the real thing. Adobo sauce adds a smoky nuance and complexity that is impossible to replicate! Here’s more about this special ingredient if you haven’t worked with it before:

  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are easy to find at most grocery stores near the Mexican products. The can includes chipotle chiles: smoked and dried jalapeños that are rehydrated and canned, and adobo sauce, a purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.
  • You’ll use the sauce, not the chipotle peppers. Use a spoon to remove the adobo sauce from the can, working around the hot peppers.
  • The sauce adds a moderate level of spice. It’s not ultra spicy. Use 1 tablespoon for a mild fajita sauce, and 2 tablespoons for a moderately spicy (not even medium).
  • What to do with the leftovers? Refrigerate or freeze the remainder, and use it for more adobo sauce recipes, like tortilla soup, chipotle ranch dressing, or enchilada sauce.
Fajita sauce

How to use this fajita sauce with beans

This fajita sauce recipe we developed especially for our Epic Vegetarian Fajitas, to provide big flavor without the need for meat. It works perfectly and brings in enough intrigue to elevate this plant-based protein to rockstar level. Here’s the basic concept for using it with beans:

  • Use pinto or black beans: Drain two 15-ounce cans beans. No need to rinse!
  • Heat 6 to 8 minutes in a skillet. Place the sauce and beans in a skillet, and cook until the sauce is thickened. It’s seriously easy.

How to use this fajita sauce with meat or seafood

This fajita sauce also works with chicken, steak, or shrimp as a marinade. Here’s what to do:

  • Use 1 pound of any protein. If using shrimp, use peeled and deveined.
  • Marinade with the protein for 20 minutes. Whisk together the ingredients and then throw in the protein.
  • Cook in a skillet until cooked through, following the fajitas recipe.
Fajita veggies

Need veggies? We’ve got those too

Need veggies to go with your fajitas recipe? We’ve got those too. Our standard method is to broil them until charred, then finish them off in a sizzling skillet. Go to Classic Fajita Veggies.

And that’s it! Let us know if you try this sauce and what you think. It’s become a staple in our household already.

This fajita recipe recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Fajita Sauce

Easy Fajita Sauce

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: ½ cup 1x


This flavor-packed fajita sauce recipe works for beans, chicken, steak or shrimp! It’s quick to put together with a handful of ingredients.


  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Use with: 2 cans pinto beans, 1 pound shrimp or steak, or 1 pound shrimp (shell off)


  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl. 
  2. To use with chicken, steak, or shrimp: Add 1 pound of chicken, steak, or shrimp to the bowl, and marinade 20 minutes before cooking. 
  3. To use with beans: Drain 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans. Place the sauce and beans in a skillet, and cook 6 to 8 minutes until the sauce is thickened. 
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Fajita sauce, fajita sauce recipe

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. Made this tonight & it was wonderful! SO much better than the packaged dry mix or bottled sauce on the shelves. Husband was extremely happy. Will freeze the remaining sauce for next time. Thank you for a delicious & easy recipe!!

    1. I made this tonight for dinner and it was fantastic! Wondering what I can use in place of the adobo sauce or something to make it not so spicy for folks that have reflux issues.

      1. Good question! Hmm, you could try a little ketchup, like 1 tablespoon? It wouldn’t hit all the flavor notes but it could work. Let us know!

  2. Hello! When changing the serving to 2x, 3x, the lime juice quantity does not change. Is that expected or should I multiply the amount accordingly?

  3. This sauce was delicious! I was looking for a homemade version similar to the Frontera ready-made sauce that my family likes, and this was the perfect choice. The adobo sauce adds just enough of a kick without being overly spicy. I added a half tablespoon of brown sugar too. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. Just made this to go with a pinto bean & crispy shredded tofu mix and it’s so good! Saving this one for sure.