How to Saute Onions and Peppers

Cooking Up Memories
by Cooking Up Memories
4 cups
15 min

Saute onions and peppers include a rainbow of bell peppers, sweet onion and a combination of spices making them the perfect side dish to serve with traditional Mexican dishes.

Include this classic recipe when making fajitas, tacos or burritos.

Fajita style onion and peppers with a red spoon in a black skillet.

This dish is easy to make, takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, and can be customized with your favorite toppings.

Serve my Easy Mexican Salsa and Pineapple Salsa with chips while you wait for the fajita vegetables to cook.

Ingredients for making sauteed veggies.

this recipe

  • Green Bell Peppers - They are slightly spicier than red bell pepper and perfect for adding crunch and flavor to any dish.
  • Red Bell Pepper - These peppers are sweet and are great for adding color and texture to dishes like fajitas and stir fry recipes.
  • Yellow Bell Pepper or Orange Bell Peppers - These peppers are ideal for adding extra flavor and vibrancy.
  • White Onion - Red onions make an excellent substitution. If you don't like onions, you can leave them out and stick with sauteed peppers.
  • Vegetable Oil - Use vegetable oil over olive oil. This type of oil is a good choice because it has a high smoke point, meaning that it can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Canola oil is another option that works great.
  • Lime Juice - Tart lime juice adds a zesty citrus burst of flavor to the onions and peppers.
  • Garlic Cloves - Garlic powder will work as a substitute.
  • Chili Powder - Be sure your spices are fresh.
  • Cumin - Earthy and pungent with a mild smokiness, cumin pairs wonderfully with chili powder to give depth of flavor to Mexican dishes.
  • Oregano
  • Black Pepper - For added heat and spice try freshly ground black pepper.
  • Salt - An essential seasoning used in all cuisine!
  • Cayenne Pepper - A spicy seasoning made from red chile peppers that provides heat. If you prefer less heat, omit this spice.
  • Serve with - Roasted corn, sour cream, flour tortillas or corn tortillas and cilantro lime rice are excellent options to serve with fajita veggies.


Step 1: On a cutting board, slice the bell peppers and onions into thin strips.

Sliced red, yellow and green bell peppers and onions.

Step 2: In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt.

Step 3: To a large cast iron skillet heat oil, garlic and spices. Over medium-high heat, cook for 1 minute to let spices bloom.

Step 4: Place the bell peppers and onion into the hot pan and toss to evenly coat with oil and spices.

Cast iron pan with garlic and oil.
Cast iron skillet with spices.
Cash iron skillet with spices, oil, garlic, peppers and onions.

Step 5: Saute peppers and onion until tender-crisp, about 10 - 13 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finish with lime juice.

Cooked peppers and onions in a cast iron skillet.

Step 6: Serve immediately with chicken, skirt steak, shrimp or pork fajitas meat.

For extra zing, try adding a dash of lime juice to the vegetables when they are just finished cooking. The acidic flavor pairs nicely with the earthy spices and will add depth to your fajita filling!


FRIDGE: To store the fajita vegetables for later, cool completely and place them in an airtight container or zip-top bag. They can be kept safely for 3 - 4 days.


  • Fajitas - Make traditional fajitas with steak, chicken, pork or shrimp.
  • Create burrito bowls with fresh cilantro, tomatoes, chicken or steak, cheese, and lime wedges.
  • Make a fajita salad by adding onions and peppers.
  • Add the onions and peppers to burritos or tacos.
  • Create breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, fajita veggies, salsa and sausage.
  • Make a grilled cheese using pepper jack cheese and grilled veggies.
Onions and peppers on top of a rice bowl.
FAQ for Sautéed Veggies

What type of peppers should I use for fajitas?

It's best to use bell peppers like green, yellow and red; however, you can also experiment with other varieties such as jalapenos or Poblano peppers.

How do I cut the vegetables for fajitas?

The vegetables should be cut into thin strips so that they cook quickly and evenly.

How do I season the vegetables?

When it comes to seasoning your fajita veggies, you have a few options. Try experimenting with different combinations of spices such as garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and salt. Cayenne pepper can also be added for extra kick.

How many pounds of fajita meat per person should I serve?

You should count on serving 8 ounces of meat (½ pound) per person.

Fun Tips for Making Copycat Chipotle Fajita Veggies

  1. If you're short on time, you can also opt for pre-cut bell peppers and onions from your grocery store instead of preparing them yourself.
  2. To make a vegetarian version of your fajitas, simply omit the beef or chicken and add extra vegetables such as sliced mushrooms, corn, or black beans.
  3. For an extra burst of flavor, consider adding a tablespoon of tomato paste to the vegetables while they’re cooking. This will help create a delicious sauce that can be served on top of your fajitas.
  4. To jazz up your fajitas even more, try sprinkling crumbled feta cheese or roasted pine nuts over the finished dish for added texture and flavor!
  5. You'll find this recipe is as good as your local Chipotle restaurant and your favorite local Mexican restaurant.

Mexican Chicken Breast on a plate sliced.
How to Saute Onions and Peppers
Recipe details
  • 4  cups
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 10 Minutes Total time: 15 min
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info

  • 3 Bell Peppers Red, yellow and green
  • 1 small Onion White or red
  • 1 clove Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper Optional

Cut the bell peppers and onions into thin strips.
In a small bowl, chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt until well combined.1 tsp Chili Powder, ½ tsp Cumin, ½ tsp Oregano, ¼ tsp Black Pepper, ¼ tsp Salt, ⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
To a large cast iron skillet add oil, garlic and spices. Over high heat cook for 1 minute to let spices bloom.2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil, 1 clove Minced Garlic
Place the bell peppers and onion into the pan and toss to evenly coat in oil and spices. 3 Bell Peppers, 1 small Onion
Saute peppers and onion until tender-crisp, about 10 - 13 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finish with lime juice.Juice of ½ Lime
Serve immediately with chicken, steak, shrimp or pork fajitas or tacos.
Cooking Up Memories
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!