Steak Tacos are a mouthwatering meal with minimal preparation. We’ve started with a citrus steak taco marinade and then cooked the tacos on the grill. They’re topped with onion, tomato, cilantro and fresh lime for the perfect dinner.
When Taco Tuesday rolls around, you know it’s time for these steak tacos. The entire family will enjoy the flavorful meat and zesty toppings, picky eaters included! The flavor combinations will tantalize your taste buds and keep you coming back for more. The best part? You only need 20 minutes of prep to make them.
WHAT IS THE BEST STEAK FOR TACOS?
Mexican tacos (also called carne asada tacos or steak street tacos) are traditionally made with flank steak or skirt steak. Both are flavorful and economical cuts that benefit from marinating to become tender and juicy. Flank steak tacos are the leaner option, although skirt steak tacos are a very worthy second choice.
If you prefer to skip the marinade altogether, go for sirloin or ribeye steak cut about ¾-inch (2 cm) thick. Sirloin steak tacos have lots of flavor without breaking the bank. Ribeye steak tacos are the most expensive option and definitely melt in your mouth! Simply use the marinade as a sauce you brush on during grilling.
STEAK TACO MARINADE
The first step is getting the steak marinade started, as it’ll need to sit for at least one hour to become tender.
Mix freshly squeezed lime juice, orange juice, garlic, cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. If you’d like some heat, add minced jalapeño as well. Then coat the steak in the sauce and refrigerate for one hour. You can always add a big pinch of steak taco seasoning to the marinade for an extra kick, although it’s strictly optional.
If you want to make it ahead of time, you can marinate the steak for up to 8 hours maximum. Any longer than that and the texture will suffer. Try to let steak return to room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking.
STEAK TACOS ON THE GRILL
Grilling the steak is the most popular way to make steak tacos! Heat up your grill to medium-high heat, or 400°F / 204°C. Remove the steak from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and grill 3-4 minutes per side to medium-rare doneness (130-140°F or 54-60°C on an instant-read thermometer).
Stovetop Option: Of course, if you crave steak tacos when it’s raining (or snowing), you may want to skip the grill! Then you can easily cook the steak over medium-high heat on a stovetop using a grill pan or cast iron skillet. Save any juices that accumulate in the pan and brush on the cooked steak for extra flavor!
SERVING STEAK TACOS
Once the steak is cooked, heat the tortillas for 30 seconds each in a skillet over medium-high heat. Traditionally you serve Mexican steak tacos with corn tortillas, but soft flour tortillas work great too.
To serve steak tacos, put out a taco bar and let everyone assemble their own. The basics include chopped onion, tomato, cilantro and fresh lime along with some crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese.
Tex Mex additions include salsa (salsa verde or pico de gallo), sour cream and guacamole or diced avocado.
Use taco holders to avoid the tacos flopping when serving!
Leftover steak tacos are delicious too. Simply store the cooked steak in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then reheat for several minutes over low heat. Alternatively, use leftovers to make a steak salad, taco casserole, quesadillas, burrito bowls and more!
MAKE AHEAD TIPS
- You can prep the marinade the day before and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Start marinating the steak before work/school, so it’s ready for cooking when you come home.
Steak taco marinade
- 2 tbsp lime juice, from 1 lime
- 3 tbsp orange juice, from 1 orange
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced - optional
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lb steak, flank steak or skirt steak (see note)
Grilling and assembly
- cooking oil spray
- 8 tortillas, corn or flour, 8-inch size
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- guacamole, optional, or diced avocado
- queso fresco cheese, or Cotija cheese (see note)
- fresh cilantro
- fresh lime, wedges
- In a medium bowl, mix together the lime juice, orange juice, cumin, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Place the steak in the bowl and coat thoroughly with the marinade. Reserve for one hour at room temperature (see note), or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
- In the meantime, preheat the grill medium heat or 400°F (204°C) and prepare toppings, i.e. dice the tomatoes, dice the red onion and crumble the cheese.
- Spray the grill grates with oil spray.
- Place the steak on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until medium-rare or medium, using an instant-read thermometer to check doneness (130-140°F or 54-60°C).
- Remove steak to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes to preserve juiciness.
- Cut the steak crosswise against the grain into thin 3-inch (8 cm) slices, about ¼ inch or ½ cm. Reserve.
- Please a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and heat for 30 seconds until puffy. Remove to a plate for assembly into a steak taco. Repeat for remaining tortillas.
- Add a few slices of steak to the middle of the tortilla, followed by toppings, cheese and cilantro. Repeat for remaining tortillas. Serve and enjoy!
- The best steak for tacos is flank steak or skirt steak (hanger steak), but sirloin steak fajitas and ribeye steak fajitas are also delicious.
- Room temperature steak will cook more evenly for juicier steak.
- You can pan fry the steak in a grill pan or cast iron skillet if you prefer not to use the grill.
- Mexican Cotija cheese is the most authentic, although it can be difficult to find. Queso fresco is another great option, with feta or Monterey Jack as alternatives.
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