Bold flavors, juicy meat, and fresh ingredients make these street-style carne asada tacos a family favorite around here! Tender meat gets marinated in a smoky, spicy, and citrus marinade then the grill does the rest. Serve in corn tortillas with fresh tasty toppings for a simple weeknight meal!
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Exploding with Flavor
One bite of these carne asada tacos and you’ll see why they are worth the time it takes to marinate the meat to juicy, flavorful, and tender levels of deliciousness.
This street tacos recipe is a natural follow-up to the carne asada recipe I posted not long ago because although the meat is perfect as a main with a couple of side dishes, I can’t help but love them even more in this carne asada taco recipe.
Enjoy street style tacos or food truck tacos right at home with these tacos and my birria taco recipe! They’re super simple to make using strips of juicy marinated steak wrapped in corn tortillas and then topped with onions, cilantro, avocado, and lime juice. Of course, you’re welcome to add whatever other toppings you like to your steak tacos!
Why This Recipe Works
- Effortless. It’s really about how you prepare and tenderize the meat and allowing it to marinate long enough. Other than that, the grill does the grilling then it’s all about the toppings!
- So much flavor. Made with fresh ingredients, the carne asada marinade recipe combines smoky, spicy, and citrusy flavors that penetrate the meat for up to 12 hours. You can imagine how juicy and flavorful it ends up being!
- Tender meat. Every bite of taco is fall apart tender as flank steak (or skirt steak) tends to be when prepared properly. Tenderized and pounded, marinated, then grilled to perfection.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Marinade ingredients: Olive oil, fresh lime juice, orange juice, white vinegar, minced jalapeno, crushed garlic, fresh cilantro, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. You’ll need extra salt and pepper for seasoning just before grilling.
- Flank steak: You’ll need to tenderize it and pound it first by placing it in between two pieces of plastic wrap or in a zip-loc bag. Then use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound it to an even thickness. It’s inexpensive meat that cooks quickly, so it’s great for grilling.
- Corn tortillas: These are traditional for carne asada tacos, so to make it as authentic as possible, I prefer corn tortillas. You can use flour tortillas if you would rather.
- Toppings: Chopped onions, sliced limes, avocado slices, and cilantro.
How to Make Carne Asada Tacos
- Marinate the flank steak. Combine meat with marinade ingredients in a large bowl or gallon-sized zip-top bag. Seal, then mix until everything is combined. Don’t be afraid to massage the mixture into the meat with your hands. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or up to 12 hours in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature then pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the steak. On the preheated grill over medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes, cook until the internal temperature reads a minimum of 130°F. Once done to your desired doneness, let it rest and allow the juices to redistribute and settle.
- Slice the carne asada steak. Cut into thin strips against the grain. Shortening the fibers crosswise will help with getting the meat even more tender and easier to chew.
- Assemble carne asada tacos. Add strips of carne asada meat to a corn tortilla and top with onions, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, avocado, and any other toppings you use. Repeat with remaining taco shells and enjoy!
You can make the marinade up to 3 days ahead of time and keep it sealed in the fridge. Do not marinate the meat any earlier than 12 hours ahead of grilling. An easy way to go about it is to marinate in the morning and grill that evening.
Taco Topping Ideas
The fun part!
What’s great about Mexican recipes like fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and carnitas tacos is that so many of the ingredients are interchangeable. Seasonings, toppings, fillings, you name it!
For most of my taco recipes I’ll always have a variety of other toppings for people to choose from including:
- Cotija cheese
- Sour cream
- Refried beans
- Pico de gallo
- Lime crema
- Avocado salsa
If you’re not up to grilling today, use the broiler instead! Preheat the oven, place the steak on a baking sheet, and broil about 8 inches from the broiler for about 6-8 minutes per side, flipping halfway, for medium.
Find more tips for how to cook steak in the oven.
Skirt steak is used for carne asada just as often, if not more often, than flank steak, although it’s usually harder to find than flank steak. Both are tender when cooked low and slow or tenderized properly and skirt steak has more marbling which makes it juicy. Either can be used for carne asada tacos or try making these flank steak tacos!
Use this guideline! For accuracy, use a digital thermometer because you don’t want to cut into the meat too early to check it. This will dry it out.
(130°-140°F) – Medium Rare
(140°-150°F) – Medium
(150°-160°F) – Medium Well
(Over 160°F) – Well
Keep leftover steak in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Marinate time. At least 1 hour but no more than 12 hours, otherwise the lime juice will start to “cook” the meat and break it down too much.
- Let it rest. Flank steak is quite lean and needs juices to keep it moist. If you slice into it without letting it rest first, the juices will run out leaving the meat dry.
- Slice against the grain. In this type of steak, the fibers are easily visible. They are the lines in the meat that run down in the same direction. Slicing against the grain means slicing across, shortening those fibers as you go.
- Less is more. The flavorful grilled meat is really the star of the show. As much as we love to add toppings, it’s important not to overload it with ingredients that overpower the steak.
Looking for more Mexican-inspired recipes? Don’t miss taco salad, Mexican street corn, and Mexican wedding cookies for dessert!
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Carne Asada Tacos
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 limes , juiced
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 jalapeno , minced and seeded (for less spice)
- 4 cloves garlic , crushed
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt , plus more for grilling
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper , plus more for grilling
- 2 pounds flank steak
- 12 corn tortillas , or flour tortillas
- Chopped onions
- Chopped cilantro
- Sliced limes
- Sliced avocado , optional
- In a large bowl or a gallon-sized zip-top bag, add the olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Seal, if needed, and mix together until combined.
- Add the steak and cover with plastic wrap or press out any excess air before sealing. Marinate at room temperature at least 1 hour or in the refrigerator up to 12 hours. If refrigerating, set out 30 minutes before grilling.
- Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Season each side with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the steak on the grill and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until a digital thermometer reads 140°F. You can also cook longer to your desired doneness. See notes for cooking temperatures.
- Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice the carne asada steak against the grain.
- In a tortilla, add several slices carne asada, and top with onions, cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and avocado, if using. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
- Medium Rare (130°-140°F)
- Medium (140°-150°F)
- Medium Well (150°-160°F)
- Well (Over 160°F)
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
Great recipe – everyone loved in my family, they gave it a 10/10! Making again this weekend!
I love it!! So tender and really flavorful!!
I was craving carne asada and am so glad I stumbled upon your recipe. It turned out soooo good! I will be making this often.