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With this Carne Asada Taco Recipe, enjoy an easy Mexican-style dish of tender marinated flank steak and delicious street taco toppings like cotija cheese, red onions, and fresh cilantro. It is perfect for lunch and dinner, especially at Cinco de Mayo.

Three steak tacos on a cutting board.

As summer approaches, so does Taco Tuesday – or at least in my family! The hotter months are perfect for taco nights with a tasty blend of spices and textures. The best thing about this delicious recipe is that it is made with whole ingredients that are fresh and clean!

If you swoon over the mention of Mexican food, you must try these recipes: Cheesy Oven Baked Beef TacosDorito Taco Salad Recipe, or my Jalapeño Cornbread Taco Pie. These are also great recipes for Cinco de Mayo – so, get your fiesta on!

Ingredient Notes

Carne Asada Seasoning and Marinade

A labeled image with ingredients to make a carne asada steak marinade.
  • Steak: Make tender bites of carne asada with skirt steak or flank steak. 
  • Cilantro: The bright and fresh flavor of fresh cilantro blends well with the bold taco seasonings.
  • Oil: Avocado oil helps tenderize the steak and keeps it juicy.
  • Onion: Yellow onion, finely chopped, brings sweeter notes to the carne asada marinade.
  • Garlic: Mince a few fresh garlic cloves for a subtle spice.
  • Jalapeño: Bring the heat with jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped.
  • Fresh citrus juice: Fresh lime juice, lemon juice, and orange juice help to break down the meat, making it tender while adding a bright, zesty flavor to the meat.
  • Vinegar: Red wine vinegar incorporates a sweet tang to add more depth to the marinade.
  • Seasonings: Dried cumin, dried oregano, kosher salt, paprika, chili powder, and black pepper are the perfect blend of spices and seasonings for a bold Mexican flavor.

Taco Ingredients

Labeled ingredients needed for carne asada tacos.
  • Tortillas: Small tortilla shells or wraps work best for these street-style tacos. You can use soft corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or hard shells depending on your preference. 
  • Cilantro: Top the tacos with more fresh cilantro, finely chopped.
  • Onion: Sprinkle on some red onion or white onion.
  • Cheese: This carna asada street taco recipe isn’t complete without a generous amount of cotija cheese.

How to Make this Easy Carne Asada Tacos Recipe

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

Step 1 | Prep and marinate

Get started by making the marinade. I like to get ready by chopping and measuring all the ingredients before I start.

A collage of chopping vegetables, adding spices to a bowl, then pouring in liquids and stirring together the marinade.

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl: cilantro, avocado oil, yellow onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno, lime, lemon, orange, red wine vinegar, dried cumin, dried oregano, paprika, chili powder, coarse kosher salt, and black pepper.

Next, add the steak to the bowl and toss with tongs to coat it thoroughly on all sides. Then, cover with plastic wrap and place the covered steak in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 to 8 hours. 

A flank steak in a bowl of marinade.

Step 2 | Cook steak

Once the steak is ready, dump it and all the marinade ingredients into a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, cooking for 6 minutes. Then, remove the onions, garlic, and jalapenos, setting them aside.

Flip the steak to the other side and cook it for another 6 to 9 minutes for medium-rare. Keep in mind that the size and thickness of the meat will affect how long you need to cook it. 

A flank steak in a cast iron pan.

Step 3 | Rest and slice

Now, remove the steak from the skillet and allow it to rest, topping it with the onions and jalapenos. After about 5 minutes, slice and cube the rested steak.

Sliced carne asada on a wooden cutting board.

Step 4 | Assemble tacos and serve

Finally, prepare the tacos by placing the steak on a tortilla, topping it with cilantro, red onion, and cotija cheese (or desired toppings), and squeeze some lime juice on top. Then, serve and enjoy!

Steak Doneness

Use the chart below to prepare carne asada just how you like it! The most common temperatures for the dish are medium or medium-rare. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

  • Rare: 120°–125°
  • Medium Rare: 130°–135°
  • Medium: 140°–145°
  • Medium Well: 150°–155°
  • Well Done: 160°–165°

How to cook carne asada on the grill

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (around 400 degrees)
  2. Cook for 6-10 minutes on each side until the desired doneness is reached (I suggest cooking to 130° to 140°F).
  3. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes
  4. Slice against the grain to serve

How to cook carne asada in the oven

  1. Add cast iron grill pan to cold oven and preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. With oven mitts, remove the preheated grill pan from the oven and brush lightly with vegetable oil.
  3. Using tongs, carefully arrange the steak in a single layer on the cast iron skillet or pan (it will sizzle when it touches the pan). Place in the oven and cook for 8 to 14 minutes (depending on the steak thickness), flipping the steaks halfway through cooking time until the desired temperature (doneness) is reached.
Three carne asada tacos topped with onions and cilantro.

Tips

  • Marinating– Do not marinate the steak for any longer than 8 hours. Marinating for too long will break down the meat.
  • The steak will continue to cook once you remove it from the skillet, so it’s best to take it off the heat just before the desired doneness. 

Variations and Substitutions

  • Taco Seasoning: For a slightly different flavor, instead of carne asada seasoning, season with my Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe. It shares many of the same ingredients but has garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes.
  • Extra Spicy Carne Asada: Add more chili powder or leave the seeds in the jalapenos for carne asada with a real kick.
  • Mild Carne Asada: If preferred, reduce the jalapenos in the recipe or omit them for a mild Carne Asada.
  • More Taco Toppings: Add all your favorite toppings, like sour cream, pico de gallo, queso fresco, green onions, or creamy avocado salsa!

Recipe FAQs

What cut of beef is used for carne asada tacos?

Skirt steak and flank steak are the most common cuts used for carne asada. You can also use ribeye steak.

Is carne asada better with flour or corn tortillas?

Traditionally, corn tortillas are used, but flour tortillas are also delicious. Either way, warm tortillas are always the way to go! Briefly warm them in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop for the best carne asada street tacos.

What is the difference between carnitas and carne asada tacos?

Carnitas are usually pulled pork shoulder, while carne asada is sliced beef.

Can you marinate carne asada for too long?

Yes! The citrus in the marinade breaks down the meat, making it perfectly tender if marinated for the right amount of time. Marinading it longer than suggested can do the opposite, making the meat mushy and dry.

How do you cut carne asada for tacos?

Always cut against the grain for the most tender bites of steak. If preferred, you can cut the beef into strips, but they are more commonly sliced into cubed bite-sized pieces for tacos.

Storage

Refrigerate: Leftover carne asada can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. The rest of the taco ingredients should be stored in separate containers. 

Freeze for Long-term Storage: You can also freeze carna asada by adding it to a freezer-safe bag or container and storing it for up to three months. Then, before reheating, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Reheating Leftovers: If necessary, reheat the carne asada by adding it to the pan with a splash of oil. 

A hand picking up a carne asada street taco garnished with onion, cilantro and cotija cheese.

What to Serve with Carne Asada Street Tacos

Serve these delicious tacos with a flavorful Mexican Fruit Salad with chili-lime seasoning and Instant Pot Mexican Rice with the stovetop instructions. Another tasty side is my Street Corn White Chicken Chili– Yum!

Looking for another Mexican Meal idea? Use this steak recipe to replace the chicken in our Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos Recipe!

More Easy Mexican-Inspired Recipes

Hungry for more easy, home-cooked, delicious recipes?

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Three carne asada tacos topped with onions and cilantro.
Recipe
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Carne Asada Taco Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Inactive TIme: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes
Servings: 6 tacos
Author: Nikki Lee
With this Carne Asada Taco Recipe, enjoy an easy Mexican-style dish of tender marinated flank steak and delicious street taco toppings like cotija cheese, red onions, and fresh cilantro.
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Ingredients 

Steak Ingredients

  • 1 pound skirt or flank steak
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • cup avocado oil
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Taco Ingredients

  • 6 small tortilla shells
  • ½ cups cilantro, chopped
  • cup red onion, (or white onion)
  • cup cotija cheese, (or to taste)

Instructions

Prep and Marniate Steak

  • Make Marinade: To a large bowl, add cilantro, avocado oil, yellow onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno, lime, lemon, orange, red wine vinegar, dried cumin, dried oregano, paprika, chili powder, coarse kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Add the steak to the bowl and toss with tongs to coat it fully on all sides. Then, cover with plastic wrap.
  • Place the covered steak in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 to 8 hours. Do not marinate the steak for any longer as it will break down the meat.

Cook Carne Asade

  • In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the steak with all the marinade ingredients and cook for 6 minutes.
  • Remove the onions, garlic, and jalapenos. Set aside.
  • Flip the steak over and cook for an additional 6 to 9 minutes for medium-rare. The thickness of the steak will depend on how long to cook the steak. It will continue to cook once you remove it from the skillet.
  • Remove the steak from the skillet and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Top the steak with the onions and jalapenos.
  • Slice and cube the rested steak.
  • Prepare the tacos by placing the steak on a tortilla and top with cilantro, red onion, and cotija cheese (or desired toppings). Squeeze lime juice on top.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1taco Calories: 340kcal (17%) Carbohydrates: 22g (7%) Protein: 20g (40%) Fat: 19g (29%) Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 48mg (16%) Sodium: 691mg (30%) Potassium: 422mg (12%) Fiber: 3g (13%) Sugar: 4g (4%) Vitamin A: 416IU (8%) Vitamin C: 21mg (25%) Calcium: 109mg (11%) Iron: 3mg (17%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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