These are the best ever Carne Asada Tacos aka Mexican street tacos – the citrusy steak marinade is easy to make and so addictive!
Ingredients in this recipe
These steak tacos are super easy to throw together and boy are they ever flavourful!
Here's what you need for the steak:
- striploin steak
- olive oil
- orange juice & lime juice, plus zest from each
- soy sauce
- chili powder, cumin & paprika
And here's what you need for the tacos themselves:
- corn tortillas
- pico de gallo or salsa
- white or red onions
- Feta or cotija cheese, crumbled
What is a carne asada taco?
From Spanish, the term carne asada translates in English to mean “grilled steak”. So, these are esentially grilled steak tacos.
The seasonings are simple but the toppings are usually very flavourful. In Mexico, this dish is often sold by street vendors.
How to make carne asada tacos
It's very easy to make these tacos. Here's how:
- Cut the steak into small pieces and mix together with marinade ingredients.
- Marinate for 15 minutes.
- Saute steak over high heat.
- Meanwhile, prepare toppings of choice and microwave corn tortillas until softened.
- Add steak to corn tortillas and add toppings of choice.
- Serve and enjoy!
What cut of meat is carne asada?
If you have this meal in an authentic Mexican restaurant, it is typically made using flank steak or skirt steak. The primary reason for this is because those cuts cook very quickly.
For the same reason, flank steak is also commonly found in restaurant versions of fajitas.
The meat is cut into very thin strips, so it’s important to use a lean cut of beef. Beef with a lot of marbling (fat) takes much longer to cook down.
- Beef – I use a striploin to make this recipe. This cut is sometimes called sirloin, or strip steak. This recipe works using any cut of beef with a small amount of marbling in it, like a ribeye steak or skirt steak.
- Olive oil – Good substitutes for olive oil are high smoke point oils such as avocado, peanut, or coconut. You could also use melted ghee.
- Soy sauce – To cut down on the salt, use low-sodium soy sauce. Coconut aminos or tamari are great gluten free options. However, keep in mind that tamari is very high in sodium.
- Corn tortillas – Other options are flour tortillas, lettuce wraps, or low carb tortillas
- Cheese – Cojita and/or feta are my go-to choices but honestly, any type of crumbly cheese will work well.
What goes well with carne asada?
Tacos are really easy to customize with your favourite toppings! If you’re having a party, set up a selection so that everyone can top theirs with whatever they like. Some ideas:
- Lime crema (this is basically sour cream with lime juice added)
- Diced tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes are really delicious!)
- Sauteed bell peppers
- Grilled onions
- Citrus fruits – lime, lemon, and even oranges are delicious on tacos
- Avocado or guacamole
What is a good side dish for tacos?
Delicious side dishes for this meal include:
- Mexican or Spanish rice
- Refried beans
- Cactus salad
- Chips and salsa or guacamole for dipping
- Corn and black bean salad
- Grilled vegetables
Storing and reheating
For the purposes of dealing with leftovers, it is a good idea to serve and store the carne asada steak and the toppings in individual bowls.
Wait until serving to build your tacos. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to store the tacos fully loaded with toppings.
Leftovers should be kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator. The meat and toppings should keep well there for up to 5 days.
Any leftover beef can be reheated quickly on a grill. You could also use a sous vide, or warm the meat in the oven. Microwaving is not recommended because the steak can easily dry out, even if you don’t use full power. If you do microwave, make sure to sprinkle some water overtop first to avoid it drying.
Freezing the beef
You can freeze carne asada either before or after cooking. So, this recipe is perfect for easy meal prep!
One option is to freeze the beef in marinade. This way, it will be full of flavour and ready to cook as soon as it thaws out.
I have some fantastic freezer-friendly recipes for steak marinades that would be perfect for this.
If you want to freeze the meat after cooking it, be sure to allow the beef to cool to room temperature first.
Then, transfer it to Ziploc freezer bags, meal prep containers, or another type of freezer-safe, airtight container.
The meat will keep well frozen for at least 3 to 4 months. If you notice any ice crystals or freezer burn on the meat, it’s safe to eat but it won’t have much flavour and the texture will be chewy.
More delicious taco recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls for storing the leftovers
- I get all my steak from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen
- Use these Ziploc bag holders to marinate the steak
Carne Asada Tacos
- 16 oz striploin steak
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp orange juice preferably from an orange
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp orange and/or lime zest
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
Tacos (assembly & toppings)
- 12 Corn tortillas (3 per person)
- Store bought pico de gallo or salsa
- Raw white or red onions, diced
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Feta or cotija cheese, crumbled
- Cut steak into 1/4-inch pieces and mix together with marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Marinate for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare toppings of choice and microwave corn tortillas for 10-20 seconds until softened.
- Heat skillet over high heat for 1-2 minutes until hot. Add steak and sautee for 2- minutes until fully cooked.
- Add steak to corn tortillas and add toppings of choice. Serve and enjoy!