Carne Asada Street Tacos
This recipe for carne asada street tacos is so easy, authentic, and full of flavor! Tender marinated skirt steak piled in warm corn tortillas with onions, cilantro, lime, and cotija.
We are big on taco nights in our household! I love an easy taco recipe for an easy weeknight dinner. These carne asada street tacos only require minutes of prep and less than 15 minutes on the grill–perfect for a busy night.
This is also a fabulous recipe for a crowd! We do lots of taco bar situations for entertaining. You can double or triple this recipe and set everything up in an assembly line. People love assembling their own carne asada street tacos!
The Best Taco Recipe
I consider myself a bit of a taco connoisseur here. Growing up in San Diego, I spent a lot of time sampling tacos from local taco shops. I’ve also been known to take frequent day trips across the border to Tijuana for an afternoon of eating street foods.
It’s safe to say that I’ve consumed more tacos than most and this recipe is totally reminiscent of all my favorite street tacos. Carne asada street tacos are going to be your new favorite taco recipe!
What is Carne Asada?
Carne asada is a traditional Mexican recipe for marinated grilled beef. The most common cuts of beef for carne asada are skirt steak and flank steak. I prefer skirt steak because it has a bit more fat and flavor and tends to be less expensive than flank steak.
Carne asada literally translates to “grilled meat” in Spanish, and the grilling is essential here! It adds a charred flavor to the steak that is so, so good.
Traditional carne asada marinade has lots of garlic, onion, spices, and fresh citrus flavor which helps tenderize the steak.
Street Tacos are the Superior Taco
If you are unfamiliar with street tacos, they’re a no-frills unfussy taco where the meat is the star of the show. You can expect to find tender and flavorful meat piled high on a charred corn tortilla with onions and cilantro served with salsa and fresh limes. That’s it!
I took it a step further here and added some cotija cheese and sliced radishes, adding more flavor and crunch.
I love the simplicity of street tacos–no fussing with special ingredients, just flavorful meat on a warm tortilla with minimal toppings. The signature trait of a street taco is that they’re small and easy enough to eat with one hand. Carne asada street tacos are going to be your new favorite taco recipe!
How to make Carne Asada Street Tacos
You’re going to be amazed at how quickly these tacos come together. They’re perfect for a bbq, party, or a delicious weeknight dinner.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Steak: Skirt steak, flank steak, or flap steak is best for carne asada street tacos.
- Onion: I like to marinate the steak with thin sliced onions and then dice the rest for topping the tacos.
- Cilantro: Minced cilantro in the marinade and served on top of the tacos adds freshness!
- Garlic: Make sure to mince the garlic cloves very finely so they don’t burn while grilling.
- Red Wine Vinegar and Orange: The combination of red wine vinegar and orange juice helps tenderize the steak while it marinates.
- Spices: Cumin, oregano, and chili powder add all the Mexican flavors to the carne asada marinade.
- Tortillas: Warmed corn tortillas are the way to go here! If you really don’t like corn, you can use flour tortillas.
- Limes: Serving lime wedges on the side is a must!
- Cotija: Think of it as the Mexican feta–it’s salty and funky and the perfect companion to grilled steak.
- Step one: Whisk together the marinade ingredients until everything is well-mixed.
- Step two: Trim the skirt steak of any silver skin (you can also ask your butcher to do this!). Lay the steak and sliced onions in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the marinade over the steak and really work it in with your hands on both sides. Marinate for at least 1 hour, up to 8 hours.
- Step three: Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Make sure the grates are clean and oiled. Grill the steak for 3-4 minutes per side depending on thickness. You’re aiming for medium-rare/medium temperature for optimal tenderness.
- Step four: Let the steak rest for 10 minutes. Dice the steak into 1/2″ pieces and serve on warm corn tortillas topped with onion, cilantro, and cotija. Serve with lime wedges and salsa.
Tips for Tender Carne Asada Street Tacos
The key to the best carne asada street tacos is tender, tender steak. Here are my tips for grilling the best steak for tacos!
- Marinate the steaks long enough. Really work the marinade into the steaks with your hands so that the steak is totally covered. You want to marinate the steak for at least 1 hour, up to 12 hours. It’s a very acidic marinade, so I don’t recommend marinating longer than that.
- Cook from room temperature. If you only plan to marinate the steaks for an hour, marinate the steak at room temperature. If you marinate for longer, take the marinating steaks out of the fridge an hour before cooking.
- Rest after cooking. If you cut your steaks immediately after cooking, all the juices will run out leaving the steak tough and dry. Give the steaks at least 10 minutes to rest before slicing so that the juices can redistribute.
- Cut against the grain. If you look at a piece of steak, you can see the direction that the stringy muscle fibers run. You want to cut perpendicular, or ‘across the grain’, to those fibers. From there, cut the strips into bite sized pieces. This ensures that every bite is tender and easy to chew.
Methods for Cooking Carne Asada Street Tacos
You have plenty of cooking options for getting tacos on the table for dinner!
- Grill: This is my favorite method! We love firing up the grill in the summer. Grilling the carne asada gives it incredible charred flavor.
- Oven: Maybe it’s too cold to grill, no problem! Set your oven broiler to high and move the oven rack close to the broiler. Lay the steak out on a baking sheet lined with foil and broil for 4-5 minutes per side, until browned.
- Cast Iron: I’ve very successfully made this recipe in a cast iron skillet as well! Heat a 12 inch cast iron over medium-high heat. Add a bit of neutral oil and once the skillet is hot, add the steak to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. You may need to cut the steak down into slightly smaller pieces before cooking.
What to serve with Carne Asada Street Tacos
If you’re planning to serve Carne Asada Street Tacos for dinner, you’re going to need some sides!
My go-to is to serve carne asada tacos with my Instant Pot Refried Beans. They are just as good as your favorite Mexican restaurant and come together quickly and easily.
What’s a taco without salsa? My recipe for Homemade Salsa Verde pairs so perfectly with carne asada!
More Taco Recipes to Try Now
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Carne Asada Street Tacos
- 2 lbs skirt steak, trimmed of silver skin
- 1/2 white onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 orange, juiced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- 2 oz cotija cheese, crumbled
- corn tortillas, warmed
- Whisk together the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, orange juice, spices, salt, and cilantro together until smooth.
- Place the steak and sliced onions in a large dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the marinade over the steak and really work the marinade into the steak with your hands. Cover and marinate for at least 1 hour, up to 12 hours.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Make sure the grates are clean and oiled. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill for 3-4 minutes per side.
- Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before dicing into 1/2" pieces. Serve on warm corn tortillas topped with onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese with lime wedges on the side.