Carne Asada Tacos

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
May 8, 2024 | Updated on May 11, 2024

These authentic carne asada tacos are loaded with marinated and grilled flank steak, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and guacamole. This easy recipe is inspired by Mexican street tacos so it’s got big, bold, fresh flavor.

Looking for other delicious taco recipes? Try my saucy Beer Battered Fish Tacos and Big Mac Tacos, next.

close up view of a carne asada taco

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I’ve had my fair share of carne asada tacos, from the food truck scene in L.A. to traditional Mexican food in restaurants. Nothing beats a soft, warm tortilla packed with tender juicy steak bites and your choice of toppings. We start with a bright, zesty, spicy marinade, and end with a fun taco night!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Flavorful The key to the best tasting carne asada tacos lies in the marinade. The one used in this recipe is a vibrant mix that includes Mexican lager, fresh citrus juices, jalapeño, and plenty of spices.
  • Customizable – I love the versatility of tacos and these are no different. Feel free to swap beef cuts, the marinade, sauce, and toppings.
  • Great for Any Occasion – Whether it’s a festive gathering, a chill summer backyard barbecue, or a casual weeknight, these tacos suit the occasion!
close up view of a carne asada taco

What is Carne Asada?

Carne asada is the Spanish term for “grilled meat.” It’s a popular Mexican dish, traditionally made with marinated skirt steak. The beef is cooked over high heat until perfectly tender, then cut into strips and served with tortillas, salsa, and guacamole, among other sides.

close up view of carne asada taco

Tools You’ll Need

Carne Asada Taco Ingredients

Here is a breakdown of what you will need to make carne asada tacos. For actual measurements, see the recipe card at the end of this post.

  • Grass-fed flank steak – This cut of beef is leaner than most and absorbs rich flavors well, making it perfect for a marinade.
assorted ingredients for carne asada tacos

Marinade

  • Mexican lager – I use Modelo because I like how light and crisp it is. Also, the enzymes in the beer help to breakdown the tough fibers in the meat.
  • Cilantro – Roughly chopped cilantro adds a bright, herbal note.
  • Yellow onion – One of my preferred aromatics when marinating. Be sure to grate before adding to the marinade.
  • Fresh orange juice – Squeeze one small, ripe orange for a tangy sweetness that cuts through some of the richer tastes. This is also a common ingredient added to carne asada marinades.
  • Jalapeño – Add these chopped for a spicy kick.
  • Fresh lime juice – Tart lime juice adds a citrusy acidity to the marinade and breaks down the tough fibers, for a more tender beef.
  • Avocado oil – Not only does the oil prevent the meat from sticking to the grill but it also aids in retaining moisture in the meat. I use avocado oil as its a terrific monosaturated fat with a high smoke point.
  • Brown sugar – This caramelizes on the grill, giving the steak a flavorful crust.
  • Soy sauce – The rich, umami flavor of soy sauce, enhances the robust beefy flavor of the flank steak.
  • Kosher salt –  I prefer Diamond Crystal and use it in all of my recipes.
  • Spices – I use an earthy, smoky blend of ancho chili powder, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and coarsely ground black pepper.
  • Scallions – Diagonally sliced for a nice presentation. You’ll love that subtle onion flavor too.
side by side images of marinade and marinated flank steak

Tacos & Taco Toppings

  • Mini corn tortillas – These have a naturally chewy texture that complements the tender steak bites.
  • Yellow onion – Add for a crisp bite.
  • Cilantro – Roughly chopped cilantro adds a pop of fresh, herbal flavor.
  • Limes – For squeezing.
  • Guacamole – Placing one avocado pit in the guacamole helps to prevent oxidation and keep the guacamole fresh, minimizing browning.
flank steak on the grill

How To Make Carne Asada Tacos

Below is a summary of how to make these steak street tacos. For a complete and detailed list of steps, see the recipe card at the end of this post.

How to Marinate Carne Asada

In a bowl, combine the carne asada marinade ingredients together. Mix thoroughly. Then place the flank steak in a large mixing bowl and pour the marinade over it, ensuring the meat is well-coated. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to infuse.

Prep Before Grilling

Remove the marinated steak from the fridge 45 minutes before grilling. While it comes to room temperature, prepare the guacamole, reserving one avocado pit and covering it with cling wrap.

cooked flank steak resting on a plate

Grill Carne Asada

Preheat the grill by turning all burners to HIGH. Once hot, place the marinated flank steak on the grill and cook to your desired doneness, approximately 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare (reaching 125°F internally).

Once cooked, transfer the steak to a plate, season with kosher salt, and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes.

sliced flank steak on a cutting board

Assemble Carne Asada Tacos

Slice the rested steak thinly against the grain, then cut into small, bite-sized cubes.

Heat the mini corn tortillas on a comal or over an open flame. Then assemble the tacos with guacamole (using the reserved avocado pit), diced yellow onion, cilantro, and serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

chopped steak for tacos

Tips and Tricks

  • Marinate the flank steak for at least 5 hours. Ideally, overnight is best so the lime, orange juice, and beer have time to tenderize the cut of beef.
  • Grill over high heat. You want the grill hot to ensure the steak gets a nice sear.
  • Remember to slice against the grain. After the steak has rested, slice against the grain. This breaks up the muscle fibers, for tender beef when chewing.
  • Warm your tortillas. Heat your corn tortillas over a comal or carefully over an open flame until they are warm and slightly charred. They taste better and soften.
carne asada tacos

Steak Internal Temperatures

Flank steak is an affordable cut of meat that’s perfectly succulent when properly cooked. Because it’s thinner than skirt steak with less marbling, it takes less time to cook. This cut tastes best when cooked to medium-rare but here’s a temperature guide to help you achieve your desired results.

  • Rare 120-130°F internally
  • Medium-Rare 130-135°F internally
  • Medium 135-145°F internally
  • Medium-Well 145-155°F internally
  • Well-Done 155-165°F internally

Variations

  • Tortillas I typically enjoy these tacos with mini corn tortillas but if you prefer flour tortillas, Sonoran-style flour tortillas are a great option. These Caramelo Tortillas are my go-to!
  • Cheese For a melty finish, add some shredded cheese. Try Monterey jack cheese or a Mexican blend. You can also opt for cotija cheese or queso fresco, if you prefer crumbly cheese.
  • More Toppings – For more fresh taco topping ideas, consider pico de gallo, Tomatillo Avocado Salsa, or Quick Pickled Veggies.
plated carne asada tacos

Frequently Asked Questions

How much carne asada per person?

About ½ pound if you’re serving the tacos with sides.

What cut of meat is used for carne asada tacos?

Traditionally, skirt steak is most commonly used for carne asada but you can also use flank steak or sirloin steak.

What goes with carne asada tacos?

Pair your tacos with elote, black beans, pico de gallo, a generous dollop of Guacamole, Cilantro Lime Rice, or Mexican Rice.

Is carne asada better with flour or corn tortillas?

Both flour and corn tortillas work for this recipe so it comes down to preference. Flour tortillas have a more neutral taste that lets the other ingredients shine through. Alternatively, corn tortillas have a beautiful corn flavor that complements the steak.

plated carne asada tacos

Looking for More Delicious Steak Recipes?

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close up view of a carne asada taco

Carne Asada Tacos

These authentic carne asada tacos are loaded with marinated and grilled flank steak, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and guacamole. This easy recipe is inspired by Mexican street tacos so it's got big, bold, fresh flavor.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 35 minutes
Servings 3 people
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mexican

Equipment

  • Grill
  • Comal or Small Pan

Ingredients

  • pounds grass-fed flank steak

Marinade

  • cup mexican lager, I use Modelo
  • cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • small yellow onion, grated
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice, about one small orange
  • 3 tablespoons jalapeño, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 packed tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for finnishing, Diamond Crystal
  • teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 3 scallions, diagonally sliced

Tacos

  • 12 mini corn tortillas
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • quartered limes, for squeezing
  • guacamole recipe

Instructions

  • Add all marinade ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
  • Add flank steak to a large mixing bowl then pour marinade over the meat. Give the meat a good mix, ensuring marinade ingredients mix well. Cover with cling wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate overnight or at least 5 hours.
  • 45 minutes before grilling, remove meat from the refrigerator. Meanwhile, prepare the guacamole. Cover with cling wrap. Set aside.
  • Prepare grill turning all burners to HIGH.
  • Once grill gets very hot, place meat on the grill and cook until desired degree of doneness is achieved, about 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare; 125°F. Once done, transfer to a plate, finish with a little kosher salt, and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.
  • Slice meat into thin slices against the grain, then into small, bite-sized cubes. Keep cubed pieces covered until ready to serve.
  • Heat corn tortillas over a comal or carefully over an open flame. Assemble tacos with guacamole, onions, cilantro, and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!
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close up view of a carne asada taco

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jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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