Easy and Flavorful Grilled Carne Asada Tacos Recipe

Carne Asada

Juicy, flavorful flank steak marinated in citrus and Mexican spices is grilled to perfection to create carne asada tacos topped with your favorite street taco toppings!

Carne asada, which translates from Spanish to “grilled meat,” typically features a flavorful, marinated cut of beef, often flank or skirt steak, that is grilled to perfection. The marinade can be as simple as oil, salt, and pepper but my favorite varieties include citrus juices, garlic, and a variety of spices, which infuse the meat with rich, vibrant flavors and help to tenderize it. Don’t be intimidated by the grill… that’s where the magic happens, and quickly! This cut of meat will cook in about 5-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness and preferred doneness.

Carne asada can be the base for fajitas, burritos, salads and more, but if you’re looking to up your taco game, look no further than this juicy recipe! Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue or simply craving some authentic Mexican flavors at home, these Carne Asada tacos are sure to impress (with very little effort on your part — amazing, right?!). Not to mention this recipe is not only easy to follow but also versatile, allowing you to customize it to your liking. Okay, let’s dive in!!

Carne Asada Tacos Ingredients

Starting with the star of our tacos, the juicy, tender and deliciously marinated flank steak:

Flank Steak: Flank steak is a lean cut of meat that becomes incredibly flavorful when marinated and grilled. Because it is lean, a marinade will do wonders with this meat — it’s the perfect canvas for bright, bold flavors and its thin, flat shape makes it ideal for quick cooking.

For the marinade:

● Garlic: Freshly minced garlic infuses the steak with a robust, aromatic flavor.

Citrus Juices (Lime and Orange): The combination of lime and orange juice adds a bright, zesty flavor while also tenderizing the meat, which on its own can be tough. Citrus juice breaks down the fibers of the meat which makes it more tender and easier to chew.

Jalapeño: Adds a kick to the marinade. You can adjust the heat by keeping the core and/or seeds for more heat or discarding them for less.

Fresh Cilantro: Provides a fresh, herby flavor that complements the other marinade ingredients perfectly. If cilantro happens to taste like soap to you (which to some it does!), you can replace with finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, which will have a similar but slightly milder flavor.

Avocado Oil (or Olive Oil): Helps to distribute the marinade evenly over the steak and adds a rich, smooth texture to the meat.

Chili Powder: Gives a mild heat and a deep, smoky flavor synonymous with grilled Mexican food.

Ground Cumin: Adds a warm, earthy flavor that pairs well with the other spices.

Dried Oregano: Contributes an herbal note that enhances the overall flavors of the meat.

Kosher Salt & Pepper: Essential for seasoning and bringing out the natural flavors of the steak.

For the tacos:

Tortillas: Choose flour or gluten-free tortillas based on your dietary preference. You can use corn but note their charring time on the grill might be more or less than flour depending on the brand.

White Onion: Adds a crunchy texture and a sharp, punchy flavor.

Chopped Cilantro: Freshens up the tacos with its bright, herby taste.

Thinly Sliced Jalapeño: For those who love an extra spicy kick & a bit more crunch!

Cotija Cheese: A crumbly, salty cheese that adds a creamy texture.

Salsa Verde: Provides a tangy, slightly spicy flavor that complements the carne asada beautifully.

See full recipe below for detailed ingredient amounts and instructions.

Carne Asada

How to Make Carne Asada Tacos

This carne asada recipe is very easy to follow and execute but you do need to remember to plan time-wise for marinating time, bringing the steak to room temperature before grilling (about 30 minutes), *quick* cook time but also rest time before slicing. This cut of beef thrives with more marinating time so give yourself the full two hours but up to four hours, if that works better with your schedule!

Here is a basic overview of the steps for how to make carne asada tacos:

  1. Marinate the Steak: Place the flank steak in a baking dish. combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the steak. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Prepare for Grilling: Remove the steak from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
  3. Grill the Steak: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Season the steak with salt and pepper then grill the steak for roughly 6 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140ºF.
  4. Rest and Slice: Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, then slice against the grain and dice.
  5. Grill the Tortillas: Grill the tortillas for 1-2 minutes per side.
  6. Assemble the Tacos: Layer tortillas with diced carne asada and desired toppings. Then enjoy!!

Optional Recipe Variations

Here are a few ways to mix up the carne asada recipe from above based on your preferences:

  • Add more smokiness: by swapping chili powder for chipotle powder
  • Add more or less spice: by adjusting the jalapeño amount and/or adding or removing jalapeño core and seeds. The more core (inner white part of the pepper) and the more seeds you add, the hotter it will taste!
  • More herby flavor: mix in some fresh chopped oregano or fresh thyme with the cilantro for an extra herby kick

The “perfect” taco is so personal, so as far as the toppings go, the sky is the limit! Truly whatever makes you happy. Some examples…

  • Pickled red onions
  • Crema or sour cream
  • Pico de gallo
  • Salsa Roja
  • Shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Taco hot sauce

Other Ways to Use Carne Asada

Carne Asada Bowl: Serve the diced carne asada over a bed of rice or quinoa, topped with black beans, corn, avocado, and a dollop of crema.

Carne Asada Salad: Make a delicious salad with mixed greens, carne asada slices, avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and a light citrus vinaigrette.

Carne Asada Nachos: Layer tortilla chips with carne asada, melted cheese, jalapeños, and your favorite salsa for a delicious snack or appetizer… yum!

Carne Asada Burritos: Wrap the carne asada in a large tortilla with rice, beans, cheese, and guacamole for a filling meal.

Whether in tacos or other presentations, carne asada is such flavorful addition to your summer kitchen! This charred steak is an incredibly versatile ingredient, so get creative with how you put it to use!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Section: 

How Long Should You Marinate Carne Asada for the Best Flavor?
Marinating carne asada is crucial for achieving tender, flavorful meat. Ideally, marinate your flank steak for at least 2 hours. This allows citrus juices like lime and orange, along with spices such as chili powder and cumin, to deeply penetrate the meat, breaking down its muscle fibers and infusing it with delicious flavors. Longer marinating times further tenderize the meat, ensuring each bite is juicy and packed with authentic carne asada taste.

What’s the Best Way to Grill Carne Asada?
Grilling method significantly impacts the flavor and texture of carne asada. For authentic results, use an outdoor gas or charcoal grill. Preheat to medium-high heat and grill the marinated steak for approximately 6 minutes per side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140ºF (measured with a meat thermometer). This achieves a perfect balance of charred exterior and juicy interior. Alternatively, a cast iron skillet or grill pan on the stovetop can yield excellent results, especially if outdoor grilling isn’t possible. Always allow the steak to rest before thinly slicing it against the grain for tender, flavorful carne asada tacos.

What’s the Best Way to Store Leftovers?
To maintain freshness, store leftover carne asada in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Ensure the meat cools completely before storage to prevent condensation, which can affect texture. Properly stored, leftover carne asada remains flavorful for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. For longer storage, freeze it in a freezer-safe bag or container for 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy again, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and gently reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Can I substitute Flap Steak or Hanger Steak for Flank Steak?
Flap steak (flap meat or bavette) features a lean, slightly chewy texture that absorbs marinades effectively, making it ideal for grilling. On the other hand, hanger steak offers a tender, rich beefy flavor with a loose texture. Both cuts benefit significantly from marination to enhance tenderness and flavor before grilling or searing. The decision between flap steak and hanger steak depends largely on personal texture preferences and the desired cooking method.

Is it okay to use corn tortillas instead of flour for this recipe?
Absolutely! You can use corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas for your carne asada tacos. Corn tortillas have a slightly chewy texture and a subtle corn flavor that compliments the smoky char of carne asada perfectly. Warm tortillas briefly on a hot skillet or grill to enhance their aroma and flexibility, similar to how you would warm flour tortillas, before assembling your tacos.

Preparing these Easy and Flavorful Grilled Carne Asada Tacos involves marinating the meat in a blend of fresh citrus juices and spices, grilling it to perfection on an outdoor grill or on the stove using a skillet or grill pan, and choosing between warm flour or traditional corn tortillas. Top them off with fresh pico de gallo and serve alongside classic sides like refried beans and Mexican rice for a delicious meal that perfectly captures the vibrant flavors of Mexico. I hope you enjoy preparing and savoring this recipe as much as I do!

Thank you for being an amazing reader of The Savvy Spoon! If you make this recipe and love it, I would so appreciate you rating it below. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more recipes, workouts, and lifestyle content!

Carne Asada Tacos

Juicy, flavorful flank steak marinated in citrus and Mexican spices is grilled to perfection to create carne asada tacos topped with your favorite street taco toppings!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5-2 pounds flank steak
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 orange juiced
  • 1 jalapeño finely minced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

For the tacos

  • 12 flour or gluten-free tortillas

Optional toppings

  • finely chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, thinly sliced jalapeño, cotija cheese, salsa verde

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl or large measuring cup, combine the minced garlic, lime juice, orange juice, minced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, avocado oil, chili powder, ground cumin, and dried oregano. Mix well.
  • Place flank steak in a shallow, glass baking dish. Pour marinade over evenly to cover the steak.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours (up to 4 hours).
  • Bring meat to room temperature by removing from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Season both sides with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Prepare grill to medium high heat (about 450º). When hot, shake off excess marinade from steak and place onto hot grates. Don't disturb or move steak and allow it to cook for 6 minutes. Flip carefully and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until internal temperature reads 140º (it will cook another 5 degrees or so when resting).
  • Remove from heat and place onto cutting board to rest.
  • Meanwhile, heat the tortillas on the grill for 1-2 minutes per side until warmed and slightly charred.
  • When steak is ready to be sliced, cut against the grain. If the lines of the steak run east to west on a longer cut like flank, then slice north to south. Dice smaller for tacos.
  • Prepare tacos by layering diced steak onto warm tortillas, then adding toppings like diced onions, fresh lime juice, sliced avocado, jalapeño slices and cotija cheese. Serve and enjoy!!
Keyword carne asada, mexican, steak, tacos
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