Amazing marinated Carne Asada Tacos that are full of flavor and always a crowd-pleaser, whether you’re serving them for taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo!

Steak Tacos are easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and made in less than 30 minutes hands on time.

A white plate featuring three carne asada tacos topped with sauce, cheese and arugula.
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When we’re hosting, I like to make something quick and simple.  Delicious, without a lot of fuss.  Tacos are always a great option and no one ever turns them down!

These steak tacos are marinated in a delicious and tangy sauce, guaranteeing that every bite will be full of flavor!

Carne Asada literally translates to ‘grilled meat’. It’s a traditional Mexican method of preparing steak, where it is marinated for several hours and then cooked quickly on a high heat.

Learn more details about carne asada in this dedicated post!

A white plate featuring three carne asada tacos topped with sauce, cheese and arugula.

Why You’ll Love these Carne Asada Tacos

  • The outside of the steak is perfectly charred, while the middle remains pink.
  • Packed with protein.
  • Serves beautifully with a variety of toppings.
  • Marinate ahead for a time saving technique!
A white plate featuring three carne asada tacos topped with sauce, cheese and arugula.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Corn Tortillas – I prefer to use corn tortillas for my tacos, but you can use flour or hard shell if you prefer. You can pick them up in the Hispanic aisle at your grocery store, make your own, or my favorite – get them in the refrigerated section and warm each side for 30 seconds on the stove top for fresh flavor.
  • Chihuahua Cheese – This Mexican soft cheese is similar in flavor to a mild cheddar, and you can substitute it with crumbled goat cheese if you can’t find any.
  • Arugula – The perfect complement to these tacos, this leafy green has a bit of spice in each bite.
  • Flank Steak – Flank steak is perfect for these tacos! It is a tougher cut of beef so it requires a long marinade time, but the result is a flavorful and tender bite. Once cooked, the steak is thinly sliced and fits perfectly into your tortillas!

Marinade Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • Tequila – I don’t think you can have a Mexican dish without a little tequila! You can use your favorite type – blanco (silver), joven (gold), reposado (aged) or añejo (extra aged).
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice is a key ingredient in the marinade. The acid helps to break down the tough fibers of the steak. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice or purchase in the produce section. You can also substitute lime juice if you prefer.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This condiment adds a wonderful sweet and savory flavor to the meat with a little tang of vinegar.
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo – These pack a lot of flavor and add beautiful color.
  • Dijon Mustard – Adds flavor and texture.
  • Seasonings –  Paprika, oregano, salt and pepper add a lot of flavor to these amazing tacos.
Ingredients for carne asada tacos laid out on a marble surface.

Serrano Sauce Ingredients

  • Tomatillos – These green Mexican tomatoes and a wonderful tang to the chili sauce.
  • Serrano Chilies – In my book tacos should always have a little heat! Serrano chilies are pretty hot though, so don’t go overboard!
  • Avocado – Avocado helps to make this sauce creamy and helps balance out the heat from those peppers. Learn How to Cut an Avocado here.
  • Cilantro and Lime Juice – Cilantro and lime juice bring freshness to this sauce and brings the other ingredients together.
Ingredients for fresh serrano sauce laid out on a marble surface

How To Make Steak Tacos

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in the food processor. You can chop adobo peppers and whisk in a bowl if you prefer.  
  2. Place steaks in baking dish. Make 1/4″ cuts 1″ apart to allow marinade to soak into the meat. Combine ingredients and pour over steak. Allow to marinate covered and refrigerated for 4-8 hours, up to 24 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, combine serrano sauce ingredients in a food processor.
  4. Heat grill or stove top to medium high. Add steak and cook 4 minutes. Flip and cook 4 minutes or until it reaches the desired temperature. Remove from heat, cover and allow to rest at room temperature 10 minutes.
  5. Slice thin across the grain. Close up of sliced steak on a white plate.
  6. Assemble tacos adding steak, arugula, chihuahua cheese and serrano sauce and an optional squeeze of fresh lime.
A hand holding a spoonful of green serrano sauce over a carne asada taco.

Tips

  • Allow time to marinate the steak. Set aside at least 4 hours or up to 24. This will really help to tenderize the steak and make it full of flavor.
  • Flank steak is my go to when it comes to tacos – for me, you just can’t beat the rich flavor. If you can’t find flank steak, skirt steak will also work well and if you are in a real squeeze sirloin will also do the job well.
  • If you use corn tortillas, heat them gently in the oven for a couple of minutes or on the stove top for 30 seconds on each side before serving so that they don’t break when you fold them.
  • Once you have cooked the steak, allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing it across the grain.
A white plate featuring three carne asada tacos topped with sauce, cheese and arugula.

Want to cook all your meat to the perfect temperature, every time? Don’t miss this printable Meat Temperature Chart and Steak Temperature Chart with all the guidelines you’ll ever need!

Frequently Asked Questions

What meat do Mexican restaurants use for carne asada?

Traditionally, many restaurants use flank stake or skirt steak for their carne asada tacos.

Does carne asada have to be fully cooked?

Carne asada in restaurants is generally cooked well done, but at home we prefer it at a tender medium-rare. The choice is yours!

A white plate featuring three carne asada tacos topped with sauce, cheese and arugula.

Make Ahead

  • The steak is best served as soon as it is cooked, but you can get ahead of yourself with everything else, so all you have to do is cook the steak and serve!
  • The steak can be marinated for up to 24 hours and the serrano sauce will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Optional Taco Toppings

A white plate featuring three carne asada tacos topped with sauce, cheese and arugula.

Side Dishes for Tacos

The best side dishes for these carne asada tacos complement the flavor. Click through for a complete guide to the best taco sides – but here are a few of my best ideas!

A hand holding a carne asada taco.

Dietary Considerations

  • Gluten Free (Use corn shells)
  • Dairy Free (Eliminate cheese and sour cream)
  • Nut Free

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – These carne asada tacos can sit out at room temperature for up to two hours while serving.
  • Refrigerator – Store this carne asada (separately from shells and toppings) in an airtight container for up to three days in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer – You can freeze carne asada taco meat in an airtight container or freezer bag. It keeps well for up to three months – just defrost overnight in your refrigerator and heat through to serve.

If you love steak, don’t skip this Broiled Steak, and learn How to Cook Steak on the Stove Top.

A white plate featuring three carne asada tacos topped with sauce, cheese and arugula.

More Taco Inspiration

A white plate featuring three carne asada tacos topped with sauce, cheese and arugula.
5 from 1 vote

Carne Asada Tacos

These delicious steak tacos are so easy to make and packed full of flavor. Perfect for taco Tuesday or your Cinco de Mayo celebrations!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Marinade and resting time: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 23 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
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Ingredients  

  • 16 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup Chihuahua cheese
  • ¾ cup arugula
  • 24 ounces flank steak

Marinade

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup lemon juice can substitute lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper thick flakes preferred

Serrano Avocado Salsa

  • 3 small tomatillos husked, rinsed and halved
  • 1 tablespoon serrano chiles
  • 1 avocado halved, deeded and removed from peel
  • ¼ cup cilantro destemmed
  • ½ lime juiced or 1 tablespoon lime juice

Instructions 

  • Combine the marinade ingredients in the food processor or mixing bowl.
  • Place steaks in baking dish. Make 1/4" cuts 1" apart to allow marinade to soak into the meat. Combine ingredients and pour over steak. Allow to marinate covered for 4-8 hours.
  • Heat grill or stovetop to medium high. Add steak and cook 4 minutes. Flip and cook 4 minutes or until it reaches the desired temperature.
  • Remove from heat, cover and allow to rest at room temperature 10 minutes.
  • Slice thin across the grain.

Serrano Avocado Salsa

  • In a food processor, combine tomatillos, serranos, avocado, cilantro and lime juice. Pulse until smooth.
  • Assemble tacos adding steak, chihuahua cheese and serrano sauce and an optional squeeze of fresh lime.

Tips

  • Allow time to marinate the steak at least 4 hours or up to 24.
  • If you use corn tacos, heat them gently in the oven for a couple of minutes or stove top for 30 seconds each side to warm before serving so that they don’t break when you fold them.
  • Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing it across the grain.
Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 485mg | Potassium: 636mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 658IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 3mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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3 Comments

    1. Hello,
      Thanks for bringing the serving sizes to our attention! This recipe makes approximately 16 small tacos, or 2 per person. With 24 ounces of flank steak, that amounts to approximately 3 ounces of steak per serving/person.
      I hope that helps!
      Julie