Steak tacos (30 minutes!)

This steak tacos post is sponsored by Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.

steak TACOS ON YOUR TABLE IN 30 MINUTES!

This easy steak taco recipe is epic!  The steak tacos are ridiculously quick and easy, melt-in-your mouth tender and exploding with flavor.  The steak is tossed in a sensational spice rub (no marinade required!), pan-seared to juicy perfection, loaded into warmed tortillas then piled high with all your favorite toppings such as roasted poblano crema (recipe included), guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo and/or sour cream. These steak tacos make the ideal easy weeknight dinner but are also tasty enough to serve guests.  The steak is also extremely versatile and can be served in burritos, burrito bowls, salads, etc. and reheats and freezes exceptionally well.  Now get ready for the quickest steak tacos of your life!   

Tacos are a celebration of flavor and texture in every bite! If you love tacos, you’ll go crazy for carne asada street tacos, chili lime chicken tacos, al pastor tacos, mojo steak tacos, shrimp tacos, mahi mahi fish tacos, Baja fish tacos and baked ground beef tacos.

up close of steak taco recipe showing how juicy the steak is

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STEAK taco RECIPE

With holiday season upon us, we all need quick, easy dinner solutions that are still dripping with flavor – enter steak tacos, these steak tacos.  This steak taco recipe checks all the boxes:

  • Easy:  chop the steak, toss with seasonings and cook!  It’s simple enough for every day, yet an explosion of YUM in every bite.
  • Quick: on your table in less than 30 minutes!  Most of the time is letting the steak rest and prep any desired toppings.  The actual cook time is less than 5 minutes! 
  • Flavor packed:  even though these steak tacos aren’t marinated, they are still juicy and tender, enveloped in hypnotic flavor thanks to the dynamic spice rub and Knorr® Granulated Beef Bouillon. 
  • Minimal cleanup:  you season the steak on the cutting board and cook the steak in one skillet, leaving you with minimal cleanup.
  • Toppings!  To transform your steak taco recipe into the best steak tacos, make sure to use quality, warmed corn tortillas, and don’t skimp on the toppings – each layer adds that something-something which translates into undeniably sensational.  You can prep all the toppings ahead of time and line up a taco bar so everyone can make their own steak tacos which saves you time assembling and serving – winning.

All the tips, tricks and details below about how to make the best steak taco recipe or you can use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page.

BEST STEAK FOR TACOS

Many steak taco recipes, such as my street tacos and mojo steak tacos, are made with flank steak.  Flank steak is extremely lean and muscular with very little fat but still emerges incredibly juicy and flavorful when marinated. And there’s the catch.  Flank steak must be marinated.  Without a marinade, flank steak will be very tough.  For this steak taco recipe, however, I wanted to create a recipe that was an easy, last minute dinner that didn’t require the foresight of a marinade – the answer, top sirloin steak. 

Top sirloin is a cut of beef from the primal loin, or the upper (“top”) portion of the cow that runs just under the backbone.  It’s a favorite for everyday cooking because it’s fairly affordable, relatively lean, yet tender even without a marinade and boats beefy flavor.  You can literally feel how tender top sirloin is when you cut it.  It is comprised of exquisite finely marbled fat which results in great flavor, generally second only to the ribeye.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Finely marbled:  the finely marbled fat melts during cooking, resulting in superior flavor and juicy tenderness.  The steak is void of thick pockets of fat that won’t melt during quick cooking.
  • Little connective tissue:  this means the muscles have done very little work so they aren’t tough. The lack of tough connective tissue keeps your steak melt-in-your-mouth through and though without chewy pockets.  
  • Affordable:  you reap the juicy, beef tenderness of a more expensive cut of beef without paying the extra $$.

CAN I USE A DIFFERENT CUT OF STEAK?

You can certainly use pricier cuts of beef if you wish but I don’t find the extra money worth the payout in this recipe.  Please do NOT use less quality cuts such as flank steak or skirt steak.  Cheaper cuts will yield tough and chewy results and only should be used if marinated first.

top view of steak tacos on corn tortillas

How Can I make flavorful steak tacos without a marinade?

Using top sirloin in this steak taco recipe is only half the battle to achieve flavorful steak tacos.  Without the use of a penetrating marinade, we need to use a dynamic spice rub. This spice rub consists of chili powder, ancho chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, ground coriander, and my secret ingredient, Knorr® Granulated Beef Bouillon. 

If you’ve been following me for long, you know I love Knorr® Granulated Bouillon. In fact, when I was contacted by Knorr®, I already had 32-ounce jars of Knorr® Granulated Beef Bouillon which I purchased at my local Super King found in the international/Hispanic aisle.

Knorr® Granulated Beef Bouillon enhances the flavor of the steak tacos with its concentrated beefy flavor. It just adds that little “oomph” to elevate the recipe to restaurant delicious. It is my secret ingredient that I use in practically all of my recipes including soups, stews, sauces, pastas, casseroles, vegetables, etc. I use it in my Crockpot Beef and Broccoli, Baked Ziti, Honey Balsamic Beef, Beef Stew, Beef Enchiladas, Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches, Lasagna, Crockpot Chili, Crockpot Pot Roast and on and on!  So, if you want to instantly elevate your cooking, use Knorr® Granulated Beef Bouillon.

Now, let’s have some fun!  Check out my steak tacos recipe post on Instagram for details about entering a chance to win a Visa gift card!   (This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram. Open to United States residents only. Must be 18 years or older to enter.)

Steak taco seasonings

This steak taco recipe only requires steak, seasonings, tortillas and any desired toppings. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Top sirloin: delivers extra tender, juicy steak without the use of a marinade.
  • Vegetable oil:  has a high smoking point and neutral flavor.  Please do not use olive oil because it has a low smoking point.
  • Beef Bouillon: please do not skip!  Knorr® Granulated Beef Bouillon is a secret ingredient that adds tons of flavor. It is essentially dehydrated vegetables, beef stock, a small portion of fat, salt, and seasonings AKA it is salt with flavor! 
  • Chili powder:  is where most of the flavor comes from.  INTERNATIONAL WARNING: American Chili powder is a blend of chilies, cumin, garlic powder, and herbs with a ratio of one-part cayenne to seven parts the other spices.  Chili powders sold in other parts of the world, however, are 100% chile pepper and 8X hotter than chili powder! So, please use American-style chili powder to make this recipe or your mouth will be on FIRE!
  • Ancho chili powder: comes from ground dried poblanos and is typically used to make mole because of its deep rich, smoky, sweet, mild flavor.  It is very mild in heat, measuring 1,000–2,000 Scoville heat units (SHU), compared to cayenne pepper’s 30,000–50,000 SHU, so please don’t be scared when you see a full tablespoon in the recipe.  I promise ancho chili powder and the chili powder won’t make your steak tacos spicy, just flavorful.
  • Cayenne pepper:  is where the heat comes from – a little goes a long way!  I recommend ¼ teaspoon for medium heat and ½ teaspoon for spicy.  Cayenne Pepper comes from a thin, red chili pepper that measures 30,000–50,000 SHU.  This is far hotter than even chipotle chili powder which measures 2,500–8,000 SHU.  
  • Cumin:  warm, earthy, nutty, with a hint of both sweet and bitter.
  • Smoked paprika: rich, mild, sweet, and smoky made from smoked pimento peppers dried over oak fires.
  • Garlic powder:  dehydrated garlic for better distribution; is pungent, aromatic, and spicy.
  • Onion powder:  aromatic with a spicy bite. 
  • Oregano: aromatic, earthy, minty notes.
  • Salt:  is crucial!  It enhances all of the flavors.
steak tacos lined on a white plate seasoned with steak taco seasoning

WHAT ARE THE BEST TORTILLAS FOR STEAK TACOS?

Quality tortillas are a HUGE part of quality steak tacos (or any tacos!), and can make or break the taco in my opinion.   Steak tacos are traditionally served on corn tortillas but you may use flour if you prefer.

CORN TORTILLAS

I love La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas – not an affiliate, just affection.  They are thicker, homemade tortillas that never break or tear even when charred and piled with toppings.  I find mine at Sprouts.  They are more expensive than most brands BUT less than dining out! Also, please be aware that this brand of corn tortillas is not gluten free because it contains both corn AND wheat.

FLOUR TORTILLAS

I am less picky when it comes to flour tortillas because most brand won’t crumble, unlike corn tortillas.  Still, for flour tortillas, I prefer uncooked tortillas like tortilla Fresca or Tortilla Land.  I also like Guerro tortillas which is probably the easiest brand to find at your local grocery store.

Do I have to warm TORTILLAS FOR STEAK TACOS?

Before you pile your toppings into your steak street, tacos, I HIGHLY recommend warming the corn tortillas. Warm tortillas elevate any steak tacos to a whole new level.  Not only are the tortillas softer and the ideal non-jarring, melt-in-your mouth temperature, but the flavors are accentuated when warmed.  If you attempt to use room temperature or cold tortillas, you’ll find their temperature isn’t nearly as appetizing and they aren’t as pliable and soft.  Lower quality corn tortillas are also likely to break if not warmed first.  

You can easily warm your tortillas for these steak tacos in SECONDS using any of my below methods: open flame, skillet, microwave or oven, with the microwave being the quickest.

HOW TO WARM TORTILLAS FOR STEAK TACOS

  • Open Flame (gas stove or grill):  this method is how I achieve the smoky char you see on the tortillas and is best with FRESH/homemade tortillas as previously discussed. I simply add the tortillas directly to the burner of my gas stove then flip with tongs once they are charred on one side.  You can also accomplish this on the grill as well.  If you are using lower quality tortillas, you will want to take special care not to over-char or they will become brittle and break.  You still want the tortillas soft and pliable. 
  • Skillet:  heat a skillet (or griddle if you have one) to medium high heat (do not grease).  Working with one tortilla at a time (more for a griddle), heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 20-30 seconds until warm and soft.  You are not looking for char marks with this method.
  • Microwave:  working with about 5 tortillas at a time, stack tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through.
  • Oven:  create separate stacks of about 5 tortillas each, then wrap each stack in foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through (you can bake all stacks at once).

How to keep tortillas warm

Once your tortillas are warmed (with any method), keep them warm and pliable by stacking on a plate and covering with a slightly dampened, paper towel or clean towel. 

top view of steak taco recipe lined on a white plater, cooked with steak seasonings and garnished with cilantro

WHAT PAN SHOULD I USE?

Set yourself up for success by cooking the steak in a solid, heavy bottom pan such as a cast iron skillet.  I love cast-iron because it gets super-hot without ruining the pan, retains and distributes heat evenly, is naturally non-stick once seasoned and allows steak to sear and release easily while still leaving just enough tasty brown bits behind to be scooped up to flavor the dish.

I love my super high quality Staub and Le Creuset.  Their enamel interior doesn’t require additional seasoning and resists staining, dulling, wear and tear.  They are a one-time pricey purchase that will last a lifetime.  You can also go with a more economical, trusty skillet like this one which  also works very well but it will need to be seasoned and always rubbed with vegetable oil after using.

If you don’t already have cast iron pan, you can use a super-hot heavy-bottom stainless-steel skillet (NOT a cheap thin metal pan or you’ll burn your steak).  Stainless steel pans also heat evenly but they are more prone to sticking, so you will need to use more oil to cook your steak in.  I love my Le Creuset Stainless Steel Pan with a limited lifetime warranty but this more economical pan also has excellent reviews.

HOW TO MAKE STEAK TACOS

Are you ready to see just how easy this steak taco recipe is?!  Your mind will be blown! 

  • Season steak and let rest. First, cut the steak into 1/2-inch cubes.  While the steak is still on the cutting board, pat it dry then season with all of the steak seasonings.  At this point, you’ll want to let it rest for at least 15 minutes to come to room temperature, up to 60 minutes. I personally find the steak to be juiciest after letting rest for over 40 minutes.
top view of showing how to make steak tacos by tossing in steak taco seasonings
  • Cook steak. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add half of the steak and let sear for 2 minutes then continue to cook while stirring the steak just until browned (don’t overcook or it won’t be as juicy). Repeat with remaining steak.
  • Add toppings. Now, all that’s left to do is pile the steak in warm tortillas along with all your favorite toppings!
top view of showing how to make steak tacos by cooking steak in a cast iron skillet with steak seasonings

WHAT TOPPINGS FOR STEAK TACOS?

Toppings are a super fun and easy way to customize your steak tacos.  They add both texture and flavor and the option for different steak tacos every time!  In these recipe photos, I’ve topped the steak tacos with roasted poblano crema, pickled red onions and pomegranate arils and they were fantastic.  The poblano crema is tangy, smoky and creamy, the pickled red onions are tangy, a bit sweet, and crunchy and the pomegranate arils offer delightful bursts of sweetness to complement the earthy tacos and tangy crema and onions.

I’ve included a recipes for the roasted poblano crema and a link to my pickled red onions recipe card or you can keep it simple with almost no-prep toppings such as sour cream, chopped tomatoes and sliced avocados with a drizzle of hot sauce.  There really is no right or wrong way to add toppings as long as you add something creamy to marry all of the flavors together – sour cream, guacamole, avocado crema, Greek yogurt, cilantro lime dressing or tomatillo avocado ranch.

TOPPING IDEAS:

  • Poblano Crema: is made by roasting poblano peppers then blending them with cilantro, sour cream, lime juice, garlic powder, ground cumin, salt and a pinch of cayenne.  It’s creamy, slightly sweet, slightly tangy and plain delicious without overwhelming flavors.
  • Avocado Crema:  is a marriage of avocados, sour cream and lime juice, is wonderfully silky, tangy and just takes minutes in your blender.  The luscious, refreshing tanginess cuts through and compliments the robust, smoky flavors.
  • Guacamole:  use my homemade guacamole recipe, your favorite recipe or even use store bought.
  • Avocados: chopped or sliced avocados are the easiest avocado option and add a wonderful creaminess.
  • Sour cream:  you can use easy sour cream or you can get creative and use the Crema I use in my Baja Fish Taco recipe here.   
  • Greek yogurt: is a great creamy alternative to sour cream if you are trying to save some calories. 
  • Lettuce: chopped Romaine lettuce or iceberg lettuce – anything with a nice crunch and neutral flavor.
  • Tomatoes: chop up 3-4 Roma tomatoes or you can substitute with pico de gallo.
  • Pico de gallo:  is fresh tomato salsa that adds a vibrant, punchy freshness.  You can use my homemade pico de gallo recipe or store bought. You can make the pico de gallo ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Cilantro:  if you skip the pico de gallo, you can load on fresh cilantro and tomatoes instead for a fresh, zesty flair.
  • Cotija Cheese: is Mexican cheese made from cow’s milk that’s salty and crumbly, similar to Parmesan.
  • Hot Sauce: spice up your steak tacos with your favorite hot sauce.
  • Jalapeños: you can also amp up the heat with chopped or sliced jalapeños. Pickled jalapeños are also tasty.   
  • Pickle red onions:   tangy, punchy fantastic with a slight crunch.
  • Salsas: so many to choose from!  My favorite salsa to serve with steak tacos is tangy, salty, sweet, spicy, smoky, fresh, juicy, crunchy  corn salsa.  They would also be tasty with homemade restaurant salsa salsa verdeblack bean corn salsaavocado salsa, or  mango salsa.

How To make Poblano crema

Slice the poblano peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and veins. Press them, insides face down, on a baking sheet so that they lay flat (part of the pepper might tear which is okay).  Broil about 6-8 inches away from the broiler until the peppers are wrinkled and charred on all sides, about 10-12 minutes.

showing how to make steak tacos by roasting poblanos

Transfer peppers to a paper bag to steam for 15 minutes (this loosens the skins).  Peel away and discard the charred the skins.  Transfer the peppers to your blender followed by the rest of the poblano crema ingredients.  Blend until smooth, then adjust to taste.

showing how to make steak tacos by blending roasted poblanos in a food processor with cilantro and garlic until smooth

TIPS FOR STEAK TACOS recipe

  • Start with a good quality steak.  Set yourself up for success by using top sirloin or another quality steak that doesn’t require a tenderizing marinade (do NOT use flank steak or skirt steak).   Also, look for prime or choice cuts instead of select.  Prime and choice cuts will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful due to increased marbling whereas select is leaner so it may lack some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades.
  • Bring steak to room temperature.  Let the steak sit at room temperature for 20-60 minutes before cooking to help it cook more quickly and more evenly.  This can be done before you chop it, but preferably after you toss it in the spice rub so the flavor can really seep in.
  • Don’t chop steak too small. Chop the steak into 1/2-inch steak bites, erring on larger rather than smaller. Larger steak bites are harder to overcook.
  • Chop the steak evenly.   In order for your steak to cook evenly, chop it into uniform pieces. 
  • Pat steak bites dry.  After you chop the steak, pat it dry with paper towels.  This helps the spice rub stick and prevents the meat from releasing too much water and steaming instead of searing in the pan.
  • Use all of the seasoning. The spice rub is going to seem like a lot but I promise it’s the perfect amount – please use all of it.
  • Use a cast iron skillet to cook the steak.  As previously discussed, a cast iron skillet is the best for cooking steak because it gets piping hot, distributes heat evenly and is naturally nonstick.
  • Add steak to a hot pan.  Heat the oil in your skillet for a solid couple of minutes so it’s hot before adding the steak. Note, that hot doesn’t mean high heat, but it means it’s reached full temperature (medium-high in this case). When you add the steak, you should hear it sizzle upon contact. A hot pan will caramelize the steak as it sears resulting in the maillard reaction, also known as the flavor reaction, in which amino acids and reducing sugars produce browning and complex flavor.  A hot pan is also the key to prevent the steak from sticking to the pan.
  • Don’t touch the steak.  Let the steak bites sear for a solid 2 minutes without touching.  If you move the steak around, it won’t sear.  When the steak is seared, it will naturally release from the pan.  After 2 minutes, use tongs to check a steak bite for the desired caramelized crust. 
  • Don’t overcook steak.  The steak needs less time to cook than you think; only about 3 minutes (more or less depending on exact temperature and size).  So, keep a close eye on them!
  • Adjust to taste.  I was conservative with the salt in this recipe.  If the steak tacos taste like they are missing something, it is probably salt; season to taste after cooking.
  • Add something creamy.  You always want a creamy topping for steak tacos to marry all of the textures together.  Poblano crema, sour cream and guacamole are all fabulous.
  • Hot sauce to taste.  The steak tacos aren’t spicy, but are plenty flavorful.  If you or your guests like a kick, make sure to serve the street tacos with hot sauce on the side.

STEAK TACO RECIPE VARIATIONS:

The toppings are a fun and easy way to customize the steak tacos but in addition to toppings, you can make the steak tacos cheesy, saucy, add beans, vegetables, etc.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Add Green Chiles.  Stir green chilies into the steak after it’s cooked.
  • Add Beans. Add your favorite beans – refried beans, black beans, pinto beans, etc.  Add them to the same skillet you cooked your steak until warmed through.
  • Add cheese. Stir in shredded Mexican cheese blend, cheddar or pepper Jack cheese for CHEESY steak tacos.
  • Make it saucy. Stir in some salsa, enchilada sauce or tomato paste with beef broth for saucier steak tacos.
  • Add Veggies. You can add any veggies your heart desires from corn, bell peppers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, spinach etc. 
  • Add Fajita Peppers. Stir fried bell peppers are always tasty.  You can follow the instructions for the peppers in my Pork Fajitas recipe.
  • Make it spicy.  Add additional cayenne pepper or add chipotle chili powder. You can also add pickled  jalapeño peppers.  For FIRE heat, add habaneros.
  • Add fresh aromatics.  After you cook the steak, remove it from the skillet and sauté chopped onions,  jalapeño and/or garlic then combine with the steak. 
  • Add citrus.  Squeeze some fresh lime juice or orange juice over the cooked steak.
  • Add pineapple.  Pineapple is a favorite of mine with robust, smoky steak taco filling. You can caramelize some chopped pineapple in a skillet or skip caramelizing altogether and add the chopped pineapple directly to the steak tacos.
  • Add Mexican French Fries.   Layer Mexican French Fries in a warm tortilla followed by cheese and then the steak, much like a California Burritos.
steak tacos laid flat showing the juicy steak

WHAT TO SERVE WITH STEAK TACO RECIPE?

Steak tacos are a spectacular main event that don’t need much by the way of sides.  I love serving them with cilantro lime rice which I just throw together in my rice cooker, corn, chips and salsa.  Steak tacos are also delicious with:

WHAT CAN I MAKE AHEAD?

This steak taco recipe comes together super quickly but you can still get a jump start on dinner by prepping the steak and the toppings:

  • Steak:  chop the steak and toss it with the spice rub. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 48 hours before cooking.  Remove steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Poblano crema:  can be made and stored up to 3 days in advance.
  • Salsa: can be made and stored up to 3 days in advance.
  • Avocado crema or guacamole:  can be made and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days IF you transfer the crema/guacamole to an airtight container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the crema before adding the lid.  This will delay oxidization/browning that occurs when the surface of the crema comes in contact with air.
top up close view of a steak taco laid flat garnished with cilantro and pickled red onions

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT STEAK TACOS

  • Storage:  transfer steak to an airtight container.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  • Microwave:  transfer steak to a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying out. Microwave at 30 seconds intervals until warmed through.
  • Skillet: heat one tablespoon oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat.  The fat will help the steak stay tender. Once hot, add steak and cook undisturbed for a couple minutes, then begin to cook and stir until warmed through.  Take care not to overcook or it can become dry. 
  • Oven: transfer steak to a baking sheet, cover with foil and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.

HOW TO FREEZE STEAK TACOS

  • Cooked steak: transfer chopped flank steak to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. 
  • Tortillas:  both flour and corn tortillas freeze well but flour tortillas should not be thawed in the microwave; instead let them thaw completely in the refrigerator 1-2 days before using.

How Can I use leftover steak?

If you are fortunate to have leftover steak after enjoying your steak tacos, you can reimagine leftovers in all sort of tasty ways:

  • Steak taco bowls: add warmed rice to a bowl and melt cheese on top if desired. Top with warmed, seasoned corn and beans, steak and your favorite toppings such as tomatoes, pineapple, pickled red onions, crushed tortilla chips, avocado crema or guacamole.  
  • Steak taco salad:  pile leftover steak over a bed of chopped Romaine lettuce. Add crushed tortilla chips or tortilla strips, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, beans, mangos or pineapple, sliced avocados, pepitas, olives, etc.  Serve with tomatillo avocado dressing or cilantro lime dressing.
  • Steak nachos:  pile thick restaurant style tortilla chips with cheese and beans and bake.  Top with steak and your favorite toppings such as  jalapeños, sour cream, guacamole, etc. 
  • Steak burritos:  combine leftover steak with beans, cheese and salsa and warm through. Add filling to burritos then toast burritos in a skillet.
  • Steak quesadillas:  layer a burrito size tortilla with Mexican cheese and steak and grill until golden, cheesy perfection.  Serve with your favs of sour cream, salsa, chopped lettuce, guacamole, etc.
  • Steak tostadas or sopes: layer a tostada or sope with refried beans or avocado mash, top with steak, lettuce or slaw, cilantro, avocados, sour cream, cotija cheese or queso fresco etc. and other desired toppings such as chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced radishes, sliced avocados, pickled jalapenos and/or carrots etc. 
  • Steak taco pizza: use this pulled pork pizza recipe as a guide for the bean base and swap in steak for the meat.  You can also add pineapple, bell peppers and olives. Top with tortilla strips and drizzle with tomatillo avocado dressing or cilantro lime dressing.
  • Steak scrambled eggs or omelettes: add finely chopped steak to scrambled eggs along with pepper Jack cheese or Monterrey Jack when the eggs are almost set.
  • Steak frittata: add finely chopped steak to this scrumptious frittata recipe.

LOOKING FOR MORE TACO RECIPES?

up close of steak tacos showing the juicy seasoned steak

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Steak tacos recipe

This easy steak taco recipe is epic! The steak tacos are ridiculously quick and easy, melt-in-your mouth tender and exploding with flavor. The steak is tossed in a sensational spice rub (no marinade required!), pan-seared to juicy perfection, loaded into warmed tortillas then piled with all your favorite toppings such as roasted poblano crema (recipe included), guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo and/or sour cream. These steak tacos make the ideal easy weeknight dinner but are also tasty enough to serve guests. The steak is also extremely versatile and can be served in burritos, burrito bowls, salads, etc. and reheats and freezes exceptionally well. Now get ready for the quickest steak tacos of your life!
Servings: 8 tacos
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes

Ingredients

Steak

  • 1 1/2 lbs. top sirloin chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 TBS EACH chili powder, ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Knorr Granulated Beef Bouillon
  • 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, smoked paprika, ground coriander
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional for medium-spicy heat
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For serving – pick your favs

Instructions

  • While the steak is still on the cutting board, pat it dry. Season with all of the steak seasonings. Set aside for 20-60 minutes. Meanwhile, you can prep your toppings and/or make the optional poblano crema (instructions below).
  • To cook steak, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add half of the steak and let sear for 1-2 minutes then continue to cook while stirring the steak just until browned (don’t overcook or it won’t be as juicy). Season to taste with additional salt and/or cayenne pepper if desired. Repeat with remaining steak.
  • Pile steak in warmed tortillas followed by desired toppings. In these steak taco photos, I’ve added poblano crema, pickled red onions, pomegranate arils, cilantro and Cotija cheese (recipes in notes).

Notes

Poblano Crema (optional) 

  • 1 pound poblano peppers
  • ½ tsp EACH garlic powder, ground cumin, salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup packed cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  1. Slice the poblano peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and veins. Press them, insides face down, on a baking sheet so that they lay flat (part of the pepper might tear which is okay). Broil about 6-8 inches away from the broiler until the peppers are wrinkled and charred, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Transfer peppers to a paper bag to steam for 15 minutes (this loosens the skins). Peel away and discard the charred the skins. Transfer the peppers to your blender followed by the rest of the poblano crema ingredients. Blend until smooth then adjust to taste.

HOW TO WARM TORTILLAS 

  • Open Flame (gas stove or grill):  this method is how I achieve the smoky char you see on the tortillas and is best with FRESH/homemade tortillas as previously discussed. I simply add the tortillas directly to the burner of my gas stove then flip with tongs once they are charred on one side.  You can also accomplish this on the grill as well.  If you are using lower quality tortillas, you will want to take special care not to over-char or they will become brittle and break.  You still want the tortillas soft and pliable. 
  • Skillet:  heat a skillet (or griddle if you have one) to medium high heat (do not grease).  Working with one tortilla at a time (more for a griddle), heat each side of the tortilla for approximately 20-30 seconds until warm and soft.  You are not looking for char marks with this method.
  • Microwave:  working with about 5 tortillas at a time, stack tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then repeat at 10 second intervals if needed until warmed through.
  • Oven:  create separate stacks of about 5 tortillas each, then wrap each stack in foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through (you can bake all stacks at once).
  • How to keep tortillas warm:  once your tortillas are warmed (with any method), keep them warm and pliable by stacking on a plate and covering with a slightly dampened, paper towel or clean towel. 

TIPS FOR STEAK TACOS 

  • Start with a good quality steak.  Set yourself up for success by using top sirloin or another quality steak that doesn’t require a tenderizing marinade (do NOT use flank steak or skirt steak).  
  • Don’t chop steak too small. Chop the steak into 1/2-inch steak bites, erring on larger rather than smaller. Larger steak bites are harder to overcook.
  • Ancho chili powder: comes from ground dried poblanos and is typically used to make mole because of its deep rich, smoky, sweet, mild flavor.  It is very mild in heat, measuring 1,000–2,000 Scoville heat units (SHU), compared to cayenne pepper’s 30,000–50,000 SHU, so please don’t be scared when you see a full tablespoon in the recipe.  I promise ancho chili powder and the chili powder won’t make your steak tacos spicy, just flavorful.
  • Use all of the steak seasoning. The spice rub is going to seem like a lot but I promise it’s the perfect amount – please use all of it.
  • Use a cast iron skillet to cook the steak.  As previously discussed, a cast iron skillet is the best for cooking steak because it gets piping hot, distributes heat evenly and is naturally nonstick.
  • Don’t overcook steak.  The steak needs less time to cook than you think; only about 3 minutes (more or less depending on exact temperature and size).  So, keep a close eye on them!
  • Adjust to taste.  I was conservative with the salt in this recipe.  If the steak tacos taste like they are missing something, it is probably salt; season to taste after cooking.
  • Add something creamy.  You always want a creamy topping for steak tacos to marry all of the textures together.  Poblano crema, sour cream and guacamole are all fabulous.
  • Hot sauce to taste.  The steak tacos aren’t spicy, but are plenty flavorful.  If you or your guests like a kick, make sure to serve the street tacos with hot sauce on the side.
  • Recipe and topping variations.  See the post for all sorts of ways to mix up your steak tacos.
  • Leftover steak tacos.  See the post for fun ideas how to use our leftover steak.  

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT

  • Storage:  transfer steak to an airtight container.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  • Microwave:  transfer steak to a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying out. Microwave at 30 seconds intervals until warmed through.
  • Skillet: heat one tablespoon oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat.  The fat will help the steak stay tender. Once hot, add steak and cook undisturbed for a couple minutes, then begin to cook and stir until warmed through.  Take care not to overcook or it can become dry. 
  • Oven: transfer steak to a baking sheet, cover with foil and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.

HOW TO FREEZE

  • Cooked steak: transfer chopped flank steak to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. 
  • Tortillas:  both flour and corn tortillas freeze well but flour tortillas should not be thawed in the microwave; instead let them thaw completely in the refrigerator 1-2 days before using.

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5 Comments

    • Jen says

      Thanks Tami, I’m excited for you to try them!

  1. Josey says

    Stellar recipe again! The steak is amazing and the poblano crema a bit more work but so worth it!
    Keep them coming we love all your recipes especially the Mexican ones!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for being the first to review this recipe Josey! I’m so pleased it was another winner! As soon as the holiday season is over, I will have lots of Mexican recipes coming your way!