Mojo Steak Tacos

Steak tacos dripping with Caribbean flavor will be a new family favorite!

This steak taco recipe is bursting with juicy marinated steak and pineapple mango salsa layered in warm corn tortillas and drizzled with silky avocado crema. The steak is buttery tender perfection seeping with complex, delightful, fresh, zesty, tangy, garlicy, peppery, citrusy notes from the mojo marinade. The crowning pineapple mango salsa beautifully compliments the steak with its bright juicy sweetness and a dollop of intoxicating avocado crema tops off the perfect bite. These flank steak tacos are an easy marinate-and-cook dinner (grilling, stovetop and oven instructions included) with practically zero cleanup!   These steak tacos are also extremely versatile – serve them with your favorite toppings, serve the steak in salads, nachos, etc.  Now add a side of elote and fruit salad and you have the perfect crowd pleasing meal.

Taco Tuesday is one of our favorite nights of the week!  Some of our favorite taco recipes include baked ground beef tacos, carne asada street tacos, tacos al pastor, shredded chicken tacos, cilantro lime shrimp tacos mahi mahi fish tacos, and Baja fish tacos.

up close of flank steak tacos in a corn tortilla

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Steak taco recipe

Steak tacos with their layers of melt-in-your mouth tender steak and smorgasbord of toppings are a favorite at our house.  We love our carne asada street tacos with their robust, earthy, chile flavors topped with pico de gallo and guacamole and we love this more tropical spin with the mojo marinated steak, pineapple mango salsa and the avocado crema.  They’re the vibrant Caribbean ying to the robust carne asada tacos yang.  

In this steak taco recipe, the steak gets marinated in a bright mixture of orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, oregano, cumin, and pepper.  The intoxicating blend is bright, fresh, zesty, tangy, herby, garlicky, peppery and absolutely mesmerizing. It only takes 5 minutes to whip together with hardly any chopping thanks to your food processor and infuses the steak with intense flavor while you go about your day.  Once it’s time to cook, slap your steak on the grill then it’s less than 15 minutes to fresh, vibrant, succulent, steak taco dinner.

While your steak is marinating, you can whip up the fresh, sweet and juicy pineapple mango salsa and the silky avocado crema. This prep ahead makes flank steaks tacos the perfect make ahead dinner or fabulous for crowds.  You can prep everything 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.

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.  And if you haven’t tried my avocado crema yet – you will be in love.  I use it in almost all of my taco recipes because it is not only crazy good but super quick without any chopping.

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

Steak tacos are traditionally made using skirt or flank steak.  I prefer flank steak with its wide, flat shape, rich buttery flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.  Flank steak is a little leaner than skirt steak but because we are using a marinade to maximize the flavor, it emerges wonderfully juicy and flavorful.  Other steak options include sirloin or ribeye but I don’t think these more expensive cuts are warranted when using the flavorful marinade.

What is flank steak?

Flank steak is a cut of meat from the cow’s abdominal muscle. It is extremely lean and muscular with very little fat but still boasts an intense, rich beefy flavor.  Flank steak is a relatively long, flat cut of beef, about a foot long, less than one-inch thick with very distinct grains.

Flank steak has a reputation for being tough because it is so lean, but this steak marinade works magic!  It produces intoxicatingly tender, juicy, flavorful steak every time as it drinks up citrusy, garlicy notes of the steak marinade. 

SKIRT STEAK VS. FLANK STEAK

  • What is the difference between flank steak and skirt steak?  Flank steak is a thicker, wider cut of meat than skirt steak. Flank steak and skirt steak come from two different parts of the cow which affects how tough they are.  Skirt steak comes from the diaphragm muscle of the cow which contains more tough muscle fibers than flank steak and is therefore tougher; these fibers, however, also boat a more intense flavor.  
  • Can I substitute skirt steak for flank steak? If you want to substitute skirt steak for flank steak, it should only be cooked to rare or medium-rare otherwise it will be too tough and chewy to eat. 
top view of flank steak tacos lined on a white background with salsa

Steak Taco Marinade

This steak taco marinade is known as mojo (meaning sauce) which comes from the Caribbean.  It’s intensely flavorful yet light at the same time singing of garlic, citrus, cilantro, jalapeño, oregano, cumin, and pepper.  It is bright, fresh, tangy, zesty, citrusy, garlicky, peppery and slightly sour.  You should be able to taste the garlic, pepper and slightly sour notes as they harmoniously blend with the aromatics.

This steak taco marinade is a breath of fresh air. I love how the clean citrus backdrop allows the garlic and herbs to truly shine and the pepper and jalapeno add a kick of heat without overwhelming the marinade.  This marinade is also gluten-free, keto-friendly, healthy and super versatile. 

You can make this steak taco marinade as spicy as you want by adding more or less jalapenos and pepper, as garlicky as you want by adding more or less garlic, as herby as you want by adding more or less cilantro and/or oregano or as sour as you want by adding more or less lime/lemon juice. For us, however, it’s perfect just the way it is.

This steak taco marinade makes dinner time a breeze and is one of the best marinades you’ll ever make.  It can also be doubled or tripled and frozen for later so you always have the tenderize tool at your disposal for not only only steak tacos but chicken, pork or seafood as well.

STEAK Taco MARINADE INGREDIENTS

This steak taco marinade uses pantry friendly ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Orange juice: you will need 2 oranges to make ½ cup orange juice.  Use freshly squeezed because we also need the zest of one orange.
  • Lemon and lime Juice: freshly squeezed is best but you can use bottled juice if it is pure fleshly squeezed without any additives.
  • Olive oil:  use quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Onion:  ½ yellow onion will do the trick.  Don’t substitute with a sweet onion.
  • Cilantro: adds a zesty, citrusy punch.  If you don’t like cilantro, just skip it.
  • Garlic:  adds the signature garlicky flavor.  You can use more or less depending on how pronounced you would like the garlic.
  • Jalapeño:  remove the seeds and membrane before roughly chopping because they contain most of the heat.
  • Ground cumin:  adds a smokey, earthy undertone that rounds out the flavor profile and punches up the other flavors.
  • Dried oregano: is a classic addition to mojo marinade.  It’s aromatic, earthy, and minty.
  • Salt:  is crucial!  It enhances all of the flavors, especially the garlic. If you don’t have enough salt, the marinade will taste very bland. If that’s the case, make sure to salt your protein.

INGREDIENT VARIATIONS

  • Swap citrus.  Swap the lemon juice, lime juice and orange juice for all sour orange juice the seville orange.
  • Swap seasonings.  Mix up the flavor profile and swap the seasonings in the recipe for Cajun seasonings, Fajita seasonings, etc..
  • Make it spicy.  Add additional jalapenos or add red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder.

HOW DOES THIS STEAK TACO MARINADE TENDERIZE BEEF?

This steak taco marinade tenderizes and flavors your steak so all you have to do is marinate and cook!  In order for a marinade to be effective, it must contain acid, fat, salt and flavor enhancers.  The combination of these elements ensures that the protein is juicy, succulent and flavorful from the inside out. Here’s how it works:

  • FAT:  the olive oil dissolves fat-soluble flavor compounds from the seasonings and aromatics and evenly disperses them throughout the protein.  Fat also adds moisture to the protein so it’s especially important on lean cuts such as this flank steak, chicken breasts and pork tenderloin.
  • ACID:  the orange juice, lime juice and lemon juice help tenderize the meat by breaking down lean muscle fibers.  The citrus trio also boast layers fresh, bright, tangy flavor.
  • SALT: creates a brine, which increases the moisture capacity of the protein, helping it become juicer and more flavorful.  First, the salt hydrates the muscle tissues via osmosis; second, it changes the cells’ structure so that they can no longer contract when cooking.  This means less water will be squeezed out and lost, resulting in juicier protein. Finally, the brine draws the aromatic flavor further down below the surface into the protein and enhances all of the flavors.  You can pile on herbs and seasonings but if a marinade is missing salt – it will taste bland.
  • FLAVOR ENHANCERS: this recipe boasts citrus, garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeno and pepper.  
up close of steak marinade in a glass jar

WHAT ARE THE BEST TORTILLAS FOR FLANK 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.   Flank steak tacos are traditionally served on corn tortillas but you may use flour if you prefer.

I love La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas. They are thicker, homemade tortillas that never break or tear even when charred and piled with toppings.  I find mine at Sprouts or you can pick them up on Amazon.  They come in 8 per package which means you will need 2 packages for this carne asada taco recipe.  They are definitely more expensive BUT less than dining out!

Also, be aware that this brand of corn tortillas is not gluten free as it does contain corn AND wheat.

HOW TO MAKE STEAK TACOS

Step 1:  Pound steak

  • Even if your steak looks even already, you’ll still want to give it a good pounding to tenderize it (works wonders!).  Place steak in between two pieces of plastic wrap or I just place it in a freezer size plastic bag.  Pound it evenly with a meat mallet or side of a can. 
showing how to make flank steak tacos recipe by tenderizing with a meat mallet

Step 2:  Make marinade

  • Mojo marinade is traditionally made by blending garlic, coarse salt, peppercorns, etc. with a mortar and pestle.  This mojo marinade recipe, however, utilizes the modern-day food processor so all you have to do is roughly chop (barely) the onion, jalapeno and garlic before adding to the food processor.  Combine with cilantro and pulse until finely chopped.
  • Next, transfer the chopped fresh ingredients to a large bowl.  Add the orange juice, orange zest, lime juice, lemon juice, ground cumin, dried oregano and olive oil, and give everything a stir.  You don’t want to add the liquid ingredients to the food processor or it will leak out the bottom.
  • Remove ⅓ cup to toss with your cooked, chopped steak.
showing how to make steak marinade by adding orange juice, oregano, ground cumin, orange zest, finely chopping onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno to a large glass bowl

Step 3:  Marinate steak 

  • Transfer marinade to a freezer size Ziploc bag (yay for no dishes!).  Add steak, press out excess air and seal.   Massage the marinade into the steak with your hands through the outside of the bag.  Turn the bag over a couple times so it wraps up and the steak is completely enclosed in the marinade.   Marinate for 4-12 hours.

Step 4:  Make Toppings

  • While the steak is marinating, make Avocado Crema and Pineapple Mango Salsa.  To make avocado crema, add avocado, sour cream, mayo, lime juice, salt and cumin to a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to an airtight container and press plastic wrap against the surface of the crema.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • To make pineapple mango salsa, add chopped pineapple, mango, red bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice to a bowl and toss to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
showing how to make steak taco recipe by making salsa by adding pineapple, mangos, jalapenos, red onion and cilantro to a glass bowl

STEP 5: COObK STEAK

  • I want you to be able to make these steak tacos year-round, so I’ve included how to cook the steak on the grill, in the oven and on the stove. 
  • My preferred method is definitely the grill as it delivers smoky flavor and a caramelized crust but you can use the other methods if you don’t have a grill or when it’s not grilling season.
showing how to make steak taco recipe by grilling steak over medium high heat

STEP 6: LET STEAK REST

  • After the steak is cooked, let rest 10 minutes before chopping into small pieces.
showing how to cut flank steak for steak tacos by cutting it into bite size pieces

STEP 7: WARM TORTILLAS

  • Warm tortillas in the microwave, in a skillet or char on the grill or open gas stovetop flame until warm but still pliable (detailed directions below).
showing how to make flank steak tacos by warming corn tortillas

STEP 8: ASSEMBLE!

  • Assemble flank steak tacos by layering warmed corn tortillas with grilled steak, pineapple mango salsa, avocado crema and cotija. Serve with optional lime wedges, extra cilantro and hot sauce.
showing how to make flank steak tacos by layering corn tortillas with flank steak and pineapple mango salsa

HOW LONG TO MARINATE STEAK FOR TACOS?

4-12 hour is the optimal time to marinate this steak taco recipe.  After 4 hours, the flank steak has absorbed a lot of the flavor but by 12 hours it will have become even more tender. I recommend marinating the steak for the maximum 12 hours.  This will infuse the steak with TONS of flavor and optimal juiciness. 

Don’t over-marinate.  This steak taco marinade is highly acidic which means you don’t want to marinate the steak much longer than 12 hours because the acid in the marinade will begin to change the structure of the meat and the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy. 

SHOULD YOU POKE HOLES IN FLANK STEAK BEFORE MARINATING?

In contrast to popular belief, you should NOT poke holes in the steak before marinating. This actually drains out the valuable juices and will result in less juicy steak.

CAN YOU FREEZE STEAK IN THE MARINADE?

If you can’t get to cooking your marinating flank steak within 12 hours, just pop it in the freezer – another perk of using sealable plastic bags. When it’s time to cook, just thaw the flank steak and cook!

HOW TO COOK STEAK TACOS

  • GRILL:  Take care to grease your clean grill grates well with oil.  Next, close the lid and heat to the highest heat and WAIT to add your steak until the grill reaches temperature, this could take up to 15 minutes, so be patient.  Add your steak and reduce heat to medium-high heat. This temperature ensures a smokey charred outside, and pink juicy inside.  Grill steak for 5 to 6 minutes per side, turning once, for medium, depending on the thickness. 
  • OVEN BROILED:  The close directional heat mimics the high directional heat of the grill. Place steak on a baking sheet.  Broil 8 inches away from the broiler for 6-8 minutes on each side or until it reaches desired temperature.
  • STOVE TOP:  You may use the stove, but unless you have a large grill pan, your steak might not fit in your skillet and you may need to cut your steak in half and work in batches.  Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until it reaches desired temperature.

STEAK TEMPERATURE

Flank steak is a lean cut of beef, so it is best not cooked above medium or else it can be tough and chewy instead of juicy.  I would aim for medium, meaning it will be pink in the middle.  That being said, the marinade gives you a little wiggle room, but I wouldn’t push it.

Most steaks will take 5-6 minutes per side but this can vary depending on thickness of your steak and desired level of doneness.  The best way to see if your flank steak is cooked properly without overcooking is to use an instant read thermometer.

Insert the instant read thermometer into thickest part of the steak to check the temperature.  You want the temperature to register 5°F lower than the desired doneness temperature because the steaks will continue to cook while resting.  

  • Rare steak:  125 degrees F
  • Medium rare:  135 degrees F
  • Medium: 145 degrees F *RECOMMENDED*
  • Medium well:  155 degrees F
  • Medium Well (not recommended)
  • Well done: 165 degrees F (not recommended)

NOTE: The USDA recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F and then rested for at least 3 minutes for safety.

If you like rare or medium-rare steak, then grill steak on high heat so it’s hot enough to get some color on the outside in a short amount of time

HOW TO CUT STEAK FOR TACOS:

Flank steak is usually sliced against the grain in order to shorten the tough fibers, but we are cutting in both directions – so it doesn’t really matter what end you start with.  I recommend slicing the steak into ½-inch slices then ½-inches slices the other direction to create ½” cubes.  You really don’t want pieces much larger than this as smaller pieces create the most melt-in-your-mouth texture.

up close of flank steak taco recipe with chopped flank steak and pineapple salsa

TIPS FOR FLANK STEAK TACOS

  • Quality tortillas.  Try and use QUALITY corn tortillas – you can taste the difference! My favorite is La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortilla as I’ve discussed in greater detail.
  • Pound the steak to an even, thin thickness.  Even if your steak looks even already, you’ll still want to give it a good pounding to tenderize it (works wonders!). 
  • Adjust to taste.  The mojo steak taco marinade should be garlicky, peppery and slightly sour.  Remember the marinade will taste 1000X stronger than your finished protein because it is concentrated.  You can adjust to taste by adding more or less of any of the ingredients.  You can make it spicier by adding additional jalapenos or reserving the jalapeno seeds and adding them to taste.
  • Reserve marinade.  Reserve ⅓ cup marinade to toss the chopped cooked steak. You will be amazed at how much this amps up the flavor! 
  • PRO TIP: You can also reserve a couple tablespoons of marinade (not contaminated) to drizzle on veggies before grilling or cooking like I do in my chicken fajita recipe and many kabob recipes to make them uber flavorful without any extra work
  • Don’t over-marinate.  This steak taco marinade is highly acidic which means you don’t want to marinate the steak as long as you would in a marinade without as much citrus.  Don’t marinate much longer than 12 hours or the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy.
  • Marinate long enough.  I recommend marinating the flank steak for the maximum 12 hours.  This will infuse the steak with TONS of flavor and optimal juiciness. 
  • Bring steak to room temperature before cooking.  One of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking steak is grilling it straight out of the refrigerator – this is a big no-no.  Instead, the steak should be transferred to the counter 30-60 minutes before grilling.   You always want to let any protein sit at room temperature before cooking in order for it to cook evenly otherwise you are left with an overcooked exterior and cold interior.  Bringing the steak to room temperature also relaxes the cold muscle fibers so they release natural moisture which is then reabsorbed into the muscle for juicier results.
  • Clean grill:  Once the grill is fully heated, clean it thoroughly with a wire grill brush.  A clean grill ensures direct contact with the heat to create a beautiful sear and grill marks and helps prevent sticking. 
  • Grease grill:  It is important to grease your grill with olive, canola or vegetable oil even though the marinade contains oil.  To do this, first clean grill per directions above.  Next, make a wad of paper towels, drench them in oil, then use tongs to rub it along the grill grates. NEVER spray a firing grill with cooking spray.
  • Use a hot grill.  Heat up the grill with the lid closed cranked to the maximum temperature so it can achieve temperature more quickly; plan on 10-15 minutes.  Once the grill is hot, you can adjust the temperature.  Don’t add the steak until the grill reaches temperature or it won’t sear as nicely.
  • When to use high heat.  If you like rare or medium-rare steak, then grill steak on high heat so it’s hot enough to get some color on the outside in a short amount of time.
  • Only flip steak once. Place flank steak on the grill over direct heat and grill steak for 5-6 minutes per side and only flip ONCE.  The steak needs constant direct heat to develop the intensely flavored, signature crust.  If you keep rotating the steak, it will brown but won’t char.
  • Only flip the steak using tongs.  Don’t use a fork to flip the steak or you’ll lose valuable juicy juices.  Instead, use tongs to gently flip steak over.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.  Always use a meat thermometer so you don’t undercook OR overcook your protein.  Steak should be cooked to 145 degrees F (for medium), pork to 145 degrees F, fish to 145 degrees F and chicken to 165 degrees F.
  • Let steak rest.  Transfer the grilled flank steak to a plate and let rest 10 minutes before chopping. While the steak cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the meat.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole steak for optimal flavor and juiciness.  If you don’t allow for this calming period, valuable juices will seep out and be lost when you slice into the steak, resulting in less juicy beef.

WHY HEAT 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 they 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.  

You can easily warm your tortillas for these flank 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 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. 

up close of steak taco recipe lined on a metal platter with cilantro and avocado

TOPPINGS FOR STEAK TACOS:

These flank steak tacos are fabulous with a spectrum of toppings but my favorites are pineapple mango salsa and avocado crema.   

Pineapple Mango Salsa

The sweet fresh juiciness of the pineapple mango salsa underscores the Caribbean notes and compliments the zesty, tangy, herby, garlicky, peppery mojo marinade. It’s made with juicy pineapple, sweet mangos, crunchy bell peppers, zingy red onion, zesty cilantro, spicy jalapenos and tangy lime for the perfect balance of sweet heat – in minutes!  The salsa is super simple to make and is also guilt free, gluten free and dairy free.

Avocado Crema 

Avocado Crema is my addiction and my preference over chopped avocados or guacamole.  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 tang, spicy flavors.

You might note that I used avocado slices in the photos of these flank steak tacos But I instantly regretted not using the avocado crema, and have since remedied my erroneous ways. I highly suggest the crema over sliced avocados; 10X better in my opinion.

Steak Taco recipe variations:

These steak tacos can be made more or less spicy, more or less garlicy, or more or less peppery all by adjusting the marinade ingredients.  The real fun, however, comes in mixing up the toppings.  Although I love the pineapple mango salsa and avocado crema, they would also be tasty with:   

  • Salsas: so many to choose from!  My second 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 strawberry salsa.  
  • Pico de gallo: a fresh tomato salsa that adds a vibrant, punchy freshness.  It is made with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice and salt. You can use my favorite pico de gallo recipe or you can use 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.
  • Sour cream: adds delightful tangy creaminess.   If you are trying to save some calories, you may the substitute the sour cream with plain Greek yogurt.  Although not authentic, it gets the job done and you don’t have to feel guilty about piling it on.
  • Guacamole:  use your favorite recipe or my homemade guacamole recipe (amazing!) or you can even use store bought.
  • Avocados: chopped or sliced avocados are the easiest avocado option and still add creaminess.
  • Cheese: Cotija or queso fresco.  Cotija is found with the specialty cheeses and is delightfully salty.  It is often called the “Mexican Parmesan.”
  • Lime:  use lime wedges to add freshly squeezed lime juice if additional tanginess is desired.
  • Cilantro:  if you skip the pico de gallo, you can load on fresh cilantro and tomatoes instead.
  • Jalapenos: you can also amp up the heat with chopped or sliced jalapenos or hot sauce.   
  • Beans: add your favorite beans – warmed refried beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans etc.
  • Veggies:  add grilled bell peppers, corn, zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc. Tangy, crunchy radishes and or tangy, punchy pickled red onions would also be tasty.
  • Mexican French Fries: because fries make everything better.  These Mexican French fries are seasoned with fiesta seasonings then baked until crispy just like in my California burritos. 
showing how to make steak taco recipe by mixing pineapple salsa ingredients in a glass bowl

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 grilled corn, watermelon cilantro lime rice which I just throw together in my rice cooker.  Flank steak tacos are also fabulous with:

WHAT CAN I MAKE AHEAD?

This steak taco recipe has a few components so it can be helpful to make some of them ahead of time. While the steak is marinating, you can prep the pineapple mango salsa and the avocado crema – then all that’s left to do is grill the steak and warm the tortillas. 

  • Steak taco marinade:  can be made earlier in the week and used when ready. Transfer the marinade to an airtight container such as a sealable bag or jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Refrigerate for up to one week in the refrigerator.  Transfer to the freezer if marinating any longer.
  • Avocado crema:  can be made and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days IF you transfer the crema 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.
  • Salsa:  is best if chilled just one hour before serving but you can still prep the salsa ingredients ahead of time and just combine when ready.  To do this, chop mangos and pineapple and store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator up to 24 hours ahead of time. Chop the remaining ingredients and store together in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 24 hours ahead of time.  An hour or so before serving, drain the fruit in a fine mesh sieve and toss with remaining salsa ingredients.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT STEAK TACOS

  • Storage:  transfer steak to an airtight container.  Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Microwave:  transfer chopped 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

THE STEAK

You may freeze the steak either after it is cooked or as soon as it’s added to the marinade.

  • Freeze marinating steak:  add steak to the marinade in a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then use immediately.
  • 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. 

THE Marinade

You can also freeze just the steak marinade without the steak.  I love doubling the batch and freezing half to use later.  To freeze, transfer marinade to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator.

THE SALSA

Pineapple mango salsa can be frozen if you puree it first otherwise the fruit will become a funny texture.  To freeze, puree salsa, transfer to an airtight container or freezer safe bag and squeeze out excess air.  Label and freeze for up to three months.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

THE 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.

CAN I MEAL PREP FLANK STEAK TACOS?

Absolutely!  The steak makes fantastic meal prep or leftovers because of the tenderizing marinade. The pineapple mango salsa, however, is best served the same day, so I recommend pureeing the salsa or serving the steak tacos with other cold toppings which you can layer together in desired number of containers. 

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Mojo Steak Tacos

This steak taco recipe is bursting with juicy marinated steak and pineapple mango salsa layered in warm corn tortillas and drizzled with silky avocado crema. The steak is buttery tender perfection seeping with complex, delightful, fresh, zesty, tangy, garlicy, peppery, citrusy notes from the mojo marinade. The crowning pineapple mango salsa beautifully compliments the steak with its bright juicy sweetness and a dollop of intoxicating avocado crema tops off the perfect bite. These flank steak tacos are an easy marinate-and-cook dinner (grilling, stovetop and oven instructions included) with practically zero cleanup! These steak tacos are also extremely versatile – serve them with your favorite toppings, serve the steak in salads, nachos, etc. Now add a side of elote and fruit salad and you have the perfect crowd pleasing meal.
Servings: 12 -14 tacos
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

TACOS

MARINADE

  • 6 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1/2 yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1-2 jalapenos deveined seeded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Marinade

  • Add the garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapenos and fresh oregano (if using) to your food processor and pulse until very finely chopped, scraping the sides down as needed. Transfer to a large freezer bag and stir in all remaining marinade ingredients. Reserve ⅓ cup marinade to toss with chopped steak after it’s cooked. Add steak, squeeze out excess air, seal and turn to evenly coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 4-12 hours (the longer the better).

Salsa and Avocado Crema

  • While the steak is marinating, prepare avocado crema and pineapple mango salsa. Salsa is best made one hour before serving or you can prep the ingredients earlier and combine one hour before serving. (Click on “Avocado Crema” and Pineapple Mango Salsa” in the ingredients for the recipes.)

Cook Steak

  • Remove steak from the refrigerator and let it rest for 30-60 minutes before cooking.
  • Grease and preheat outdoor grill (or indoor grill pan) to high heat. Once hot, add steak and turn down to medium-high. Grill steak for 5-6 minutes per side, or until an internal thermometer reads 130-135 degrees F for medium rare or around 140 degrees for medium. Grill time will vary depending on thickness of your steak and desired level of doneness.
  • Remove steak and let rest 10 minutes before chopping into small pieces. Toss with reserved ⅓ cup marinade.

Assemble

  • Warm tortillas in the microwave, in a skillet or char on the grill or open gas stovetop flame until warm but still pliable (detailed instructions in notes).
  • Assemble steak tacos by layering warmed corn tortillas with chopped steak, pineapple mango salsa, avocado crema and cotija. Season with freshly cracked salt to taste and serve with optional lime wedges and hot sauce.

Notes

HOW TO WARM TORTILLAS FOR 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.

HOW TO MAKE AHEAD 

This steak taco recipe has a few components so it can be helpful to make some of them ahead of time. While the steak is marinating, you can prep the pineapple mango salsa and the avocado crema – then all that’s left to do is grill the steak and warm the tortillas. 
  • Steak taco marinade:  can be made earlier in the week and used when ready. Transfer the marinade to an airtight container such as a sealable bag or jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Refrigerate for up to one week in the refrigerator.  Transfer to the freezer if marinating any longer.
  • Avocado crema:  can be made and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days IF you transfer the crema 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.
  • Salsa:  is best if chilled just one hour before serving but you can still prep the salsa ingredients ahead of time and just combine when ready.  To do this, chop mangos and pineapple and store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator up to 24 hours ahead of time. Chop the remaining ingredients and store together in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 24 hours ahead of time.  An hour or so before serving, drain the fruit in a fine mesh sieve and toss with remaining salsa ingredients.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT 

  • Storage:  transfer steak to an airtight container.  Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Microwave:  transfer chopped 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.

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