Go Back
+ servings

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!
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 8 tacos

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
  • 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, ground cumin, salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 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.