The BEST skirt steak tacos! If you love flavor-packed tacos, these are it! Made with a super easy citrus-based marinade that not only makes it super flavorful, but also tenderizes the meat perfectly.
I love serving it over warm corn tortillas with a homemade corn salsa topping and some guacamole.
Read on for tips on how to make the most flavorful and tender skirt steak tacos ever!
These marinated skirt steak tacos with corn salsa are so tender and packed with lots and lots of flavor. It’s always a party when we make these!
The meat is marinated for 2 to 3 hours in an amazing citrus-based marinade made with fresh lime and orange juice, cilantro, spices, and more. Not only does the marinade add lots of flavor, but it also tenderizes the meat. I swear, these skirt steak tacos are unbelievably delicious!
Why I love grilling skirt steak tacos:
- Skirt steak is the perfect cut for marinades: It tenderizes beautifully and absorbs flavors so well.
- The citrus marinade is unbelievably delicious!
- It takes less than 10 minutes to grill because it’s a thin cut of meat. Quick and easy!
Easy and Flavorful Skirt Steak Marinade
These skirt steak tacos are made with a wonderful citrus-based marinade. Not only does the marinade impart GREAT flavor, but it also helps to tenderize the meat.
The marinade is made with fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Lots of fresh and flavor-packed ingredients!
The trick is letting the meat marinate for 2-3 hours only – too long can cause it to get tough, as is the case with many acidic marinades.
Skirt Steak or Flank Steak?
Both skirt steak and flank steak are cheaper, tougher cuts of meat, but when marinated, they tenderize beautifully and absorb lots and lots of flavor.
The main difference between skirt steak and flank steak is their size. Flank steak is wider and thicker, so it needs more time on the grill. Flank steak would also benefit from an extra hour or so marinating.
In terms of texture, skirt steak does have more tough fibers than flank steak, so be sure to cook it to medium rare for best results. Flank steak can be cooked to medium rare or medium.
I also find that skirt steak has more fat and fibers than flank steak does. So be sure to trim any excess fat and remove the outer membrane (if needed), as this can make the meat tough.
- Skirt steak: Trim excess fat and remove the outer membrane if needed.
- Orange and limes: Citrus adds great flavor and tenderizes the meat.
- Fresh garlic cloves, minced.
- Dried cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper: Spices add great flavor to marinades.
- Olive oil: Helps carry all the spices and citrus juice into the meat for maximum flavor.
- Fresh cilantro: For an extra boost of flavor!
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Corn tortillas, white or yellow
I love serving these skirt steak tacos with a quick homemade corn salsa. You’ll need canned corn (drained), diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper. Diced onions and jalapeño are optional.
Step 1 | Marinate the meat
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine all marinade ingredients evenly. Add steak into marinade, making sure it’s evenly and thoroughly coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and no more than 3 hours.
Tip: Marinating meats in citrus for too long will cause them to turn too tough. 2-3 hours is enough.
Step 2 | Grill steak
Preheat a grill over high heat. Shake off excess marinade and grill for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare, or until an instant thermometer reads 130 to 135 degrees F.
Tip: This cut of meat is best served medium rare or medium. Anything more than that will cause it to turn tough and chewy.
Step 3 | Let rest and slice skirt steak
Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Loosely cover with foil, if desired.
Skirt steak can be a bit tricky to slice. The grain lines run parallel to the shorter side of the cut of the meat, but you need to slice perpendicular to the grain lines to tenderize the meat. Follow these 2 simple steps to slice the meat for the skirt steak tacos:
- Cut the steak into 3-4 pieces parallel to the grain lines first.
- Then, slice each smaller piece against the grain (perpendicular to the grain).
Step 4 | Assemble tacos
While the steak is resting, make the corn salsa. To assemble the skirt steak tacos, warm the tortillas (I like to do it over open flame), top with steak and some of the salsa. You can also add some crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese on top.
Make Ahead Tips
If desired, make the marinade the day before and add the meat to the marinade 2-3 hours prior to grilling.
The corn salsa can be prepared 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated.
Pairing and Serving Ideas
I love serving these skirt steak tacos with a simple homemade corn salsa, recipe included below. Aside from that, try this Mexican Coleslaw Salad, Mexican Street Corn Salad, or 4 Ingredient Guacamole. A side of Mexican Restaurant-Style Rice is great too!
If you love these skirt steak tacos, be sure to also check these out:
Yes, with the following modifications since flank steak is thicker – Marinate the flank steak for 3 hours (max 4 hours), and grill for 6-8 minutes on each side. Tip: Instead of grilling outdoors, you can sear the steak on the stovetop for 4 minutes per side, and finish it in the oven at 400 degrees F for 4-5 minutes for medium rare to medium.
Skirt steak is a tough cut of meat, but when marinated, it turns very tender and delicious. Citrus-based marinades work best. Marinate for 2-3 hours – anything more than that can turn the meat chewy.
3-4 minutes per side for skirt steak (they are thin) for medium rare. 6-8 minutes per side for flank steaks. Always use an instant meat thermometer for precise results – medium rare is between 135 and 140 degrees F.
The grain lines run parallel to the shorter end of the meat, but you need to slice perpendicular to the grain to ensure it’s tender. To do so, cut the steak into smaller pieces parallel to the grain lines. Then, slice the smaller pieces perpendicular to the grain (against the grain).
This recipe was published in 2019 and updated in May 2022 to include new photos and information, plus a few recipe modifications.
Tips for Success
- Marinate skirt steak for 2 hours, maximum 3 hours. Citrus-based marinades can make the meat tough if marinated for too long.
- Slice against the grain to ensure the steak is tender. See notes in the recipe card below for instructions.
Skirt Steak Tacos with Easy Marinade
- 2 pounds skirt steak - excess fat trimmed and outer membrane removed if needed
- Corn tortillas for serving
Skirt steak marinade
- Juice of 1 orange, plus its zest
- Juice of 2 limes, plus its zest
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweet yellow corn, drained
- 4 roma tomatoes, diced
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
- Juice of 1 or 2 limes, to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large resealable plastic bag, combine all the marinade ingredients and add the meat, making sure it’s evenly and coated throughout. Seal and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, no longer than 3 hours.
- Once it’s marinated, remove from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to grilling.
- Make the corn salsa: In a bowl, combine all corn salsa ingredients until evenly combined. Set aside.
- Heat a grill or grill pan(if doing indoors) over high heat. Shake off any excess marinade and grill the skirt steak for about 3-4 minutes per side for a medium rare, about 130-135 degrees F using an instant meat thermometer.
- Transfer steak to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil to keep warm.
- Slice steak: The grain lines in skirt steak run parallel to the shorter side of the meat, but you need to slice perpendicular to the grain to ensure it’s tender. To do so, cut the steak into 3-4 smaller pieces parallel to the grain lines. Then, slice each smaller piece perpendicular to the grain (against the grain).
- Serve over warm tortillas and top with the prepared corn salsa and guacamole. Enjoy!
- Marinate for 2 hours, maximum 3 hours. Citrus-based marinades can make the meat tough if marinated for too long. If using flank steak, marinate for 3-4 hours.
- Slice against the grain to ensure the steak is tender. The grain lines in skirt steak run parallel to the shorter side of the meat, but you need to slice perpendicular to the grain to ensure it’s tender. To do so, cut the steak into smaller pieces parallel to the grain lines. Then, slice each smaller piece perpendicular to the grain (against the grain).
- Make ahead: Marinate for 2-3 hours in advance, no longer than that. As an alternative, you can also make the marinade 1-2 days in advance and add the meat 2-3 hours before grilling. The corn salsa can be made 1-2 days ahead.
- Skirt steak: Flank steak (marinate for 3-4 hours, and grill for 6-8 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 135-140 degrees F for medium to medium rare).