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Carne Asada Tacos

These carne asada tacos are flavor-packed and so tender! Made with a homemade citrus-based marinade and topped with pico de gallo and guacamole.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Marinating2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carne asada tacos
Servings: 6 people
Author: Tania


Steak and Marinade

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs flank steak (excess fat trimmed)

Tacos and toppings

  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup small-diced white onions
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 to 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 to 2 limes (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lime wedges for garnish
  • 12 corn tortillas (or 24 tortillas if stacking 2 tortillas per taco)


Marinate the meat

  • In a resealable bag, add the marinade ingredients and whisk to combine. Place the steak in the bag along with the marinade, and marinate for 2 or 3 hours (maximum 4 hours) in the refrigerator. Note: marinating steak with acidic ingredients (lime and orange) will turn the meat tough and chewy if left for too long. 2-4 hours should be enough time.

Cook the steak

  • After it’s done marinating, preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove steak from bag, shaking off excess marinade. Grill on both sides until for about 6-8 minutes for medium-rare to medium. For doneness accuracy, use a meat thermometer (see temperatures in notes below).
  • Optional: Instead of grilling, you can sear the steak on the stovetop and finish it in the oven. To do this, first preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat some olive oil over a large oven-proof skillet over high heat, and sear the steak for about 4 minutes per side. Finish cooking the steak in the oven for 4-5 minutes for medium-rare to medium.
  • Let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Then slice against the grain (perpendicular to the muscle fiber lines), and dice the steak into bite-size pieces.

Prepare the toppings

  • Make the pico de gallo: In a bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, diced onions, and chopped cilantro. Add freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1/2 a lime), salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Make the quick guacamole: In a bowl, mash the avocados along with freshly squeezed lime juice to taste (about 1/2 a lime). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Build the tacos

  • Heat the tortillas over open flame or in the microwave oven. If using the microwave method, place damp paper towels in between tortillas, and microwave for 45-50 seconds.
  • To build the tacos, add a few spoonfuls of carne asada on a tortilla and top with the pico de gallo and guacamole. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!


  • Special equipment: Grill or ovenproof skillet, resealable bags.
  • Marinate the meat for a maximum of 4 hours, preferably 2-3 hours. This marinade is made with lime and orange juice, which are acidic, which can break down meats too much when left for too long.
  • Doneness temperatures: Rare 130 degrees F, Medium-rare 140 degrees F, Medium 145 degrees F (my choice), Medium-well 155 degrees F, Well done 160 degrees F.