Chipotle Lime Carne Asada Tacos
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THE BEST Carne Asada Tacos are easy to make at home with a simple & flavorful chipotle lime marinade, skirt steak and corn tortillas! This authentic Mexican recipe is simple enough to grill up during the week, but also perfect for parties and BBQ’s.
When I was asked to join the “Feed Me!” Podcast on an episode about tacos, I couldn’t say yes fast enough! My love for tacos runs deep y’all!
In my world, there’s no better way to start your day than with delicious breakfast tacos. And I love to serve these Green Chili Chicken Rolled Tacos at parties. I make a taco bar every year at my annual Super Bowl party. And these Slow Cooker Pineapple Sriracha Tri Tip Tacos are always the most popular!
I live in San Diego, just about 20 minutes from the Mexico border. People here take carne asada tacos very seriously. The key to a great carne asada taco is an incredibly flavorful marinade, delicious beef and simple, fresh toppings.
When grabbing a Carne Asada street taco in Mexico, you’re most likely going to need 3 or 4 tacos. The idea is that the tacos are small and easy to eat while standing on the side of the street. Our favorite tacos in Tijuana come from a cart on the side of the road. They make each one fresh to order and serve them with two toppings, fresh cilantro and onion.
I’ve taken this simple taco concept and brought it to this recipe. The flavorful chipotle carne asada marinade is the key to this easy recipe. Your biggest challenge will be getting the sliced meat from the cutting board into a tortilla before eating it all!
Table of contents
- How to make them
- Can I cook the meat on the stovetop?
- Which cut of meat should I use?
- What does carne asada mean?
- What is a street taco?
- Sides to serve with these tacos
- How to make a Carne Asada Bowl
- Tips and frequently asked questions
- More great beef recipes to try
- Tools and pantry items used to make this recipe
How to make them
To make the best carne asada tacos you’ll need a skirt steak and delicious carne asada marinade. My marinade combines fresh lime juice, cumin, chipotle powder, salt, cilantro and garlic. You’ll also need tortillas to serve the tacos on and cilantro and diced onion as toppings.
There’s a debate about radishes, I say, it’s your call! I’m not on the radish train, but some people say that radishes are an absolute must on carne asada tacos. If you haven’t tried them, I say, toss a couple on, then decide for yourself!
While cheese isn’t typically served on street tacos in Mexico, feel free to crumble cotija cheese or queso fresco on top. And if you’re like me and totally obsessed with avocados, you can throw some sliced avocado on top as well. It’s your taco people, do what you love!
To make the tacos, combine fresh squeezed lime juice, sea salt, cumin and ground chipotle powder in a ziplock bag. Add fresh chopped cilantro and minced garlic. Add a skirt steak or flank steak to the bag and toss to coat well. Place in the refrigerator to marinade for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Once hot, place the steak on the grill and grill for 7 minutes per side. Remove the steak from the grill and loosely cover it in foil.
Let it rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes. Resting the meat will help keep the juices in the meat and make for a more flavorful, tender carne asada taco.
Use a sharp knife or electric knife to thinly slice the carne asada against the grain. If you prefer pieces of carne asada in your tacos vs. slices, cut the steak into thicker slices. You can then dice the thick slices of meat to add to the tacos.
Place small corn tortillas on the grill and grill for 30 seconds per side. Add the carne asada to the tortillas and add the toppings of your choice.
Can I cook the meat on the stovetop?
If you don’t have a grill, you can still make this delicious carne asada recipe on the stovetop. Use a cast iron skillet or grill pan.
Turn the stove on to medium high heat. Once the cast iron skillet is hot, add the carne asada and cook for 7 minutes per side.
Remove the meat from the skillet after cooking and allow it to rest, just as if you were grilling the meat. Check out the video at the bottom of this post to see how I used a cast iron grill pan to make this recipe.
Which cut of meat should I use?
A skirt steak is generally the cut of beef used to make carne asada. A flank steak can be substituted if a skirt steak cannot be found.
What does carne asada mean?
Carne asada translates to grilled meat. While most people think of grilled beef when they think of carne asada. Grilled chicken or pork would also be considered carne asada.
In America, pollo asada is generally used to identify grilled chicken. And you’ll see pork carne asada on menus to identify Mexican grilled pork dishes.
What is a street taco?
A street taco is a smaller taco, usually served on corn tortillas with just meat, cilantro and onions. They are generally served from carts or stands on the streets in Mexico.
They’re easy to make at home and great for serving at parties with a variety of different meats. I love to set up a make-your-own taco bar at parties with a variety of toppings. Everyone can build 3 or 4 tacos, just the way they like them.
Because of the small size of street tacos, I recommend 3-4 per person for a complete meal.
Sides to serve with these tacos
Guacamole, rice, corn, chips and salsa are all great sides to serve with Carne Asada tacos. Here are a few of my favorite Mexican side dishes to try!
- Grilled Stuffed Peppers – toss these on the grill, right alongside the carne asada. They’re so easy to make & always a crowd pleaser!
- Pico De Gallo – you can get crazy and top your tacos with this fresh salsa. Or serve it on the side with tortilla chips.
- Grilled Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole – my favorite guacamole recipe is a little sweet, a little smokey and so delicious!
- Watermelon Salsa – a must-make summer dish, this salsa recipe is so refreshing and it only takes 10 minutes to make!
- Slow Cooker Green Chili Queso Dip – while this recipe is more Tex-Mex than authentic Mexican, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t include it in this list. It’s one of my most requested party recipes of all time! And totally delicious served with tortilla chips at any Mexican meal!
- Mexican Sweet Potato Salad – this fun spin on potato salad is filled with healthy, flavorful ingredients. It’s also tossed with my favorite avocado dressing!
How to make a Carne Asada Bowl
Start with a base of cooked white rice mixed with lime juice and fresh cilantro. Top it with the diced chipotle carne asada, then your choice of toppings, like black beans, salsa or guacamole. Because guac isn’t extra at home!
Now you’ve got a delicious copycat Chipotle carne asada bowl! This is great for meal prep, as you can grill the meat over the weekend and use leftovers to make bowls for lunch throughout the week.
Visit this post to see a Carne Asada Burrito Bowl come to life!
Tips and frequently asked questions
- How much taco meat per person? I recommend preparing 1/3 lb beef per person. This amount of meat will fill about 3 small tacos. This recipe makes approximately 18 tacos, feeding 6 people.
- Use tongs to remove the carne asada from the bag of marinade and transfer it to the grill. This is the cleanest and safest way to move the meat from the marinade to the grill.
- Can you make this recipe in a slow cooker? I do not recommend making this recipe in a slow cooker. One of the beautiful parts of this recipe is the wonderful flavor you get from searing the meat over high heat on the grill or in a skillet on the stove. If you’re looking for a delicious beef taco recipe to toss in the slow cooker, check out my Beef Barbacoa tacos!
- Should the meat be marinated whole or sliced? The beef should be marinated and cooked whole, then sliced or diced after it’s removed from the grill or stovetop.
- Can I use the meat to make quesadillas, nachos, burritos? Oh heck yes you can! This delicious beef deserves to be in more than just tacos! Dice it up and toss it in quesadillas or on top of nachos. Or do what we do in Southern California and make carne asada fries! Yup, that’s beef and cheese topped french fries and it’s as delicious as it sounds!
Check out the Taco Episode on the “Feed Me!” podcast to learn more about my favorite tacos, my greatest taco hack and the weirdest ingredient I’ve ever eaten in a taco!
More great beef recipes to try
- Slow Cooker Beef Ragu
- Instant Pot Italian Beef with Tomato Basil Bruschetta
- Buffalo Taco Spaghetti with Ground Beef
- Instant Pot Thai Beef
- Kung Pao Beef & Noodle Bowl
Tools and pantry items used to make this recipe
- Outdoor Grill – for summer grilling
- Indoor Grill – for off-season grilling
- Grilling Tongs
- Ziplock Bags
- Cutting Board
- Chefs Knife or Electric Knife
- Chipotle Pepper Powder
- Ground Cumin
Made them and loved them? Be sure to rate the recipe 5 stars in the recipe card below!
Chipotle Lime Carne Asada Tacos
- 2 lbs skirt steak
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- ½ tbsp sea salt
- ½ tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground chipotle pepper
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 18 small corn tortillas
- Onions, diced
- Cilantro, chopped
- Radishes, sliced
- Avocado, sliced
- Add the skirt steak to a large ziplock bag with the lime juice, sea salt, cumin, ground chipotle pepper, cilantro and garlic.
- Toss to coat the skirt steak, place in the refrigerator and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Place the steak on the grill, grill for 7-9 minutes per side.
- Remove from the grill and rest on a cutting board, loosely covered with foil, for 5-10 minutes.
- Use a sharp knife or electric knife to thinly slice the carne asada against the grain.
- Heat the tortillas on the grill for 30 seconds per side.
- Serve the carne asada in the tortillas with your choice of toppings.
- Nutritional information provided does not include the optional toppings.
- If skirt steak cannot be found, flank steak can be used in its place.
- The carne asada should marinate for at least 30 minutes, but can be marinated for up to 8 hours.
- If you don’t have a grill, you can make these tacos on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet or grill pan. Follow the directions as instructed and simply “grill” the meat over medium high heat on the stove in a cast iron pan.
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