Create THE BEST Steak Tacos by soaking top sirloin steak in a delicious chili lime marinade, then topping the tacos with an incredibly flavorful creamy cilantro sauce! This recipe for grilled steak tacos is easy to make with a quick 30 minute marinade and 10 minutes on the grill.

Slice up the steak and serve the tacos with your favorite toppings. Just don’t forget the cilantro sauce on top, it’s a game changer!

steak tacos on plate with creamy cilantro sauce

Thank you to California Beef Council for sponsoring today’s post!

Tender, juicy and incredibly flavorful, these steak tacos have it all! Marinating the steak before grilling it helps tenderize the meat and adds a ton of flavor. The chili lime marinade is a combination of 7 simple ingredients whisked together and used to marinate the steak. 

One of the things I love about a good marinade, is that it’s part cooking and part science. Combining the right ingredients for a marinade is essential in adding just the right amount of flavor with ingredients that also help make the steak tender and juicy.

Here’s how this steak taco marinade works:

  1. Acid from the lime juice tenderizes the beef.
  2. Salt from the soy sauce flavors the beef.
  3. Chili powder adds both flavor and spice.
  4. Olive oil helps the steak achieve a delicious char on the outside.
  5. These all combine for a perfect balance of flavors!

Use this marinade every time you want to make steak tacos. Whether you’re using top sirloin steak, flank steak or skirt steak, it’s the perfect marinade for tacos, no matter the cut of meat!

ingredients for steak tacos

Ingredients

  • Top sirloin steak – I love using top sirloin steaks for these tacos. It’s a flavorful cut, that’s juicy and delicious on the grill! That being said, there are several other cuts of beef that will also work well for this recipe including flank steak, skirt steak, bottom round steak, eye of round steak, top round steak, chuck steak or chuck eye steak.
  • Olive oil
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Lime juice – fresh squeezed is always preferred!
  • Chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Dried oregano
  • Garlic cloves – fresh minced cloves are always preferred for the best flavor! In a pinch, you could use 1 teaspoon garlic powder in place of the fresh minced garlic.
  • Corn tortillas – you can also serve the tacos in flour tortillas or over rice for a taco bowl.
  • Cotija cheese – this is an optional topping, but I love the creamy, salty flavor it adds to the tacos! See below for a list of other toppings that you can add to these tacos.
  • Pico de gallo – or diced red onion and cilantro, are both fresh and flavorful ways to top these tacos!
  • Cilantro lime sauce – this is THE SAUCE for topping these tacos! It’s bright and citrusy, light and creamy, and so incredibly flavorful! You’ll literally want to put it on everything!

See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the exact measurements of each ingredient.

collage of images showing how to make marinated grilled steak tacos

Step by step instructions

  1. Marinate the steak. Add a top sirloin steak to a large zipper bag with olive oil, low-sodium soy sauce, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, oregano and minced garlic. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
    • Pro tip! I do not recommend marinating for more than 8 hours, or the acidity of the marinade will start to break down the proteins in the meat and can cause the steak to become mushy.
  2. Preheat the grill. Turn the grill on to medium-high heat, between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the grill is hot, remove the steaks from the marinade and discard the marinade. Add the steaks to the hot grill.
  3. Grill the steak. For a perfect medium rare steak, grill a 1 inch thick steak for 4-5 minutes per side. For a steak that is 1 1/2 inches thick, add 1-2 minutes to the cooking time per side. Insert an instant read thermometer into the steak. Remove the steak once it reads 130°F for a medium rare steak. For a medium steak, wait until it reaches 140°F and for a medium well steak, wait until it reaches 150°F.
    • Pro tip! A steak will rise approximately 5 degrees after you remove it from the grill and let it rest.
  4. Slice the steak. Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. This ensures that the juices redistribute throughout the steak, leaving you with the most juicy steak! Use a sharp knife, or an electric knife to thinly slice the steak against the grain. You can then dice the steak slices into cubes, if you prefer, or keep them as thin strips to load up your tacos.
sliced steak on cutting board with sauce and tortillas

How to serve them

Steak tacos are delicious wrapped up in warm corn or flour tortillas with a variety of toppings. They’re also great when served with popular Mexican side dishes, like rice, street corn and guacamole. Here are a few ideas for how to top the tacos.

  • Pico de gallo
  • Sliced avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Diced onions
  • Sliced radishes
  • Cotija cheese
  • Pepper jack cheese
  • Sliced jalapenos

And don’t miss out on these scrumptious side dishes for serving with the tacos!

three steak tacos on plate topped with cilantro, sauce and cheese

Frequently asked questions

  • Is this recipe gluten free? It is not, because soy sauce is used in the marinade. To make this recipe gluten free, simply use gluten-free soy sauce in the marinade. Always serve the steak tacos in corn tortillas, instead of flour, to make them gluten free.
  • What can I substitute for soy sauce? If you have a soy allergy, gluten allergy or just don’t like the taste of soy sauce, I recommend using coconut aminos instead. This soy sauce alternative is soy-free, gluten-free and contains much less sodium. For this reason, I do recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon salt to the marinade if you replace the soy sauce with coconut aminos.
  • Can you make the marinade ahead of time? Yes, the marinade can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to marinate the steak. However, I do not recommend ever marinating the steak for more than 8 hours.
  • How much steak can I marinate with this recipe? This recipe can be used to marinate up to 2 pounds of steak. You can easily double the marinade ingredients to make 4 pounds of meat.
  • Do you rinse marinade off steak before cooking? No, you do not want to rinse the marinade off of the steak. If you’re grilling the steak, it can go straight from the marinade onto the grill. If you’re cooking the steak in a skillet, I do recommend patting the steak dry before adding it to the skillet.
  • Can you cook the steak on the stove? Yes, if you don’t have a grill handy, you can cook the steak in a cast iron skillet, or grill pan on the stove, over medium-high heat. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet or grill pan, use the heaviest skillet you have to cook the steak. Add a small amount of oil to the skillet to prevent sticking. Depending on how large the skillet is, 1-2 teaspoons will do. Cook the steaks the same amount of time, as if you were grilling them.
    • Pro tip! Pat the steaks dry before adding them to the skillet. When placing steaks on the grill, any excess marinade will drip through the grill grates. When cooking the steaks in a skillet, the marinade has no where to go, so it will stay in the skillet and you won’t get that beautiful sear on the outside of the steak.
  • What cut of steak should you use for tacos? While I used top sirloin steak to make this recipe, you can also use flank steak, skirt steak, bottom round steak, eye of round steak, top round steak, chuck steak or chuck eye steak. Just remember that the thinner the cut of steak, the less time it will need on the grill. For instance a flank steak or skirt steak will probably be 1/2 inch thick, or less. For this cut of steak, you will only need to grill it for 2-3 minutes per side.
steak tacos on plate with cilantro sauce and fresh lime

More beef taco recipes

Try all of these delicious taco recipes, made with different cuts of beef!

For even more beef recipes, visit CalBeef.org.

steak tacos on plate with lime and cilantro
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Steak Tacos

Create THE BEST Steak Tacos by soaking top sirloin steak in a delicious chili lime marinade, then topping the tacos with an incredibly flavorful creamy cilantro sauce!

Ingredients

Steak Marinade

  • 1 ½ pounds top sirloin steak, about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

For Serving

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • pico de gallo, or diced onion and cilantro
  • cotija cheese

Creamy Cilantro Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice, fresh-squeezed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Mexican crema
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Steak Tacos

  • Add the top sirloin steak to a large zipper bag.
  • Add the olive oil, low-sodium soy sauce, lime juice, chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano and minced garlic cloves to the bag with the steak.
  • Marinade for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
  • Preheat a grill over medium-high heat, between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the steaks from the marinade and discard the marinade. Add the steaks to the hot grill.
  • For a perfect medium rare steak, grill a 1 inch thick steak for 4-5 minutes per side. For a steak that is 1 1/2 inches thick, add 1-2 minutes to the cooking time per side.
  • Insert an instant read thermometer into the steak. Remove the steak once it reads 130°F for a medium rare steak. For a medium steak, wait until it reaches 140°F and for a medium well steak, wait until it reaches 150°F.
  • Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. The internal steak temperature will rise approximately 5 degrees during this time.
  • Slice the steak thinly, against the grain of the meat.
  • Add to corn tortillas and top with pico de gallo, cotija cheese and creamy cilantro sauce.

Creamy Cilantro Sauce

  • Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.

Video

Notes

  • The nutritional information provided is for one steak taco, with the tortilla, but without any of the toppings.
  • To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten free soy sauce in the marinade. If serving the tacos on corn tortillas, the other ingredients in the recipe are all naturally gluten free.
  • While I used top sirloin steak to make this recipe, you can also use flank steak, skirt steak, bottom round steak, eye of round steak, top round steak, chuck steak or chuck eye steak. Just remember that the thinner the cut of steak, the less time it will need on the grill. For instance a flank steak or skirt steak will probably be 1/2 inch thick, or less. For this cut of steak, you will only need to grill it for 2-3 minutes per side.
  • If you don’t have a grill handy, you can cook the steak in a cast iron skillet, or grill pan on the stove, over medium-high heat. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet or grill pan, use the heaviest skillet you have to cook the steak. Add a small amount of oil to the skillet to prevent sticking. Depending on how large the skillet is, 1-2 teaspoons will do. Cook the steaks the same amount of time, as if you were grilling them.
  • Do NOT rinse the marinade off of the steak before cooking. If you’re grilling the steak, it can go straight from the marinade onto the grill. If you’re cooking the steak in a skillet, I do recommend patting the steak dry before adding it to the skillet.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 156kcal (8%)Carbohydrates 13g (4%)Protein 15g (30%)Fat 5g (8%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 33mg (11%)Sodium 151mg (6%)Potassium 286mg (8%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 206mg (4%)Vitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 43mg (4%)Iron 2mg (11%)
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