Not to be confused with carne asada, which is grilled, tacos de bistec are filled with marinated beef that’s cooked on a flat iron, or in this case, a skillet on the stovetop. My Kinda Healthy spin pairs lean flank steak with a simple chili lime marinade to make protein-packed, super flavorful steak tacos. Paired with beans, rice, and esquites or elotes, these flank steak tacos will definitely take your Taco Tuesday to the next level.
How to Make Tacos de Bistec
This is a very easy recipe. All you’ll need to do is cut some steak into pieces, whip up a simple marinade, let the steak hang out for about an hour, and cook the steak for around 5 minutes in a hot skillet. Easy enough, right?
You’ll find a full recipe card at the bottom of the post. But if you need a few extra tips or have ingredient questions like other cuts of beef to use, check out the visual recipe walkthrough below.
For the Marinated Flank Steak
When it comes to tacos, flank steak and skirt steak are the most commonly used cuts of beef. I’ve included the nutrition facts for both as well as some leaner beef options like the top sirloin used in my air fryer steak bites recipe for comparison.
Leanest Cuts of Steak for Tacos
- Flank Steak: 185 Calories, 24g Protein 9g Fat
- Skirt Steak: 210 Calories, 23g Protein, 13g Fat
- Top Sirloin: 155 Calories, 25g Protein, and 5g Fat
- Top Round Roast or Steak: 140 Calories, 27g Protein, 3g Fat
Nutrition info above is for 4 oz raw. All data sourced from the USDA Food Database.
Cut the Steak Before or After Cooking?
Really, you can go either way. Marinating and cooking the steak whole comes with pros like being able to cook a rare steak that still has a good sear on its exterior. If you go this route, you would slice against the grain and then cut into small pieces all the same once it’s cooked. Just be sure to let the steak rest for a few minutes after cooking before slicing.
I like to cut the flank stank before cooking for a few reasons. For starters, a marinade only penetrates a thin layer of meat, even at longer time periods. So more surface area in cut pieces means more of the marinade should soak into the flank steak in less time. That’s why you can make extra flavorful air fryer chicken nuggets without any time in a marinade or brine.
Another benefit of cutting before cooking is that you won’t have to worry about the steak fitting in your skillet. Flank steak is a longer cut and while you could cut it in half, you may still have some issues squeezing it in one pan.
And finally, the bite size pieces cook super fast in about 5 minutes. That means you can have your entire meal with all the warmed tortillas and sides ready to go before throwing the steak in a skillet and plating hot and fresh.
How to Cook Steak for Tacos de Bistec
It’s no secret that marinated steak is difficult to sear due to the moisture content. While you could pat the steak pieces dry before going in the pan or add some extra oil to help out, I found neither method added enough to the final dish to be worth it. Just doing your best to let excess marinade drip off before going in the pan is good enough. You’ll get some decent searing on one side then you can use the remaining marinade to deglaze the pan, finish cooking the steak, and bring everything up to temperature.
If you’d like an extra thick sauce and rare steak pieces, you can pull the steak out early and reduce any remaining marinade (there shouldn’t be much) on its own. If you go this route, just be sure to get the marinade up to a boiling temperature or around 212ºF for food safety.
And that’s it. The steak portion of your tacos de bistec is ready to go inside a tortilla and down the hatch.
What to Serve with Steak Tacos
Some of my favorite places serving tacos de bistec simply add diced white onion, chopped cilantro, and salsa verde. I think that’s perfect, but you could add other salsas, guacamole, queso fresco, sour cream or fat free Greek yogurt. If you have about 15 minutes and want something really delicious to add to your steak tacos, make some chiles toreados using onion and jalapeño.
As far as sides go, here are some of my favorites:
- I like to make this Mexican Street Corn Salad (esquites) with light mayo and Trader Joe’s fire roasted corn (thawed from frozen)
- smoked charro beans
- Mexican pickled vegetables (escabeche)
- low fat refried black beans
- Mexican cauliflower rice
- air fried Mexican potatoes
However you end up serving these tacos de bistec, I’d love to hear about it. I always appreciate recipe reviews and comments! Let me know what you thought about your steak tacos and any pairings I need to try.
- 1 pound Flank Steak, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tablespoon (16g) Olive Oil, divided
- 1/4 cup (60g) Lime Juice
- 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Corn Tortillas, Cilantro, White Onion, Salsa Verde or Hot Sauce for serving
- In a resealable container or bag, mix the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and spices. Add the steak pieces and stir to coat. Seal and rest at room temp for 30-60* minutes while you prepare any side dishes or accompaniments.
- When ready to cook, heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once the pan is hot, add the steak pieces to the skillet in an even layer, making sure to let any excess marinade drip off before adding to the pan.
- Cook for 60-90 seconds to brown one side before stirring and adding any remaining marinade to deglaze the skillet. Continue cooking until the steak is cooked to your liking, another 2-3** minutes or so.
- Serve on corn tortillas topped with diced white onion, chopped cilantro, and salsa verde or your choice of sauce.
* With the amount of lime juice in the marinade, you won't want to marinate too long. Otherwise the steak could start to do funny (bad) things.
** The steak will cook quickly. You can remove it from the pan early while any remaining marinade reduces for more rare steak pieces.
To double the recipe, do everything the same and just cook in two batches or two separate pans to avoid overcrowding.
Nutrition Info Notes
- Each serving has 3 WW SmartPoints (blue).
- Nutrition facts are for 2 oz of cooked steak only. Add your choice of tortilla and toppings. A standard 6" tortilla should hold about 2 oz of steak each.
- For nutrition info on other cuts of steak, see the post above.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 8gCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 16g