This authentic tacos de bistec recipe can’t get easier. The meat is seasoned and pan-fried, then tucked into warm tortillas with the classic toppings for street tacos. Just like tacos de adobada, Mexican steak tacos are served all throughout Mexico!
Tacos de bistec, are one of the most popular and iconic taco preparation. The recipe’s name comes from a derivation form for the words “Beef Steak” which combined, sounds almost like bistec or bistek.
This type of taco is sold at any taco stand in Mexico, making them one of the various choices for tacos callejeros (street tacos).
Authentic tacos de bistec are made of thin slices of beef, cooked to perfection in a pan, and cut into small bites. Then topped with fresh onions, cilantro, radishes, cucumbers, and chiles toreados.
And last, a good salsa taquera and a squeeze of lime juice are mandatory to enjoy those tacos at any taqueria (taco stand).
Preparing those bistec tacos at home is also pretty easy. You can divide the recipe into three easy parts:
- BEEF: Our recipe for tacos de bistec asks for thin slices of flank steak because that’s the way they are made in Mexico and because the meat will be faster to cook and stay soft and juicy.
- SEASONINGS: You will need also garlic, cumin, pepper, and salt powder to season the meat, and a bit of oil to cook it.
Related: Best Cut of Steak – Top 10.
TORTILLAS: You can make your own corn tortillas with any of our recipes below, or you can use store-bought tortillas that you can find at many Latin markets or in the international aisle in local supermarkets.
- Onions and cilantro. Those two complement each other too well in a bistec taco and pretty much in any street taco recipe.
- Chiles toreados. I like those because they add extra texture and a kick to the recipe, the onions also add some sweetness that is perfect to balance the flavors.
- Salsa. Any salsa of your choice, below you’ll find a few suggestions.
- Limes. A few drops of lime juice add the right tanginess to a bistec taco, try it!
How To Make Tacos de Bistec
Start by preparing the garnishes for your steak tacos, such as salsa, onions, cilantro, etc. And if you want to make your own corn tortillas, then make those too.
Now, cut the meat into small bites and then nicely season it with salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin powder. Set aside.
In a cast-iron skillet or a pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the chopped steak. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the meat starts to release its juices and changes its color.
Now, add water just enough to slightly cover the meat. As soon as it starts to boil, set the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the meat for about 15 minutes or until tender.
Uncover the pan and allow some of the liquid (if there’s still any) to evaporate, but make sure the meat won’t dry out, you need moisture so keep an eye on that.
Adjust seasonings to taste and cover the pan to prevent the meat from drying out. You can cover it with aluminum foil and then place the lid on.
Now, you can prep your tortillas however is more convenient for you with any of the following methods:
- Slightly fry them with little oil, but not to the point where they get crispy, they need to remain soft.
- On the stove flame to make them slightly charred.
- In a pan or comal over medium heat, flip them from time to time until soft and pliable.
- Using the microwave is also a good option, especially if you making a large batch of tacos. Simply pile them in 5 pieces batches, wrap them with paper towels, then place them in a bag. Heat in 1-minute intervals.
Whatever method you decide to use, make sure to wrap them nicely in a kitchen towel to keep them warm and pliable.
Place a tortilla on a serving plate. Add some cooked bistec on each tortilla and then garnish with chopped onion and cilantro. Repeat until all tacos are assembled.
Serve tacos de bistec with your favorite salsa on the side (read below), chiles toreados, and lime wedges. Enjoy with your favorite drink.
Salsas for tacos
There are many types of Mexican salsas that are perfect for tacos de bistec, those below are our favorites:
- Chile de Arbol Sauce. Highly spicy but definitely a good option.
- Fake Guacamole. Not need avocados to make this sauce!
- Green Salsa Verde. Made with tomatillos and green chili peppers.
- Salsa de Guajes. I bet you haven’t heard of this salsa before ;)
- Easy Taco Salsa. My favorite because is not overly spicy.
If you have some leftovers or want to make ahead this tacos de bistec recipe, just make sure to store meat, garnishes, and salsas in separate containers with tight lids. They will last for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Meat, salsas, and tortillas can last for up to 2 months in the freezer.
Is bistec the same as carne asada?
No. Carne asada is always cooked on a grill just as any regular grilled meat; while bistec is cooked on a griddle or a pan with some oil.
What cut of steak is best for tacos?
For this recipe, we think a flank steak is a good option. But also other types of cuts can make a good taco de bistec, such as rib eye or sirloin.
How do you marinate taco bistec?
If you want to marinate the meat overnight, use garlic and onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, oil, and some lime juice.
My steak is too dry and leathery
Make sure you don’t overcook the meat. You can also cook the steak whole and then cut it after cooking, so it keeps some moisture.
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- Al pastor tacos. The most popular taco recipe.
Tacos de Bistec
- 1 ½ lb flank steak (cut into thin slices)
- 20 small corn tortillas (or 10 regular sized)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- ⅔ cup onions (finely chopped)
- 1 small bunch cilantro (chopped)
- chiles toreados
- salsa taquera (or you favorite salsa)
- Cut the steak into small bites and then season with salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin powder. Set aside.
- In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the meat.
- Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the meat starts to release its juices and is not longer pink.
- Add 1 cup of water to slightly cover the meat and bring to a boil.
- Set the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender.
- Uncover the pan and allow some of the liquid to evaporate, but make sure the meat won’t dry out completely.
- Adjust seasonings to taste and cover the pan to prevent the meat from drying out.
- Heat the tortillas (read notes).
Assemble the tacos
- Place a tortilla on a serving plate.
- Add some cooked bistec on each tortilla and then garnish with chopped onion and cilantro.
- Repeat until all tacos are assembled.
- Serve with salsa on the side, chiles toreados, and lime wedges.
- Slightly frying them with little oil, but not to the point where they get crispy, they need to remain soft.
- On the stove flame to make them slightly charred.
- In a pan or comal over medium heat, flipping them from time to time until soft and pliable.
- Using the microwave is also a good option, especially if you making a large batch of tacos. Simple pile them in 5 pieces batches, wrap them with paper towels, then place them in a bag. Heat in 1 minute intervals.
Please don’t forget to rate this tacos de bistec recipe, leave a comment below, and share it on your social media.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.