Authentic Tacos de Bistec

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.

Mexican tacos de bistec in a board with various garnishes.

What Are Tacos de Bistec?

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).

The authentic recipe features thin slices of beef, cooked to perfection in a pan and cut into small bites. Toppings like fresh onions, cilantro, radishes, cucumbers, and chiles toreados are the most commons.

And last, a good salsa taquera and a squeeze of lime juice is mandatory to enjoy those tacos at any taqueria (taco stand).

Tacos de bistec served on a round  wooden board with various accompaniments.

Preparing tacos de bistec at home is also pretty easy. You can divide the recipe into three easy parts:

  • Preparing the accompaniments (such as garnishes, salsas, and tortillas).
  • Preparing and cooking the meat (easy and quick, don’t need to marinate it!).
  • Assembling the tacos (which takes only a couple of minutes).

The Ingredients Needed

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.

You will need also garlic, cumin, pepper, and salt powder to season the meat, and a bit of oil to cook it.

Bistec (steak) and seasonings labeled with names.

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.

TOPPINGS

  • Onions and cilantro. Those two complement each other too well in a bistec taco and pretty much in any street taco recipe.
  • Chiles toreados. A 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, we think this is the best salsa for tacos but below I am leaving you more options.
  • Limes. A few drops of lime juice adds the right tanginess to a bistec taco, try it!
Toppings for tacos de bistec on a cutting board.

How To Make Bistec Tacos

Start by preparing the garnishes for your steak tacos, such as the salsa, onions, cilantro, etc. And if you want to make your own corn tortillas, then make those too.

Cook the meat

Now, cut the meat into small bites and then nicely season it with salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin powder. Set aside.

The meat for tacos de bistec cut into small bites and seasoned with spices on a cutting board.

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.

Cooking the meat for tacos de bistec in a pan.

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.

The meat for tacos de bistec slightly covered with water in a pan.

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.

Meat for tacos de bistec fully cooked in a pan.

Adjust seasonings to taste and cover the pan to prevent the meat from drying out. You can cover with aluminum foil and then place the lid on.

Heat the tortillas

Now, you can prep your tortillas however is more convenient for you with any of the following methods:

  • 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.

What ever method you decide to use, make sure to wrap them nicely in a kitchen towel to keep them warm and pliable.

Assemble

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 your favorite salsa on the side (read below), chiles toreados, and lime wedges. Enjoy with your favorite drink!

A small plate with a bistec taco and various garnishes on the side.

What Salsa To Serve With

There are many types of Mexican salsas that are perfect for tacos de bistec, those below are our favorites:

Storage Suggestions

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 separated containers with a tight lid. 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.

Tacos de bistec recipe.

Tacos de Bistec

author Maricruz
Authentic tacos de bistec made with flavored steak and served with classic toppings like onions, cilantro, and salsa.
prep 30 minutes
cook 20 minutes
total 50 minutes
serving 20 small tacos

Ingredients 

  • 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)

For garnish

  • cup onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro (chopped)
  • chiles toreados
  • limes
  • salsa taquera (or you favorite salsa)

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

You can heat up the tortillas with any of the following methods:
  • 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.
Make sure to wrap them nicely in a kitchen towel to keep them warm and pliable.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 674mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
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FAQ

Is bistec the same as carne asada?

No. Carne asada is always cooked in a grill just as any regular grilled meat; while bistec is cooked in a griddle or a pan with some oil.

What cut of steak is best for tacos?

For this recipe, we think 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.

What toppings are not right?

Even though we don’t intend to tell you how to eat your food, we still would like to advise what toppings are not so good for this type of taco preparation:

– Sour cream or mayonnaise.
– Cheese, any type, especially not cheddar cheese.
– Sauces with dairy, such as cilantro lime crema, or chipotle mayo salsa.

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