Grilled Marinated Flank Steak Fajitas Recipe

These flank steak fajitas won't need much more than a squeeze of lime, some chopped onions and cilantro, and a bit of fresh salsa.


Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Though not traditional, soy sauce is a common fajita marinade ingredient. It's high in glutamates, which are natural flavor enhancers responsible for the sensation of umami.
  • A two-zone fire gives you more control when you're grilling. Sear over the direct side, then finish cooking over the indirect side.

It's hard to think of a cut of meat that is more conducive to cooking for a crowd than flank steak. It's got a robust, beefy flavor and a pleasantly tender texture with a bit of good chew. It comes in large, regular shapes that make cooking, slicing, and serving easy, and they're just thin enough that they'll cook through in a matter of minutes, but just thick enough that you can still get a nice, medium-rare center.

They're pretty diverse as far as cooking method goes, but the best way, by far, during the summer is on the grill. With their large surface area, they're made for picking up nice char, smoky flavors, and the types of dishes they transform into seem perfect for al fresco dining.

While fajitas are more commonly made with skirt steak, flank steak makes a fantastic filling as well. It may seem out of place in a Mexican (or Mexican-American) recipe, soy sauce is actually quite a common fajita marinade ingredient. I mix mine with oregano, ground ancho chile (or if I'm lazy, chile powder), cumin, garlic, and sugar, oil, and lime juice. You can go all out and serve it restaurant-style with grilled peppers and onions, but that's just gilding the lily—well-cooked meat doesn't need much more than a squeeze of lime, some chopped onions and cilantro, and a bit of fresh salsa.


Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

May 2011

Recipe Facts



Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Active: 30 mins
Marinating Time: 60 mins
Total: 100 mins
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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  • 1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice

  • 4 medium cloves garlic

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon dried ground ancho chile (or 1 tablespoon chile powder)

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, divided

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) canola or other neutral oil

  • 2 1/2 pounds flank steak (about 1 whole flank steak)

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced

  • 12 to 16 flour tortillas, warmed

  • 2 whole limes, cut into wedges

  • Salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, sugar, ground chile, oregano, cumin, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons cilantro until sugar is dissolved. Slowly add oil while whisking constantly. Place flank steak inside a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag with marinade. Press out air, seal bag, and allow meat to marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for at least 1 and up to 12 hours.

  2. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Light one chimney full of charcoal and wait until they're covered in grey ash. Spread evenly over 1/2 of grate, leaving the other half empty. Put the cooking grate in place, cover, and allow grill to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate, then place flank steak over hot side of grill. cook until well charred, about 3 minutes. Flip steak and continue to cook until second side is well charred, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer steak to cooler side of grill, cover, and cook until the thickest part of the steak registers 125°F on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare, or 135°F for medium, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and allow steak to rest for at least 5 minutes.

  3. Slice steak thinly across the grain, then cut each slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Serve immediately with warm tortillas, diced onions, remaining chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and salsa as desired.


If you're using a gas grill, set half of the burners to high and leave the others off for two-zone grilling.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
727 Calories
23g Fat
76g Carbs
51g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 727
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 922mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 76g 28%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 51g
Vitamin C 10mg 49%
Calcium 114mg 9%
Iron 8mg 42%
Potassium 796mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)