Chipotle Steak Tacos

Chipotle chiles and steak come together with caramelized onions to produce a soft taco with rave results. Spicy and hearty with pops of sweetness from the onion, they offer a balance of flavor that is perfect for each other.

Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are pureed into a paste and rubbed over top of sirloin, skirt or flank steak, then seared and cooked stove-top in a skillet. A method that produces tender results with just the right amount of spice to not be overwhelming, as some of the chipotle will cook off. Thinly-sliced onions are slowly cooked to caramelize them and bring out their natural sweetness.

Nestled in a grainy corn tortilla, these are mouth-watering delicious as is and need nothing else. Add a little bit of lettuce, salsa or a dab of sour cream, if desired.

If you’re worried about your steak being tender you can also marinate it in a simple lime marinade (without the chile) a few hours before or even overnight. The lime marinade itself is enough to make a flavorful taco (with or without the chile) with if you want to skip the chipotle sauce.

Chipotle Steak Tacos with Caramelized Onions

Rating: 51

Yield: 4 servings (2 tacos each)

Chipotle Steak Tacos with Caramelized Onions

Chipotle chiles and steak come together with caramelized onions to produce a soft taco with rave results.


2 large yellow onions, sliced thin
sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
vegetable or olive oil for sauteing
1 can (7 ounce) chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 pound sirloin, skirt or flank steak
corn tortillas, for serving
shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream for serving
*optional lime marinade:
1 serrano chile, optional (if using chipotle puree – omit)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between fingers
sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper


  1. In a large skillet cook onions over medium-low heat in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil 20-25 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, stir often, add more oil if they begin to stick.
  2. Meanwhile puree the chipotle chiles including the sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth. Tenderize the steak with a meat mallet or poke holes in it with a fork an inch apart on both sides. Brush a generous layer of chipotle sauce over the steak.
  3. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil, when oil is hot carefully add steak chipotle side down. Brush the chipotle over top. Cook about 3 minutes per side for medium skirt steak, 5 minutes per side for medium flank steak and about 8 minutes per side for sirloin depending on the thickness. Remove from pan to a dish and cover with aluminum foil to rest 5-10 minutes, can put in a warm oven if desired.
  4. Cut skirt steak into 3-inch lengths then cut across the grain into 1/4-inch strips. Cut flank steak across the grain straight down into 1/4-inch slices, the thick end can be halved into thinner strips. Cut sirloin across the grain into 1/4 inch slices.
  5. Layer steak in warm corn tortillas with onions, lettuce and salsa or sour cream if desired.
  6. *For the marinade:
  7. In a small skillet over medium heat roast the unpeeled garlic and chile in a dry skillet, turning until both are blackened in spots and soft, about 10 minutes. Cool. (Skip this step if not using the chile).
  8. Remove the stem from the chile and skin from the garlic. In a food processor or blender add oil and puree, then lime juice. Stir in oregano and season well with salt and pepper.
  9. Tenderize the meat with a meat mallet or with a fork by poking holes over top and bottom an inch apart. Add to a baking pan or bowl pour marinade over top and cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.


Adapted from Rick Bayless

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved. No copying or duplication of any content (including photos) without theexpress written permission from the owner of this website.

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  1. says

    I always have my American friends/relatives bring me chipotles when they come to visit… I love the smokiness they give to every dish… and I definitely like making tacos with them! Great recipe.

  2. Elisabeth says

    Reeni-What a great choice to adapt your Chipotle Steak Tacos from. Rick Bayless is amazing, and I love his recipes too.Nothing like pairing the yummy steak with caramelized onions:DDD

  3. The Blonde Duck says

    God I want this. So bad. With a side of PBJ bars. Having a writing contest! You should enter!

  4. Joanne says

    I'm fairly certain that anything with chipotles is magical and that steak looks like it's cooked to perfection! You definitely did these tacos justice!

  5. Angie's Recipes says

    Reeni, those tacos look extremely tempting with steak and caramelized onions! Gotta go get something to eat..HUNGRY!

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