Tri-Tip Street Tacos

Tri Tip Street Tacos

Tri-Tip Street Tacos

These Tri Tip Street Tacos are one of my all-time favorite meals! The tri tip steaks are marinated in a Santa Maria style steak taco marinade, then grilled to your desired doneness. Served with simple street taco fixings – onions, cilantro and lime. It only takes about 15 minutes to prep the steak and marinade, and another 15 minutes to cook the steak and fix up the tacos afterward. This tri tip recipe is ideal for a busy weeknight.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s SO freezer-friendly! When tri tip is on sale I’ll buy a bunch, prepare the marinade, and pack the marinated meat up in the freezer. Then on a busy weekday I can defrost the meat in the morning, let it marinate all day, and have dinner on the table in about 15 minutes. There are more details about freezer-prepping this meal in the post and recipe! I make a lot of tacos at home, and this is my favorite street tacos recipe!

Tri-Tip Street Tacos

Key Tips – Tri Tip Street Tacos

Prepare in bulk and freeze for later!

  • My favorite way to prepare this meal is prepping the meat in bulk (only takes a few minutes), and packing up 1 lb packages for the freezer. My grocery store occasionally runs sales on tri-tip steaks for anywhere between $4 – $7 a pound, so this recipe lets me take advantage of the sale and prep some future meals!
  • To prepare from frozen, just thaw the package at least 6 hours before cooking, to give the meat time to marinate.
  • I don’t notice any loss in quality for the frozen steak compared to steak that is made the same or next day. In fact, the steak pictured in these photos is from a frozen batch!
Tri-Tip Street Tacos
Marinade prepped for 4 lb batch
Tri-Tip Street Tacos
4 lbs of tri-tip in marinade, ready to freeze

Don’t skip the toppings, but it doesn’t need much else.

  • You may be tempted to load up other toppings on these tacos (salsa, cheese, etc) but trust me that these really don’t need it. When properly prepared, these are loaded with flavor and don’t need anything extra to make them shine.
  • The extra squeeze of lime juice on top at the end really adds a lot, so don’t skip the lime wedges!

Don’t scrape the marinade off the steaks.

  • When removing the steaks from the steak taco marinade, shake off the excess, but don’t wipe them down. This will make the steaks a little more smoky when you cook them, and may result in some additional char, but it really helps keep the flavors from the marinade around.
  • Don’t worry too much about some extra char on the steaks, it’s a very thin layer and once cubed isn’t really noticeable.

After slicing, toss the steak pieces in the juices

  • After cubing the steak, you’ll likely have some juices on the cutting board. Toss the steak pieces in these to help keep more of that flavorful steak taco marinade with the meat.
Tri-Tip Street Tacos

Warm tortillas before serving, or make fresh tortillas!

  • Sometimes I’ll make homemade flour tortillas to go with this meal, like those pictured in these photos. They are pretty simple to make and there are many great recipes for them available online!
  • Most of the time I use Mission brand “Street Taco” flour tortillas, these come in a 12 pack and usually cost around $2 at the grocery store. They are best when warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave before serving.

Dietary Restrictions – Tri Tip Street Tacos

This dish is naturally Dairy-Free!

Make it Gluten-Free:

  • Serve on corn tortillas.
Tri-Tip Street Tacos

A Note On Serving Sizes

Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. This recipe makes 8-10 tacos (pictures show 1 lb of meat divided across 8 tacos). One batch of the steak taco marinade is enough for about 1 lb of tri tip.

Tri-Tip Street Tacos

Tri Tip Street Tacos

Tri tip steak marinade for tacos! Served with simple street taco style fixings – onions, cilantro and lime. It only takes about 15 minutes to prep the steak and marinade, and is very freezer-friendly!
4.96 from 23 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinade Time 6 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 8 tacos
Calories 170 kcal


For Marinade:


  • Combine all ingredients of the marinade. Trim excess fat from the steaks if desired and place in a zip bag with the marinade. Marinate in fridge for at least 6 hours before cooking (preferably overnight).
  • When ready to cook, remove the steak from the bag and discard the rest of the marinade (shake off excess but do not pat the steaks dry). Grill steak to desired doneness, or cook in a cast iron pan with a swirl of olive oil. I cook in mine in a cast iron pan over high heat, turning every few minutes, until an internal temp of 135°F, about 8-10 minutes. (Note, the marinade may cause some additional charring on the outside, but this contributes to the flavor and isn't noticeable after slicing)
  • Let the steak rest for a few minutes, then slice into small pieces as pictured. Toss the steak in the juices after cutting.
    Tri-Tip Street Tacos
  • Meanwhile, warm flour tortillas over medium-low heat in a skillet for about 30 seconds per side, or for a few seconds in the microwave.
    For corn tortillas, give a pair of tortillas a quick dip in water or chicken stock then place in a pan over medium heat (still stacked). Cook for about 30 seconds, then flip the stack and cook for about 30 seconds more. Keep the pair of corn tortillas together and use them to make one taco. Tent with foil to keep warm as you work through all the tortillas.
  • Divide the steak evenly between the tortillas, then top with onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime to taste.

To prepare in bulk for freezer:

  • Trim steaks and prepare appropriate quantity of marinade. Package steaks, in marinade, in a freezer safe zip bag or vacuum bag. Package size should be the quantity you will want to defrost at a time (I do 1 lb).
    Tri-Tip Street Tacos
  • Place marinated steak packs in the freezer directly after preparing.
    Tri-Tip Street Tacos

To prepare from frozen:

  • Defrost steak at least 6 hours before you plan to cook it, giving the steak time to marinate. I suggest moving from the freezer to fridge the night before.
  • Follow the rest of the recipe as written, preparing the topping ingredients fresh.


My grocery store will occasionally have tri tip steaks on sale for $4-$7 a pound. When they do, I typically by about 4 lbs and make 4 freezer packs for later. After the steak has marinated, the rest of this meal comes together in about 15 minutes!


Serving: 1 tacoCalories: 170kcal
Keyword Steak, Steak Street Tacos, Steak Tacos, Street Tacos, Tacos, Tri-Tip, Tri-Tip Street Tacos
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Send me pictures of your creations — it’ll make my day! Message @CraftyCookbook on Instagram or tag me in a post! Please note, tagged posts are only visible to me if your account is public. Did you make any interesting changes or substitutions for this recipe? Tell me about them in the comment section below!
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  1. 5 stars
    Found this gem of a recipe on Reddit. I am a novice taco maker but man, this recipe was easy, quick and hands down the best taco I have ever made. Followed everything to mostly to a T with no major changes and was delicious. The only difference was my steak cooking method – I popped these into the air fryer for 6-7 minutes and was fantastic.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve been looking for a certain kind of street taco flavor in a recipe for such a long time, nothing else I tried quite hit the spot for some reason but, this recipe was like the answer to a taco lovers dreams. My whole family tried it and from the first bites in all we could talk about was how much we already wanted it again and it would become a regular meal in our house. The marinade is SO tasty it will leave you thinking about it and craving it on the days you tell yourself you have to eat something else because you can’t have tacos every day. Directions were easy to follow and for anyone reading, we did marinate overnight to get the best flavor.

  3. 5 stars
    I never comment but this was INCREDIBLE! The combination of this cut of steak + the marinade was everything I’ve been looking for in a taco recipe. I already can’t wait to make this again. Thank you!!

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