Switch Things Up with Korean Beef Tacos

During a good chunk of my pregnancy last year, I think I spent about half the time feeling like a crazy person.

Vertical image of three wraps filled with meat and toppings on a plate, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

For a while, these Korean beef tacos were the one thing that seemed to be keeping me sane. And I’m so excited to share them with you.

Being pregnant leaves you feeling like you’re scattered all over the place, all the time. From the memory loss to the backaches, taking time to learn about caring for an infant to preparing a nursery, there are about five million things on your mind at all times.

I don’t know if it’s the delightful flavor of the tender and juicy beef, or maybe it’s the simple cabbage slaw that has just a hint of spice, piled deliciously on top. Whatever that mystery element is, these tacos are the latest and greatest way that I’ve been doing Taco Tuesday in our home, and it’s downright magical – sure to help you feel as if all your troubles have simply melted away.

Vertical image of two soft shell wraps filled with seasoned meat pieces, slaw, and kimchi on a plate with lime wedges.

Okay, maybe that’s not guaranteed. But they’re fantastic, they certainly helped me to feel much less scattered from week to week, and you should give them a try!

To make this recipe, you start by marinating the beef in a tasty mixture of soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, green onion, ginger, and lime. The key I have found here is to make sure you slice your steak into thin strips, so they can really soak up that marinade.

While you can let it sit for just four hours, I highly recommend leaving it overnight if you can, to infuse even more flavor into the beef. It really does make a difference, the longer the better, but not quite so long that you’re overdoing it.

Vertical top-down image of three soft shell wraps filled with meat and slaw on a plate next to fresh herbs and lime wedges and a plate of sliced cabbage to the side of the plate.

The beef cooks up in a hot skillet, which is where my next tip comes in. Make sure that skillet is really hot. You want to hear a sizzle when the meat hits the pan.

This is crucial because it helps the strips of beef to get that caramelized exterior, providing texture and an extra layer of flavor. Try to leave the meat undisturbed for a few minutes before turning it, to get that wonderful sear on the outside.

Finally, you can whip up the tasty cabbage slaw in just one bowl. A flavorful combination of green onion, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sriracha, and olive oil coats thinly sliced napa cabbage, providing crunch and hint of spiciness.

Vertical close-up image of three soft shell wraps filled with seasoned meat slices and crunchy toppings on a plate.

The combination of all those flavors, wrapped up in a little tortilla, is simply amazing. Your whole family will adore this new take on tacos, and if they are anything like my husband, will request that these make an appearance on the menu at home as often as possible.

They’re a creative deviation from your typical ground beef or chorizo tacos, and it’s fun being able to experiement with new recipes when Taco Tuesday comes around!

If you happen to have some beef left over and you aren’t in the mood to make more tacos, try serving it over rice with some of the slaw on top. Making rice bowls is an easy way to repurpose this meal for round two the next day!

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Horizontal close-up image of three soft shell wraps filled with seasoned meat slices and crunchy toppings on a plate.

Korean Beef Tacos


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Korean beef tacos with kimchi and cabbage slaw are the perfect option to spice up your taco night.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Beef Filling:

  • 2 pounds beef skirt steak
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil (or regular sesame oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced, white parts only
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • Zest of 1 lime

For the Slaw:

  • 1 small head napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the Tacos:

  • Tortillas, either corn or flour
  • Kimchi, thinly sliced
  • Sriracha
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped green onion (green parts reserved from marinade)

Instructions

  1. Cut skirt steak against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick strips. Place soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, white parts of the green onion, ginger, and lime zest in a bowl and whisk together well. Add the beef, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. To make the slaw, place cabbage in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Pour over the cabbage, then toss to combine. Set aside.
  3. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Discard marinade and place beef strips into the hot skillet. Cook until the meat is cooked through to medium rare, about 5-8 minutes (or longer if you desire). Remove from heat.
  4. Heat each tortilla in a dry, hot pan over medium-high heat. Add a portion of beef and top with slaw. Top as desired with kimchi, sriracha, cilantro, and green onion.
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Tacos

Keywords: korean, beef, taco, kimchi, cabbage, slaw

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

Horizontal image of assorted measured ingredients in small glass bowls and a large piece of raw meat in a large bowl.

Peel and mince 4 cloves of garlic.

Thinly slice 4 green onions, separating the white and green parts. Reserve the green portions for garnish.

Slice another 6 green onions, setting both the white and green parts aside for the slaw.

Grate enough peeled ginger until you have 1 teaspoon total.

Zest one lime, and juice it as well.

Horizontal image of assorted ingredients measured into small glass bowls and a large bowl filled with shredded cabbage.

Remove the core, and thinly slice one small head of napa cabbage. You could also do this with the slicing disk in your food processor.

Chop enough cilantro leaves until you have 4 tablespoons total.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Cut the steak against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick strips.

Step 2 – Marinate Beef

Horizontal image of marinating raw slices of meat in a bowl.

Place the strips of beef into a large bowl with the soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, white parts of the green onion that you set aside for the marinade, ginger, and lime zest. Stir well to evenly coat the meat.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.

Step 3 – Make Slaw

Horizontal image of thinly sliced cabbage mixed in a dressing in a bowl.

Add the thinly sliced cabbage to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients for the slaw. Pour over the cabbage and toss to combine. Set aside.

Step 4 – Cook Beef

Horizontal image of cooking slices of seasoned meat in a pan.

When you are ready to cook the meat, heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Make sure the skillet is nice and hot – you should hear the steak sizzle when it hits the pan.

Place the beef strips in the hot skillet, and discard the excess marinade.

Cook the meat for about 5 to 8 minutes for medium rare, flipping halfway through cooking. Cook longer if you want it to be more thoroughly done. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Step 5 – Assemble

Horizontal top-down image of three soft shell wraps filled with meat and slaw on a plate next to fresh herbs and lime wedges and a plate of sliced cabbage to the side of the plate.

Heat a dry pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, heat each tortilla for about 20 to 30 seconds.

Add a portion of beef to each one, and top with slaw. Top as desired with sliced kimchi, sriracha, cilantro, and the remaining reserved green parts of the green onion.

Is There Another Cut of Meat I Can Use?

There is one other option for these tacos if you are looking for something other than skirt steak.

Horizontal close-up image of three soft shell wraps filled with seasoned meat slices and crunchy toppings on a plate.

That choice is flank steak! Simply use the same total weight of steak as the recipe calls for above, and you can treat it the same as skirt steak when you prep, marinate, and cook.

For more taco night inspiration, check out these recipes next:

Do you like your tacos spicy, or with just a little bit of heat? Tell us in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe as well if you tried it and loved it.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 26, 2012. Last updated on April 20, 2021. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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