Lime-Chili Rubbed Steak

This is a quick and easy wet rub that’s great on steaks. Wet rubs are great because you can whip it up last minute. Intense flavor infuses the meat quickly, so if you forgot to make a marinade, this is your answer. This is kind of a steak version of this beloved Taco chicken, and you can use it in a lot of similar ways. We love it with black beans and lime-cilantro rice, served with mango pico de gallo, or sliced thin in soft tacos or on salad.

Sliced Steak on a white plate

Ingredient Notes

  • Dry Ingredients – chili powder, garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
  • Wet Ingredients – lime juice and olive oil
  • Steak – I’ve already shared my love of flank steak, (read all about it here) so that’s what I generally use this on, but it’s also great on other cuts of meat. Some of our favorites are tenderloin, NY strip, and tri-tip.

How To Make Lime-Chili Rubbed Steak

1. Juice the lime into a small bowl. Add oil and spices and stir to combine.

2. Place the steak in a shallow dish and pour the spice mixture on top, massaging into all sides. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

3. Place meat on hot grill (bbq is best, but an indoor grill pan or broiler will work just fine too). If you’re using flank steak it should take about 5-7 minutes on each side. I like to remove my steak at about 135 degrees in the thickest portion. This provides medium-rare meat in the center, but pieces that are more well done on the ends. Here’s a great tip for testing meat doneness in other cuts.

When steak is finished, remove from grill and cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.

flank steak sliced on plate

This is great with a side of Quick and Easy Black Beans and a quick salad, or Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple, or in soft tacos or on Chili-Lime Steak Salad.

Here are some other favorites to consider:

Homemade Flour Tortillas
Chipotle Chicken Salad
Sweet and Savory Flank Steak
Steak and Mango Salad

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this ahead? The beauty of this recipe is that it’s perfect for last minute. If you want to plan ahead, feel free to measure out and mix up your dry ingredients ahead of time. If you plan to make salads, you could absolutely grill up the meat the day before and slice and serve cold, if desired. 

sliced steak on plate

Lime-Chili Rubbed Steak

5 from 1 vote
Your choice of steak needs minimal time to marinade in this flavorful wet rub. Perfect to serve with rice and side salad, or in a tortilla.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder1 teaspoon granulated garlic1/2 teaspoon cumin1/2 teaspoon coriander1/2 teaspoon oregano1/8- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper*3/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon black pepper1 lime about 2 tablespoons lime juice1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil1-2 pounds flank steak, or other good grilling cut (tenderloin, NY strip, and tri-tip all work well)
  • *If your steak is close to 2 pounds or more you'll want to double the marinade

Instructions

  • Juice the lime into a small bowl. Add oil and spices and stir to combine.
  • Place the steak in a shallow dish and pour the spice mixture on top. Use clean hands to massage on all sides (I love food safe gloves for this task!) Let sit for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to several hours if you like.
  • Place meat on hot grill (bbq is best, but an indoor grill pan or broiler will work just fine too). If you're using flank steak it should take about 5-7 minutes on each side. I personally like my flank steak removed from heat at about 135 degrees. It provides medium-rare steak in the center, with options of more well-done pieces on the ends. Here's a great tip for testing meat doneness in other cuts.
  • When steak is finished, remove from grill, cover with foil,  and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it. Slice in strips against the grain. (Find flank steak info, including how to cut against the grain, here.)
Author: Our Best Bites
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Looking for an appetizer for a Margarita Party and this looks great for grilling, skewering, and serving with the cilantro-lime dressing as a dip. Have you had leftovers of this before? How does it taste the next day? It would be much easier for me to grill, slice, and skewer the day before and then serve at room temp… Input?

    1. I’ve had the steak cold in salads before and it’s good. Just don’t overcook it. If you’re going to eat it the next day you’ll want it nice and pink!

  2. YUMMMM!!! WE love steak in our house however the sameold way of cooking it was boring! I saw this and ran to the store to bust out like $20 in spices (like I said I have always cooked boring!) and then fired up the grill (again first time grilling steak also!) and it was sooooooo good! I’m also a big sauce dipper and this need almost no A-1 steak sauce! Will be making this one again soon and this time will print it out to keep in the family recipe book!

  3. I didn’t have time to read all the comments, so not sure if anyone else has suggested this, but I tried this rub on salmon last night and it was AMAZING! I served your black bean mango salsa over the salmon and my husband and I loved it. It’s my new favorite meal! So yummy and fresh tasting! Thanks!

  4. Does this freeze well? If so, at what point would you freeze it; before or after cooking? What would be best to preserve the quality?

    1. Kerri, steak freezes well if it’s packaged well. You’ll want to freeze it before cooking. I’ve never frozen it with the rub on, but I suppose you could!

  5. Made this tonight for dinner, what a yummy steak… the whole family loved it! It will totally be in our regular rotation!

  6. My house smells so good right now! I can’t wait to dive into this steak. What did I do before I came across this blog? You provide me with about 3 meal ideas a week! Another winner!

  7. YUMMO!! i just happened to have set out some NY strips tonite. I will be treating them with this recipe tomorrow for sure!! love your recipes they are a sure thing.

  8. Found this in the cookbook and made it last night. My husband could not stop raving about it. Easy and delicious!

  9. I made this tonight for my husband, it was amazing. Will definately make this again as with all of your recipes I've tried so far. Great blog…

  10. I made this the other night, along with your 'quick and easy black beans' and your 'cilantro pineapple rice'. Each dish was absolutely delicious and my husband (he is very picky) LOVED it, and so did I. You gals have the BEST recipes ever! You have helped make my life easier in a BIG way – thank you!!!

  11. This is SO good. We had this spice rub tonight on flat iron steak and made fajitas. Everyone raved about it.

  12. Delicious! I made it for dinner tonight – the husband loved it and so did the 2 year old. Thanks!

  13. Oh, that looks really good! I need some steak – but that would require a trip to the grocery store and I still have so much food at home to use up!

  14. Just today I was thinking of barbecuing some flank steak, good timing Sara. I bought EM and myself a BBQ for Valentines Day (romantic huh) and just put it together last week.

  15. There is nothing better than homemade rubs!! What a great combination!

  16. I gasped with excitement to see how the rub had worked it’s way through the cracks. I need to try more dry rubs, they just add so much.

  17. Laura, granulated garlic is generally better in rubs because of the coarser texture, but if you have garlic powder you can totally substitute it, it won’t make a huge difference overall.

  18. We love meat at our house, I will be testing this out this week. As an Idaho girl I will probably be paring it with the Texas fries, and maybe a green salad for a little balance. Thanks!