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Skirt Steak with Pinto Bean Salad

Steve Klise / America's Test Kitchen
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
25 mins

Chef notes

Because skirt steak is thin, it's an ideal cut for a quick weeknight meal. For a Southwestern-inspired flavor profile, we rubbed the steak with paprika, salt and pepper, and paired it with a simple pinto bean salad. Lime juice brightened up the pinto bean salad, and chipotle in adobo provided subtle spicy and smoky notes. Even better, we found that we preferred both the steak and the pinto bean salad when made a day ahead, as the salt and spices penetrated the meat and kept it juicy, and the flavors of the salad melded overnight.

Technique tip: Be sure to slice the steak thin against the grain or it will be very chewy.


  • 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1-pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro



Combine beans, onion, lime juice, 1 tablespoon oil, chipotle, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in bowl.


Combine paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in separate bowl. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and rub evenly with paprika mixture.


Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook steak until well browned and meat registers 120 F to 125 F (for medium-rare), about 2 minutes per side. Transfer steak to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.


Transfer bean salad to platter and sprinkle with cilantro. Slice steak thin against grain and arrange on top of bean salad. Serve.