This tender Carne Asada recipe is flavorful and proof that sometimes all you need is a few simple ingredients to make a delicious meal! Juicy, tender grilled flank steak full of incredible Mexican flavors makes this homemade Carne Asada recipe the best you’ve ever had!
An Easy Carne Asada Recipe
You probably know Carne Asada as a meal you order at your favorite Mexican restaurant. When you take your first bite, it seems like one of those dishes that you just can’t make at home. You think to yourself – there is just no way you could recreate that, it tastes soooooo good. Think again! Here I will give you a fool-proof recipe for the best Carne Asada with the perfect marinade.
What is Carne Asada?
Carne Asada is marinated and prepared steak that has been sliced against the grain of the cut. It is simple, fast, and easy to make. It’s perfect for a small get together or a large gathering. Carne Asada translates to “grilled meat.” Pretty straightforward, right?
What Type of Meat should I use for Carne Asada?
Traditionally, Carne Asada is made with skirt steak or flank steak. Personally, I prefer flank steak as it is more lean and seems to hold onto flavor better. Some people prefer the marbled appearance from the higher fat content of the skirt steak. It’s a personal preference, and neither is wrong.
How to Marinate Carne Asada and Why?
Which meat you use – and how you marinate that meat – are the most important details you need to follow when making Carne Asada. Now that we already know what kind of meat to use, let’s get to the marinade.
To marinate your steak, you will use a combination of orange juice, olive oil and various herbs and spices. The flank steak is combined with this tenderizing marinade which adds the perfect flavor. The steak will need to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, or as long as overnight. Once it has finished marinating, take the steak out of the bag and discard any leftover marinade.
Marinating the steak is important because the citrus flavors will make the meat tender while the oil will allow the citrus to disperse evenly. This will make your meat flavorful, juicy and give your meat that melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Ingredients for Carne Asada
You won’t be searching the grocery store aisles for any hard to pronounce or hard to find ingredients for this recipe. Citrus is the secret to getting perfectly tenderized meat and the cilantro, jalapeno, vinegar, garlic and spices infuse the meat with authentic flavors. These common ingredients come together to make the best marinade for your Carne Asada.
To make this Carne Asada, you will need:
- Orange juice (no pulp)
- Olive oil
- White wine vinegar
- Black pepper
- Garlic cloves
- Flank steak
How to Make Carne Asada
Carne Asada couldn’t be any easier to make. Marinate the meat, grill it, cut it against the grain, and serve! Make sure you follow these simple instructions, and you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table before you know it.
- Combine the orange juice, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, cumin, salt, black pepper, jalapeno, and garlic in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until it is well blended.
- Save ⅓ cup of the marinade in a covered container in the refrigerator.
- Combine the remaining marinade and steak in a large resealable freezer bag. Refrigerate the steak in the marinade for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat your grill to high heat, or 500 degrees. If you are cooking the Carne Asada on the stove, you will want to set it to high heat. Make sure the grill pan or skillet is hot before you start to cook the meat.
- Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. Discard any leftover marinade.
- Add the steak to the preheated grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until you’ve reached your desired doneness. Note that if you use flank steak, it tastes best when it is cooked to rare or medium-rare because it’s a lean cut of steak. Use an instant read meat thermometer to check the temperature for accuracy.
- Remove the steak from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Giving the steak time to rest is very important!
- Once the steak has had time to rest for 10 minutes, thinly slice the steak against the grain and serve it with the ⅓ cup of reserved cilantro mixture.
Please note – the cooking time is estimated! This will depend on how thick the steak is. To check the temperature of your meat, use an instant read thermometer for accuracy. Also, please see the Guide for Steak Doneness in the recipe card below, to find your perfect temperature. The FDA recommends that steak be cooked to an internal temperature of 145˚F
How to Cut Carne Asada
After your steak has had time to rest and when it’s time to cut, you will cut the steak in very thin slices against the grain. The fine lines you see in the steak is the grain, or muscle fibers. By cutting against the grain, NOT alongside the lines, you will get the melt-in-your-mouth tender goodness that Carne Asada is known for!
How to Serve Carne Asada
How to Store and Reheat Carne Asada
You can store your Carne Asada in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. When it comes time to reheat it, you can microwave it or warm it up on a skillet until it is warmed through.
You can also freeze Carne Asada to use later in things like soups or stews. Simply cook the Carne Asada as you normally would and let it cool. Place it in a freezer friendly ziplock bag for up to 3 months. When you’ve decided it’s time to use it, pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, you can use as desired!
Ideas for using leftovers
Carne Asada leftovers are THE most versatile of leftovers! Anything goes with Carne Asada. You can have it alone or how you originally served it, or you can use your leftovers for things like sandwiches, soups, tacos, burritos, nachos, or even with your eggs for breakfast!
More Grilled Steak Recipes
- Grilled Flank Steak with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
- Jack Daniel’s Grilled Steak Recipe
- Oven Grilled Steak
Tools used in this recipe
Authentic Carne Asada Recipe
- 3/4 cup Orange juice (no pulp)
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 1/4 cup Fresh chopped cilantro
- Juice from 2 limes
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 3 Tablespoons White wine vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 pound Flank steak
- In a large mixing bowl combine orange juice, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper, jalapeno, and garlic; whisk until well combined.
- Reserve ⅓ cup of the marinade; cover the rest and refrigerate.
- Combine remaining marinade and steak in a large resealable freezer bag; seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat grill to HIGH heat.
- Remove steak from marinade and lightly pat dry with paper towels.
- Add steak to the preheated grill and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until desired doneness. Note that flank steak tastes best when cooked to rare or medium rare because it's a lean cut of steak.
- Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak against the grain, garnish with reserved cilantro mixture, and serve.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet (preferably cast iron grill pan) over high heat until hot. Add steak to the skillet and cook for 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until desired level of doneness.
Guide for Steak Doneness:
- 125°F to 130°F internal temperature for RARE
- 135°F to 140°F internal temperature for MEDIUM RARE
- 145°F to 150°F internal temperature for MEDIUM to MEDIUM WELL
- 150°F internal temperature for WELL DONE
- The FDA recommends that steak be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F.