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Authentic Carne Asada Recipe

This tender Carne Asada recipe is flavorful and proof that sometimes all you need is a few simple ingredients to make a delicious steak dinner. Juicy grilled flank steak full of incredible Mexican flavors makes this carne asada 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?

Carne Asada Marinade Mix

Should You Marinate the Steak?

Yes, marinating your flank steak is key to make perfect carne asada.

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.

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 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.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to make this carne asada recipe. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts:

  • Citrus: Orange juice (no pulp), Lemons, and Limes
  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Spices: Cumin and Cilantro
  • Salt & Black pepper
  • Jalapeno
  • Garlic cloves – Minced into small pieces.
  • Flank steak

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.

Carne Asada Marinating

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! Here’s how to do it:

  • Make the marinade. 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.
  • Reserve some of the marinade. Save ⅓ cup of the marinade in a covered container in the refrigerator.
  • Marinate your steak. 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.
  • Cook. 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!
  • Slice and serve. 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.

How Long Does it Take to Cook Carne Asada?

This will depend on how thick the steak is. To check the temperature of your meat, use an instant read thermometer for accuracy. The FDA recommends that steak be cooked to an internal temperature of 145˚F.

Here is a guide you can use to gauge whether your steak is done cooking:

  • 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
large fork with carne asada

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!

Serving Suggestions

Carne Asada is typically served with Mexican rice and beans. I also love serving carne asada with fiesta rice, restaurant style salsa, grilled corn, and Mexican street corn (elotes).

How to Store and Reheat Extras

  • Fridge: You can store your Carne Asada in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Freezer: 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.
  • To reheat: When it comes time to reheat it, you can microwave thawed carne asada or warm it up on a skillet until it is heated through.

Ways to Use Leftover Steak

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!

Flank steak slices

More Grilled Steak Recipes

ENJOY!

Tools used in this recipe

Flank steak slices

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe

Katerina | Diethood
This tender Carne Asada recipe is flavorful and proof that sometimes all you need is a few simple ingredients to make a delicious meal!
5 from 16 votes
Servings : 4 serves
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.
Stovetop Method
  • 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.

Notes

WW FREESTYLE POINTS: 6
NET CARBS: 7 grams
Steak Guide to 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 4 ounces | Calories: 268 kcal | Carbohydrates: 8 g | Protein: 25 g | Fat: 15 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Cholesterol: 68 mg | Sodium: 257 mg | Potassium: 510 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 143 IU | Vitamin C: 35 mg | Calcium: 46 mg | Iron: 2 mg | Net Carbs: 7 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carne asada marinade, carne asada recipe, carne asada seasoning, what is carne asada
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52 comments on “Authentic Carne Asada Recipe”

  1. I am from SD and moved to Vegas where I couldn’t find any great carne asada tacos. This marinade is super easy to make and absolutely delicious!!!! Thank you for sharing

    1. Stephanie… you moved from South Dakota to Vegas and couldn’t find good Carne Asada? Let’s hope you meant San Diego and not South Dakota 😂

  2. I’m a NY girl and I had never heard of Carne Asada until I met my husband 25 years ago! He’s from San Diego County and always was disappointed with what he got when ordering from restaurants, so I tried to make it for him but he was like NOPE that’s not a either! Well I made this for his birthday and he said “don’t lose that recipe it’s THE best Carne Asada I have had sine I left California!!”
    Definitely going to keep this recipe forever!! Ty!!

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      That’s wonderful! I am very happy you and your husband loved it! Thank you for chiming in! 🙂

    1. I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! Putting the 1/3c of marinade over it after it was cooked and cut really made the dish!

  3. Hi there
    The recipe does not say what to do with the 1/3 cup of marinade left on the side. What is that for? Thank you!

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Hi!
      That’s just to serve it with the steak. It’s in step #7 in the recipe card, “Thinly slice steak against the grain, garnish with reserved cilantro mixture, and serve.”

    2. 7. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak against the grain, garnish with reserved cilantro mixture, and serve.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Hi!
      In as far as safety goes, yes you can, but after 24 hours marinating, the marinade can start to break down the fibers of the meat, causing the steak to become tough and dry.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Hi,
      You’ll need juice from 2 limes and 1 lemon. The recipe in its entirety is towards the bottom of the post, located above the comments section. It includes all the ingredients, amounts, step by step directions, nutritional analysis, and so on.

  4. Avatar photo
    Carmen Foncerrada Benbrook

    Great marinade. I served it with rice, beans, salsa, guacamole and tortillas. My whole family loved it

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