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Carne Asada: the mouthwatering recipe for Mexican grilled meat

Total time: 2H20
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

If you're looking for an easy, fast Mexican recipe that everyone will love, look no further than this authentic carne asada recipe. Carne asada is a fantastic dish to make for parties, barbecues, and other special occasions like Cinco de Mayo. Made with tender, succulent marinated steak grilled over a high heat, carne asada is packed with flavor and incredibly versatile.

Infused with traditional Mexican flavors like lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno pepper, the grilled meat is a fantastic enjoyed on its own with a side of elote, rice and beans, or jicama slaw, or sliced up and served in tortas, tacos, sopes, or quesadillas.

It's an amazingly delicious party food that doubles up as a great weeknight dinner when you're in the mood to fire up the grill and make the most of warm summer weather.

What is Carne Asada?

Carne asada is a classic, easy-to-make Mexican main dish. In Spanish, carne asada means “grilled meat”. Typically, the meat is marinated in various ingredients like herbs, spices, citrus juice, and oil. Then, it's grilled and served either as a main meal or chopped up and added to other dishes like tacos, tortas, quesadillas, burritos, and more.

What is the Best Meat Cut for Carne Asada?

Lean cuts of beef like flank steak or skirt steak are the go-to cuts for making the best carne asada. You can use either flank or skirt steaks as they have a similar flavor.

Take note: skirt steak is a tougher cut, so make sure not to overcook it. Rare to medium-rare is the only way to go with skirt steak, otherwise, the meat will become overwhelmingly chewy and tough.


Easy Carne Asada Ingredients

The key to the best carne asada is making a killer marinade.

Lime juice, orange juice (fresh squeezed is best), and vinegar bring a wonderful tanginess to the marinade.

Garlic adds a delicious depth, while cilantro gives your marinade a zesty brightness.

For a kick of heat, add some chopped jalapeno and some black pepper.

Oil helps to tenderize the meat and allows the other ingredients to infuse the meat.

Finally, you'll need the meat itself. Lean cuts like flank steak or skirt steak are the gold standard for making carne asada.

How to Make Carne Asada

Making restaurant-quality carne asada at home is a cinch. Start by mixing all of the marinade ingredients in a resealable bag. Give it a quick stir, then pop the steak, and close the bag up nice and tight. Refrigerate the steak for a few hours, or ideally, overnight. When it's time to cook, preheat your grill on high heat.

Once it's good and hot, put the steak on the grill and cook it for about 7 to 10 minutes on each side, depending on how you like your steak. Once cooked, take the steak off the heat. Let it rest for several minutes, then slice it and serve.

How to Cut Carne Asada When Serving

Make sure to cut the steak against the grain. This will make the meat tender rather than tough and chewy. It's an essential step when cooking leaner cuts of beef such as flank steak or skirt steak. Use a sharpened knife to make slicing the steak a breeze.


What to Serve with Carne Asada

Use your carne asada as a filling for your tacos, burritos, or some delicious beefed-up quesadillas. You can also tuck into your tasty marinated steak by itself with mouthwatering side dishes like rice, beans, and salsa. You can also slice the meat extra-fine and use it as a topping for loaded nachos.

Tips for making Authentic Carne Asada

For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed lime juice and orange juice. If you're looking to save time, juice out of the carton is a perfectly suitable alternative.

If you're trying to cut down on your plastic use, marinate the steak in a bowl. Just be sure you fully submerge the meat in the marinade so that it can soak up all those delicious flavors.

Use a meat thermometer to know when your steak has reached your preferred level of doneness.

Carne Asada Variations

Not a fan of cilantro? Use parsley instead.

For an extra savory flavor, mix in a splash of soy sauce or Worchestershire sauce to the marinade.

Swap out the white vinegar for red wine or apple cider vinegar.

If you love spicy food, try adding extra jalapeno or use a hotter chili, like habanero or serrano.

For an earthier flavor, sprinkle in a dash of cumin or some Mexican oregano.

Can You Make Carne Asada Without Grilling It?

Absolutely! You don't need an outdoor grill to make the perfect carne asada. Simply cook the meat in a skillet on your stovetop over high heat. This should take a little less time to cook compared to on a grill, about 5 to 7 minutes.

How to Store Carne Asada

Keep any leftover carne asada in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

More Recipes You'll Like

garlic, crushed
4 cloves
Orange juice
1/2 cup
Fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup
1/2 tsp
Black pepper
1/4 tsp
Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup
jalapeno, minced
White vinegar
2 tbsp
skirt steak
2 pounds


Squeeze the limes.

Place the lime juice into a large resealable bag.

Add the vinegar.

Pour in the orange juice.

Add the garlic and jalapeno.

Stir in the salt.

Add in the cilantro and oil. Stir to mix.

Put the steak in the bag, then seal it well.

Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to overnight.

Preheat your grill to high heat. Place the steak on the grill.

Grill the steak for 7 to 10 minutes on each side.

Take the steak off the heat and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.


Serve and enjoy!


If you're worried about the marinade leaking out of the bag while the steak is marinating, simply double bag it, then pop it on a plate to catch any potential leaks.

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