Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (2024)


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A delicious carne asada recipe made from marinated flank steak or skirt steak and grilled until tender and juicy. A great addition to any Mexican meal, this authentic recipe is made with olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, and other simple ingredients.

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (1)

Juicy, melt-in-your-mouth Carne Asada was always such a treat when I was growing up!

I remember my brother or dad would pick up some carne preparada (already marinated steak) at our local Mexican meat market on Sunday, and they’d grill it in the backyard while my Mom and sisters finished making the side dishes.

When it was time to eat, they’d serve the meat on big platters family-style alongside things like Mexican rice, some Mexican salsas, and homemade corn tortillas. It’s always been one of my favorite Sunday lunches with the family because the meat is just so good!

What is carne asada?

Carne asada is beef that has been marinated and grilled. When translated from Spanish, carne asada literally means “grilled meat.” Pretty simple, right?

The most common type of meat used to make carne asada is skirt steak or flank steak. Skirt steak is usually thinner and a bit more fatty, whereas flank steak is often a thicker and leaner cut. As long as they’re both sliced thinly after grilling, they both make great options for carne asada.

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Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (2)

Carne asada marinade Ingredients

In addition to the cut of beef, one important component is the marinade.

The marinade for carne asada varies greatly from region to region in Latin America, and there is no real one “authentic” marinade. Some marinades are as simple as oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and lime juice, and others are a long list of ingredients and spices.

For this carne asada marinade, I leaned towards the latter and tried to get in as much flavor as possible by using some of the following:

  • chopped cilantro
  • olive oil
  • orange juice
  • lime juice
  • white wine vinegar
  • chili powder
  • ground cumin
  • dried oregano
  • garlic
  • a finely chopped jalapeno
  • salt and black pepper

Once the marinade is mixed together, simply pour it over the steak in a large baking dish, bowl, or large zip-top bag and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (3)

How to make carne asada

Once the meat has been marinated, remove it from the marinade and pat it dry. Then drizzle both sides with a little bit of olive oil so it doesn’t stick on the grill, and season it lightly with kosher salt and black pepper.

Place it on the grill over medium-high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the meat, and then let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing it thinly against the grain.

No grill? No problem!

If you don’t have an outdoor grill or the weather isn’t suitable for grilling outside, you can cook carne asada indoors!

Simply heat a large skillet over high heat. A cast iron skillet or grill pan are great options. Then cook the meat for 6-8 per side until your desired level of doneness is reached.

Make sure to turn on your stove top’s vent hood to get rid of any excess smoke that can happen when cooking at high heat.

At what temperature is it done?

To get the most tender and juicy carne asada, the meat should be cooked to medium-rare. To do so, take the beef off the grill once it has reached 130°F and let it rest for 5 minutes. If you prefer your meat at a medium temperature, remove it from the heat when it reaches 140°F.

My husband likes to use the finger test to check for doneness, but I’m not very good at it, so I always use a meat thermometer.

Here’s a great instant-read thermometer that’s easy to use. It’s a kitchen tool that I use almost every single day!

Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure to slice the steak against the grain for the most tender carne asada. To slice against the grain, make note of which way the muscle fibers of the meat are running, then slice perpendicular to those lines.
  • Cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the meat. Grilling time for skirt steak will be closer to 4 minutes per side, and flank steak will be closer to 6-8 minutes per side. You can also use a meat thermometer for accuracy.
Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (4)

What to serve with carne asada

Two of my favorite dishes to make with carne asada are carne asada fries and carne asada tacos! But just in case you’re looking for more ideas, here are some dishes that pair perfectly with this recipe:

  • flour tortillas
  • salsa verde
  • chimichurri sauce
  • guacamole salsa
  • refried beans
  • elotes (mexican street corn)

Storing and Reheating

Leftover carne asada can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat, heat it in a hot skillet on the stove or in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, flipping it over halfway through so that it heats evenly.

More Mexican Recipes

  • Carnitas
  • Barbacoa
  • Homemade Mexican Chorizo
  • Chicken Taquitos
  • Tacos al Pastor

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (5)

4.65 from 125 votes

Carne Asada Recipe

servings: 8 servings

Print Pin Rate

Prep: 10 minutes minutes

Marinating time: 2 hours hours

Cook: 20 minutes minutes

Total: 30 minutes minutes

A delicious carne asada recipe made from marinated flank steak or skirt steak and grilled until tender and juicy. Authentic and delicious!




  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the steak.

  • Place the steak in a large baking dish or gallon size ziplock bag and pour the marinade on top. Turn the steak a few times until it's completely coated with the marinade and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Do not marinate for longer than 8 hours because the meat will start to break down and get mushy.

  • Remove steak from marinade and discard any excess marinade. Pat steak dry with paper towels and drizzle with a touch of olive oil, enough to coat each side. Season lightly with coarse salt and black pepper on both sides.

  • Preheat grill for direct heat grilling at high heat (450-500°F). Grill steaks with the lid closed for 4-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.Skirt steak will be closer to 4 minutes per side and flank steak will be closer to 6-8 minutes per side.

  • Remove steaks and allow to rest for 5 minutes.Slice thinly against the grain and serve.


  • Make sure to slice the steak against the grain for the most tender carne asada. To slice against the grain, make note of which way the muscle fibers of the meat are running, then slice perpendicular to those lines.
  • Cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the meat. Grilling time for skirt steak will be closer to 4 minutes per side, and flank steak will be closer to 6-8 minutes per side. You can also use a meat thermometer for accuracy.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1/8th of recipe, Calories: 213kcal (11%), Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 24g (48%), Fat: 12g (18%), Saturated Fat: 4g (20%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 75mg (25%), Sodium: 620mg (26%), Potassium: 12mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 0g, Vitamin A: 0IU, Vitamin C: 4.1mg (5%), Calcium: 0mg, Iron: 1.8mg (10%)

Author: Isabel Orozco-Moore

Category: Mexican

Leave a Reply

  1. Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (6)
    Hi Isabel, this carne asada was totally on-point! I’ve been craving beef lately, so I made this for dinner last weekend, and it did not disappoint! We ate it as the main event, but I think next time, I’ll try it in tacos. Mmm!


  2. 🌹 Rose

    I can’t wait to try this recipe for carne asada


  3. Sue Demaine

    Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (7)
    Meat has great flavor & tender!
    Great directions!


  4. R. Cole

    Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (8)
    Very Flavorful and tender!


  5. Anita

    Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (9)
    Delish! Excellent marinade!
    I served these with crunchy sweet potatoes and your corn tortillas. I can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow!


  6. Karmen

    Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (10)
    This recipe is so freaking flavorful and delicious! I made it yesterday and I’m still thinking about it.


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Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (11)

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Authentic Carne Asada Recipe (2024)


How do you make carne asada not chewy? ›

You want to cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers so they become as short as possible. You can a have melt in your mouth steak off the grill but if you cut it parallel to the grain you will end up with long muscle fibers AKA chewy, rubbery tough meat. So cut AGAINST the grain!

What is the best meat for carne asada? ›

The BEST cuts for the Mexican version of the dish we all know and love are either skirt steak or flank steak. Personally, I prefer skirt steak (pictured). It's more tender and flavourful than flank and can be cooked well done (for those who prefer well) without getting tough and chewy.

How is carne asada supposed to be cooked? ›

Take the marinated steak out of the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before you cook it. Shake off excess marinade and grill over SCORCHING high heat (at least 600 degrees F) for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare, or 4-5 minutes on each side for medium.

What is traditionally served with carne asada? ›

Carne asada is also a very popular filling for burritos, which are also said to have originated in Northern Mexico. As well, you can add carne asada to quesadillas, tostadas and just about any other tortilla-based dish. Carne asada is often served with salsas, grilled onions, guacamole lime wedges and chopped cilantro.

How long to marinate steak? ›

How long should I let steak marinate? Marinate steak for at least 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. However, for best results, use a steak marinade for several hours or overnight. The extra time allows the steak fibers to break down and tenderize before cooking.

What brings out the flavor of steak? ›

What spices go well with steak? There are many spices available for seasoning a steak, with salt and pepper topping the list. However, other spices, like thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and minced onion, are also good options to enhance your steak's flavor. Or, use a one-and-done approach with Chicago Steak Seasoning.

What happens if you marinate carne asada too long? ›

Most recipes for marinating meat and poultry recommend six hours up to 24 hours. It is safe to keep the food in the marinade longer, but after two days it is possible that the marinade can start to break down the fibers of the meat, causing it to become mushy.

Is there a difference between carne asada and asada? ›

Carne Asada – Asada (or asado) means “roasted” in Spanish. Carne asada is a spicy, marinated grilled steak that's cut into strips. This is the meat that goes into burritos and tacos. Pollo Asado – Pollo means “chicken” in Spanish, which means that pollo asado is grilled, marinated chicken.

What kind of meat is carne asada at Mexican restaurant? ›

What Is Carne Asada? Let's start with the basics—carne asada is a traditional Mexican dish composed of marinated skirt steak or flank steak that has been grilled and thinly sliced. The term carne asada in Spanish translates to roasted or grilled meat in English.

What is special about carne asada? ›

The meat is characteristically marinated in lime juice, salt, and Mexican seasonings, but may also be simply rubbed with salt or spice rubs such as lemon pepper, before grilled. After grilling it is typically chopped for filling tacos and burritos, which also minimizes toughness. Once grilled, it is called carne asada.

Why is my carne asada chewy? ›

Your steak is chewy and tough most likely because the cut of steak was not tender to begin with. Another reason your steak is chewy and tough could be that you overcooked or undercooked the steak. Your steak could also be chewy and tough because you didn't let it rest long enough after cooking it.

What are the ingredients in Asada? ›

Carne asada is typically made with skirt steak, but I wanted to test out a variety of inexpensive cuts to be sure. I bought a half dozen different cuts of beef and marinated them in a basic mixture of lime juice, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, and chiles before grilling them to medium-rare over hot coals.

What is tacos de Asada made of? ›

This carne asada tacos recipe consists of a skirt steak marinated in lime juice, spices and garlic. It's grilled over a super high heat in a few minutes, resulting in flavorful, earthy and delicious carne asada. Serve it with tortillas, avocado, aguas frescas and an array of salsas and cotija for a delicious dinner.

Why is carne asada meat red? ›

The vibrant red color is from the achiote used in the recipe.

Why was carne asada made? ›

We can trace the roots of carne asada back to the expansive ranches of northern Mexico, where cattle farming was a way of life. Beef was a big part of the ranchers' diets, and they developed various methods of preparing and cooking it. One of these was the practice of marinating and grilling beef over an open flame.

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