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Carne Asada

When it comes to the best carne asada, I’ve had my fair share in Mexico. And the truth is there’s no singular authentic carne asada recipe. They’re all tweaks and variations. But today, I’ll share with you my tried and true carne asada recipe that always brings people back for seconds.

An easy, delicious and flavorful carne asada recipe. When it comes to authentic carne asada you'd find in Mexico, this comes pretty darn close!

Living in Southern California for the vast majority of my life means that I’ve had my fair share of Mexican food. When I was a kid, my family would frequently pop down to Tijuana and as an adult I’ve explored and vacationed in numerous Mexican towns and cities.

Needless to say, I’ve had my fair share of carne asada in Mexico, from roadside stalls to 5-star luxury restaurants. And here’s the one thing I can you assure you of – there is no one authentic recipe. But there are a few ways to give your carne asada that traditional Mexican flavor.

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So what is carne asada?

Carne asada literally translates to “grilled meat.” Pretty basic, eh? And that grilled meat can be anything from sirloin steak to tenderloin to skirt steak or flank steak. Most commonly, I find flank steak being used and I’m using flank steak in today’s recipe. You really don’t need an expensive or fancy cut of meat, especially as you’ll thinly slice it, then chop it up into small, bite-sized pieces for tacos, burritos, nachos or fries.

But what makes carne asada so deliciously flavorful is two things – the marinade and the fire-grilled char on the outside.

An easy, delicious and flavorful carne asada recipe. When it comes to authentic carne asada you'd find in Mexico, this comes pretty darn close!

The carne asada marinade

Instead of teasing you with an authentic carne asada marinade (which, as you’ve learned doesn’t exist) I prefer to call this the ultimate carne asada marinade. As it’s one that will make your taste buds happy. So what’s in it? A few simple ingredients: Olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.

I’ve always found simple is best. But feel free to tweak! If you want it sweeter, add an orange. If you want it more spicy, add paprika and oregano. Heck, I’ve even seen carne asada marinaded in beer and soy sauce (though spoiler, those aren’t gluten-free).

If you’re aiming for the carne asada you’d find in typical Mexican street tacos, I’d say my recipe is pretty spot on. And *cough* I’m a street taco connoisseur after all.

An easy, delicious and flavorful carne asada recipe. When it comes to authentic carne asada you'd find in Mexico, this comes pretty darn close!

How to make carne asada

It’s incredibly easy to make carne asada. Just whisk all of your marinade ingredients together and marinate your steak for 1-4 hours in the fridge.

Once your steak has marinated, heat a grill on medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes each side, for a flank steak. That’ll get you a good char on the outside but maintain a medium-rare inside. Depending on the thickness of your meat and personal preference, feel free to adjust this cook time.

After your steak has cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Then, thinly slice the meat against the grain for the most tender pieces. From there, you can chop it into smaller, bite-sized pieces for use in other recipes.

A few of my favorite carne asada recipes (other than eating it plain of course) are my Carne Asada Fries and Carne Asada Tacos. They always get gobbled up immediately.

Enjoy!

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Carne Asada

Carne asada that’s easy, delicious and flavorful. Proof that a few simple ingredients make for the most flavorful meat. Watch the video above to see how easy it is to make!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions

  1. Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Add the steak to glass baking tray and pour the marinade on top. Ensure both side of the steak are well coated, cover the baking tray with plastic wrap and marinate for 1-4 hours. Alternatively, you could marinate in a Stasher Bag or Ziploc bag.
  2. Heat a grill on medium-high heat. Add the carne asada and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes on each side. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for another 5 minutes.
  3. Using a sharp knife, slice the carne asada at an angle against the grain. From there, you can further chop the carne asada into smaller pieces.

Lisa's Tips

I think carne asada is best when cooked on an outdoor grill. But if you’re without one (as I currently am) this reversible grill/griddle is great for your stovetop.

Remember to double-check the angle of the grain before cooking. Then, it’s easy to determine how to slice against the grain once it’s done.

Check out my other carne asada recipes: Carne Asada Fries and Carne Asada Tacos. And serve those recipes with my Best Ever Guacamole and Cassava Flour Tortillas.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 servings, Serving Size: 6 servings

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 293
  • Total Fat: 16.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.9g
  • Cholesterol: 90.7mg
  • Sodium: 78.2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 2.3g
  • Fiber: 0.3g
  • Sugar: 0.3g
  • Protein: 31.9g
All images and text ©Lisa Bryan for Downshiftology

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38 comments on “Carne Asada”

  1. Can this be converted to an Instant Pot?

  2. Very detailed information. 

    Rating: 5
  3. Excellent recipe! I made exactly as described. This is now my go to recipe for Carne Asada Tacos. Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  4. It was very easy to understand her instructions.  I liked that the kitchen was clean even in the background.

  5. I haven’t had Carne Asada since I moved to Montana 6 years past. When I lived in SoCal it was my favorite. Can’t wait to try this out, and after so long I’m sure it is going to be a huge hit. More so then ever.

    Rating: 5
  6. 😋😋😋😋😋😋I don’t have to tell you don’t I Lisa?  Every single food I made especially the meat, fries and hummus went down very well.  I told them all about you, you have some new fans.  Told them about Cinco de Mayo – they’ve booked that weekend too come down and celebrate it here; even though they have no idea what it is! Lol!   

    Rating: 5
  7. We all are looking forward to Saturday.  We have friends staying over the weekend annnnnnnd we’re having carne asada!!! Yay!!!  Since we are eating them on Saturday – I didn’t want to faff about in the kitchen while everyone is yammering – I’ve made the marinate, guacamole (am so happy with your advice on topping it with water so it keeps) and hummus, all in the fridge.  I also took on board the meal prep ideas for crudités- they’re in the glass container filled with water and in the fridge!  Your way takes a lot of hassle out of cooking for a party! I look forward to commenting what others think of the carne asada (making them with fries a la Lisa!) and uploading photograph.  Wish you were here to join in and laugh at my ‘new found expertness’ on cooking fab food!

    Rating: 5
  8. Oh, goodness! This was a hit indeed! We’re having leftovers in your taco recipe tomorrow (or whenever that dang avocado gets ripe)! Adding pickled red onions. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  9. The meat was beautifully tender and citrusy without it being too sour, I was surprised how much it worked well pairing up with your guacamole and the chips.  A hit with my 3 children and husband (and myself).  The tortilla didn’t turn out right – too wet, but it was my fault, I got too ahead of myself and tripled the batch.  Maybe making 3 batches at a time would be better, ended up making some with wheat flour.  Luckily daughter is just gluten sensitive so could tolerate the wheat tacos.  Made Margarita, hey!  Why not! Made virgin mojito for the children as I didn’t know how to make non alcoholic margarita.  It’s been a beautiful day.  Our first time celebrating Cinco De Mayo, roll on until next year!  

    Rating: 5
    • Glad you guys enjoyed the carne asada and guacamole! And yay for all your hard work in creating an awesome Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Well done! Fingers crossed your next batch of cassava flour tortillas turns out better. :) x

  10. Meat is marinating – I know it’s going to taste mind blowingly beautiful as the smell is divine. Guacamole done and in the fridge, as are citrus shrimp ceviche. Made hummus – just because! Horchata recipe that you posted yesterday – stewing (I think that is the right term?) Looking forward to blitzing that and try it out. Going to make the cassava tortilla/taco shortly. Can’t wait for the Cinco de Mayo fiesta tonight with lovely food, husband is going to get Mexican beer! I’ll be sending you the photograph – and review from 5 of us. It is very hot here in Wales today, perfect!

    Rating: 5
  11. This Carne Asada looks amazing but what can I sub for the cilantro? I’m one of those people to whom it tastes like soap, and I mean like I bit into a bar of Ivory. I’d like a spicy or herb that’s not hot or peppery either, I can’t handle heat.

  12. Made this last night on the charcoal grill. Absolutely delicious. Wouldn’t change a thing

    Rating: 5
  13. This carne asada looks like something I want to munch on right now. I am a sucker for a big slice of meat and this fits the bill. Your photos look excellent and I am going to put this on my list of recipes to make.

    Rating: 5
  14. Oh my goodness this looks absolutely delicious! Moist, juicy and simply amazing! I love your photographs too ♥

    Rating: 5
  15. I can see why people come back for seconds. This steak looks perfect!

    Rating: 5
  16. This is the kind of recipe my dad would LOVE and his birthday is coming up so the timing is perfect!

    Rating: 5
  17. I likre the carne asada recipe

    Rating: 5
  18. I’d never heard of Carne asada, but I love grilled meat and your photos make it look so mouth-watering I could eat it now (despite the fact I’m about to go to bed!). I love your serving suggestions! 

    Rating: 5
  19. This looks so juicy and flavorful!! I can’t wait to make it!

    Rating: 5