This authentic Carne Asada recipe makes the most delicious grilled beef that is perfect for eating on its own or adding to tacos, salads, or burritos!
We love Mexican night at our house! Some of our other favorites are Instant Pot Pork Carnitas, Green Chili Chicken Chimichangas, and Ground Beef Enchiladas.
Authentic Carne Asada Recipe
When it comes to Mexican food, I'm a big fan of the meat. Which is why it's no surprise that I've already shared recipes on here for my favorite carnitas, shredded Mexican beef, and Mexican whole roasted chicken.
But this carne asada recipe definitely is up in the mix with it's amazing flavors of citrus and spice, cooked quickly on the grill on high heat to char the outside and leave the middle pink inside. It's wonderful eaten with a knife and fork like any good grilled steak.
Or you can slice it up thin and use it in any number of other tasty ways. You can actually still taste the rich, delicious flavor of the meat itself, which is complimented, instead of overpowered by the marinade, something that can be tricky to achieve.
One reason I love this quick and easy carne asada recipe is that it takes almost no time to throw the marinade together and stick the meat in the fridge where it can (and should!) hang out for anywhere from 5 to 12 hours so that the flavors can penetrate the meat.
I don't like the meat to marinate any longer than that though because the citrus in the marinade starts to break down the meat too much after 12 hours without adding additional flavor benefit.
Also, you can either just chop things up and throw it in a plastic bag to marinate with the meat, or first blend all of the marinade ingredients together in a blender for a slightly different outer coating and flavor to your carne asada.
I typically just take the first approach because it's easier and one less dish to wash, but it's definitely worth trying the blender approach at least once to see which is your favorite method!
What is the best cut of meat for carne asada?
Traditionally, carne asada, which actually translates to "grilled meat" is made using skirt steak, flank steak, or beef flap meat. The cuts are similar, and I usually tend to go with whichever looks best and is priced best when I'm at the store, although some people are loyal to a particular cut.
With all of these cuts of meat, they taste best when cooked more on the rare/medium-rare side and then thinly sliced across the grain, which gives the most tender bites.
If pressed, I would say that skirt steak is probably my favorite for carne asada (I think it tends to be a little more flavorful and tender), but the photos in this post are of carne asada made with flank steak (which is a leaner cut) and it was also delicious.
Regardless of which cut of meat you choose, carne asada is a great choice for any summer BBQ or cookout, or celebrating Cinco de Mayo!
How to grill carne asada
Grilling your marinated meat for carne asada is really easy and straightforward. It takes less than 15-20 minutes! Here is how to grill carne asada:
- Heat a grill to high heat. As high as your grill will go, whether you are using a gas grill or charcoal.
- Make sure to clean and lightly oil the grates. I use a grill brush to clean my grates off, then use tongs to grab a wad of paper towel dipped in a bowl with a little oil and use that to oil the grates.
- When the grill is hot, add the meat and grill to your desired level of doneness. The time is going to vary somewhat depending on the type of meat you chose and it's thickness, but 5-8 minutes per side is about right across the board in my experience. It should start to char on the outside but still be pink inside.
- Let the carne asada rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain into thin slices.
What should I serve with carne asada?
Carne asada is amazing in carne asada tacos, salads, and burritos, but I think my favorite way of serving it is on it's own with some delicious Mexican sides like these:
Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? What are you planning on serving? Let me know in the comments below!
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Authentic Carne Asada
- 2 pounds skirt steak flank steak, or beef flap meat
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 jalapeno minced with seeds removed
- ½ bunch cilantro chopped
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon pepper
- Place the meat in a large gallon-size zip-tight bag or glass bowl. Mix together all of the remaining marinade ingredients, then pour over the meat. Seal the ziploc bag tightly and squish the marinade around the meat to make sure it is covering all parts of the meat, then place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 5 hours, up to 12 hours.
- Heat a grill to high heat and clean and lightly oil the grates. When the grill is hot, add the meat and grill to your desired level of doneness, between 5-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the meat.
- Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain into thin slices. Serve with tortillas, beans, rice, and pico de gallo.
Reader questions and reviews
Mmmm one of my favorite dinners EVER. Perfect for Cinco de Mayo too! Love all the spices.
Thank you! Yes, the spices make the ingredient list seem a little long, but it's super easy to just grab them out of the cupboard and add them to the marinade!
This gets me excited for grilling season! It looks perfect!
couple weeks back we picked up a seasoned one from the store - Big Mistake !!! Was planning to make our own seasoning for this weekend - and except the chipotle chili powder I have everything else. Definitely going to try.
Holy cow!! This carne asada is so mouth-wateringly delicious! I need to go wipe my face bore making this.
This marinade is amazing! I made it twice back to back just so I could use it as a salad dressing! This definitely made it to the rotation 🙂
This is the only marinade I will use for my carne Asada tacos. It is delicious. Making it again tomorrow.
This recipe has the best flavor, I used the marinade on a pice of bottom round steak. I did not marinate overnight because I didnt have time, so i poured the marinade over the meat and put it in the over on 350 for 5 hours. The meat came out so juicy and tender, I just pulled it apart with my fingers. I made tacos with the meat, definately going to use this recipe again.
I am so glad you liked it! Thank you!