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!

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!

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.

An image of a white plate of thinly sliced flank steak marinated in citrus juices, oil, chilies, spices, and cilantro and grilled for carne asada tacos.

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!

An image of a piece of flank steak in the best carne asada marinade.

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!

An image of a plate of grilled carne asada with charro beans, mexican street corn, guacamole, and soft flour tortillas.

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:

  1. Heat a grill to high heat.  As high as your grill will go, whether you are using a gas grill or charcoal.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Let the carne asada rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain into thin slices.

An image of a plate of grilled flank stead made with a quick and easy carne asada recipe, with mexican pinto beans and mexican street corn on the side.

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:

An image with a full mexican dinner for cinco de mayo with charro beans, flour tortillas, grilled Mexican street corn, and carne asada sliced into thin strips.

Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? What are you planning on serving? Let me know in the comments below!

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe
Yield: 6 people

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe

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!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds skirt steak, flank steak, or beef flap meat
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 jalapeno, minced with seeds removed
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. 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.  
  2. 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.  
  3. 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.  

Notes

Adapted from All Recipes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313 Saturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 95mg Sodium: 838mg Carbohydrates: 9g Sugar: 5g Protein: 34g

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