Tender steak marinated in citrus juices, soy sauce, and a few warm spices, this Carne Asada recipe results in perfectly flavored, juicy steak. Enjoy with Mexican rice and salad or add to tacos, burritos, and more.
The Best Carne Asada Recipe
Carne asada is one of my favorite Mexican dishes – and maybe one of my favorite grilled steak dishes in general. My version of this popular recipe is so tender and juicy that each slice of beef all but melts in your mouth!
While you can turn this into the main entre when served with a few sides, it’s so universal in that you can make SO many different dishes with carne asada. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more. You can even add it to salads. However you choose to serve it, carne asada will add a burst of flavor to any meal.
What Is Carne Asada?
Carne asada is a popular Mexican steak recipe. The name literally translates to “grilled meat” but it specifically refers to a dish made with skirt steak or flank steak marinated in citrus juices and a few other ingredients. It’s then grilled and thinly sliced. It can be served as the main course or added to other dishes like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.
This skirt steak recipe is made with several different citrus juices, soy sauces, and a handful of other ingredients. See the recipe card below for details.
- Steak – See the notes below on the best steak for carne asada.
- Avocado oil –
- Soy sauce – Adds savory undertones to the marinade.
- Citrus juice – This marinade is made with a combination of grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange juices.
- Fresh cilantro – Cilantro is frequently added to Mexican dishes and adds more flavor to this recipe.
- Brown sugar – A little brown sugar helps to balance out the tart citrus flavors.
- Spices – Salt, pepper, ground cumin, and chili powder add additional flavor and a bit of heat to the carne asada.
What Cut of Beef Is Best For Carne Asada?
For carne asada, you want a thin and tender cut of beef. Skirt steak is most commonly used to make this Mexican steak recipe but flank steak is another good option.
How to Make Carne Asada
Here’s how to make this classic Mexican steak recipe.
- Prepare the marinade. Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients until combined.
- Marinate the steak. Place the steak in 2″ dish, pour the marinade over the top, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Flip the steak every hour.
- Cook the steak. Brush the pan with avocado oil then once hot, sear the steak for 5 to 6 minutes on both sides. It should reach an internal temperature of 125F, which will continue to rise as it sets.
- Rest and serve. Allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes or so, then slice and serve with lime wedges and cilantro.
How Long Should The Steak Marinate?
I recommend letting the steak marinate for 2-4 hours to really allow the flavors to infuse but you can let it marinate for as little as 20 minutes.
However, I do not recommend letting it marinate for more than 4 hours. The acidity from the fruits starts to break down the meat too much.
Tips for Success
Here are a few helpful tips for making the best carne asada.
- Use whatever citrus you have on hand. Feel free to use any combination of citrus juices you love or can get, they are all interchangeable. I do recommend using a few different ones for a variety of flavor.
- Do I have to use freshly squeezed juice? You can use ¼ cup of store-bought orange juice and grapefruit juice in place of the fresh fruit. I don’t recommend using lime juice concentrate, the flavor is very strong and overpowering.
- Always let the steak rest before serving. Do not skip the step of letting the steak rest, this process finishes cooking the meat and holds in all the juices.
- Slice against the grain. You should always cut marinated skirt steak (or flank steak) against the grain to achieve that soft, tender texture.
Ways to Serve Carne Asada
This delightfully tender carne asada can be served as the star of the show, with a simple side and some Mexican rice or lime rice (or lime cauliflower rice).
My favorite way to serve it, however, is in tacos. Carne asada tacos are one of my all-time favorites and I love making them whenever I get the chance.
Slices of carne asada can also be added to burritos and quesadillas. It can also make a flavorful addition to salads.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Leftover grilled skirt steak can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. I recommend quickly reheating on the stovetop to avoid overcooking the steak.
More Beef Recipes:
For the marinade:
- 2 Pounds Flank Steak or Skirt Steak
- ¼ Cup Avocado Oil
- ⅓ Cup Soy Sauce
- Juice from ½ a Grapefruit
- Juice from 1 Lemon
- Juice from 2 Limes
- Juice from 1 Orange
- 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro Chopped
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
- 2 Pound Marinated Flank Steak or Skirt Steak
For the Marinade
- Place the steak in a 2” deep rectangle baking dish such as a pyrex dish.
- Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Pour the marinade over the steak and cover.
- Let marinade in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, flipping the steak over every hour.
- Heat a cast iron grill or skillet over medium high heat until lightly smoking. Brush the 1 tablespoon of avocado oil on the pan and add the steak to the pan. (you may have to cut the steak in half before cooking to fit and cook in 2 batches) Sear the steak 5-6 minutes on both sides until it reaches an internal temperature of 125℉. Remove the steak from the pan and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. (the internal temperature of the steak will rise by 5-10 degrees while resting)
- Slice and serve with lime wedges and cilantro. Enjoy!