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Carne Asada

4.8 from 5 votes

posted: 04/28/24

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Carne Asada is an easy recipe that you will fall in love with. Flank steak is marinated in the best sauce and grilled to perfection. It makes for the best tacos!

overhead of a serving dish with grilled and cut up carne asada garnished with fresh jalapeños, tomatoes, and lime wedges

My family has a great little loveseat and chairs with a coffee table on our patio, and we love grilling out there and then huddling around the coffee table to eat. It is intimate and sweet and may be the definition of summer happiness for me.

This carne asada recipe is perfect for a summer family dinner. My kids love this recipe, and my husband and I do too! It’s great on tacos or just on a plate with a heaping pile of pico de gallo on top.

What is Carne Asada

Carne asada is a grilled beef dish. Usually it is made with flank or skirt steak. Traditionally the meat is marinated in a flavorful marinade, often made of oranges, before being grilled over high heat. You can read all of the ingredients for my great carne asada marinade below.

overhead view of a flank steak in a large glass mixing bowl surrounded by an orange, limes, jalapeños, and a marinade

Carne Asada Marinade

Marinades are a great way to not only impart flavor into meat, but also to tenderize it. Flank steak really needs to be marinated in order for it to be the tender delicious cut of beef it can be.

You will need the following ingredients for the carne asada marinade recipe. Please keep in mind that the full measurements can be found at the bottom of the post in the recipe card.

  • Fresh Orange and Lime Juice: These two citrus fruits bring both flavor and acid to the marinade. The acid is important because it is what tenderizes the meat.
  • Olive Oil: This provides a lot of great flavor to the marinade, can help carry the flavor of other ingredients into the meat, and also helps in the grilling process.
  • Vinegar: Also helps in tenderizing the meat.
  • Kosher Salt: Both provides flavor and helps break down the meat to allow the flavors of the marinade to get in.
  • Black Pepper, Garlic, Fresh Jalapeño, and Fresh Cilantro: All bring great flavor to this meat. Read more below on adding cilantro.

Please note that flank steak (and skirt steak) needs to marinate between 6 and 24 hours. You don’t want to marinate it for more than 24 hours or the marinade will break down the meat in an unfavorable way, resulting in a gummy texture.

carne asada marinade being poured over skirt steak in a large glass mixing bowl

Flank Steak

Carne asada is traditionally made with flank steak or skirt steak. Both are wonderful, pieces of meat that lend to marinating very well with their large surface area and loose grain. Pictured here is flank steak, but you can use either flank or skirt. You can read about the difference between them in my Grilled Flank Steak recipe.

This piece of meat is great for grilling. It tastes best when you marinate and then grill it over high heat for a short amount of time until you reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare.

Using Cilantro in Marinade

If you are someone who is genetically pre-disposed to taste soap when you taste fresh cilantro, don’t scroll away! There is something chemical that happens with the cilantro when it is combined with orange juice. This is true in this great recipe as well as in my Street Tacos. My husband can’t eat anything with cilantro, but loves both of these dishes. I’m convinced that the acid in the orange juice neutralizes whatever it is in cilantro that causes that soap taste.

overhead of carne asada meat on cutting board, sliced thin and topped with fresh cilantro

Instant Read Thermometer

This instant read thermometer is perfect for grilling with. It will tell you exactly when to pull the meat off, and it even has an alarm so you know when you are getting close.
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How to Cook Carne Asada

As mentioned above, get the full recipe with measurements and detailed instructions at the bottom of the post.

  1. Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the beef in a reusable container. Using tongs, turn the beef over a few times before refrigerating for 6 to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat your grill. When it is time to cook the beef, turn your grill to high heat.
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade. Allow the meat to drip a little over the container so that excess marinade falls off.
  4. Grill the meat for six to seven minutes over high heat. Flip and cook for another six to seven minutes or until you reach desired doneness. For best results, use an instant read thermometer rather than the timer, removing the meat when you hit 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the meat.
  5. Let the meat rest. Allowing freshly cooked meat sit for a minute gives the meat time to redistribute the juices throughout the meat. If you slice in right away it will rush out.
  6. Slice thin and serve. You can eat this just as is, or you can make it into delicious carne asada tacos.
overhead of a plate of carne asada meat in tacos, topped with cojito cheese, onions, and jalapeños

Stove Top Version

If you don’t own a grill or you are in the middle of winter and you need a great taco, fear not! You can absolutely make carne asada on a grill pan or in a cast iron skillet. I like using this cast iron grill pan, because it is the best of both worlds and cooks meat perfectly.


Cast Iron Grill Pan

This amazing pan works as a great grill pan. But it is reversible, so it works as a griddle too!
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Serving Carne Asada

Carne asada meat is delicious on its own topped with more fresh cilantro and diced jalapeños. It’s also fantastic as an ingredient in other recipes. For example, they would be a great addition to tostadas. It would be amazing in a burrito with some beans, salsa, and cilantro lime rice. My favorite way to eat it is in tortillas with my pico de gallo as tacos or simply topped with cilantro, diced jalapeños, diced onions and cotija cheese as you see here. And of course, I think you should make margaritas to go with them.

The Best Pico de Gallo Recipe

This recipe comes together with just a few fresh ingredients and is perfect for eating with chips or on top of tacos. This recipe is a keeper!
bowl of pico de gallo recipe
close up of a carne asada taco, topped with jalapeños, onions, cilantro, and cotija cheese

Other Great Mexican Inspired Recipes

  • Slow Cooker Carnitas: This is the perfect meal to come home to. Delicious and easy to make, just let your slow cooker do the work.
  • Fish Taco Recipe: Only 20 minutes for this fantastic and healthy dinner recipe.
  • Steak Fajita Recipe: This is a major hit in our house, we make it all the time because everyone loves it.

If you make this Carne Asada Recipe or any of my other recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

overhead of a serving dish with grilled and cut up carne asada garnished with fresh jalapeños, tomatoes, and lime wedges
4.80 from 5 votes

Carne Asada

Serves: 6 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 6 hours 22 minutes
Carne Asada is an easy recipe that you will fall in love with. Flank steak is marinated in the best sauce and grilled to perfection. It makes for the best tacos!


  • 2 pounds flank steak or skirt steak read more about flank steak here (907.2 grams)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (66.7 grams or 78.9 ml)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice the juice from one orange
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 jalapeno diced small
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped; if cilantro tastes like soap to you, read this (4 grams)


  • In a large measuring cup, mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Mix until smooth.
    1/3 cup olive oil, 4 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 4 garlic cloves, 1 jalapeno, 1/4 cup cilantro
  • Add the flank steak to a large mixing bowl or other reusable container. Pour the marinade over it. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours but not longer than 24 hours.
    2 pounds flank steak or skirt steak
  • When ready to make, preheat your grill to high heat. (Read here about how to make this recipe indoors or without a grill.)
  • Remove the meat from the marinade and shake gently to remove the excess marinade. Discard the remaining marinade.
  • Place the marinated meat on the grill and grill for 6 to 7 minutes on each side or until desired doneness using an instant read thermometer. Rather than relying on time, using an instant read thermometer and removing the meat from the grill when the thickest part of the meat reads 140 degrees Fahrenheit will yield perfect results.
  • Serve topped with more fresh cilantro and diced jalapeños, pico de gallo, or put in tacos.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
overhead of a serving dish with grilled and cut up carne asada garnished with fresh jalapeños, tomatoes, and lime wedges

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Carne Asada

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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  1. Cathy says

    This looks completely amazing! We’ll definitely be making it!

  2. Manuel says

    4 stars
    i enjoy your page but just some extra info for fellow readers.. Skirt Steak is uusually for Fajitas( the cut of beef called the Faja or falda de res in Spanish. that dish is dish in Mexico is normally called ” Arrachera”rough meat”) because the skirt steak’s membrane is not often cleaned and thus the meat not as tender as its counterpart north of the border. Carne Asada is short for “Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña” and is traditionally Sirloin steak flavored with bitter oranges. It’s a dish made famous in Tampico, Mexico that was inspired by the native Huastec People of theTamaulipas Gulf of Mexico region. Bitter oranges and Vinegar being strong staples of the Huastec civilization’s culinary style.

  3. Maria says

    5 stars
    Jus want to say thank you so much for sharing all your amazing recipes! They are healthy, easy and delicious! I used this marinade too for shrimp ceviche came fantastic, and of course the meat so tender and flavorful love it. Thank you!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it, Maria!

  4. Michelle Tassone says

    Can’t wait to try making ,wish I was able to grill the meat. Do you feel that broiling or pan frying the steak compribal ways to cook the steak

    • Lisa Longley says

      I think that could work!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners