Carne Asada is tender, juicy skirt steak marinated in citrusy Mexican seasonings and grilled
Perfect for tacos, nachos and burritos, or on its own!
Grilling at home is one of the easiest ways to make this amazing restaurant classic. You can also easily cook inside with a grill pan too. Either way you will love the flavors in this easy citrus marinade!
Once marinated the steak cooks in less than 15-minutes! The result is a gorgeous zesty steak ready to use in so many ways
What type of meat is Carne Asada?
Carne Asada is a skirt or flank steak that has been marinated, grilled on hot heat, and thinly sliced. It’s one of the easiest ways to prepare steak and the results are amazing. “Carne” translates to meat and “Asada” means grilled, so it’s the perfect combo. We have made it with both skirt and flank and prefer the tenderness of skirt steak.
Ingredients in Carne Asada marinade:
One of the greatest things about this Carne Asada marinade recipe is how easy it is to make. It comes together in minutes and uses ingredients you likely have on hand.
- Olive Oil or Canola Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
- Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
- Garlic, minced
- Chili Powder, Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, and Onion Powder
- Cilantro, freshly chopped (if you’re a non-cilantro lover just omit)
- Salt and Pepper
The citrus juices are the key to this marinade so be sure to make it with freshly squeezed juices. We like ours with lime and orange juice. However, if you like it more tart, add some lemon juice in place of some of the lime juice, but definitely don’t skip the orange juice. The orange juice helps balance the flavor.
The meat should marinate for at least 2 hours but up to 24 hours. The longer you marinate the more tender the meat when cooked.
How to make classic Carne Asada:
- Chop and then blend all the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl
- Place the skirt or flank steak in an oblong glass baking dish and pour the marinade on top
- Turn the steak pieces to ensure they are well coated with the marinade
- Cover and marinate 2 to 24 hours, turning the meat occasionally while marinating. We generally marinate between 2-10 hours
How to grill marinated Carne Asada:
- When ready to cook start pre-heating the grill on high
- Remove marinated steak from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature to ensure even cooking
- Drain the marinade off of the meat and discard the marinade
- Grill on high heat for about 5-7 minutes per side. Only turn the meat once to ensure a great sear on the meat. You want those beautiful grill marks!
- Skirt and flank steak taste best cooked to medium-rare, which is 130˚F
- Let the meat rest, covered loosely with foil, on a cutting board for about 5-10 minutes to allow those delicious juices to reabsorb back into the meat
- Slice the meat thinly against the grain into thin strips (see tips for cutting against the grain below)
- When prepping for tacos, burritos, or nachos slice further into smaller bite-size pieces
- If you’re using an indoor grill pan follow the same instructions as above. If the pieces are too long just slice in half before searing and cook in batches. You don’t want to overcrowd the grill pan and risk missing a great sear on your meat.
Best way to use grilled skirt steak:
- Tacos – this meat makes the absolute best tacos! We like to keep it simple with chopped onions, cilantro and a few chopped tomatoes in soft corn tortillas
- Burritos – be sure to dice the meat small before adding to your burritos
- Nachos – add shredded cheese, black or pinto beans, salsa, and after baking, top with guacamole and sour cream
How to cut meat against the grain
Cutting meat against the grain ensures it tastes more tender when you’re eating it. Luckily, it’s easy to see the grain in both flank and skirt steak because it looks like lines running through the meat. Simply cut perpendicular to the lines (not parallel). The goal is to cut through the grain which make the meat easier to chew.
Other great Mexican inspired recipes:
We are kind of obsessed with food that hails from Mexico, so be sure to add a few other of our recipes for an amazing full dinner, and top it off with a Spicy Mango Margarita!
- Mini Taco Salad Cups
- Authentic Carnitas
- Spanish Rice
- Turkey Tacos
- Baked Churro Donuts
- Authentic Chile Verde recipe
- Chile Colorado
Carne Asada Recipe
- 2 lbs skirt steak or flank steak
Carne Asada Marinade
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 4 Tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 Tbsp orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Combine all marinade ingredients and whisk to combine
- Place steak pieces in an oblong glass dish. Pour all of the marinade over the steak pieces and turn to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24-hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and allow the meat to come to room temperature.
- Heat charcoal grill (or a gas grill to medium-high) until very hot.
- Remove meat from the marinade.
- Sear meat for about 6-7 minutes on each side. Only turn the meat once. Meat should be nicely charred on both sides.
- Remove meat from grill and let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil, to allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat.
- Slice the meat against the grain into slices, or small pieces for tacos, burritos, or nachos.
Carne Asada Tacos
- Heat soft corn tortillas, fill each with carne asada meat, cilantro, salsa, and diced onions.