Best Carne Asada Recipe for delicious Mexican cuisine at home!

Hey there, fellow outdoor cooking enthusiasts! If you’re like me, nothing beats the thrill of firing up the grill and savoring the smoky, savory goodness of Carne Asada. In this article, I’ll share my favorite recipe for the best Carne Asada, along with some essential tips to elevate your grilling game. Let’s get started!

Carne Asada Recipe Origins

Carne Asada literally translates to “grilled meat” in Spanish and has a rich history that traces its roots to Mexico. It’s a dish celebrated for its bold flavors and simplicity. Over the years, it has become a beloved outdoor cooking tradition, perfect for gatherings with friends and family.

Selecting the Perfect Cut of Meat

The key to fantastic Carne Asada recipe is starting with the right cut of meat. I recommend using flank steak or skirt steak. These cuts are thin, well-marbled, and ideal for absorbing the marinade.

Flank Steak

Flank steak is a top choice for Carne Asada due to its rich flavor. It’s slightly leaner than skirt steak but equally delicious when marinated correctly. 

Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is another excellent option, known for its tenderness. It’s slightly fattier than flank steak, adding a delightful juiciness to the final dish.

Marinating: The Key to Flavor

Marinating Magic

The magic of Carne Asada lies in the marinade. To infuse your steak  with flavor, marinate it for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate deeply, resulting in a mouthwatering taste.

The Perfect Marinade

A classic Carne Asada marinade includes ingredients like lime juice, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and a dash of chili powder. My carne asada recipe includes jalapeño for that added kick.

Authentic Carne Asada Recipe

Take your Carne Asada to the next level with this spicy jalapeño-infused marinade. Here’s what you’ll need to make carne asada.

Carne Asada Marinade Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
  • Fresh orange juice from 1 orange
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed (adjust for desired spiciness), finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil


  1. Prepare the Citrus: Squeeze the one orange and fresh limes to extract 1/3 cup of lime juice, providing a zesty base for your marinade. 
  2. Add the Heat: Finely chop 1-2 jalapeño peppers, depending on how spicy you want your marinade. Remember to remove the seeds and ribs for milder heat or leave them in for an extra kick.
  3. Enhance the Aromatics: Mince 4 cloves of garlic and chop 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro. These ingredients will contribute to the vibrant flavor of your marinade.
  4. Spice It Up with Seasonings: In a bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of chili powder. Adjust the chili powder quantity to match your desired spice level.
  5. Season with Salt and Pepper: Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, ensuring your marinade is perfectly seasoned.
  6. Mix It Together: Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil into the bowl. Stir the ingredients thoroughly to create a well-balanced marinade with a tantalizing hint of jalapeño heat.

The Jalapeño Kick

The addition of jalapeños not only adds spiciness but also a unique, smoky flavor that pairs wonderfully with grilled meat. Adjust the number of jalapeños to suit your taste buds.

Now that you’ve prepared this spicy jalapeño Carne Asada marinade, generously coat cut of beef and let it marinate for at least 4 hours, but no longer than 8 hours as the lime juice will start to cook the meat. During this time, the flavors will meld, infusing your Carne Asada with a spicy and zesty punch.

Enjoy the delightful heat and flavor of this jalapeño-enhanced Carne Asada at your next outdoor grilling adventure

Marinating Safety Rules:

  1. Use a Food-Safe Container: When marinating Carne Asada, always use a food-safe container like a glass or plastic container, or a resealable plastic bag. Avoid using metal containers, as certain acidic ingredients in the marinade can react with metal and affect the taste.
  2. Refrigerate Promptly: After preparing the marinade and covering the meat with it, refrigerate the marinating meat immediately. Bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, so keep it cold to prevent foodborne illnesses.
  3. Marinate in the Refrigerator: Ensure that the Carne Asada marinates in the refrigerator, not on the countertop. The refrigerator temperature (40°F or 4°C) helps slow down bacterial growth.
  4. Keep Meat Covered: Always keep the meat covered while it’s marinating. This prevents cross-contamination with other foods and helps maintain the quality of the marinade.
  5. Reserve Marinade: If you plan to use the marinade as a sauce or for basting during cooking, set aside a portion before adding it to the raw meat. Never reuse marinade that has come into contact with raw meat.

Storing Safety Rules:

  1. Label and Date: If you have leftover marinated Carne Asada, label the container with the date to keep track of its freshness. Marinated meat is typically safe for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
  2. Store at Proper Temperature: Store marinated Carne Asada in the coldest part of your refrigerator, usually near the back. Ensure the temperature remains at or below 40°F (4°C).
  3. Use an Airtight Container: Transfer the marinated meat to an airtight container for storage. This helps prevent the absorption of odors from other foods in the fridge.
  4. Don’t Overstore: Avoid storing marinated meat for an extended period. Use it within a day or two for the best quality and safety.
  5. Thaw Safely: If you freeze marinated Carne Asada, do so in airtight freezer-safe bags or containers. When thawing, do it in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature to prevent bacterial growth.

By following these safety rules, you can enjoy delicious and safe Carne Asada without any concerns about foodborne illnesses or quality degradation.

Cooking on Open Flames

Carne asana


Do You Need a Grill?

Grilling vs. Alternatives

While a grill imparts that smoky charred flavor, you can still enjoy Carne Asada without one. A cast iron skillet or griddle on high heat can work wonders, especially if you live in an apartment or don’t have access to a grill.

Searing the Steak

Whether on a grill or a hot skillet, sear your marinated flank steak or skirt steak  for 4-6 minutes per side, depending on thickness. This creates that delicious caramelized crust.

Medium-Rare Perfection

For a perfect medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C). Use a meat thermometer to get it just right. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then, skillfully  slice the steak across the grain into thin pieces. Serve promptly, accompanied by additional salsa, lime wedges, avocado, onions, cilantro, and tortillas on the side.

Now comes the exciting part – serving your mouthwatering Carne Asada.

Here are some other serving suggestions to make your meal complete:

Carne Asada Tacostacos

Wrap your thinly sliced Carne Asada in a taco, warm corn tortillas or burrito and top with fresh salsa, guacamole, and a squeeze of lime.

Rice and Beans

Pair your Carne Asada with Spanish rice and refried beans for a hearty, satisfying meal.

Grilled Veggies

Grilled bell peppers and onions make fantastic side dishes that complement the smoky flavors of your meat.


There you have it – the recipe for the best authentic Carne Asada, straight from the grill of an outdoor cooking enthusiast. The right cut of meat, a flavorful marinade, and a sizzling grill (or skillet) are the keys to success.  I’ve been making this recipe for years and it’s always loved by my family and friends. So, fire up your outdoor cooking station and treat yourself to a taste of Mexico’s culinary heritage. Enjoy!


Q1: What cuts of meat can I use?

You can use skirt steak or flank steak for the best results. They’re thin, flavorful, and perfect for Carne Asada.

Q2: How long should I marinate the steak?

Marinate your steak for at least 4 hours, or overnight for the best flavor infusion.

Q3: Is it necessary to use a grill?

While a grill adds a smoky touch, you can still make delicious Carne Asada using a hot skillet or griddle.

Q4: Can I adjust the spiciness of the marinade?

Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the spice levels in the marinade to suit your personal taste.

Q5: What’s the ideal internal temperature for medium-rare Carne Asada?

Aim for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C) for that perfect medium-rare doneness. Use a meat thermometer for precision.


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Jason Burbington

What started an an insatiable appetite for culinary exploration has evolved into a yearning to share all I have learnt. I look forward to providing valuable information, including detailed guides, tips, recipes, product reviews, and inspiring stories to empower individuals to elevate their outdoor cooking game.

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