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Making Carne Asada in the oven is a great way to enjoy the quintessential Mexican dish when an outdoor grill isn't an option (or you just don't feel like grilling!). You can achieve that same succulent, melt-in-your-mouth steak in the oven with a cast iron grill pan.
While carne asada may look like a typical steak at first glance, the flavors tell a different story. Particularly in this version with vinegar and an aromatic trifecta of citrus (orange, lemon, and lime juice) for tenderness, and cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, and cumin for mouthwatering flavor.
Ingredients You Need to Make Carne Asada
- Steak: outside skirt steak is best for tenderness and flavor, but flank steak will also work
Carne Asada Marinade
- Jalapeño: leave the seeds if you like for extra spicy kick
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves
- Fresh Cilantro: tender leaves and stems
- Orange: juice of 1 fresh orange
- Lime: juice of 1 fresh lime
- Lemon: juice of 1 fresh lemon
- Apple Cider Vinegar: or white vinegar if that's what you have on hand
- Olive Oil: ideally extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor
- Ground Cumin
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Though most people translate “carne asada” as “grilled meat,” “asada” is actually a more flexible adjective that can be used to describe roasting, broiling, or grilling. So making carne asada in the oven isn't cheating at all!
Choosing the Right Pan
A cast iron grill pan is ideal for this recipe (And for another reader favorite, Chicken Kabobs in the oven). Preheating the grill pan, starting in a cold oven, means that it's sizzling hot when you add the marinated steak. So you get that lovely sear that you expect from an outdoor grill.
That said, if you don’t have a grill pan, broiling the steak in a foil lined baking sheet is a great option too. Directions for both in the recipe card.
Choosing the Right Cut of Steak
Most carne asada recipes call for skirt steak or flank steak. If you have the option, I recommend outside skirt steak for its texture and taste.
How to Know When Your Carne Asada is Ready
Inserting an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the thickest part of your steak is the most accurate check for doneness - 130°F for medium rare, 10 to 12 minutes until it reaches 140°F for medium. (The steak will continue to cook during the resting period before slicing). This works best if your steak is at least ½-inch thick.
- Rice Cooker Mexican Rice or Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Chips with Salsa Guacamole and/or Pico de Gallo
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Mexican Corn on the Cob
- Homemade Refried Black Beans or Refried Beans
- Grilled Carne Asada (during grilling season)
- Carne Asada Nachos
- Carne Asada Burritos
- Carne Asada Fries
- Carne Asada Quesadillas
- Carne Asada Steak Salad
- Carne Asada Tacos
How to Make Carne Asada in the Oven
Combine skirt steak with carne asada marinade ingredients in a large glass baking dish whisk together; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to to 8 hours.
To cook: Preheat a cast iron grill pan (see recipe card for broiling option) to 425˚F, starting in a cold oven. Remove preheated grill pan with oven mitts and brush lightly with vegetable oil. Add steaks in a single layer (they should sizzle) and cook 4 to 7 minutes per side, 130°F for medium-rare. Transfer steak to cutting board; let rest 5 minutes then slice across the grain and serve.
Carne Asada in the Oven
- 2 pounds skirt steak trimmed of excess fat
Carne Asada Marinade
- 1 jalapeño seeded and minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
- juice of 1 orange
- juice of 1 lime
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a large glass baking dish whisk together Carne Asada marinade ingredients (jalapeño through black pepper) until combined. Add skirt steak in a single layer, turning to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but no longer than 8 hours (longer will begin to break down the meat).
Grill Pan Instructions
- Add cast iron grill pan to cold oven and preheat oven to 425˚F.
- With oven mitts, remove preheated grill pan from oven and brush lightly with vegetable oil. Arrange steaks in a single layer on grill pan (they should sizzle when they touch the pan). Place in oven and cook 8 to 14 minutes (depending on steak thickness), flipping steaks half way through cooking time for medium-rare (remove from oven when internal temperature reads 130°F).
- Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Adjust oven rack so that your steak will be about 2 to 3 inches from the heat. Set the oven to broil on high.
- Place marinated steak on prepared baking sheet and broil 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on your desired doneness. (130˚F for medium-rare, 140˚F for medium, 160˚F for well done).
- Transfer steak to cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain and serve.
- Ask your butcher or grocery meat counter for 'outside skirt steak' for the most flavorful and juicy results.
- Note that the longer you marinate the skirt steak, the more tender and flavorful it will become. But be sure to cook it within 8 hours to maintain the texture of the meat.
- For the juiciest steak, I recommend cooking to medium-rare. If you prefer to cook it longer, here are your target internal temperatures before resting the meat: 140˚F for medium, 160˚F for well done.