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If you’re looking for an authentic Carne Asada recipe – this is it! Grilled Carne Asada tastes better and looks more beautiful than it has a right to, if you judge a meal by the amount of effort it takes. And it’s a sensory pleasure before it even touches the grill!

Carne Asada steak thinly sliced across the grain

As you squeeze fresh orange, lime and lemon juices for the marinade, then whisk in cilantro, garlic and jalapeño, the aroma that floats up to your nose is nothing short of heavenly. Then the steak cooks hot and fast, on your table in about 20 minutes, complete with gorgeous grill marks and a perfectly pink and tender interior.

Ingredients You Need to Make Carne Asada

Carne Asada Ingredients on a white marble board.
  • Steak: outside skirt steak is best for tenderness and flavor, but flank steak is also an option
  • Jalapeño: with the seeds if you like for extra spicy kick
  • Garlic: fresh garlic cloves
  • Fresh Cilantro: both the 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
  • Olive Oil: extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground Cumin
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Carne Asada Marinade

Carne Asada marinade is an essential part of making this recipe authentic! Zesty, fresh citrus juices (lime juice, orange juice, and lemon juice) and apple cider vinegar tenderize the beef, while fresh cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper season it to perfection. It’s important to give the meat plenty of time to marinate, a minimum of 1 hour and up to 8 hours, to soak up all of the delicious flavors!

Carne Asada in a glass dish covered in marinade.

FAQ

What is carne asada?

The literal translation of the term means Carne (flesh, meat or beef) and Asada (roast, broiled, grilled), typically translated to ‘Grilled Meat’ and most often is seared in some way for that signature charred flavor (which you can get with a grill pan too using my recipe for Carne Asada in the oven.)

What cut of beef is used for carne asada?

There are several cuts of beef used to make Carne Asada including sirloin and tenderloin, but most recipes call for either flank steak or skirt steak. I’ve tried both and definitely prefer outside skirt steak for its flavor and texture. Either way you’ll want to thinly slice the steak across the grain before serving for maximum tenderness!

Carne Asada thinly cut on a cutting board and ready to serve.

How Long to Grill?

Grill the steak over a medium-high flame for 7 to 10 minutes until it reaches 130°F for medium rare, 10 to 12 minutes until it reaches 140°F for medium. (The steak will continue to cook once you’ve removed it from the grill.) Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Carne asada cooking on the grill.

How to Serve

This grilled Mexican steak is perfect any time you have plans for an outdoor get together with friends and family. But be sure you make plenty (or make Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas to go with it!) Serve it on its own, or with warm tortillas, fresh pico de gallo and all the toppings for: 

How to Store

Store leftover carne asada in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or freeze in a freezer safe ziptop bag or container for up to 2 months.

How to Make Carne Asada

Combine all marinade ingredients in a large, glass baking dish. Add raw skirt steak or flank steak, turning to coat and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours (any longer will start to break down the meat).

how to make carne asada step by step

Recipe Video

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Carne Asada Recipe

5 from 39 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 344
Servings: 6 people
A trifecta of citrus juices makes this grilled Carne Asada especially succulent!

Ingredients  

  • 2 pounds skirt steak trimmed of excess fat (recipe note #2)

Carne Asada Marinade

  • 1 jalapeño seeded and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • 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 – recipe note #3).
  • When you're ready to grill: preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Grill steaks for 7 to 10 minutes per side, turning once for medium-rare. Remove steaks and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice thinly across the grain and serve.

Notes

  1. To make this version, we started with a recipe from Tyler Florence and switched it up to make it our own: swapping in apple cider vinegar, reducing the oil a bit and adding a third citrus flavor (lemon) and some cumin. Adding lemon juice to the mix happened by chance. I’d just finished a batch of homemade tonic water which left us with a slew of lemons, limes and oranges, flesh and juice intact, sans zest. And I love the citrus trifecta – now I may always use making tonic water as an excuse to make Carne Asada!
  2. Ask your butcher or grocery meat counter for ‘outside skirt steak’ for the most flavorful and juicy results.
  3. Note that the longer you marinate the skirt steak, the more tender and flavorful it will be come. But be sure to grill it within 8 hours to maintain the texture of the meat.

Nutrition

Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 489mg | Potassium: 469mg | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 4.4mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Leave a comment & rate the recipe below!

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112 Comments

  1. Mary Sheridan says:

    This is my go to marinade, it is easy, you usually have most of the ingredients and it taste wonderful. Many people of asked me for the recipe.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I’m so happy to hear this, Mary! Thank you for letting me know.

  2. Debbie says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe, made it for dinner and wish I had taken a photo as it’s all gone!!! It was so flavorful, I did add a few more garlic cloves, we like garlic! Other than that, the recipe is 100% fantastic as is. 🙂

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I’m so glad to hear this, Debbie! Thank you for coming back to let me know!

  3. Mojo says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe. My boys ate it up!! I took some liberties…
    1/2 cup of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the jalapeño, 1 T brown sugar and 7 cloves garlic.
    I cooked it in a cast iron skillet I had in the oven at 500. Took it out and placed on stove top on high. 2 T olive oil then seared 2 min a side. (Lots of smoke…boys had fun, opening doors to let it out at -10 in Northern MN). I put it back in oven still at 500 until instant read thermometer read 130. Then rested covered w tin foil 5 min. Delicious!!! I forgot to save marinade that wasn’t tainted with raw meat, to mix in end game. Boys were licking the marinade bowl.
    Than oh s again for the recipe!!!!
    Highly recommend.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      haha…thanks so much. Glad you and your boys enjoyed this and made it your own!

  4. Beth says:

    5 stars
    This was outstanding and packs great flavor. I only changed 1 thing. I reduced the amount of apple cider vinegar to 1 tbsp. These remind me of when I lived in
    OB in Socal. Love this thanks for sharing.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      So glad this was a hit, Beth! Thank you for coming back to let me know!

  5. Valentina says:

    Hi Marissa. My son requested carne asada a couple of days ago, and I remembered seeing this here. Made it last night and it was fantastic! I made extra marinade and for my younger vegetarian son, I tossed it with onion, zucchini and peppers and sautéed it. Delicious. Your recipes are always spot on. 🙂 Valentina

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      You’re so kind, Valentina, thank you. I’m so glad this was a hit with you and your family and what a great idea to use the marinade for veggies!