Carne Asada

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Authentic Carne Asada marinated in a combination of lime juice, orange juice, and cilantro is packed with flavor, makes for the most delicious tacos, and will quickly become a favorite meal.

324 CAL 11g CARBS 16g FAT 34g PROTEIN

Make this juicy Carne Asada recipe the next time you are craving some Mexican cuisine. With the help of homemade citrus marinade, you can use this grilled Carne Asada for some amazing tacos, burritos, salads, and more!

I am taco obsessed these days and my husband and I constantly are searching for the best tacos in Los Angeles. And in LA, there are lots!

One of our tests of a good taco shop is always the salsa, which is true for many taco aficionados. But we have a second test...the carne asada. As such a staple on any taco menu, it should be an item that is delicious every time.

Sadly, I've had my share of overcooked, flavorless steak. But recently, we tried some amazing citrus-marinated carne asada tacos and I have been dreaming of recreating them ever since.

Marinated with a few different citruses, herbs, and spicy peppers, this carne asada recipe has a ton of flavor! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Let me show you what you need.

Mexican carne asada sliced on a plate and served in tortillas with guacamole.

What is Carne Asada?

Carne Asada, which translates to "grilled meat" is a traditional Mexican dish made with marinated grilled beef. Normally flank steak or skirt steak is used.

The steak is marinated in a combination of lime juice, orange juice, spices, and fresh herbs. Then it is grilled and sliced into thin pieces. Carne Asada is used in tacos, usually served with diced cilantro, white onion, and spicy red salsa. It can also be served as a main dish with rice, beans, avocado, and tortillas. These days you will also see carne asada used in burritos, quesadillas, taco salads, nachos, and more. 

How to Make Carne Asada Marinade

Besides lean flank steak, these are the ingredients you'll need to make the carne asada marinade:

  • Citrus: For this citrus-based marinade, I used the juice of a few limes and oranges. I decided to use limes because they tend to be sweeter but you can also use lemons if you are looking for a bit more acidity.
  • Garlic Cloves: I love to add minced garlic cloves to all of my dishes. Fresh garlic really does make a huge difference over garlic powder or even the pre-chopped stuff. It's just so delicious!
  • Jalapeno: By adding minced jalapenos to this carne asada marinade, it adds a layer of spicy to the lean flank steak it really needs. If you don't want it to be too spicy, make sure to remove the seeds from the peppers before adding them in.
  • Cilantro: I know cilantro isn't for everyone, but adding in a few chopped sprigs really complements the flavor notes coming from the limes and oranges.

I also added in some white vinegar and olive to hold this marinade together and balance the flavor out!

Note: For a full list of ingredients and detailed instructions on how to make this carne asada with citrus marinade, take a look at the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!

What To Serve With Carne Asada

When I make this citrus carne asada recipe, I love to slice the meat up thinly and use it to make steak tacos! I'll save some of the chopped cilantro and jalapenos (along with some chopped white onions) to add as toppings for my tacos. Don't forget to squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top!

For a traditional Mexican meal, make these Quick Refried Beans, guacamole, Mexican rice, and spicy salsa. For something new and different, consider trying this creamy Mexican Coleslaw or a Healthy Mexican Street Corn Salad.

Recipe Tips And Ideas for Carne Asada

Follow these tips to make sure that this steak turns out juicy every single time!

  • When marinating the steak, make sure to not let it sit in the marinade for more than 8 hours or the meat will become mushy from the acid in the lime and orange juice.
  • You can use orange juice in this marinade if oranges are unavailable.
  • After you have finished grilling the carne asada, make sure to let it rest so that the juices don't flow out and leave you with a dried piece of steak. Then cut it against the grain into thin slices.
  • If you don't have a grill, you can easily cook this carne asada recipe in the oven and broil it.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top of the steak before serving to give it a fresh and citrusy pop of flavor.
  • If you don't have time to marinate and grill the steak, consider making this Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef. Pop everything in the slow cooker and its ready when you get home. 

Marinated carne asada made with flank steak marinated in lime juice sliced on a plate with fresh cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions About Carne Asada

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers…

What if I can't find flank steak for this carne asada recipe?

If you are unable to find lean flank steak, you can substitute in some skirt steak instead! Be mindful that the cooking times might be different. To cook a skirt steak, let them cook on each side for 3-5 minutes and let it rest after cooking for a juicy piece of meat.

If I use skirt steak, will it taste the same?

They will taste very similar. However, skirt steak tends to have a more meaty, fatty flavor profile than flank steak does. It also tends to have a bit more fat than flank steak.

How long can I store this grilled carne asada in the fridge?

To make sure this meat stays fresh, store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

How to make carne asada without a grill?

If you don't have a grill, this can be broiled in the oven. Preheat the oven and place the carne asada on a baking sheet covered with foil. Then broil the steak for 5-6 minutes per side or until cooked to your liking. Carne asada can also be cooked on a grill pan or cooked in a cast iron skillet.

Grilled carne asada served in tacos with guacamole, cilantro, and salsa being picked up by two hands.

More Delicious Mexican Beef Recipes You’ll Love:

The Recipe
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Carne Asada

324 CAL 11g CARBS 16g FAT 34g PROTEIN
PREP TIME: 2 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 2 Hours, 20 Min
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  • 1.33 lbs. lean flank steak
  • 2 limes, juice
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

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Mix together the lime juice, orange juice, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Carne asada marinade with lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, cilanto, and jalapeno.

Marinate the steak in this mixture for at least 2 hours, but no more than 8 hours in the fridge. Don't marinate for over 8 hours or the meat will become mushy.

Flank steak being marinated in lime juice, orange juice, cilantro, and jalapeno.

When ready to grill, preheat the grill over medium heat. Cook the steak for 6-8 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Let rest for 5 minutes and then slice thinly. (You could also broil this if you don't have a grill.)

Flank steak being grilled for carne asada.

Let the carne asada rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain. serve with fresh cilantro and lime juice.

Grilled carne asada being sliced with a knife into thin slices/
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 324
Calories from Fat 148
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
Saturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 104mg
Sodium 90mg
Total Carbohydrate 11g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 5g
Protein 34g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Carne Asada
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Bill Nerenberg
May 5, 2023 - 18:29
Add a Rating:
Can you use pork shoulder for this recipe?
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January 30, 2024 - 08:41
Pork shoulder needs to be cooked significantly longer to break down and become tender. If you are cooking with pork shoulder, I would use our recipe for classic carnitas.
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September 19, 2023 - 10:56
I haven't tried this with pork shoulder before so I am not sure how it will turn out. Let me know how it turns out if you decide to try it.
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Melissa Tirado
May 11, 2016 - 11:47
I notice there isn't salt listed. Do you finish with salt or is it unnecessary?
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Jessica Srp
October 27, 2021 - 17:28
When you broil... Do you do it on hi or low in the oven? And for how long?
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March 23, 2021 - 09:40
Yes! Finish with salt to taste :)
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