Easy Carne Asada Recipe

Carne asada is a Mexican dish of marinated beef that is typically made from a cut like flank or skirt steak. These steaks may have once been inexpensive back in the day — marinating, after all, is a typical trick for tenderizing an otherwise tough cut — but the preparation is really where the money is at. This recipe's preparation makes for something that recipe developer Christina Musgrave calls "a flavorful and tender steak that is delicious in tacos." Her recipe for carne asada is one she describes as "typical," meaning there are no ingredients here that you wouldn't be likely to find in the carne asada you've ordered from Mexican restaurants or food trucks.

Musgrave tells us this recipe is a fairly easy one, since, as she says, "All you have to do is marinade and grill." Grill, wait, what? Yes, Musgrave chooses to prepare her carne asada on an outdoor barbecue grill, but don't worry if this isn't an option for you. This dish can easily be prepared on the stovetop, as well.

Collect the ingredients for easy carne asada

To make this carne asada, you need two things: steak and marinade. It's the latter of the two, though, that requires a number of different ingredients. For the marinade you'll need a jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper, soy sauce, olive oil, orange and lime juice, and some vinegar. Musgrave herself uses apple cider vinegar, but notes that any kind will do the trick.

Marinate the steak

Chop the jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro, then squeeze the orange(s) and lime(s) and measure out the necessary amount of juice. Mix these ingredients in a bowl along with the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add the steak into the marinade, cover with foil, and allow it to marinate for at least one hour (but ideally up to four) in the fridge.

Cook the steak

Heat up the grill, if you're grilling. If an outdoor grill isn't an option for your, Musgrave does note that "you can use a grill pan," which will fit nicely on the stovetop.

Once your grill or pan is hot, take the steak out of the marinade, shake off the excess, and cook it for 5 minutes on each side, or until it reaches your desired degree of doneness. That's the great thing about flank steak — it's pretty thin, so it doesn't take too long to cook.

Rest and slice the steak

Let the meat rest for 10 minutes once it comes off the heat. This will allow it to retain more of its tasty juices. After the steak is well-rested, you can slice it. Musgrave likes to cut hers at an angle, and reminds us to cut against the grain

Musgrave suggests serving carne asada with tortillas and fresh lime wedges, but says, "Some other ideas would be in taco bowls or a carne asada steak salad." There's no rule saying you can't serve it over rice, either, or even on a bread bun, and you can top it with salsa, cheese, sour cream, or any other dressings that suit your fancy.

Easy Carne Asada Recipe
4.9 from 32 ratings
With this easy carne asada recipe, you can make restaurant-quality tacos right in your own home.
Prep Time
Cook Time
knife on top of steak
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds flank steak
Optional Ingredients
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • tortillas, for serving
  1. Combine the jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, citrus juices, vinegar, oil, soy sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  2. Marinate flank steak in the mixture for 1 to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat a barbecue grill or a pan on the stovetop to medium-high heat.
  4. Take the steak out of the marinade and cook for 5 minutes per side.
  5. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
  6. Serve with lime wedges and tortillas, if desired.
Rate this recipe