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Carne Asada isn’t just a recipe: it’s an invitation to celebrate. Learn how to make authentic Carne Asada, a popular grilled steak recipe, just like they do in the heart of Mexico.

Carne Asada on a serving platter with grilled vegetables.

Whether it’s a birthday party, a baptism, or just another Saturday night, a simple “I’m making Carne Asada” is an invitation that every Mexican will understand. The subtext is clear: There’s a party, and you’re invited.

And across Southern California, chances are you’ll find delicious Carne Asada over the coals at every backyard party, too. And with good reason! Marinate the meat in advance, then socialize around the grill so everyone can take turns flipping the steak, green onions, and tortillas.

While you might be tempted to serve your meal with rice and beans like you see in Mexican restaurants, the real deal is much simpler: Grilled spring onions (green onions with rounded white bulbs), yellow chiles, and super simple quesadillas made on the grill with the steak are the norm. Serve with guacamole on the side and plenty of ice cold Mexican beer.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Carne Asada Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Carne Asada.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Seasoned salt: Lawry’s is a popular brand, or you can make your own seasoned salt with sugar, paprika, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, cornstarch, and salt.
  • Green onions: Look for the green onions with the large round bulbs if possible (or substitute scallions which are straight at the bottom without any roundness).
  • Caribe chiles: These yellow chiles are commonly served in Mexico. Or, substitute Anaheim chiles. To remove the skins, transfer browned chiles to a plastic bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam, then rub off the skins. Slice the peeled chiles into strips if desired.
  • Steak: Flank steak easy to cook and slice because of its wide, flat shape. Skirt steak is ideal, too, because it has more fat and is buttery and flavorful.
  • Quesadillas: Lay a corn tortilla on the grill and flip until warmed through. Lay a generous slab of melting cheese such as Monterey Jack or Oaxaca cheese over half the tortilla, then fold to close. Continue turning until the quesadilla is hot and the cheese is melted and stretchy.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large shallow dish or zipper-top plastic bag, combine beer, lime juice, onion, cilantro, seasoned salt, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add steak and turn to coat. Marinate at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.
Carne Asada marinating in a zipper bag.
  1. Preheat grill over high heat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grate. Add green onions and chiles over direct heat and grill, turning occasionally, until brown spots start to form, about 5 minutes.
Fennel and peppers roasting on a grill.
  1. Push the grilled vegetables to the side. Remove steak from marinade and shake off excess. Grill steak over direct heat, turning occasionally, according to the thickness of the steak and your preferred doneness temperature: 120 degrees for rare, 130 degrees for medium rare, 140 degrees for medium, 150 degrees for medium well, and 160 degrees for well done.
Carne Asada and vegetables roasting on a grill.
  1. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain. Serve with tortillas, quesadillas, guacamole, grilled green onions, and grilled chiles.
Carne Asada on a serving platter with grilled vegetables.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe starts with 4 pounds of steak, enough for about 8 generous servings of Carne Asada, 8 ounces each (6 ounces after cooking).
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Eat it: Serve everything on a large platter and let people helps themselves. Pile your plate and build tacos after you find your seat. It’s never a bad idea, either, to peel open the cheese quesadillas and pile the meat right in there. Delicious!
Carne Asada on a paper plate with grilled vegetables.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of meat is carne asada?

Carne Asada is literally translated as “grilled beef,” but it’s so much more wonderful than that sounds. It’s typically made from flank steak or skirt steak because they are wide and flat and therefore easy to grill.

Can you serve refried beans with Carne Asada?

You might be tempted to serve Carne Asada with refried beans, and of course you’re free to do what you want. But in Mexico, “We eat beans all day every day! For Carne Asada, we just want meat.” (As told to me by many Mexicans in Aguascalientes.) So, for the most authentic experience, stick to classics like grilled green onions and chiles, guacamole, and super simple quesadillas.

Carne Asada on a paper plates with grilled vegetables.
Carne Asada tacos with guacamole, chiles, and green onions.

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More Mexican favorites

Carne Asada on a serving platter with grilled vegetables.

Carne Asada

Carne Asada isn't just a recipe: it's an invitation to celebrate. Learn how to make authentic Carne Asada, a popular grilled steak recipe, just like they do in the heart of Mexico.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Marinating time 1 hr
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 247

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces Mexican beer
  • 1/4 cup lime juice from 2-3 limes
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro chopped (leaves and tender stems)
  • 1 tablespoon Seasoned salt (see note 1)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch green onions (see note 2)
  • 4 Caribe chiles or other yellow chiles such as Anaheim (see note 3)
  • 4 pounds flank steak or skirt steak (see note 4)
  • Corn tortillas for serving
  • Quesadillas for serving (see note 5)
  • Guacamole for serving

Instructions 

  • In a large shallow dish or zipper-top plastic bag, combine beer, lime juice, onion, cilantro, seasoned salt, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. 
  • Add steak and turn to coat. Marinate at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.
  • Preheat grill over high heat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grate. Add green onions and chiles over direct heat and grill, turning occasionally, until brown spots start to form, about 5 minutes. Push the grilled vegetables to the side.
  • Remove steak from marinade and shake off excess. Grill steak over direct heat, turning occasionally, according to the thickness of the steak and your preferred doneness temperature: 120 degrees for rare, 130 degrees for medium rare, 140 degrees for medium, 150 degrees for medium well, and 160 degrees for well done.
  • Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain. Serve with tortillas, quesadillas, guacamole, grilled green onions, and grilled chiles.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Seasoned salt: Lawry’s is a popular brand, or you can make your own seasoned salt with sugar, paprika, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. Green onions: Look for the green onions with the large round bulbs if possible (or substitute scallions which are straight at the bottom without any roundness).
  3. Caribe chiles: These yellow chiles are commonly served in Mexico. Or, substitute Anaheim chiles. To remove the skins, transfer browned chiles to a plastic bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam, then rub off the skins. Slice the peeled chiles into strips if desired. 
  4. Steak: Flank steak easy to cook and slice because of its wide, flat shape. Skirt steak is ideal, too, because it has more fat and is buttery and flavorful.
  5. Quesadillas: Lay a corn tortilla on the grill and flip until warmed through. Lay a generous slab of melting cheese such as Monterey Jack or Oaxaca cheese over half the tortilla, then fold to close. Continue turning until the quesadilla is hot and the cheese is melted and stretchy.
  6. Yield: This recipe starts with 4 pounds of steak, enough for about 8 generous servings of Carne Asada, 8 ounces each (6 ounces after cooking).
  7. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 6ounces cookedCalories: 247kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 33gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 1248mgPotassium: 595mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 59IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 3mg
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Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. Correction needed,. ingredients say lime juice and directions say lemon juice.
    No big deal I assume it is lime juice just a typo error.
    Sounds like a good recipe that I’m trying tomorrow.