Grilled carne asada recipe for the best tacos you ever had

Tender flank steak marinated in citrus juices and grilled to perfection makes for a memorable taco filling. You can also use this delicious grilled carne asada steak to fill burritos, enchiladas, or a taco salad. Heck, it’s so good, you can serve it by itself with a side of chips and guacamole.

Learn how to make it, and why you’d want to, below.

Grilled carne asada with image of carne asada tacos.
©Blog Chef.

Recipe overview: Grilled carne asada

In short form, here’s what you should know about this recipe.

  • Why make it: You’re craving a grilled steak taco from Chipotle. You need an excuse to make a pitcher of margaritas. Friends are coming over to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Or, you have a new grill that you’re itching to try out.
  • What it tastes like: Anytime you put flank steak on a charcoal grill, you’ll get a rich, smokey flavor with a tender mouth feel, punctuated by those crispier, slightly charred grill marks. Pro tip: After grilling the steak, slice it thinly across the grain for the best texture.
  • Risk of recipe failure: We’ve all bombed a recipe now and then. It’s not likely to happen with this one unless you annihilate the steak on the grill. Use a meat thermometer and keep a close watch so that doesn’t happen.
  • How long does it take: Plan to marinate the steak for at least six hours or overnight. From there, the working part of the recipe takes about 20 minutes. That does not include the time it takes to heat up your grill.

Carne asada ingredients and how to use them

The ingredient list for carne asada may look a tiny bit intimidating. Don’t worry. Most of these items are pantry staples. I’m hoping you already have red wine vinegar and vegetable oil on hand, for example.

I have two versions of the ingredient list below for you. The first explains how the ingredient is used and whether there are acceptable substitutions. The second is pure text including measurements — use this one to copy and paste the ingredients into your grocery list app.

  • Flank steak: The recipe calls for 3 pounds, which serves 6 to 8 people. You can alternatively use skirt steak or flap meat.
  • Vinegar: You will use 1/3 cup of white vinegar as the liquid base for the marinade. In a pinch, you could swap in any mild-flavored vinegar. The flavor of the finished dish will be slightly different, however.
  • Olive oil: A 1/2 cup of oil goes into the marinade also. You can use any mild oil as a substitute. Vegetable or canola oil would be fine, but coconut oil would not.
  • Soy sauce: A 1/2 cup soy sauce rounds out the liquid ingredients in your marinade.
  • Lime juice: The juice of two limes imparts the signature tang of carne asada. Fresh juice will deliver the best flavor, but you could use bottled if that’s all you have.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro is also a key ingredient in a carne asada marinade. For this one, you’ll need 2 tablespoons.
  • Garlic: Peel and mince fresh garlic for the best flavor. You’ll use four cloves.
  • Salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, and paprika. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon each of the dry spices.

You can copy and paste this ingredient list to your grocery list (or use the Instacart option below):
3 lbs flank steak
1/3 cup white vinegar
½ cup of soy sauce
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2 limes (juiced)
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika

Cost to make carne asada

If you need to buy every ingredient for this recipe, the total cost runs about $65 or about $10.80 per serving. The bulk of the spend is on the flank steak, which will run you about $12 per pound. You’ll be left with a bunch of pantry ingredients, which lowers your cost on future recipes.

Ways to serve carne asada

Carne asada can be a main course on its own, but it’s often used a filling for tacos or burritos. Try it served in a soft corn tortilla with grilled onions and red bell peppers. Or go big and stuff a giant flour tortilla with carne asada, rice, beans, and guacamole.

You might also try carne asada totchos, carne asada quesadilla, or carne asada fries.

Equipment needed for grilled carne asada

You will use a sealable bag, a sharp knife, measuring spoons, and a grill to make this recipe. If you don’t have a grill, you can also cook the steak in a heavy pan on the stovetop.

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Carne asada prepared and stuffed into soft corn tortillas.

  1. Place flank steak in a large bowl. In a medium bowl whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, garlic cloves, lime juice, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and paprika. Mix until well blended.
  2. Cover, place into the refrigerator and marinate for at least 8 hours.
  3. Remove the steak from the refrigerator an hour before you plan to start grilling.
  4. Heat up your grill.
  5. Grill the steak for four minutes, flip and insert a thermometer. For medium-rare doneness, remove it from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 135°F or 57°C.
  6. Let the steak rest for five minutes, then slice and serve.


To cook the carne asada on the stovetop, follow steps 1 through 3. Then heat canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, undisturbed for 4 minutes. Then flip and cook another 4 minutes for a medium level of doneness. Rest, slice, and serve.

  • Author: Blog Chef
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Additional Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Beef recipes
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 625
  • Sugar: 1
  • Sodium: 1649
  • Fat: 37
  • Saturated Fat: 10
  • Unsaturated Fat: 23
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 5
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 65
  • Cholesterol: 170
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