Quick-Seared Carne Asada Recipe – You’ll love this easy, authentic carne asada marinade recipe and How to Cook Carne Asada in a skillet instructions. This flavorful, juicy steak is perfect for making carne asada tacos, carne asada fries, or enjoying with fresh veggies as a low carb dish!

Carne Asada Recipe with avocado and lime - How to Cook Carne Asada

Carne Asada Marinade Recipe

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, I’ve been cooking up muchas recetas mexicanas en la cucina. (Many Mexican recipes in my kitchen.)

I know, I know… Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States than it is in Mexico. And I realize it’s just an excuse for us to party with margaritas and queso dip. Yet as far as I’m concerned, any holiday worth celebrating should involve lively music and good food, so Cinco de Mayo has got my vote.

All week I’ve got Mexican-inspired recipes for you, to help with the festivities. Today we’re starting with an all-time favorite, Carne Asada Steak.

What Is Carne Asada?

An authentic Carne Asada recipe usually consists of a heavily seasoned marinade and a slab of skirt steak or flank steak. The steak soaks in the marinade for hours to absorb the flavors. Then it is grilled and sliced to serve as steak tacos, on salads, and on traditional Mexican platters with rice and beans.

However, there are times I want to make Carne Asada, but don’t have time to wait around on the marination process.

I mean, I can’t be expected to plan a day ahead every single time I’m craving good Carne Asada Tacos, or even Carne Asada Fries, right?

This Quick-Seared Carne Asada Recipe is my solution to eliminate the long wait-time for Carne Asada marinade seasoning.

Carne Asada Marinade for steak - shown on platter with fresh garnishes

How To Make Carne Asada Marinade

There are two major tweaks to this recipe that allow you to marinate the steaks rather quickly in just a matter of minutes and still end up with tender, perfectly-seasoned Carne Asada.

First, concentrate the Carne Asada marinade to intensify the flavors.

I used a blend of the following ingredients for our Carne Asada seasoning:

  • Fresh lime juice – the acid needed to tenderize the steak (or orange juice)
  • Fish sauce – for perfectly salty, savory flavor
  • Ancho chili powder – not too spicy, adding just a bit of smokiness
  • Garlic Cloves – because every good marinade needs garlic, amirite?
  • Cilantro – adds a burst of freshness
  • Salt, Cumin – Just a little bit for taste and seasoning (about a teaspoon of salt)
  • Habanero chiles – provides a vivid flavor palate
Carne Asada Seasoning in the food processor

Cut of Beef Tips and Tricks

Pro Tip: I recommend using skirt steak to make authentic Carne Asada that is cooked medium-rare in temperature.

However, you can use another thin cut of lean beef, such as flank steak or flap steak, if you prefer to cook your meat more in the medium to well-done temperature range.

My second secret for a quick and easy Carne Asada is to use a fork to poke holes over the entire surface of the steak, allowing the marinade to penetrate the meat in a shorter amount of time.

That’s it… Pores in the meat and a powerful marinade equal authentic Carne Asada flavor in a hurry!

How to Cook Carne Asada in a Skillet

1. Mix all the carne asada marinade ingredients together in a bowl.

Just pour the marinade over the pitted skirt steak and let it sit for a few minutes in a freezer bag. In the time it takes you to heat your skillet and wash out your food processor, the marinading process is done.

Making carne asada marinade in bag

2. After marinating your skirt steak for at least a few minutes, heat a large cast-iron skillet to high heat on the stove-top. Make sure the skillet is long enough to allow the skirt steak to lay flat. If you don’t have a skillet that large you can use a griddle or grill pan.

3. Next, add a little olive oil to the cast iron skillet. Once the oil is piping-hot, lay the steak in the skillet and sear for 3 minutes per side, for a medium-rare interior.

4. Be sure to allow the steak to rest at least five minutes after cooking, so the juices can redistribute. Otherwise, all the juices will run out when you cut into the grilled meat.

How to Cook Carne Asada in a skillet - Best Carne Asada Recipe

5. Lastly, let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes, then slice against the grain into thin strips.

This Quick-Seared Carne Asada Recipe creates perfect pink meaty goodness with a spicy crust around the edges.

I’d call that Carne Asada steak at its finest!

Tips & Tricks

  • This carne asada recipe is actually a “quick sear” by cooking it on just 3 minutes per side. If you want it cooked to medium or medium well, turn the heat down a bit and cook for a little longer on each side.
  • To check the internal temperature, use a meat thermometer and cook to your desired temperature!
  • Serve with your favorite tortillas, salsas and sides!

Get the Complete (Printable) Carne Asada Marinade Recipe + How to Cook Carne Asada Below. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

Carne asada is great on its own, or serve it as Carne Asada tacos (tacos de asada), Carne Asada fries, or as a healthy low-carb steak salad, loaded with fresh goodies like avocado, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime. I highly recommend serving it along with some of my personal favorites:

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will This Recipe Last?

Serve while warm, or allow the steak to cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container as a make-ahead meal prep. Carne Asada will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.

What Is a Good Substitute for Fish Sauce?

Soy Sauce would be a great replacement for the salt and depth of flavor associated with fish sauce.

Can you use a stainless steel pan and get the same results?

Yes, stainless steel is fine! Just make sure to add sufficient oil to the pan so the steak does not stick to the pan. 

What do I do if I do not have a big enough pan?

You can cut the steak in half. You’ll be slicing it later anyway. Or use a large griddle or grill pan.

how to cook carne asada in a pan - cooked and sliced on platter

Looking for More Mexican Recipes for Cinco de Mayo?

Quick-Seared Carne Asada Recipe (Low Carb!)
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Carne Asada Marinade Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Quick-Seared Carne Asada Recipe – An easy, authentic carne asada marinade recipe + How to Cook Carne Asada in a skillet. Flavorful, juicy steak is perfect for making carne asada tacos or enjoying with fresh veggies as a low carb dish!
Servings: 8



  • Use a fork to poke holes in the skirt steak, covering both sides.
  • Place the lime juice, brown sugar, cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil, fish sauce, ancho chili powder, garlic, habanero, cumin and salt in the food processor. Puree until smooth.
  • Place the skirt steak in a large zip bag. Pour the marinade over the steak. Zip the bag and shake to coat the steak on all sides. Let the steak rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
  • Heat an extra large skillet over high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Once hot, sear the steak for 3 minutes per side. Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes, then slice against the grain into thin strips.



Serve with avocados and pico de gallo, or on a salad, for a low-carb meal. Or serve in tortillas for amazing Carne Asada tacos!


Serving: 4ounces, Calories: 214kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 728mg, Potassium: 321mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 505IU, Vitamin C: 4.5mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 2.2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central American, Mexican
Author: Sommer Collier
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