A Spicy Perspective

Quick-Seared Carne Asada

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

Carne Asada Recipe with avocado and lime

Cinco de Mayo 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, right?

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

Carne Asada Marinade for steak

How To Make Carne Asada (Our Easy Recipe)

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 the 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, 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 marinade ingredients together in a bowl.

Just pour the marinade over the pitted skirt steak and let in 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.

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.

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!

Get the Complete (Printable) Quick-Searing Carne Asada Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

Carne asada is great on its own, or serve is as Carne Asada tacos (tacos de asada), 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 definitely cut the steak in half. You’ll be slicing it later anyway. Or use a large griddle or grill pan.

Looking for More Mexican Recipes for Cinco de Mayo?

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

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Quick-Seared Carne Asada Recipe –  An easy, authentic carne asada marinade and quick-searing skillet recipe. 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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14 comments on “Quick-Seared Carne Asada”

  1. what would be a good substitute for the fish sauce? Have allergies. This sounds so
    good and we like skirt steak, flank too, but favor skirt steak.

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

  3. So delicious! It’s so flavor filled and my husband’s favorite.

  4. Love the addition of the brown sugar.

  5. Sooooo good! I love the flavors in this and it’s so easy to prepare!

  6. Looks SO good! Can’t wait to try it!

  7. First time cooking skirt steak didn’t realize it opens up to twice the size too big to cook in a pan do I leave it folded or cut in half

  8. Mmmm! My husband has been asking me to make these for a while now, but I wasn’t sure where to even start! Thank you!

  9. This is so juicy, flavorful and cooked to perfection. Thank you for the amazing recipe!

  10. This sounds so tender and flavorful! Such a great tip about letting it rest. 

  11. This carne asada is bursting with flavor – so delicious!