Carne Asada Marinade

Whether you are grilling some carne asada for tacos or planning a steak dinner, using our Carne Asada Marinade is a great starting point. The citrus juices in this carne asada marinade flavor the meat and add tenderizing power, making this the perfect marinade for steaks. The tequila provides a little oomph and earthiness to the overall flavor but does not overpower the final product.

What is Carne Asada?

Translated from Spanish to English, carne asada means “cooked beef or grilled beef.” Usually, the meat is marinated in a heavy citrus marinade, grilled hot and fast over high heat, and then cut up for tacos or used in other dishes.

What Type of Steak to Use in Carne Asada:

The best candidates for Carne Asada Marinade are flat steaks like skirt, flank, and hanger steaks. They are more forgiving with longer marinating times, hold flavor well, and cook quickly! However, any beef steak that is less than an inch thick will work well. Thinner, chewier steaks benefit the most from the acidity of the marinade. If you’d prefer a non-alcoholic marinade with no added tequila, substitute with additional lime juice.

How long to marinate:

I recommend a lengthy marinating time for most beef steaks; especially flat steaks.

-Flank Steak: 4-24 hours
-Skirt and Hanger Steaks: 4-12 hours
-Sirloin Steaks: 4-8 hours
-Ribeye, T-Bone, NY Strip: 4-8 hours
-Thicker cuts of beef, like roasts: 12-24 hours

Grilling your Carne Asada:

-Recommend grilling over charcoal, but you can use a gas or flat top grill as well. Check out these Best Gaucho Grills.


-Serve grilled pieces cut up and in tacos or as single-serve steaks with your favorite sides. Don’t forget the guacamole, pinto beans, grilled vegetables, and a little queso!

Like this carne asada marinade recipe? Try these!

Easy Carne Asada

Mexican-Style Rotisserie Chicken

Sinaloa Chicken

BGDR’s Best Carne Asada Marinade

Carne Asada Marinade

Whether you are grilling up some carne asada for tacos or planning a steak dinner, this is a fantastic marinade to use. The citrus juices flavor this marinade and have a little tenderizing power, making this the perfect marinade for steaks, particularly flat steaks. The tequila adds a little oomph and earthiness to the overall flavor but does not overpower the final product. This recipe makes enough marinade for 2-2 ½ pounds of meat.
Photo by: asimojet/Depositphotos
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Marinades/Brines
Cuisine: American BBQ, Fusion, Mexican
Keyword: carne asada, carne asada marinade, Cinco de Mayo recipes, marinade recipes, Mexican marinade, steak marinade
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2.25 Cups
Calories: 228kcal


  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Add citrus juices and tequila to a medium plastic or glass bowl. Slowly pour in olive oil while gently whisking. Doing so will help the oil incorporate into the liquid.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the liquid mixture and stir through. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes, stir through, and taste it. At this point, you can add more salt or a little more tequila if needed.
  • To marinate:
  • Place steaks into a resealable plastic bag and pour marinade on top.
  • Gently move the meat around to get it well coated.
  • Release air from the bag and place it into the refrigerator.
  • Marinating times:
  • Flat steaks (skirt, hanger, flank, flat iron, sirloin flap steak): 8-12 hours, but can go as long as 24 hours for tougher cuts.
  • Steaks (NY strip, ribeye, sirloin, T-Bone): 4-8 hours
  • Tri-tip and chuck roasts: 12-24 hours


Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1263mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 208IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

Photo attributions: slickspics/Depositphotos, asimojet/Depositphotos, and  a_oldman/Depositphotos

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