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 jalapeno provides a little oomph and spiciness to the overall flavor but does not overpower the final product. If you are sensitive to spicy foods, omit the jalapeno and use a milder pepper instead.

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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 some tequila in the marinade, add a tablespoon or two for a nice kick! Not a fan of steak? Use this carne asada marinade on chicken breasts and pork as well. See below for marinating times.

Using a Carne Asada Marinade:

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

  • Flank Steak: 8-24 hours
  • Skirt and Hanger Steaks: 8-12 hours
  • Sirloin Steaks: 4-8 hours
  • Ribeye, T-Bone, NY Strip: 4-8 hours
  • Thicker cuts of beef, like roasts: 12-24 hours
  • Chicken breasts: 2-3 hours
  • Pork tenderloin or steaks: 2-3 hours
  • Pork roasts: 4-5 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. Cook the marinated steak over direct medium-high (375 degree F) heat to medium or medium-rare doneness. Please note that flat steaks can be chewy when cooked rare. Have a reliable instant read thermometer nearby to help you pull the steaks at the right time!

Serving Carne Asada:

Slice steak and serve in tacos or serve steaks whole with your favorite sides. Don’t forget the guacamole, pinto beans, grilled vegetables, and queso too!

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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
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2.25 Cups
Calories: 228kcal


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


  • Add citrus juices and soy sauce 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

Carne Asada Marinade

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