Better Than Chipotle Carne Asada!
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Chipotle carne asada recipe isn’t always available, but it’s okay! Make this recipe for perfectly tender, juicy Mexican asada; it tastes MUCH better than theirs!
The Chipotle restaurant chain used to offer an amazing carne asada steak on their menu, but it’s no longer a regular menu item. It’s been relegated to seasonal availability only. You can wait until the next time it’s offered to enjoy Chipotle carne asada, but you don’t have to because my recipe is better than theirs!
Mexican steak dinners are one of the best ways to enjoy a flavorful cut of beef without spending a lot of money.
Meals like Mexican skirt steak and grilled steak fajitas are delicious, easy-to-make Mexican meals. Even better, they are budget friendly enough to enjoy as a nice weeknight dinner!
When it comes to Mexican steak dinners, carne asada, which translates in English to “grilled meat,” is arguably the best of the best!
To make it, a thin cut of steak is marinated in citrus juice, chile peppers and seasonings, then cooked on a grill.
My Carne Asada Recipe
Using an affordable, quick-cooking cut of beef, you can make this meal at home easily, and it tastes SO much better than Chipotle carne asada!
One reason this dish is so popular is the amazing flavor that comes from just a few simple ingredients. It’s not just the meat that makes the dish, it’s also the flavorful steak marinade!
For the complete ingredient list and information on how long to marinate the carne asada meat, see my carne asada marinade recipe post.
As for the beer, I use Corona, but use your favorite variety. If you would rather not use alcohol for the marinade, that’s fine. You can swap it out for beef stock or broth, or use an alcohol-free beer if that’s an option for you.
The base ingredients in the second marinade are fresh lime and orange juice, plus two types of chile peppers; serrano and guajillo. I also use a couple of basic seasonings; cumin, onion powder, garlic, plus salt and pepper.
- Citrus juice– The acid in orange juice and lime juice aid in breaking down tough connective tissues. Plus, they add a bright flavor that compliments the spicy heat of the chile peppers. Skip the bottled juices and use fresh citrus juice; you won’t regret it!
- Guajillo chili peppers– These dried peppers have a medium spice level and a fruity note. If you’re unable to find guajillos, you can substitute dried ancho chiles.
Because anchos have a smokier flavor, they aren’t exactly the same, but the end result will still be delicious.
NOTE: You’ll need dried chilies; powdered spices don’t provide enough flavor.
- Serrano chili peppers– Fresh serrano chiles add brightness to the carne asada marinade, while also adding a mild punch of spicy heat. The best substitute for serrano chili peppers are jalapenos, which are just a bit milder than serranos.
- Fresh garlic cloves– Fresh garlic is essential for flavor. If you don’t want to use whole cloves, you can substitute jarred minced garlic.
- Spices– A bit of cumin, onion powder, and kosher salt complete the flavor of the carne asada seasoning.
- Beef steak – People often ask what kind of meat carne asada is. I use skirt steak for my asada, but flank steak and flap steak are also popular choices. Honestly though, any thin cut of lean beef will work.
- Skirt steak has a higher percentage of fat than flank steak. Of course, fat means flavor, but it also means it is a bit higher in fat and calories.
- Flap steak is also known as chuck flap or flap meat. This flavorful cut of beef comes from a bottom sirloin butt cut. It’s typically cut very thin and tends to be a bit chewier than flank and skirt steak.
- Marinade – For extra flavor, I marinate the steak TWO times; first in beer, then in a flavorful carne asada marinade.
- Be sure to preheat the grill – One of the keys to the incredible flavor and consistency of the Chipotle carne asada is that the restaurant cooks the meat at an incredibly high temperature. Commercial restaurant-quality grill tops have that in their favor.
Unless you have a high-tech grill that heats up instantly, it’s important to wait for the grill grates to get searing hot before you add the food. Don’t add the meat too early!
- Don’t move the meat around on the grill – One common grilling mistake that many people make is moving the meat around on the grill. This serves no purpose; it only prevents the flavorful crust from forming.
- Only flip the steak once – Again, you want to avoid moving or flipping the meat before it’s finished searing. After searing it on the first side, flip the steak over, then leave it alone until it’s cooked to your preferred doneness.
- Let the meat rest before slicing it – Before you cut into your carne asada steak, you need to let it rest for at least 10 minutes. As it rests, the meat reabsorbs all of its juices. If you cut into it before this happens, all of the juices will escape, leaving you with a dry, chewy piece of meat.
How to cut perfect slices of steak
After the steak rests and just before you’re ready to serve, you will cut the carne asada.
Make very thin slices against the grain. The grain is the name for the fine lines of muscle fiber you see in the meat.
By cutting across those fibers rather than alongside them, you will have juicy, melt-in-your-mouth bites of delicious Mexican steak!
Serving suggestions for your “better than” chipotle carne asada
There’s no denying that this Mexican steak dinner tastes fantastic as is.
I like to serve it with grilled tortillas and a few Mexican side dishes like authentic refried beans and ensalada de nopales (cactus salad).
If you have any steak leftover, store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Either use it up or freeze it within 5 days. Once frozen, it should keep well for a couple of months.
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Better Than Chipotle Carne Asada Recipe
- 2 lbs skirt steak or flank steak
- 12 oz light beer I use Corona Light
- 1.5 cups carne asada marinade
- Marinate the steak in light beer for 4 hours, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, make the carne asada marinade and refrigerate until ready to use.
- After marinating the steak in beer, drain the beer and pour carne asada marinade over steak, turning to coat all over. Return to refrigerator, covered, to marinate for 3 hours.
- Start your grill. Use the highest heat possible. The grill should be smoking, blistering, searingly hot. Grill marinated steak as follows: For skirt steak, 3 minutes per side. For flank steak, 5 minutes per side. NOTE: Cook time depends on steak thickness and desired doneness. Remove cooked meat from heat, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- While meat is resting, grill the tortillas on each side until slightly charred. Slice carne asada steak thinly across the grain.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Would I follow the same amount of time if I used a cast iron pan on the stove?
As long as the final internal temperature is 135°F you’ll be fine using a cast iron pan Judy!
I made it but had to shorten the marinade time to four hours and exchanged the pepper varieties with jalapeno and dried arbol chilis but it was good and my family members, not liking too much spice, loved it. I’ve been approved to make this recipe again in the future.
So glad you enjoyed this one Vick. Appreciate you taking the time to let me know!
there is no mention of tortillas in the ingredient list
Use 6-8 inch grilled tortillas, flour or corn, it’s your preference. Hope you enjoy!