Keto Carne Asada (With Zesty Citrus Marinade)
Get ready to fire up that grill and indulge in the mouth-watering flavors of the best carne asada recipe! This low-carb meal will melt in your mouth.
This marinated carne asada checks all the boxes: tender, juicy steak perfectly marinated with no added sugar…all at just 5 grams of net carbs and an impressive 49 grams of protein per serving.
Carne asada, which translates to “grilled meat” in Spanish, is a popular dish in many Latin American countries, particularly in Mexico.
It typically consists of marinated beef that is grilled and then sliced thinly and can be enjoyed on its own or as a filling for tacos, burritos, and other dishes.
This is a dish the entire family will love. We recommend doubling the recipe and freezing some. That way, you’re always ready for the next Taco Tuesday.
If you make this recipe and love it, please rate it 5 stars in the recipe card. 🌟
Why You’ll Love It
- Only 5g net carbs
- A versatile meal that can be used in many ways
- Easy to prep and cook
- Tastes even better the next day
Carne Asada Tips
Making a delicious carne asada doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep reading to discover our top tips for this recipe.
- Don’t skip the marinade. The carne asada marinade in this recipe calls for citrus, which not only adds flavor but also tenderizes the meat.
- Grab an instant-read thermometer. The steak is thinly sliced, which means it will cook quickly. Have a thermometer on hand while grilling so you can get a perfect cook.
- Cut against the grain. It really does make a difference! If cut with the grain, it ends up being a much tougher meat, which is exactly what you don’t want.
Here’s what you’ll need from the store before you make this recipe. Read through the list of ingredients below (we will also share any swaps/substitutions you can make).
- Flank Steak: the most important ingredient is, of course, steak. Traditionally, carne asada is made with thin, lean cuts of beef like flank steak or skirt steak.
- Olive Oil: oil helps the meat retain moisture and keeps it from drying out. Coconut oil can be used in place of olive oil.
- Orange and Lime Juice: use fresh-squeezed orange and lime juice for the best flavor. Alternatively, you can use apple cider or white vinegar.
- Cilantro: adds fresh flavor to your beef. However, if cilantro isn’t your thing, feel free to leave it out.
- Jalapeno: a fresh jalapeno gives the steak a bit of mild spice. For spicier carne asada, use a serrano pepper. For a milder carne asada, use ¼ of a bell pepper.
- Spices: minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and kosher salt are the main spices used in the marinade. You can add or omit as needed to meet your tastes.
How To Make Carne Asada
All the exact steps are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
First, we have some photos of each step in this recipe so you can see how we made it. This is for you, visual learners. Here’s what the recipe looks like as you make it.
Step 1. First, make the marinade. Grab your marinade ingredients (oil, citrus juice, fresh cilantro, jalapeno and spices) and mix together in a bowl.
Pour the marinade into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Carefully add the steak to the bag and squeeze out the extra air before sealing it shut.
Allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours or overnight.
Step 2. Preheat your grill (or indoor grill or electric griddle) to medium-high heat.
Remove the steak from the bag and discard the extra marinade.
Grill the carne asada until you get a nice char on both sides (3-5 minutes per side is about right, depending on how you’d like the meat cooked). Just keep in mind that the safe internal temperature for steak is 145°F.
Step 3. Finally, remove the steak from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then slice thinly across the grain and serve.
After you cook carne asada, any leftovers will need to be promptly refrigerated in an airtight container. It’s important to refrigerate the meat within two hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
Leftovers will typically keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. To reheat, use the stove or even the microwave.
What kind of meat is carne asada?
Carne Asada calls for steak. Look for a cut of beef that is thin and has some marbling, like flank steak or skirt steak. These cuts are flavorful and will cook quickly on the grill.
Is carne asada tough meat?
The citric acid in the marinade helps to tenderize the steak so the steak is soft and chewy, not tough.
Is carne asada steak healthy?
Yes, this carne asada recipe is a healthy, low-carb meal. This meal is full of satiating fat and filling protein. Plus, the marinade adds plenty of flavor without any added sugars.
What is the best way to eat carne asada?
One of the reasons we love this recipe is that it is incredibly versatile! Here are a couple of ways to enjoy carne asada meat:
-Thinly slice the steak and serve it with grilled vegetables or over a bed of lettuce.
-Use low-carb tortillas (Mission Carb Balance or La Banderita Carb Counter) to make tacos, burritos, or quesadillas.
Carne asada is typically served with fresh toppings like cilantro, onions, and lime wedges, which help to balance the flavors and add some brightness to the dish.
Don’t forget to add sour cream, cheese or some sliced avocado to hit your macros!
Is carne asada spicy?
Carne asada is typically mild. The steak is marinated with jalapeno, so some may find it spicy.
If you have a low spice tolerance, we recommend omitting the jalapeno or using ¼ of a bell pepper instead.
Do I have to use citrus in the marinade?
Orange and lime juice are used to tenderize the steak as well as add a naturally sweet, tangy flavor to the meat. However, apple cider vinegar or white vinegar can be used in place of citrus juice.
How do I know when the meat is done?
Since the meat is thin, it cooks quickly on the grill. Be sure to watch it carefully so that it doesn’t overcook and become tough.
When you cook carne asada, you want the meat slightly charred on both sides, but not cooked well done.
A meat thermometer can be used to check the internal temperature of the steak. To reach a safe internal temperature, you need to cook a steak to at least 145°F.
How should I cut the meat?
First, make sure to let the steak rest for 5 minutes before cutting. Otherwise, all the juices will drain away, and your steak will be dry.
When you’re ready to serve, slice the meat against the grain to ensure that it is tender and easy to chew.
🌟 If you make this recipe and LOVE it, please leave a 5-star review below! 🌟
- gallon zip-top bag
- Mixing Bowls
- indoor grill
- measuring spoons/cups
- ¼ c. Olive oil
- ½ c. Orange juice
- 2 tbsp. Lime juice
- ½ c. Cilantro roughly chopped (including stems)
- 1 small Jalapeno minced
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tbsp. Chili powder
- 2 tsp. Cumin
- 1 tsp. Dried oregano
- 1½ tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 lbs. Flank steak
- In a medium bowl combine oil, citrus juices, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Transfer the marinade to a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add the steak to the bag, seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat your grill (or indoor grill or electric griddle) to medium-high. Remove the steak from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill until nicely charred on both sides (safe internal temperature 145° F), 3-5 minutes per side.
- Let steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
This carne asada recipe is the perfect make-ahead meal for meal prep or as a freezer meal. It is perfect for sharing with friends and family.
If you love carne asada, then you will love our Low-Carb Cream Cheese Salsa Dip and this Easy Low-Carb Taco Soup.
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