Chipotle Carne Asada Marinade

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinate 1 day
Total Time 1 day 55 minutes
Jump to Recipe

This Chipotle Carne Asada recipe is flavorful, juicy, and tender. We love to serve this as a carne asada plate with rice and beans or as a base for steak tacos, fajitas, and quesadillas.

sliced carne asada steak on a plate.

😋 Why this recipe works

The marinade ingredients are fresh orange and lime juice, chipotle peppers, onion, garlic, and spices. The longest part is waiting for the steak to marinate, but the results it worth it. What we love about our recipe is the flavor and how juicy and tender the steak is after cooking.

🥩 Flank Steak vs Skirt Steak

When craving a Mexican steak dish, we always defer to Skirt Steak or Flank Steak. Both types of meat are budget-friendly options and can be very tough and chewy if not cooked properly. Skirt steak can be tougher than Flank steak because of the muscle fibers, but it also can be richer in flavor and juicer. One thing to note is that if Skirt steak is cooked longer and well done, it will be very tough and chewy and not enjoyable in a taco or quesadilla. We like both options, but if you are new to cooking Skirt Steak or Flank Steak, The Online Grill explains the differences between the 2 steaks and how to cook them properly.

We highly recommend 2 steps to a juicy and tender steak for our recipe. That is, salting the steak and then marinating it overnight for maximum flavor. When cooking, always sear first, then turn down the heat to continue cooking until the desired doneness of the steak is.

🌶 Ingredients

To make this delicious Carne Asada, you will need simple ingredients easily found at any grocery store.

  • Skirt Steak or Flank Steak. Both work for this recipe, but if you are new to making carne asada at home and not sure which one to get, we recommend going with tender Flank steak, as it’s the easiest to cook without making it tough and chewy. On the other hand, skirt steak can be tough and chewy if cooked well or for too long.
  • Salt. We add pinches of salt to both sides of the steak before we make the marinade and marinate the steak. This is known as salting the steak.
  • Orange Juice. We recommend fresh squeezed orange juice. We prefer Cara Cara oranges as they are sweeter in flavor.
  • Lime Juice. We also recommend freshly squeezed lime juice instead of the bottled option at the store.
  • White Onion. We only need to use 1/2 of a white onion for the marinade. We recommend white onion over onion powder here.
  • Garlic. We use 4 garlic cloves in the marinade and prefer fresh garlic cloves over the powder.
  • Jalapeno. Depending on how much spice you want, you can leave the seeds, or if you want some mild heat, leave some seeds or deseed the jalapeno entirely.
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. These are jalapeño chiles that have been dried, smoked, and then packed in a flavorful sauce made of tangy tomatoes and spices. It doesn’t necessarily add spice but smokiness to the marinade.
  • Spices. We use dried Oregano and ground Cumin, which add delicious flavors to the marinade.

🌮 Instructions

The key to making this easy marinade and the best carne asada for dinner is to salt the steak and then marinate it overnight. Otherwise, making this authentic recipe at home is pretty straightforward and quick,

  • Salt the Steak. Pat the thin-cut steaks with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Then, season the surface of both sides of the steak with salt. Set aside to prepare the marinade.
  • Make the Flavorful Marinade. Add the orange juice, lime juice, white onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno (seeded or deseeded), the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and the spices to a blender, and blend until fully pureed.
  • Marinate the Steak. Add the salted steak to a zip lock bag or an airtight container and pour 3/4 of the marinade over the steak, ensuring the steak is covered completely. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. The longer you marinate the steaks, the more flavor there will be. Reserve the remaining marinade in a separate container.
  • Cook the Steak. Remove the steaks at least 30 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature. This allows the steaks to cook evenly. Bring a pan or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Once hot, remove any excess marinade from the steak and place it on the hot pan. Sear the steaks for 3-5 minutes, then flip to sear on the other sides. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 145°F on an instant-read meat thermometer.
  • Enjoy. At this time, you can cut up the steak into pieces to serve. We like to add the cut-up pieces back to the pan, add extra marinade, and give everything a toss to add more flavor. The best way to enjoy this flavorful carne asada is to make a carne asada plate with sides like Mexican rice, beans, and veggies with fresh cilantro on top before serving. Or, make Carne Asada tacos or quesadillas.
a street taco with carne asada and fresh salsa.

FAQs

Is Carne Asada Spicy?


Adding Chipotle Pepper is not spicy. It’s smokier in flavor and mild. Since our marinade calls for a jalapeno, you can control the spice level. If you want spice, add some to all the seeds. For no added spice, remove all the seeds.

How to Cook steak to the right temperature?


Using an instant-read thermometer, a rare steak will be 120-125°F, medium-rare at 130-140°F, and medium at 145°F. Anything hotter will be well done, and the steak could be chewy and tough.

Storing Leftovers


If you have leftover cooked carne asada, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Any unused marinade can be stored for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 3-4 months. We don’t recommend freezing thawed steak or cooked steak.

This Chipotle Carne Asada Marinade is made with fresh ingredients and is flavorful. It’s easy to make and is authentic and restaurant quality in the comfort of your home. We hope you all love our recipe. Enjoy! ♡

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Chipotle Carne Asada Marinade

5 from 9 votes
This Chipotle Carne Asada Marinade is made with fresh ingredients and is flavorful. It's easy to make and is authentic and restaurant quality
sliced carne asada steak on a plate.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinate 1 day
Total Time 1 day 55 minutes
Yields 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb skirt steak or flank steak
  • pinches of salt to salt the steak
  • ½ cup orange juice about 2 oranges, we like cara cara oranges
  • ½ cup lime juice about 3 limes
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ white onion quartered
  • 1 jalapeno deseeded
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
Instructions
  • Salt the Steak. Pat the thin cut steaks with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Then, season the surface of both sides of the steak with salt. Set aside to prepare the marinade.
  • Make the Marinade. Add the orange juice, lime juice, white onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno (seeded or deseeded), the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and the spices to a blender, and blend until fully pureed.
  • Marinate the Steak. Add the salted steak to a zip lock bag or an airtight container and pour 3/4 of the marinade over the steak, ensuring the steak is covered completely.
    Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours or up to 24 hours. The longer you marinate the steaks, the more flavor there will be.
    Reserve the remaining marinade in a separate container.
  • Cook the Steak. Remove the marinated steaks from the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature. This allows the steaks to cook evenly.
    Bring a pan or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Once hot, remove any excess marinade from the steak and place it on the hot pan.
    Sear the steaks for 3-5 minutes, then flip to sear on the other side. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 145°F on an instant-read meat thermometer.
  • Enjoy. At this time, you can cut up the steak into pieces to serve.
    We like to add the cut-up pieces back to the pan, add some of the marinade, and give everything a toss to add extra flavor, but this is optional.
Notes
  • Using an instant-read thermometer, a rare steak will be 120-125°F, medium-rare at 130-140°F, and medium at 145°F. Anything hotter will be well done, and the steak could be chewy and tough.
 
  • If you have leftover cooked carne asada, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Any unused marinade can be stored for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 3-4 months. We don’t recommend freezing thawed steak or cooked steak.
Course: Entrees, Sauces
Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired
Diet: Gluten Free
Nutrition Facts
Serving1gCalories216.46kcalCarbohydrates10.55gProtein25.45gFat8.73gSaturated Fat3.18gPolyunsaturated Fat0.5gMonounsaturated Fat3.77gTrans Fat0.39gCholesterol71.44mgSodium78.51mgPotassium495.31mgFiber1.83gSugar4.43gVitamin A151.38IUVitamin C30.76mgCalcium46.42mgIron3.22mg
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