How to Cook Carne Asada in a Skillet?

Mary M. Saucedo

Hello there! If you’re looking for an easy and delicious carne asada recipe, look no further than cooking it in a skillet! This method is simple and quick, and the result is a flavorful and juicy carne asada that you’ll be proud to serve to your family and friends.

In this article, I will guide you through the necessary steps to prepare and cook your carne asada in a skillet, including tips for selecting the best meat and marinade options, heating the skillet to the appropriate temperature, seasoning the meat, and achieving the desired level of doneness. You’ll also learn how to properly rest and slice your carne asada, as well as how to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the cooking process.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cooking carne asada in a skillet is quick and easy.
  • Proper preparation and seasoning are key to achieving a flavorful result.
  • Resting the cooked meat and slicing it properly are also important steps.
  • Troubleshooting tips and additional cooking tips can help you achieve success.

Getting Started: Preparing the Carne Asada

Before we start cooking, we need to prepare the meat. For an easy carne asada recipe that turns out to be the best skillet carne asada, we need to pay attention to every detail. Here are some cooking tips for carne asada that will help you achieve a delicious flavor.

The first step is selecting the right meat. For the best results, choose a skirt or flank steak and make sure it’s at least ½ inch thick. Trim off any excess fat and silver skin to reduce toughness. Then, score the meat in a crosshatch pattern on both sides, making sure the scores are deep enough to penetrate the meat.

Next, prepare the marinade. A simple marinade for carne asada includes lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour it over the steak, making sure every part is coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours for more flavor.

Pro tip: Massage the marinade into the meat with your hands to ensure it penetrates every part of the steak.

Heating the Skillet and Seasoning the Meat

Now that I have prepared the carne asada, it’s time to heat up the skillet and get it ready for cooking. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet because it heats evenly and gives the meat a nice sear.

To begin, I set the skillet on medium-high heat. While the skillet is heating up, I season the meat with a pinch of salt, pepper, and any other seasoning of my choice. Some delicious carne asada seasonings include chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder.

Once the skillet is hot, I add a small amount of oil to the pan. I prefer to use olive oil, but any high-heat oil will work. I then place the seasoned carne asada onto the skillet.

It’s important to not overcrowd the skillet, so I only cook a few pieces of meat at a time. This allows the meat to cook evenly and ensures it gets a nice sear on both sides. I cook the carne asada for about 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, but the cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the meat and your desired level of doneness.

Once the meat is cooked to my liking, I remove it from the skillet and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a flavorful and tender carne asada.

With these skillet cooking instructions and a delicious carne asada recipe, you can easily cook an authentic and flavorful carne asada in a skillet.

Cooking the Carne Asada in the Skillet

Now that the skillet is heated and the meat is seasoned, it’s time to start cooking the carne asada. Follow these simple steps for an authentic carne asada cooked in a skillet:

  1. Place the seasoned carne asada in the hot skillet.
  2. Cook for 4-5 minutes on one side or until a brown crust forms.
  3. Flip the meat over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the desired level of doneness is reached.
  4. For an even juicier result, baste the meat with the leftover marinade or a mixture of butter and garlic while cooking.
  5. Once cooked, remove the carne asada from the skillet and let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

The key to achieving a flavorful skillet-cooked carne asada is to not overcook it, as it will become tough and dry. Make sure to monitor the cooking time closely and adjust if needed.

Tips for Achieving Success

Here are a few additional tips that will help you achieve success when cooking carne asada in a skillet:

  • Use a cast-iron skillet for the best results, as it distributes heat evenly and creates a nice crust on the meat.
  • Let the meat marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours for a more flavorful result.
  • For an even more authentic flavor, use freshly squeezed lime juice and chopped cilantro in your marinade.
  • Let the carne asada rest before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute and prevent a dry result.

By following these simple steps and tips, you’ll be able to impress your family and friends with an authentic and delicious carne asada cooked in a skillet.

Resting and Slicing the Carne Asada

Once your carne asada is cooked to perfection in the skillet, it’s time to let it rest. This step is crucial to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensure maximum flavor. I recommend letting it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

When it’s time to slice, you’ll want to make sure you’re cutting against the grain. This will ensure that the meat stays tender and easy to chew. I find it helpful to look for the lines in the meat and slice perpendicular to them.

One thing to keep in mind is that the meat will continue to cook slightly as it rests. So if you want a medium rare steak, take it out of the skillet when it’s medium rare, knowing that it will reach a perfect medium rare after resting.

With the flavorful skillet-cooked carne asada ready to be served, there are a few additional cooking tips for carne asada that can take your meal to the next level. Try topping it with fresh cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime juice for some extra brightness and flavor. Or serve it with some warm tortillas and guacamole for an authentic Mexican-style meal.

Serving and Enjoying Your Carne Asada

Now that your delicious carne asada is cooked to perfection in a skillet, it’s time to enjoy it! This easy carne asada recipe is versatile and can be served in many ways. Here are some ideas:

  • Serve it on warm tortillas for flavorful carne asada tacos.
  • Set it atop a bed of rice and beans for a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • Add it to a fresh and zesty salad for a light and refreshing option.
  • Top it with your favorite salsa and guacamole for a Mexican-inspired feast.

The possibilities are endless! Whatever way you choose to enjoy your best skillet carne asada, make sure to savor every bite and appreciate the delicious flavors you created.

Buen provecho!

Troubleshooting and Tips for Success

While cooking carne asada in a skillet is a straightforward process, there are a few common issues that may arise. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you succeed:

  1. Meat sticking to the skillet: To prevent meat from sticking to the skillet, make sure it is well-oiled before adding the carne asada. You can also add a small amount of water or marinade to the skillet to create some steam, which can help release the meat.
  2. Overcooking or undercooking: Cooking time can vary depending on the thickness and cut of the meat, as well as personal preference. To ensure you achieve the desired level of doneness, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. For medium-rare, aim for 135°F, while well-done should be around 160°F.
  3. Uneven cooking: If the carne asada is unevenly cooked, try flattening it with a spatula or meat mallet before cooking. You can also cut it into smaller, thinner pieces to promote even cooking.

Now that you know how to troubleshoot common issues, here are some additional tips for achieving success when cooking carne asada in a skillet:

  • Choose high-quality meat for the best flavor. Look for cuts like flank steak or skirt steak that are traditionally used for carne asada.
  • Marinate the meat for at least a few hours, or overnight for maximum flavor. A simple marinade of lime juice, garlic, and cilantro can work wonders.
  • Let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in a more tender and flavorful carne asada.
  • Experiment with different toppings and sides to find your favorite combination. Salsa, guacamole, and grilled vegetables are all great options.

By following these tips and troubleshooting common issues, you’ll be on your way to creating a delicious and authentic carne asada in a skillet. Enjoy!


That’s it! Cooking delicious and authentic carne asada in a skillet is as easy as following these simple instructions. With the right ingredients and a little bit of patience, you can create a flavorful skillet-cooked carne asada that will impress your friends and family.

Remember to select a quality piece of meat and give it enough time to marinate. Heating the skillet to the appropriate temperature and seasoning the meat before cooking is essential for achieving a delicious flavor.

Tips for Success:

Make sure the skillet is hot enough before adding the meat to achieve a nice sear and avoid overcooking. Don’t crowd the skillet – cook the meat in batches if necessary. Once cooked, let the carne asada rest for a few minutes before slicing to retain the juices.

Whether you’re making tacos, burritos, or a classic carne asada plate, this easy carne asada recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Give it a try and share your experiences with us. Happy cooking!


Q: Can I use a different type of meat for cooking carne asada in a skillet?

A: While traditionally, carne asada is made with beef, you can experiment with using different types of meat, such as chicken or pork, for a unique twist. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Q: How long should I marinate the meat before cooking?

A: For the best flavor, it is recommended to marinate the meat for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight if possible. However, if you’re short on time, even a quick 30-minute marinade can still enhance the taste.

Q: Do I need to use a specific type of skillet?

A: While any skillet can technically be used, a cast iron skillet is often preferred due to its ability to distribute heat evenly and retain heat well. However, you can still achieve delicious results with non-stick or stainless steel skillets.

Q: How can I tell when the carne asada is cooked to my desired level of doneness?

A: The best way to determine the doneness is by using a meat thermometer. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of around 135°F (57°C). Adjust the cooking time accordingly if you prefer it more well-done.

Q: Can I cook the carne asada in advance and reheat it later?

A: Yes, you can cook the carne asada ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat it in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. However, freshly cooked carne asada is generally preferred for the best flavor.

Q: What are some suggested sides and toppings to serve with skillet-cooked carne asada?

A: Some popular options include warm tortillas, salsa, guacamole, pico de gallo, grilled vegetables, rice, and beans. Feel free to get creative and add your favorite toppings and sides to enhance the overall meal.

Q: Can I use a marinade that is already pre-made from the store?

A: Absolutely! Pre-made marinades can be a convenient option and still result in delicious carne asada. Just make sure to choose a marinade that complements the flavors of the meat and follow the package instructions for marinating time.

Mary M. Saucedo
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