Homemade Carne Asada | Instant Pot recipe

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This homemade Carne Asada Instant Pot recipe helps tough steak cook up extra tender and flavorful. Plus, it starts with a premade spice blend to help you get right to cooking.

An overhead shot of a round gray plate on a gray textured background. The plate is filled with three yellow corn tortillas loaded up with carne asada taco filling, garnished with white cheese, red diced tomatoes, sprigs of cilantro, and a lime wedge.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE

This easy homemade carne asada recipe only needs 5 ingredients. Because it’s cooked in the Instant Pot, you know your meat will be tender and full of flavor.

Carne asada is one of my favorites to order at a Mexican restaurant. When I’ve tried to make it at home, however, this grilled steak can sometimes cook up tough, and it can take hours to roast in an oven.

We created an Instant Pot recipe to skip all that and helps even tough beef to cook up tender, and you can have it on your table in a shorter time.

Carne Asada is one of our favorite Instant Pot beef recipes. It’s packed with flavor and is easy to serve as tacos, or over french fries or salad. It pairs well with our Cilantro Lime Rice or Easy Salsa Rice.

An overhead horizontal shot of all the ingredients needed to make Carne Asada in an Instant Pot. From top to bottom: A small wooden bowl of queso fresco, sliced limes, a white jar of seasonings, soft tortillas, a bunch of fresh cilantro, a small cup of beef broth and a small amount of liquid smoke, a white bowl of diced salsa, and a large bowl of thinly sliced beef in strips in a glass bowl.

Ingredients Needed for Carne Asada

This at-home carne asada recipe only needs a few flavorful ingredients:

  • Flank steak: You can also use skirt steak or flap steak if you need to substitute. We had our grocer slice ours thin for us.
  • Carne asada seasoning blend: Use your favorite Mexican steak seasoning blend—we like Chef Merito.
  • Beef broth: We nearly always purchase the reduced sodium broth.
  • Fresh lime juice: About two or three limes. If you prefer, you can also use a 2:1 mixture of fresh orange and lime juice.
  • Liquid smoke: This one is optional, but we really like to include it to recreate the smoky, freshly barbecued flavor.
  • Serving ingredients: Serve with your favorite tortillas, queso fresco, pico de gallo, fresh lime wedges, sliced radishes, cilantro for garnish. It’s also great over french fries (like those served at Dodger Stadium) or over salad.
An overhead shot looking into an Instant Pot that is filled with the fresh beef. Alongside are queso fresco, cilantro, and soft tortillas.

How to Make Carne Asada in an Instant Pot

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

Start off by rubbing the blend into the steak and let sit for 5 minutes. After that, add the broth, lime juice, and liquid smoke in the bottom of the pressure cooking pot.

Cook on High for 12 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.

An overhead shot looking into the Instant Pot cooking pot after pressure cooking. The beef has browned and is surrounded by a rich brothy misture.

It makes a big difference in the finished dish if, after pressure cooking, you remove the meat from the cooking pot and use a fat separator to remove the fat from the cooking liquid.

Then return the cooking liquid to the pressure cooking pot and boil it down until it thickens and coats the meat. This liquid will pack a lot of flavor.

Serve immediately. If you’re serving it in soft-shell tortillas, using a slotted spoon will help reduce the amount of liquid in each taco.

A horizontal, close-up photo of a large white bowl filled with strips of carne asada, garnished with queso fresco and diced cilantro, with lime wedges on top and corn tortillas just visible on the bottom edge of the photo.

Important Tips for Making Carne Asada

Slicing against the grain will result in the most tender beef. When we slice the meat ourselves, we often use kitchen shears to help make quicker work of it.

Flank steak is typically well marbled, but be sure to remove any large pieces of fat before cooking.

If your flank steak cooks up chewier than you like, chopping it into very small pieces instead of strips helps quite a bit. You can also pound your steak with a meat tenderizer before slicing.

A close-up photo of one of the corn tortillas filled with carne asada. The steak is in sharp focus, garnished with tomato and cilantro, and cheese. Lime wedges are visible along the upper right portion of the plate.

Frequently Asked Questions about Carne Asada

Can I use chuck roast in carne asada?

Flank steak is most traditional, but you can use chuck roast if you’d like. Trim it well and cut thinly before cooking. For an example, check out our beef and broccoli recipe

How should I store leftover carne asada?

Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to four days in an air-tight container. For most tender results, reheat on the stovetop. You can also reheat in the microwave at medium power. 

Can I freeze leftovers?

Yes, you can definitely freeze carne asada for later. Once fully cooled, place it in an airtight freezer-safe container in a flat, even layer.

I like to freeze carne asada with the extra cooking liquid that was left in the pot so the meat doesn’t dry out. It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. 

A photo of an Instant Pot sitting behind a plate of carne asada tacos. A large bunch of cilantro is visible in the background, and additional corn tortillas and a gray napkin are just visible at the bottom of the frame.

More Great Instant Pot Mexican Recipes

Looking for more Mexican-inspired recipes to make in your Instant Pot? Try one of these:

An overhead vertical shot showing a large bowl of carne asada at the top left, a small bowl of lime wedges partially out of frame on the middle left, and a large light gray plate piled with three tacos filled with carne asada, garnished with white queso fresco, fresh tomato salsa, and chopped cilantro.

Do you LOVE this recipe?
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An overhead shot of a round gray plate on a gray textured background. The plate is filled with three yellow corn tortillas loaded up with carne asada taco filling, garnished with white cheese, red diced tomatoes, sprigs of cilantro, and a lime wedge.

Homemade Carne Asada

Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 47 minutes
Course: Beef
Cuisine: Mexican
Make carne asada in your Instant Pot with this easy recipe with just 5 ingredients.
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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds flank steak cut into ¼-inch thick strips
  • 2 tablespoons carne asada seasoning* we used Chef Merito
  • ¼ cup beef broth
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke optional (we used Hickory)
  • Warmed tortillas queso fresco, and pico de gallo, for serving
  • Cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  • In a medium size bowl, rub the carne asada seasoning blend into the steak strips and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the beef broth, lime juice, and liquid smoke, if using. Select High Pressure and 12 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then finish with a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. 
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the cooking pot. Use a fat separator to remove the fat from the cooking liquid. 
  • If desired, return the liquid and meat to the cooking pot. Select Sauté, adjusted to medium, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has cooked down and has coated the meat. 
  • Serve immediately on top of warm tortillas topped with queso fresco and pico de gallo, garnished with fresh cilantro if desired.

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