This Instant Pot carne asada recipe makes delicious tacos with juicy beef, fresh salsa, and feta cheese.
What Is Carne Asada?
It’s a Mexican term for ‘roast beef’. Traditionally, marinated strips of beef are cooked on the grill until they’re charred just a bit. The marinade includes salt, Mexican seasonings, and lime juice (the acid which tenderizes the meat and gives it a staple bright tang).
You can make carne asada on the grill or using just the Instant Pot. It tenderizes the beef and pushes plenty of flavors into it.
Once cooked, the meat is sliced and typically used as a filling for tacos or burritos. If the meat is still tough, chefs give it a rough chop.
Carne Picada, Carne Asada, and Fajita
Cooking ‘carne asada’ in the Instant Pot leaves you with something similar to ‘carne picada,’ a meat braise/stew. In this case, however, the meat is seasoned differently and can be ground or cut into chunks rather than sliced.
A fajita, on the other hand, is a beef, onion, and bell pepper sauté. They’re served in taco form much like carne asada often is. It cooks quicker, though, making fajita meat a better option when you want something quick to eat.
Is Carne Asada Healthy?
Served with tortillas and vegetables, carne asada is a wholesome meal. It provides you with proteins (40 g), carbohydrates (32 g), and tons of micronutrients.
To make the dish healthier, we used just a moderate amount of salt and cheese, and carefully calculated the calories contained in each taco. This is to help you stay within the nutritional guidelines the USDA has created.
In the end, each serving of our Instant Pot carne asada recipe looks like this:
- 452 calories
- 5.1 g saturated fat
- 566.6 mg sodium
While these are the main things we’re concerned about, a healthy diet also has other requirements. Have a look at our guidelines to learn more about them.
Main Ingredients for Carne Asada
1. What Cut of Meat Is Used in Carne Asada?
The best cut for it is flank steak or skirt steak. They’re moderate in both tenderness and price. You can choose either (we chose flank steak), but make sure you cut it into chunks so they cook quicker.
2. The Marinade
Usually, these are what the marinade calls for:
- Cumin: the soul of Mexican cooking.
- Lime juice: the tangy meat tenderizer.
- Paprika and chili powder: the spicy kick.
- Garlic powder: the flavor boost.
- Salt and pepper: the basic seasonings.
You can use just these ingredients, or include a few others that we recommend to give your meat even more flavor:
- Oregano, which adds a complementary aroma to bold dishes.
- Dijon mustard, giving a pungent, slightly savory touch to the meat.
- Gravy mix, to enhance the meat flavor.
- Sriracha, giving a light warmth that lingers after the powders’ kick of heat.
3. Other Toppings
Mexican dishes are often served with salsa — a mix of tomatoes and red onions all finely chopped and tossed with lime juice and a pinch of salt. This is exactly what we made (minus the salt) while waiting for the meat.
We also served our tacos with some freshly chopped lettuce, cilantro, and some feta cheese. Cheddar is more popular, but we thought feta tasted better.
How to Cook Carne Asada in the Instant Pot
Once the onions were sautéd, we seared the meat, seasoned it, and pressure-cooked it for 35 minutes. While waiting, we baked the tortillas until just warm and prepared the veg toppings. Here’s the basic process:
Sear the beef. Add the seasonings.
Add the stock and pressure-cook the meat.
Meanwhile, make the salsa.
Shred the meat.
Cook the shredded meat in its gravy.
Bake the tortillas.
Make tacos and enjoy.
The meat needs 35 minutes to cook, leaving you with plenty of time to do other tasks. We used that time to clean the vegetables, cut them, and make the salsa.
The tortillas have the best texture when they first come out of the oven. We recommend baking them when the meat has finished pressure-cooking for 15 minutes before serving. If you bake them too soon, leave them in the oven (turned off) until you need them.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Carne Asada
- Stack the tortillas and wrap them in parchment. Refrigerate.
- Place the salsa, feta, lettuce, and cilantro into separate containers. Cover and refrigerate.
- Wait for the meat filling to cool, then do the same as the other toppings.
Refrigerated veggies can be used right away while the meat and tortillas need to be warmed up. Cook the shredded meat in a saucepan with some water until heated through, and bake the tortillas at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
These items can be kept for up to 5 days. Don’t try to freeze any of the ingredients other than the meat. Freezing the meat can preserve it for up to 3 months.
What to Serve With Carne Asada
Besides salsa, guacamole is also a popular, delicious side for tacos, so that’s what we served with this carne asada. It can be added to the tacos themselves or eaten as a dip for corn chips. Either way, the guac adds even more flavor to the meal.
Finally, we round everything off with a glass of fresh lime juice with ice. It’s simple and packs tons of vitamin C.
Easy, Healthy Tortilla Recipes You May Like:
Love Tortilla? These five Instant Pot tortilla recipes are some of our most delicious picks:
- Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos Recipe
- Taco Pie Recipe
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Recipe
- Instant Pot Barbacoa Recipe
Instant Pot Carne Asada Recipe
This Instant Pot carne asada recipe makes delicious, meaty tacos. Get some chores done during the wait and it'll be ready to eat before you know it.
- cook TIME 55 mins
- prep TIME 5 mins
- total TIME 1 hr
- COURSE Main Course
- CUISINE Mexican
- SERVINGS servings
- CALORIES 453 kcal
- 2 tbspolive oil
- 2 ozonions (about half a medium, chopped)
- 24 ozflank steak (cut into large chunks)
- 1 tbsplime juice (divided)
- 2 tsptraditional Dijon mustard
- 1 tspbrown gravy mix
- 1 tspsriracha
- 1 tsppaprika
- 0.5 tspcumin
- 0.5 tspgarlic powder
- 0.5 tspsalt
- 0.5 tspground black pepper
- 0.5 tspdried oregano
- 0.3 tspchili powder
- 0.5 cupunsalted chicken broth
- 2 oztomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1 ozred onion (finely chopped)
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- 2 ozromaine (roughly chopped)
- 0.5 ozfeta cheese (crumbled)
- 0.3 ozcilantro (chopped)
Select ‘sauté’ mode and heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add 2 oz onions and stir to cook for about 2 minutes.
Add 24 oz flank steak along with the seasonings: 1/2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp mustard, 1 tsp gravy mix, 1 tsp sriracha, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, and 1/4 tsp chili powder. Stir to incorporate. Sear the meat for 3 minutes, then flip and sear the other side for 3 minutes as well.
Pour in 1/2 cup chicken broth and scrape the bottom using a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Close the lid, turn the steam handle to ‘sealed,’ and cook everything on ‘meat/stew’ mode for 35 minutes. Use this time to fix up some salsa or guacamole, or take care of any other tasks that need finishing.
When there are only 10 minutes left on the cooker, preheat the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, toss 2 oz finely chopped tomatoes, 1 oz red onions, and 1/2 tbsp lime juice, and set aside.
When the meat’s finished, place a kitchen towel onto the Instant Pot’s steam handle and manually release the steam. Take the meat out, place it in a bowl, and shred with two forks.
Add the shredded meat back and cook for 10 minutes on ‘sauté’ mode.
Meanwhile, flip a muffin tray upside-down and place 4 6-inch tortillas between the cups to shape them as taco shells. Bake in the preheated oven for 3 minutes. Set them aside and do the same to the other 4 tortillas. Place all 8 shells into the oven to keep them warm until serving (make sure it’s turned off).
When the meat’s done, turn off the heat and place it in a bowl to serve. Divide the meat and toppings (mixed salsa, 2 oz romaine, 0.5 oz feta, and 0.25 oz cilantro) into 8 equal portions. Place each into a tortilla, wrap, and enjoy!