Easy Crockpot Carne Asada (5 Minute Prep Time!)

Easy Crockpot Carne Asada (5 Minute Prep Time!)


If you need a new, easy meal to feed a crowd, this tender, fall-apart Crockpot Carne Asada is it! With just five minutes of prep work and easy-to-find, affordable ingredients, this classic Mexican beef dish is great for tacos, burritos, bowls, and more.

This easy Crockpot Carne Asada guarantees tender, juicy meat that’s bursting with flavor without the extra work of marinating and grilling.  This foolproof recipe is perfect for taco night, wrapped in burritos, scattered over nachos, or tossed into a salad. There are so many ways to enjoy this classic Mexican recipe!

Growing up, tacos were a beloved staple at our dinner table. As a child, there was something so fun about assembling my own taco, piling on the cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes, and then watching it all tumble out with the first bite.

Tacos were simple yet incredibly satisfying.

But as I grew older, my palate began to crave something more sophisticated, more flavorful.

That’s when I discovered carne asada!

The meat was tender and juicy, bursting with familiar and exciting new flavors. The combination of citrus juices and spices had seeped into every fiber of the meat, transforming it into something truly special.

Nowadays, whenever I’m in need of comfort food or looking to celebrate a special occasion, this slow cooker carne asada recipe is my go-to dish. It’s become one that my whole family loves and is always the star at any barbecue, picnic, or get together.

What is Carne Asada?

Carne Asada is a traditional Mexican dish, which means ‘grilled meat’. It’s typically made from marinated beef that’s grilled and served in tacos or on its own with rice, beans, tortillas, limes, and salad.

In my slow cooker version, convenience meets flavor, giving you all the elements you love about carne asada without any unnecessary fuss.

It’s an uncomplicated method that doesn’t compromise on taste, proving that mouthwatering meals can come from simplicity.

Why You’ll Love Crockpot Carne Asada

  • Flavorful Meal: The slow cooker does all the work for you, resulting in tender beef infused with flavorful spices. This easy recipe brings the taste of Mexican street food right into your kitchen. It’s perfect as a main dish for any night of the week.
  • It’s a Time Saver: This recipe requires only 5 minutes of prep time before it’s ready for the slow cooker. That’s less time than it takes to decide what takeout to order!
  • Minimal Clean-Up: Since everything cooks in one pot, there’s no need to worry about cleaning multiple pots and pans after dinner.
  • Versatile Serving Options: Serve this carne asada in tacos or bowls. Top with your favorite garnishes like cilantro, diced onions, salsa, avocado, or guacamole for a personalized touch.

Best Cuts of Beef for Carne Asada

The best cut of meat for this recipe is beef chuck roast or flank steak. Both cuts become tender and juicy when cooked on low heat in the slow cooker. You can also use skirt steak if that’s what you’re used to.

Personally, I prefer using chuck roast to make carne asada in the crockpot. I love the way the tender meat just shreds and falls apart!

Crispy carne asada on a baking sheet being picked up by tongs.

Ingredients and Substitutions

To make this delicious and easy crock pot Carne Asada, here’s what you need:

  • Lean beef chuck roast: You can also use flank steak instead, but I prefer to use chuck roast since it gets super tender.
  • Chopped onion: The onions impart a delicious flavor to the beef as it cooks. Feel free to use a yellow onion or a white onion.
  • Chopped garlic: Garlic just makes everything taste better! Swap in frozen garlic cubes or garlic powder if that’s all you have.
  • Fresh orange juice and lime juice: Lime and orange juice play an essential role in both flavoring and tenderizing the beef. Combining these two citrus juices with the soy sauce and spices creates a tangy marinade that infuses the meat with a delicious blend of flavors.
  • Soy sauce: I prefer to use low-sodium soy sauce. However, you can swap it out for tamari for a gluten-free version or even coconut aminos.
  • Spices: You’ll use the typical spices you’d expect in a traditional carne asada recipe: ancho chile powder (or regular chili powder), garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano.
  • For serving: Corn tortillas, cilantro, diced white onions, salsa, avocado, or guacamole.

How to Make Crockpot Carne Asada

For this recipe, we use the crockpot. I just love my slow cooker! But if you want to use the Instant Pot or oven, I’ve included instructions for those methods as well.

Step 1: Prep Your Flavor Base

In a small bowl, mix together the orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, and all those delicious spices. This marinade will give our carne asada its unforgettable flavor!

Step 2: Layer It Up

Place your chosen meat in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle the chopped onions and garlic around and on top of the meat. Then pour your flavor base over everything. The liquid and spices will work their magic as the meat cooks.

Crockpot Method

Set your slow cooker on low and let it cook for 6-8 hours. A chuck roast will need closer to 8 hours to become perfectly tender, while a flank steak will be ready in about 6 hours.

Instant Pot Method

Want it done quicker? Use the Instant Pot! Cook on high pressure for about 45 minutes for chuck roast or 30 minutes for flank steak. Allow natural release for at least 10 minutes before doing a quick release.

Oven Method

Prefer using your oven? No problem! Preheat it to 300°F (150°C). Place the seasoned meat along with the onions, garlic, and spice mixture in a Dutch oven or covered baking dish. Let it cook slowly until tender, about 3-4 hours for chuck roast or 2-3 hours for flank steak until it is fork tender.

Step 3: Shred and Crisp

Once cooked and tender, remove the beef and shred it using two forks. If you opted for flank steak and prefer slices, now’s the time to slice it up.

For That Extra Touch:

Preheat your oven (or fire up the grill) to 450°F. Spread the shredded (or sliced) beef on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle a bit of the cooking liquid over the top. For chuck roast, aim for about 15-20 minutes in the oven; flank steak will only need about 7-10 minutes. You’re looking for those irresistibly crispy edges.

Storage and Leftovers

To store leftover Carne Asada, place the beef and onions in an airtight container, drenching them with any leftover juices. Store for up to 4 days.

Freezing Leftovers

Planning to save it for later? No problem! Place the beef and onions into a suitable container for freezing, again pouring over any remaining cooking juices.

Let it cool down before you pop it into the freezer. Crockpot carne asada will stay good for up to three months.

When you’re ready to use the frozen leftovers, start by thawing them in the fridge for about eight hours or overnight. Once thawed, warm them up in a covered skillet while stirring gently.

Slow cooker carne asada served on warmed tortillas with pico de gallo, cilantro, and onions.

Ways to Serve Carne Asada

When making this crockpot dish, you can easily plan a few additional meals for easy dinners.

  1. Carne Asada Tacos: This is one of the most common ways to serve it. All you need are some tortillas, your favorite toppings like salsa, lettuce, and cheese.
  2. Burritos: Roll up some tender beef in a large flour tortilla along with rice and beans to make a hearty burrito. Or top burrito bowls with it.
  3. Nachos: Top off a pile of nachos with shredded meat, melted cheese, and your choice of toppings for a delicious appetizer or meal.
  4. Quesadillas: Add it to a quesadilla for an extra layer of flavor. Place the meat and some cheese between two tortillas and cook until crispy.
  5. Salad: If you want a lighter option, add the juicy meat to a salad. It pairs well with leafy greens, tomatoes, avocados, and a tangy vinaigrette.
  6. Fajitas: Sauté peppers and onions until soft and slightly charred, then add the Carne Asada. Serve with warm tortillas for a tasty fajita night.
  7. Sandwiches: Layer some leftover meat on a roll with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and avocado for a filling sandwich or Mexican style torta with refried beans.
  8. Rice Bowl: Make a flavorful rice bowl by topping cooked rice with shredded beef, beans, veggies, and your favorite sauce.

Toppings

My family loves to customize their toppings. Sometimes I want to go for regular Carne Asada Street Tacos by topping the meat with fresh cilantro, onions, and a squeeze of lime.

Other times I enjoy adding some cilantro lime sauce or a cheesy Rajas Con Queso. Here are some great topping ideas for my Slow-Cooker Carne Asada Recipe

  • Fresh Guacamole: This fresh and creamy topping adds a nice contrast to the savory meat.
  • Pico de Gallo: This traditional Mexican salsa made with diced tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice will add a fresh and zesty kick to your dish.
  • Grilled Pineapple Salsa: Grilled pineapple chunks mixed with diced red onions, peppers, and cilantro make for a sweet and tangy topping that complements the robust flavors of the beef.
  • Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream can add a cool and creamy texture to your dish, balancing out the heat from any spicy elements.
  • Cheese: Sprinkling shredded cheese such as cheddar or Monterey Jack over hot, shredded beef allows it to melt slightly, adding a deliciously gooey element.
  • Pickled Red Onions: These tangy and slightly sweet onions can add an unexpected but delightful crunch and acidity to your meal.
  • Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce: Packed with fresh herbs and the tangy taste of citrus, this sauce is a burst of flavor that’s ready in less than 5 minutes.
  • Refried Beans: Spread on top of your meat, refried beans provide an earthy flavor and creamy texture that pairs well with the hearty flavors.
  • Chimichurri Sauce: Our easy chimichurri sauce is a delicious blend of parsley, garlic, and olive oil. It’s so simple yet incredibly tasty and goes great with the tender meat.
  • Corn Salsa: Corn combined with poblano pepper, red onion, cilantro, and lime make the perfect topping for carne asada!
  • Rajas Con Queso: You can really make your dish go off when you add this cheesy dip loaded with poblano peppers, onions, and corn.

Recipe Tips

  • Optionally Sear Beef: Searing the beef first isn’t necessary for this slow cooker recipe, but it can help lock in all those great flavors.
  • Consider Marinating Overnight: If you have time, marinating the beef overnight will result in an even more delicious flavor. But if not, no worries! Slow cooking it infuses all the Mexican flavors into the meat.
  • Make it Gluten-free: To make this recipe gluten free, use tamari in place of the soy sauce and wrap in corn tortillas instead of using flour tortillas. (Which is my preference for this dish anyhow!)



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