Carne Asada Seasoning: Our Best Ever Dry Rub Recipe

Nicole Austin

Making your own carne asada seasoning allows customization, savings, and superior flavor!

Carne asada — or seasoned, barbecued steak — has a tangy, spicy, citrusy flavor with a touch of salt. The spice blend adds some flavor and heat to your steak without overpowering the meat’s natural deliciousness. And as far as I’m concerned, carne asada seasoning gives the dish a perfect blend of taste, texture, and heat, making it one of my favorite Mexican foods.
Carne Asada Seasoning Photo
After trying our carne asada tacos recipe that's topped with fries, I immediately became a lover of all things carne asada. I know for some people it sounds a little weird to throw some fries in a taco, but you’ll have to trust us (and the power of a potato) on this one.
I’ve always loved beef in my tacos, quesadillas, or nachos, but until that recipe, I had yet to experiment much with steak.
Sometimes, trying something new can be exciting, but it’s also a little bit stressful. I’m always afraid to mess up a recipe I’m really looking forward to trying.
If you’re like I was and you’re new to carne asada, don’t be intimidated — it’s actually quite easy to make a perfect carne asada from home!
The seasoning combines popular ingredients that you may already have on hand in your pantry, possibly saving you a trip to the grocery store — bonus points for that already.
Once you mix the right amount together, then you’re ready to make your perfect steak. From there, the options are limitless.
We have a really awesome and highly customizable carne asada fries recipe, but you can go lighter in fare while still being filling with a Mexican twist to your salad by adding carne asada steak to it. There’s a carne asada recipe for anyone! (As long as you eat beef.)
Carne Asada Seasoning Picture

Carne Asada Seasoning Ingredients

To prepare the perfect carne asada seasoning that you can store and use anytime, here are the dry spices you’ll need (and replacement ingredients, if desired):
  • Chili powder (1 Tbsp) If you don’t keep chili powder on hand, you can use paprika in its place.
  • Oregano (1 Tbsp) Dried oregano is a good addition if you don’t keep Mexican oregano on hand.
  • Sea salt (1 Tbsp) You can use whichever salt you want, but sea salt has a great texture and flavor.
  • Black pepper (2 tsp) You can use fine or coarse powder. Replace with white pepper if desired.
  • Onion powder (2 tsp) Our recipe calls for onion powder, but you can use dried, minced onion as well.
  • Garlic powder (2 tsp) Do not confuse it with garlic salt!
  • Tajin Clasico (1 tsp) You’d have to pull this out of my kids’ hands first…
  • Cumin powder (1 tsp) You can replace this with ground toasted cumin seeds, or ground coriander.
  • Chipotle pepper (1 tsp) This optional ingredient will add some kick to your recipe.
  • Cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp) You can also omit this pepper if you’re worried about the heat, or add less.
Carne Asada Steak Tacos with Fries Picture
This makes about 6 tablespoons of seasoning mix. Depending on how much you plan to use — and how quickly — you may want to make a large batch (double or triple the recipe!) of this perfect blend of spices.
Commercially available brands use a slightly different spice mix. For example, El Mexicano’s Carne Asada Seasoning and Lawry’s Casero Carne Asada Seasoning both include sugar, while El Mexicano also relies on lemon pepper and onion.
Both also have silicon dioxide to prevent clumping, and the Lawry’s includes other additives as well.
You could consider adding brown sugar to your carne asada rub if that's your personal preference. Feel free to experiment with your exact mix of these simple ingredients to get it to the unique flavor you want!
Carne Asada Nachos Image

How to Make Carne Asada Seasoning

Once you have gathered the above ingredients, making carne asada seasoning is so simple that you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before.
As with most seasoning recipes, there’s a lot of wiggle room for customizing it to your preference, and we strongly suggest doing that to achieve the best flavors.
Why? Because nobody knows what you like more than you!
I prefer to add a little less heat to a base seasoning in my home, because my spice-loving kids can always add a little more to their own food when I’m making it.
It’s easier to add heat than it is to try to cancel it out, so keep that in mind when you’re mixing carne asada seasoning at home.
Here’s how simple our recipe is:
  1. Measure the ingredients above, using your judgment to determine how much heat you want.
  2. Mix the seasoning ingredients in a large bowl until combined. Look for an even mixture of colors.
  3. Transfer your blended spices into a jar or container with an airtight lid and store in a cool, dry place at room temperature.
That’s it! That’s seriously all it takes to enjoy carne asada seasoning from home.
If you're making a lot, you could use a glass mason jar, but even if you have a big family like mine, chances are you'll need a smaller container (unless you're a really committed carne asada fan and Mexican food lover!).
Using fresh spices available at affordable prices will yield great results, but the highest quality ingredients will help you make a delicious spice rub for the most flavorful carne asada — your taste buds will thank you! (Though if you're going to splurge anywhere, it may make more sense to do it on the steak itself.)
Carne Asada Salad Picture

How to Make the Best Carne Asada Using Your Seasoning

Once you’ve made our simple yet perfect seasoning, you can easily prepare the best carne asada you’ve ever had.
Cut your flank steak into the desired size and squeeze fresh lime juice on both sides.
Generously sprinkle your dry rub seasoning on both sides of the beef.
If you have some time to let it rest in the fridge after applying the seasoning, all the better — the flavors can soak in for an hour or so until you’re ready to cook.
If you plan to enjoy the meat in a recipe, dice it into smaller sections and quickly sear it in a cast iron skillet with oil.
Move the meat around as it cooks until charred — we prefer it medium rare, but how you choose to prepare yours is entirely up to you!
Our tips for the best carne asada:
  • Seek out Mexican oregano; it’s worth it!
  • Add a smaller amount of the hot spices and taste test if you’re worried about spice levels.
  • Don’t leave your steak more than a few hours in a carne asada marinade; the acid will break down the meat.
  • Cut your flank steak the right way for the absolute best results.
Carne Asada Fries Picture

Can You Grill Carne Asada Steak?

Absolutely! And we encourage it.
Grilled carne asada steak is delicious, and simple.
Just follow the above recipe and directions, and then prepare your grill.
You will cook the meat over medium high heat until the surface is charred, leaving the center pink and tender.
Serve in steak sized portions, or cut it into smaller pieces to add to your favorite Mexican recipe, like tacos or carne asada fries.
Mexican Street Corn Dip Recipe Photo

What to Pair with Carne Asada

Here are all of our top picks!
Our favorite sides to go with carne asada:
You could also serve pinto beans, a stack of warm tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, or forgo sides altogether and just make large, filling California burritos with your homemade carne asada!
Mexican Coconut Candy Image
Our favorite sweets and desserts to go with carne asada:
Adults only pairing ideas: 
Mexican Hot Chocolate Shots Picture

Carne Asada Seasoning: Our Best Ever Dry Rub Recipe



  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder, or paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano, or dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin Clasico
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle Pepper, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper, optional


  1. Measure the ingredients above, using your judgment to determine how much heat you want.
  2. Mix the seasoning ingredients in a bowl until combined. Look for an even mixture of colors.
  3. Transfer your blended spices into a jar or container with an airtight lid. Store in a cool, dry place.
That’s it! So simple.

How to Use This Spice Mix to Season Carne Asada

  1. Cut your flank steak into the desired size and squeeze fresh lime juice on both sides.
  2. Generously sprinkle your seasoning mix on both sides of the beef.
  3. Optional: let rest in the fridge for up to an hour before cooking.
  4. Cook the carne asada steak to your liking (details above).


Cooking Method:
How To Guides
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Related Recipes:
Seasoning Recipes, Mexican Recipes, Steak Recipes, How To Guide Recipes
Recipe Yields:
6 Tbsp
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Nicole Austin
Recipe Yields: 6 Tbsp
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size A generous sprinkle

Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.

Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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