How to Make Carne Asada Nachos


The best appetizer for sharing!

These carne asada nachos are made with flavorful marinated skirt steak, super cheesy, and loaded with toppings. It’s the best appetizer for sharing that everyone will love and perfect for game day or watch parties!

carne asada nachos recipe

What Are Carne Asada Nachos?

Nachos originated from Mexico in the 1940s. The original version was made of triangular fried tortilla chips, shredded melty cheese, and pickled jalapeños.

It quickly gained popularity and then made its way to Texas and the rest of the world. There are lots of different variations but they all have the same spirit of the original.

Today, nachos are also often thought of as a classic concession stand food. This version is made with crunchy tortilla chips that are covered in a creamy, decadent nacho cheese sauce instead of shredded cheese.

Because of this, I always associate nachos with sporting events and game day whether that be football, basketball, baseball, you name it. It’s an easy to eat finger food that’s simple yet feels indulgent and so satisfying.

There are so many ways you can dress up nachos and take this simple snack to the next level. The recipe I’m sharing here features carne asada as the main character.

Carne asada nachos are loaded, cheesy, and the perfect appetizer to share that will impress. It will definitely be a crowd-pleaser at your next game day watch party, tailgate, Super Bowl, potluck, or whatever the occasion!

RELATED: Brisket Waffle Fry Nachos: Easy Cheesy Recipe

Carne Asada

What is Carne Asada?

Carne asada is the Spanish word for grilled meat or beef. A common cut used is skirt steak. You can serve carne asada on its own like a steak with sides or chopped up in tacos and nachos.

The term carne asada does not indicate a certain set of ingredients. There are a variety of ways that you can season or marinate using salt, spices, citrus, herbs, sauces, and other Mexican ingredients.

The best part about carne asada for me is the charred smoky flavor that you get from the grill.

Carne Asada Marinade

As I mentioned previously, carne asada can be seasoned in a variety of ways. You can opt for a dry rub or my personal favorite is a wet marinade. I usually like to include the following elements: citrus, spices, herbs, and aromatics.

ingredients for carne asada marinade with orange, lime, onion, garlic, cilantro, skirt steak, cumin, salt, and pepper

For this recipe I used orange, lime, cumin, salt, black pepper, cilantro, onion, and garlic. I love the natural sweetness of the orange and the acidity of the lime. Citrus also helps to tenderize the meat.

The spices for the carne asada are pretty simple here because we are using it as part of nachos so there’s going to be a lot of other flavors from the various toppings. As always add more or less of salt, pepper, or any ingredient based on your preference.

As with anything that you marinate, the longer you let it sit to absorb all the seasonings, the better it will taste. I recommend marinating for at least one hour or overnight. Make sure to cover and store in the fridge.

RELATED: How to Make Mexican Pizza (Taco Bell Copycat)

How to Cook Carne Asada

I recently invested in a Traeger wood pellet grill, the Bronze Texas Elite 34. This is my first time personally owning a grill. We’ve been playing around with it, experimenting with cooking different things, and so far it’s been a delicious experiment.

Since carne asada means grilled meats, some would argue that it’s not carne asada if you don’t cook it on a grill. To an extent, I agree. The flavor that you get from cooking meats on a grill is hard to replace. That added smoky char just makes meat taste so much better.

grilled skirt steak on a Traeger wood pellet grill, Bronze Texas Elite 34

However I know not everyone has a grill, seeing that I only recently became the owner of one myself. The best substitute, in my opinion, is a cast iron skillet. Cast irons are great for steaks because it retains heat very well, meaning it can reach high temperatures. The skirt steak will be able to get a nice even sear on the outside and remain moist on the inside.

Skirt steaks are pretty thin so it doesn’t take long to cook, about 5 or so minutes on each side. Cook times vary depending on your heat source, temperature, and preference.

Nacho Toppings

The base of nachos are tortilla chips and the options for toppings are endless. I add the following toppings for these carne asada nachos:

carne asada nacho toppings
  • Cheese sauce – the secret to a good nacho cheese sauce is adding a little bit of pickled jalapeño juice. It adds a little bit of spice and tang. My favorite brand for nacho cheese is Ricos Products. Its owner, Frank Liberto, is credited for inventing the iconic concession stand nachos in 1976.
  • Pickled jalapeños – carrying on the tradition of the original nachos. It adds the perfect kick and pop of flavor.
  • Carne asada – extra protein that makes nachos more hearty, filling, and takes this dish from simple to impressive.
  • Pico de gallo – a little bit of freshness and acidity that I think pairs well with the carne asada. It is a combination of diced tomato, jalapeño, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime, salt, and pepper.
  • Avocado salsa – a drizzle of this creamy and fresh salsa is like the “icing” on top of the nachos! Make this by blending together avocado, jalapeño, garlic, onion, lime, cilantro, salt, and pepper until smooth.
  • Sour cream – a drizzle of sour cream is the perfect finishing touch and an extra layer of creaminess.
  • Cilantro – I love cilantro because it balances the heaviness out, makes everything taste fresh, and not super heavy. However, if you are one of those people that think it tastes like soap, just leave it out.
  • Spice – remove the seeds from jalapeños wherever they are in this recipe if you don’t like spicy foods. If you want it spicier, I recommend substituting jalapeños for serrano or habanero peppers.


Lastly, the most important step of all is to taste test as you go. Customize and play around with ingredients and ratios based on your liking.

Layer and load them up on a big serving dish or create a nacho bar so everyone can build their own.

No matter how you choose to do it, I hope you enjoy these carne asada nachos as much as I do!

carne asada nacho tortilla chip with skirt steak, avocado salsa, sour cream, jalapeño, pico de gallo, and nacho cheese

Did you make this recipe? I would love to see! Tag me on IG @feedmi_ or TikTok @feedmi

Carne Asada Nachos

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • ½ bag (7oz) tortilla chips
  • 1 can (15oz) nacho cheese
  • 1 tbs pickled jalapeño juice
  • 1 lb carne asada, cut into bite size pieces
  • pico de gallo
  • pickled jalapeños
  • avocado salsa
  • sour cream
  • cilantro, chopped

Carne Asada:

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbs oil

Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 roma tomato, deseeded & diced
  • white onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Avocado Salsa:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • white onion
  • handful cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Combine all ingredients for carne asada and marinate covered in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
  • Combine all ingredients for pico de gallo and set aside.
  • Combine all ingredients for avocado salsa, blend until smooth, and set aside.
  • Grill carne asada or sear on a cast iron to your liking, about 5 minutes on each side. Cook time varies.
  • Let the carne asada rest for about 5 minutes before cutting it into bite sized pieces.
  • Combine nacho cheese and pickled jalapeño juice in a small saucepan on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  • In a large serving dish, top tortilla chips with the cheese sauce, carne asada, pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, avocado salsa, sour cream, cilantro, & enjoy! 



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