Instant Pot carne asada is one of my favorite ways to prepare a perfect flank steak. Easy and quick, this recipe is full of simple ingredients that give you incredible flavors. Use it as the protein in tacos, nachos, or carne asada fries, or enjoy it on its own with a few complementing sides.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Carne asada is actually grilled meat, and true, if you’re cooking in the Instant Pot you’re not really grilling. Sometimes you want a carne-asada-style dinner, though, and don’t have the time (or equipment) to grill a flank steak. That’s where this recipe comes in! It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s not weather-dependent.
- Carne asada is super versatile! You can change up the spices and liquids you use to get different flavors, no problem. It’s perfect for tacos, nachos, and carne asada fries. It’s also delicious with just a side of cilantro lime cauliflower rice, refried black beans, or guacamole salad.
- The Instant Pot keeps the flank steak super juicy and makes it perfectly tender. Everything cooks quickly and clean-up is a snap. If you’re on the fence about getting an Instant Pot, let this be your sign!
- This recipe is a wonderful option for all you meal-preppers! Instant Pot carne asada is a great make-ahead recipe. Store any uneaten carne asada in an airtight container in the fridge and it’ll keep up to 7 days. You can freeze it, too! Just let it cool completely, pack it in an airtight container, freeze it, and eat it within 3 months.
Flank Steak – Flank steak is a lean cut of meat that’s really versatile and easy to work with. Since it’s leaner, it can be tough if you overcook it. That’s what’s great about cooking it in the Instant Pot with a lot of liquid, though – it reduces the odds of overcooking and drying out the meat. You can use a skirt steak instead of flank steak if you prefer it or just can’t find flank steak.
Orange Juice – Unexpected? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely. The acid in orange juice (and in the lime juice) helps tenderize the flank steak, so long as you don’t use too much. Too much acidity can actually make the steak tougher. The OJ is also citrusy and just a tiny bit sweet, which adds another great level of flavor to the marinade and keeps it from tasting too acidic.
- If you’d like your flank steak less done, lower the cook time by about 5-10 minutes. Your exact cook time will depend on how rare/done you like your steak. As always, internal temperature is the best test of doneness. For medium steak, you’ll want an internal temperature of 140°-145° Fahrenheit. Medium rare, 130°-135° Fahrenheit. Medium well, 150°-155° Fahrenheit. Since you can’t really pause the Instant Pot and open the lid to check the temperature of the meat, you might try a test run with a small amount of flank steak before you cook the whole 2 pounds. The test run won’t be exact since it’s a smaller amount, but it’ll give you a ballpark cook time to try!
- This part isn’t super necessary, BUT if you have time, I recommend letting the flank steak sit with the spice mixture on it for 15-30 minutes. After 15-30 minutes, move on to step 3 of the instructions below. This just gives the spice mixture more time to mingle with the steak and lets those flavors really develop.
- To really lock in the flavors and juices of your Instant Pot carne asada, let the flank steak rest on a cutting board for 5ish minutes after you take it out of the Instant Pot, before you slice it. Again, not necessary, but a simple step that can have an impact!
Other Instant Pot Recipes You’ll Love
- Instant Pot Asparagus
- Instant Pot Sausage and Peppers
- Japanese Curry in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Carrots
- Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
- The Best Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Instant Pot Carne Asada
- Small bowl
- Instant Pot
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 pounds flank steak
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup beef broth
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup orange juice see Notes
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup cilantro chopped, plus more for serving if desired
- ½ of one small onion sliced
- In small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder, and cumin.
- Generously season both sides of flank steak with spice mixture, making sure to rub spices into steak very well.
- Add olive oil to Instant Pot and turn on Sauté function. Add flank steak to Instant Pot. If needed, cut flank steak (against the grain) into two large pieces to fit in Instant Pot. Brown flank steak on both sides for approximately 6 minutes total (2-3 minutes per side).
- After browning flank steak, add beef broth, lime juice, orange juice, and garlic to Instant Pot.
- Place cilantro and onion on top of flank steak. Secure lid on Instant Pot and set to Manual High Pressure for 20 minutes (for well done steak – see Notes). After 20 minute cook time is up, let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes.
- Vent to release any remaining pressure and carefully remove lid. Transfer flank steak to cutting board. Slice into thin strips, always cutting against the grain.
- Top sliced flank steak with additional chopped cilantro if desired and serve.
- Cook Time: Cook times vary from one Instant Pot to another, so you may need to adjust the cook time based on your pressure cooker and on the size and thickness of your flank steak. For less well-done steak, lower the cook time by 5-10 minutes depending on desired doneness. Check temperature with internal meat thermometer before cutting steak.
- To Cut the Flank Steak: Using a sharp knife, slice against the grain of the meat, slicing at a diagonal angle. What does against the grain mean? Look for the lines of muscle running through the meat, and slice perpendicularly to those. You may have to adjust the way you’re slicing on different sections of meat depending on the direction the fibers run.
- Make it Gluten Free: Make sure your broth is gluten free.
- Make it Keto: The orange juice and onion are the only non-keto ingredients in this recipe. Some keto-eaters don’t worry about onions, but you can skip them altogether if you want. Depending on your keto style, you can try an organic orange juice with no added sugar – since you’re only using ¼ cup here, the OJ will only add about 6 carbs total to the entire recipe, or 1 carb per serving. If you’re strict keto, you can skip the orange juice altogether and use more beef broth and lemon juice or more lime juice in its place. You’ll end up with a slightly different flavor but it’ll still be great!