Carne asada fries are an addicting appetizer or game day food that everyone loves! This southern California recipe features crispy fries smothered in cheese sauce and topped with juicy marinated beef, pico de gallo and guacamole.
Carne Asada Fries Origin
Carne asada fries are a popular recipe invented in San Diego, California. The recipe features french potato fries, topped with melty cheese, carne asada (Mexican grilled meat), and salsas such as pico de gallo and guacamole. Sometimes a dollop of Mexican crema, hot sauce, and pickled jakapeños are added to the toppings. The recipe pretty is pretty much customizable to everybody’s preferences.
The star of the this recipe is, of course, carne asada, a Mexican method for grilling meat. The traditional recipe for carne asada calls for cooking the meat in a grill, but modern recipes uses other methods, such as cooking it in a griddle
The marinade can be as simple as using only salt and pepper, but of course, for a richer flavor some people like to use other spices such as garlic, cumin, chili powder and even beer and lime juice.
What type of meat to use for carne asada
- The first choice is of course, beef. It can be any type of steak you like, from cheaper to expensive cuts, but remember that the thickest the slices, the longer will take to cook.
- My option will be always cheaper cuts, as you’re adding lots of toppings and other flavors, there’s not need to expend too much for this simple carne asada fries recipe.
Tips for making a juicy carne asada.
- Cut the meat in thin slices, you’re not making a regular steak, you need a cut that cooks faster.
- Use a little bit of oil (as suggested for the marinade), but not to much that you will fry the meat!
- Don’t overcook. I know, this is the hard part but if you use thin slices, you’ll notice the meat changes color as soon as it touches the griddle.
- Make the carne asada as last step, right before assembling your fries.
About the potato fries
I am using frozen french fries for this recipe, because that’s a nice shortcut and I can find very good quality brands where I live. I also decided to deep fry those frozen potatoes but you can either make homemade potato fries and cook them with your favorite method: Deep frying, Air Fryer or baked.
The step by step recipe
Start with carne asada: Place beef in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic. Add lemon juice and oil, then toss to coat well. Allow to marinate while continue with the recipe.
Now, make the cheese sauce, or skip this step if you using jarred cheese sauce.
- In a medium sauce pan toss cheese and flour to combine.
- Add milk and hot sauce, then place the pan over medium-low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring regularly or until you’ll have a smooth sauce.
- Fill a large pot with hot water and place inside the sauce pan with the cheese sauce to keep it warmed until needed (add more hot water if necessary).
Make the fries: Heat enough oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until done in the inside and crispy on the outside. Once the fries are done, place them in a cooling rack or a plate lined with paper towels.
While you are frying the potatoes, start cooking the meat: Heat a griddle or a cast iron skillet until smoking. Cook beef for about 3 minutes per side (less if the slices are too thin). Place the cooked carne asada on a cutting board and chop it.
- Place the potato fries in a serving plate.
- Drizzle with cheese sauce.
- Add chopped carne asada, then top with pico de gallo and guacamole.
- Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce.
Most asked questions:
Can I prepare this ahead?
Carne asada fries should be eaten right away after assembling, however, you can turn this recipe into a prep meal if you marinate the meat 12 hours prior and make the toppings the day before. Pico de gallo salsa can be made up to one day ahead so does guacamole.
How i prevent guacamole from browning?
First, use about 1 1/2 lime juice, then cover it with cling film, making sure it touch the surface of the ingredients. Even if it turns a little brown, it will be just a small portion, you can mix it and it will be good to eat.
Can I make this healthier?
Yes. First, use fresh potatoes and bake them or use your Air Fryer, instead of frying. Homemade fries are a better option than store-bought frozen potatoes. Also, skip the cheese, those carne asada fries are so good only topped with pico de gallo, you won’t really miss the cheese.
Is this recipe traditional Mexican?
No. In Mexico you won’t find carne asada fries. The recipe was invented in USA and it is part of the modern Mexican-American cuisine.
Can I use jarred cheese sauce?
Yes of course! Is one of my favorite shortcuts, even though the recipe for the homemade sauce is really easy and fast to make, if you happen to have a jar of your favorite brad of cheese sauce sitting in your pantry, go ahead and use it.
What means asada?
Asada in Spanish means grilled. Not, broiled, not roasted, not boiled.
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Carne Asada Fries
For carne asada
- 6 oz beef steak (thinly sliced)
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ lime (juice)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- chili flakes (to taste)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
For the cheese sauce
- 4 oz cheddar cheese (shredded)
- ½ Tbsp corn starch
- ⅔ cup milk (room temperature)
- 1 ½ tsp hot sauce (optional)
Start with carne asada:
- In a medium bowl place the meat and season with salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic.
- Add lemon juice and oil, then toss to coat well.
Make the cheese sauce:
- In a medium sauce pan toss cheese and flour to combine.
- Add milk and hot sauce, then place the pan over medium-low heat.
- Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring regularly or until you’ll have a smooth sauce.
- Fill a large pot with hot water and place inside the sauce pan with the cheese sauce to keep it warmed.
Make the fries:
- Heat enough oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until done in the inside and crispy on the outside.
- Once the fries are done, set them aside on a paper towel so it absorbs all the excess grease from the oil.
Cook carne asada:
- Heat a griddle or a cast iron skillet until smoking. Cook beef for about 3 minutes per side.
- Place the cooked carne asada on a cutting board and chop it.
- Place fries in a large serving plate or small plates for single servings.
- Drizzle with the cheese sauce.
- Add carne asada, then top with pico de gallo and guacamole. Serve!
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