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5 from 18 votes

Easy Carne Asada Quesadillas (Cast Iron)

These Easy Carne Asada Quesadillas are loaded with smokey cast iron seared skirt steak, extra cheese, and baked to perfection. They are great as an appetizer or main course and will definitely be a crowd pleaser. And all you are missing is a margarita!
Prep Time12 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time12 hrs 30 mins
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6 quesadillas
Calories: 893kcal
Author: Brianna May

Equipment

  • Cast iron skillet

Ingredients

Carne Asada

  • 1.5 pounds skirt steak cut in half if needed to fit into skillet
  • cup olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup pickled jalapeños with brine*
  • 2-3 chipotles chopped and adobo sauce*
  • 5 cloves garlic grated
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt*
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil for searing

Quesadillas

  • 12 8 inch flour tortillas
  • 3 cups cheese*

Butter

  • 1 ½ Tablespoons salted butter melted
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  • Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, jalapeños, adobo, garlic, brown sugar, salt, cumin, and chili powder.
  • Pour marinade into a large sealable bag and add steak. Marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Sear the skirt steak for 2-4 minutes per side depending on thickness (for medium to medium rare).
  • Remove from heat and rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Repeat if needed with the other half of the steak.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the butter and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Slice the skirt steak thinly against the grain.
  • On a large baking sheet, assemble the quesadillas. Gently fold each tortilla in half. Sprinkle ¼ cup of cheese inside each tortilla. Divide sliced carne asada between the 6 tortillas. Sprinkle another ¼ cheese on top of the meat. Brush the top of each with the butter.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Cut in half.

Notes

Chipotles & Adobo Sauce: Remove 2-3 chipotles from a 7 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Chop finely. Use ALL of the remaining sauce in the can in the marinade, but remove the extra chipotles.
Jalapeños: To measure these, start by filling the measuring cup with the jalapeños. Then pour the brine over filling the measuring cup.
Salt: If you plan to marinate the meat overnight, use only 2 teaspoons of salt (recommended). If you only are able to marinate it for a couple of hours, use 3 teaspoons of salt.
Cheese: Use whatever cheese you like! My only recommendation is to shred it yourself. I always buy a block and shred it home. It melts much better. I used half monterey jack and half colby jack.
Marinate the skirt steak overnight. This will give the meat the most flavor.
Use a meat thermometer. This is truly the best way to ensure any cut or type of meat is cooked correctly. It is almost a fool proof tip. You can find a good meathermoater for around $15. Medium rare is about 125-130 degrees, but the meat will raise a couple degrees as it rests.
Grate your own cheese. This tip does not just apply to this recipe but to most. The pre shredded cheese is coated in starch which causes it to not melt as well. Buy a block of cheese and shred it at home. It is worth the extra effort.
If your cast iron looks dry, don’t be scared to add some extra oil. Especially if you are cooking the steak in 2 batches.
Slice the steak thinner than you think and against the grain. Like I show in the photo above, you want to cut in the opposite direction as the grain runs. You also want to slice the meat thinly. This will ensure the steak is extra tender.
For extra crispy quesadillas, assemble your quesadillas on a cutting board and heat your baking sheet in the oven while you assemble. Make sure to grease it well so they do not stick.

Nutrition

Serving: 1quesadilla | Calories: 893kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 1913mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g