This Cinco de Mayo, celebrate in the most fun way possible when you make Carne Asada Fries! Marinated flank steak is grilled to perfection and piled on top of a plate full of fries, homemade nacho cheese sauce, and all of your favorite toppings. This is the definition of party food!

A black skillet is filled past the brim with carne asada fries.

Carne Asada Fries

Let’s be honest with each other, okay? I’m sure we’ve all experienced a Cinco de Mayo at some point in our lives where we indulged in a bit too much cerveza or tequila… Or both. No shame! When you’re sipping on a perfectly made Margarita, it’s all too tempting to crave another one. This year, make sure you have plenty of Carne Asada Fries to feed all of your guests – especially those margarita drinkers!

These fries are like bar food, except elevated tenfold. Frozen french fries are all dressed up with your favorite toppings, which is already delicious enough! What really takes these simple fries to another level is the addition of homemade nacho cheese sauce and mouthwatering Carne Asada. Kids will also love this dish (it’s fries, duh!) but adults will love it just as much… Especially after that second Corona.

Even if you’re not planning a Cinco de Mayo party this year, there are plenty of other times you can celebrate with this party entree! Graduations, birthdays, retirements, and more are all made more delicious and fun with the addition of Carne Asada Fries. Just be ready to share the recipe with all of your guests, because between the homemade nacho cheese and grilled steak, everyone’s going to need the details!

Cheese is being drizzled onto a heaping pile of fries and toppings.

How to Make Carne Asada Fries

Make the Carne Asada:

Marinate the steak. Whisk together the orange juice, zest, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne to combine. Place the steak in a large zip top bag or baking dish. Pour the marinade over the steak and seal the bag or cover the baking dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Grill the steak. Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the steak for 4-5 minutes on each side depending on the desired degree of doneness. 

Cut the steak. Remove the steak and rest for 5 minutes. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Make the Nacho Cheese Sauce:

Make a roux. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture starts to turn a golden brown.

Add remaining ingredients. Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk while adding. Turn the heat to low. Stir in the cheese, cumin, cayenne and salt.

Stir until smooth. Continue stirring until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Keep warm.

Make the Fries:

Bake the fries. While the meat rests, bake the fries according to package instructions. I like mine extra crispy, that way they hold up to all the toppings! It usually requires an additional 5-10 minutes baking time.

Assemble. Arrange the baked fries in a skillet or on a serving platter. Top the fries with Carne Asada, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole and drizzle with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the fries with red onion, tomatoes, green onion, cilantro and jalapeño.

Enjoy! Serve immediately with extra cheese sauce for dipping.

A black skillet is filled with Carne Asada Fries.

Can I make Carne Asada Fries ahead of time?

Once assembled, Carne Asada Fries need to be eaten immediately! The longer the cheese sits on the fries, the softer and soggier the fries will become. I don’t recommend making Carne Asada Fries ahead of time, also because both the steak and nacho cheese are best enjoyed fresh.

Can I use store-bought nacho cheese?

Technically, yes… But you’d really be robbing yourself here. My homemade nacho cheese sauce is SO easy to make and yields the best results. Trust me, you can taste the difference in quality! The store-bought stuff always tastes so plastic-y to me.

A cheesy fry is being lifted from the plate.

Looking for more Mexican-inspired party food? These recipes are always huge hits!

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A black skillet is filled past the brim with carne asada fries.

Get the Recipe: Carne Asada Fries

Game day or Cinco de Mayo, these easy Carne Asada Fries are the perfect party starter! Topped with velvety nacho cheese sauce, they're seriously addicting.
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Ingredients

For the Carne Asada:

  • 2 1/2 pounds flank steak or skirt steak
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • 3 limes juices and zested
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 tablespoon cayenne pepper

For the Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, freshly grate the cheese because grated cheese from the store has anti caking agents that can cause the sauce to become lumpy or break.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Fries:

  • 1 28 ounce bag frozen fries
  • 1 cup pico de Gallo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup guacamole
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced (optional)

Equipment

  • baking sheet

Instructions 

Make the Carne Asada:

  • Whisk together the orange juice, zest, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne to combine.
  • Place the steak in a large zip top bag or baking dish.
  • Pour the marinade over the steak and seal the bag or cover the baking dish with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
  • Remove the steak from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Discard the remaining marinade.
  • Grill the steak for 4-5 minutes on each side depending on the desired degree of doneness.
  • Remove the steak and rest for 5 minutes.
  • Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Make the Nacho Cheese Sauce:

  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture starts to turn a golden brown.
  • Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk while adding.
  • Turn the heat to low. Stir in the cheese, cumin, cayenne and salt.
  • Continue stirring until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Keep Warm

Make the Fries:

  • While the meat rests, bake the fries according to package instructions. (I like mine extra crispy so they hold up to all the toppings which usually requires an additional 5-10 minutes baking time.)
  • Arrange the baked fries in a skillet or on a serving platter.
  • Top eat fries with carne asada, pico de Gallo, sour cream, guacamole and drizzle with the cheese sauce.
  • Sprinkle the fries with red onion, tomatoes, green onion, cilantro and jalapeño.
  • Serve immediately with extra cheese sauce for dipping.

Notes

Best served soon after assembling.
Calories: 605kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 53g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 172mg, Sodium: 978mg, Potassium: 994mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1589IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 431mg, Iron: 5mg