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How Many Pounds of Carne Asada Per Person? The Complete Guide

Food Guide

Carne asada is a flavorful grilled steak dish that is a staple at Mexican gatherings and celebrations. When hosting a fiesta, it’s important to know how much carne asada to make per person. You want to make sure every guest gets their fill without having too much leftover.

In this complete guide, we’ll provide recommended serving sizes for carne asada based on whether it’s the main dish or a side dish. We’ll also cover factors that can affect portion sizes and provide tips for dealing with leftovers.

Key Factors That Affect Serving Size

When calculating how many pounds of carne asada you need per person, there are a few key factors to consider:

1. Main Dish vs Side Dish

  • If carne asada is the main protein/dish, plan for 1/2 to 3/4 lb per person.

  • If it’s served alongside other main dishes, plan for 1/4 to 1/3 lb per person.

2. Other Dishes Being Served

  • With multiple appetizers, sides, etc., people will take smaller portions of each dish. Reduce carne asada amount.

3. Appetites of Guests

  • Larger and smaller eaters: age, dietary needs, preferences

  • If you know guests well, tailor accordingly

4. Type of Gathering

  • Casual vs formal dinner: may affect portion sizes

  • Daytime vs evening event: lunch portions often smaller

Recommended Serving Size Per Person

Taking these factors into account, here are the recommended serving sizes:

Carne Asada as Main Dish

  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb per person

Carne Asada as Side Dish

  • 1/4 to 1/3 lb per person

For easy reference, here is a serving size chart for different numbers of guests:

Number of Guests Main Dish (lbs) Side Dish (lbs)
4 2 – 3 1 – 1.5
8 4 – 6 2 – 2.8
12 6 – 9 3 – 4
20 10 – 15 5 – 7
30 15 – 22.5 7.5 – 10

These numbers are based on average appetites. Feel free to adjust up or down based on your specific guests and menu.

Handling Leftovers

Even when carefully planned, you may end up with leftover carne asada. Here are some tips for storing and using up those delicious leftovers:


  • Let the carne asada cool completely, then store in airtight containers or bags.

  • Refrigerate for 3-4 days.

  • Can be frozen for 2-3 months. Ensure airtight packaging.

Repurposing Leftovers

  • Carne asada tacos or burritos
  • Salads with carne asada
  • Quesadillas with carne asada
  • Carne asada pizza
  • Breakfast tacos or burritos
  • Carne asada sandwiches

Get creative with your leftover carne asada! The flavors pair well with so many different ingredients and dishes.

Buying Tips for Carne Asada

When purchasing carne asada for your gathering, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose flank or skirt steak for best texture
  • Allow for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs raw meat per person
  • Purchase steak that is evenly thick for even cooking
  • For food safety, only buy what you will use within a few days

Seasoning and Cooking Carne Asada

To cook delicious carne asada:

  • Defrost frozen steak 1-2 days before cooking.

  • Trim excess fat and silver skin from steak.

  • Pound steak to tenderize and evenly thin.

  • Make slashes across the meat for better marinade absorption.

  • Mix a marinade of oils, spices, herbs, garlic, lime, etc.

  • Marinate steak for 2-12 hours (overnight is great).

  • Grill over high heat for just 2-5 minutes per side.

  • Let rest 5 minutes before slicing across the grain.

Properly seasoning and grilling the carne asada results in juicy, flavorful meat.

Make Delicious Carne Asada for Your Next Gathering

We hope these guidelines help you determine just how many pounds of carne asada to make per person for your next celebration. The key is taking into account your guests, menu, and the role of the carne asada. Plan for 1/2 to 3/4 pound per person if it’s the main event, or reduce to 1/4 to 1/3 pound per person as a side. And get ready for some amazing tacos!


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