Carne Asada Fries Recipe | PBS Food

Carne Asada Fries are a popular Mexican-American mashup in Southern California. This recipe is an adaptation of the carne asada fries at Rolando’s Taco Shop in San Diego, CA, so you can enjoy this craving at home.


Yield: Serves 4



  • For the fries:
  • Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
  • 2 russet potatoes washed and scrubbed, cut into ¼” to ⅓” matchsticks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt or to taste

  • For the carne asada:
  • 1/4 large white onion for cleaning the grill
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing the grill (or use beef fat or tallow trimmed from the meat)
  • 2 pounds beef top sirloin sliced into 1/2-inch steaks
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • Toppings:
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Your favorite salsa roja or salsa verde (or both)


  1. Make the fries: Fill a large Dutch oven or casserole a little less than halfway with oil. Place over medium heat and bring to 325°F degrees — or test by dropping in a small piece of potato, if the oil bubbles all around it, it’s ready.
  2. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Once dry, carefully add about half of the potatoes to the hot oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring with tongs or a spider to make sure they aren’t sticking to each other. The fries should start to look creamy and matte in color. If they begin to brown, take them out. Transfer the fries to the baking sheet with the cooling rack and repeat the process with the remaining potatoes.
  3. When all the potatoes have been fried, raise the heat of the oil to 375°F to 400°F, or raise the heat under the casserole to medium-high. Once the oil is ready, add the fries back into the oil in a couple batches.
  4. Cook each batch for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the fries are golden brown. Transfer the fries back to the baking sheet with the rack and immediately sprinkle with salt.
  5. Keep warm in a 250°F oven while making the carne asada.
  6. Make the carne asada: Preheat the grill to high heat or set a grill pan over high heat. Clean and season the grill by rubbing it with a quarter of a white onion, using a pair of tongs. Next, brush the grill with vegetable oil, or you can use beef fat or tallow trimmed from the meat.
  7. Season the top of the meat with salt and place on the hot grill, salted side up. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom has seared, deep grill marks have developed, and the meat juices have started rising and bubbling over the top. Flip over and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove the meat and rest for 5 minutes. Then cut into ½-inch dice.
  8. To serve: Put the fries on a large plate and place spoonfuls of mashed avocado and sour cream all around. Then add the carne asada on top. Sprinkle on the cheese and top with salsa.
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