How To Make A Quick And Delicious Marinade For Steak

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Using a delicious marinade is a fantastic way to add a special touch to your steak. Whether grilling or cooking in the oven, a marinade will add extra flavor and help your meat remain juicy and tender.

In this post we will discuss things like what a marinade is and the purpose for using marinades, common ingredients for marinades and how to make a quick and delicious marinade for a steak.

What Is A Marinade

A marinade is a liquid, usually made of an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or citrus, oil, different spices and herbs, salt and sometimes sugar. Marinades are used to soak meat in before the cooking process begins.

Marinades add flavor to meat but also start to break down the meat in such a way that the meat is able to soak up some liquid from the marinade allowing for a juicier and tender piece of meat.

It is a great idea to use marinades for grilled meat as the grilling temperature can dry out meat if you aren’t careful.

Marinating Steak

You can marinate any meat and even root veggies to give them extra flavor. The amount of time you have the food sitting in marinade varies for different kinds of meats and veggies. Here we will be covering the basics for marinating steak.

How Long To Marinate Steak

Steak can sit in a marinade for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours. The longer it sits, the more the flavorful the meat will be and it will also be able to retain moisture creating a tender steak.

However, you need to be careful not to marinate for too long! This is especially true when using marinade with higher acidity levels. Eventually the acidity of the marinade will break down the meat protein causing the meat to become mushy and dry when grilling, the exact opposite of your initial goal!

Different cuts of steak have different recommendations for marinating times.

For example a tougher cut such as a flank steak will do well with a longer marinating time, whereas, a rib eye only needs about 30 minutes. Some cuts of beef are already nice and tender and don’t need any marinating at all.

Common Ingredients For Marinades

Oil/Fat – Using a type of fat such as oil will help the other ingredients stick to the meat while also holding in moisture.

Acid – An acidic ingredient such as vinegar or citrus juice will help break down the meat making it more tender. Using lemon or lime also adds a really bright flavor.

Flavor – Herbs and spices are used in different combinations to create flavor. Crushed garlic is another delicious and easy way to flavor your marinade. Sometimes you can use dijon mustard, soy sauce, ketchup or worcestershire sauce.

Salt – Don’t forget the salt which helps tenderize and flavor your meat. If you are using salty sauces such as soy sauce, or seasoning containing salt then that will work too.

Sugar – Adding something sweet helps balance the spicy or salty ingredients and it can help make a caramelized outer layer that other ingredients will stick too. I like to use honey. Some other ideas are brown sugar or ketchup.

A Quick Marinade For Steak

Once you have the basics you can easily throw together a quick marinade for your steak.

My favorite way to marinate steak is to mix up the ingredients and pour them into a ziploc bag with the meat. Seal it up and massage the marinade into the meat. Then let it sit for the appropriate time before grilling into a tasty, juicy and tender piece of meat.

A lot of recipes call for quite a bit of acid but you have to be careful or the acid will make your meat mushy or even dry it out. I like to use a 3:1 ratio of oil to acid. So for instance, 1/3 cup of oil to about 2 TB of acid works well.

Here is a quick marinade to get you started:

Garlic Honey Steak Marinade
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil (can substitute your choice of oil)
  • 2 TB red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB honey
  • 4-6 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • juice of a lime (optional)


Marinades are a liquid mixture of oil, acid, and seasonings that you combine to help tenderize and flavor your meat.

Be aware of how long you should let your meat marinate as some cuts of meat are different and need more or less time.

You can make a very simple marinade using a 3:1 ratio of oil to acid and then adding salt and pepper. If you want to make a more interesting marinade use other flavorings such as spices, herbs, garlic, honey, or sauces.

If you have any questions or comments, let me know. I would love to hear what you come up with! Or even better, post a picture of your marinade in the comment section below!


Allie, In The Kitchen With Me

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11 thoughts on “How To Make A Quick And Delicious Marinade For Steak”

  1. What helpful ideas! I never knew that marinating some meats longer dry them out. I will be more aware of that in the future. I’m going to try out the marinade recipe over Memorial Day weekend! Sounds like a keeper.
    Thanks Allie


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