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6 Best Steak Marinades

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These steak marinade recipes are so easy to make and take no time at all. They will not only add flavor to your beef, but also tenderize the meat. Just add all the ingredients to a container and let it sit for 2 hours. We’ve put together 6 flavorful marinade ideas that take less than 5 minutes to whip up! Keep on reading…

Six steaks in bags with marinades including classic, garlic herb, fajita, balsamic rosemary, only 3 ingredients, sweet and spicy.

**Get Our FREE Steak Marinade Guide: All six easy marinades in one easy-to-print format – Sign Up Here To Get It

Best Steak Marinades

Marinating your steak is so easy and it can be added to your steak 2 minutes before cooking, marinated in the fridge overnight, or you can add the raw steak soaked in marinade straight to the freezer for future meals!

Why should you marinate your steak? Because it will create a more tender cut and add flavor to the beef. Homemade marinades are so easy to make, they use better quality ingredients (less salt, less preservatives) and they can be used in a variety of steak recipes. You can cook them on the stove, on the barbecue, in the air fryer, and even baked in the oven.

We are BIG fans of marinades around here! If you want to add more flavor to your meals, then check out our popular chicken marinades, flavorful salmon marinades, quick and easy pork chop marinades, simple tofu marinades, and shrimp marinades. Marinades can also be used to make a marinated vegetable salad!

Close up of steak and marinade inside a plastic bag.

What Do You Put In A Steak Marinade?

A marinade should always consist of three things, an acidic ingredient (like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar), a healthy fat (like olive oil or avocado oil), and either sweetness (think honey or sugar) or salt.

Spices, sauces and other seasonings will add the flavor and take the marinade to the next level.

**Get My FREE Steak Marinade Guide: All six easy marinades in one easy-to-print format – Sign Up Here To Get It

What Makes A Good Steak Marinade?

A good steak marinade is made of something acidic, a fat, sugar and/or salt, and some seasonings.

  • ACIDIC – Helps to weaken proteins in the steak creating better absorption of flavor. Examples include citrus juices, vinegar, white wine, buttermilk or pineapple juice.
  • FAT – Adds moisture and enhances flavor. Easy choices include olive oil, canola or vegetable oil, avocado oil, milk or yogurt.
  • SALT OR SUGAR – You can use one or the other, or both. Kosher salt or sea salt will work. Honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, white sugar, or coconut sugar.
  • SEASONINGS – This is what adds the most flavor. Fresh herbs or dried herbs, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, and minced garlic all add delicious flavor.
Six steak marinades side by side together.

**Get Our FREE Steak Marinade Guide: All six easy marinades in one easy-to-print format – Sign Up Here To Get It

6 Best Steak Marinade Recipes

Here are 6 easy steak marinade recipes for you to try. For each of these recipes, you can use 2-4 steaks depending on the size of them.

These recipes are great for freezing with your raw steaks which makes them perfect for pre-planned meals. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need with full details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. CLASSIC STEAK MARINADE – ⅓ cup soy sauce, ⅓ cup olive oil, ⅓ cup lemon juice, 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper.
  2. FAJITA STEAK MARINADE – ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup lime juice, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes.
  3. 3-INGREDIENT STEAK MARINADE – ¾ cup balsamic vinegar, ⅓ cup olive oil, ⅓ cup soy sauce.
  4. GARLIC HERB STEAK MARINADE – ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup lemon juice, 6 minced garlic cloves, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper.
  5. BALSAMIC ROSEMARY STEAK MARINADE – ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp dijon mustard, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 Tbsp dried rosemary.
  6. SWEET AND SPICY STEAK MARINADE – ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup orange juice, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp hot sauce, 2 tsp chili flakes, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper.

**Get Our FREE Steak Marinade Guide: All six easy marinades in one easy-to-print format – Sign Up Here To Get It

Four images grouped together. First two are bowls with marinade ingredients. Second two are raw steak and marinade in bag.

I like to use these green bag clips to hold up my freezer bags when adding ingredients (see them in the photo above). They work for holding up silicone reusable bags too.

How To Make Steak Marinade Recipes

Here’s how to make each marinade, with more details in the recipe card at the bottom of this blog post.

  1. Add the steak and all marinade ingredients into an airtight container or a freezer bag. Remove all excess air and seal tightly. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours, all the way up to 24 hours. I like to marinate most of my steaks overnight.
  2. To freeze these recipes, write the name and date on the front of the bag. These can be frozen up to 3 months with raw steak. When you’re ready to use, let it defrost overnight in the fridge. You can place the bag in a bowl of cold water (in the fridge) to help speed up the defrosting.
  3. Now, discard the excess marinade and pat the steak dry with paper towels to remove any moisture. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Now you can pan fry on the stove, grill on the barbecue, cook in air fryer, or even bake in the oven. See my cooking tips below.

Pro Tip: If you’re buying a bulk package of steak, you’ll have to freeze the steak in smaller amounts no matter what. So I like to use this time to marinate! I’ll put out multiple freezer bags to divide the steak into smaller portions and place the marinade inside. Then I just pop it into the fridge or freeze them for later.

Raw steak with minced garlic on a plate, paper towel and bag of marinade.

How Long To Marinate Steak

Marinating steak time can vary depending on the cut of beef that you have. For example, if you have a steak cut that isn’t as tender, you will want to marinate it for longer. Cuts that are more naturally tender can get a bit mushy in texture if they are marinated too long.

Here’s a quick guide for marinating times depending on the cut of beef. All steak cuts should be marinated a minimum of 2 hours.

  • NEW YORK STRIP – Marinate for 2-4 hours.
  • SIRLOIN – Marinate for 2-4 hours.
  • FLANK STEAK – Can be marinated overnight, up to 24 hours.
  • SKIRT STEAK – Can be marinated overnight, up to 24 hours.
  • BEEF CHUCK – Can be marinated overnight, up to 24 hours.
  • FILET MIGNON AND RIBEYE – These are already tender and do not require a marinade. However, you can add one for 1-2 hours just for flavor.

Best Way To Store Marinating Steak

FRIDGE: Place the steak and marinade in an airtight container or plastic bag. Refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours. After 1-2 days, the marinade should be discarded if not already used.

FREEZER: You can easily freeze the steak with the marinade ingredients. Just add everything to a good-quality freezer bag (I find that Ziploc works best to prevent leaks). Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. Lay flat in the freezer and these can be stored for up to 3-4 months for the best freshness.

DEFROSTING TIPS: You can take the frozen steak out the night before and place it in a bowl of shallow water in the fridge. This will help to speed up the defrost process.

Four raw steaks in styrofoam packaging.

What Steak Cut Should I Use?

The steak cut that you choose will depend on your budget and local availability. Tougher cuts work very well with a marinade because it helps to tenderize the meat. This is what I normally like to buy because of the price.

Leaner cuts of beef including top loin, t-bone, tenderloin, or ribeye are not always in the budget (especially these days with the rising costs at the grocery store) but work great with these marinades!

Chuck steaks, flank steaks, skirt steaks, and hangar steaks tend to be cheaper and less tender, so they can be marinated longer.

This will not only help to add deeper flavor to the steak, but it will also help to tenderize the meat.

Six cooked marinated steaks with grill marks. Marinade flavors include classic marinade, fajita marinade, balsamic rosemary, garlic herb, 3 ingredients, sweet and spicy.

How To Cook Marinated Steak

You can use your marinated steak for a variety of meals! Cook them in a frying pan on the stove, grill on the barbecue, add to the air fryer, or bake in the oven. Cooking times will vary depending on the size and thickness of your steak.

It is also important to note that a marinated steak tends to reach the desired doneness faster than a steak that has not been marinated.

Here is a basic guideline to follow for how long to cook 1-2 lbs of steak that is approximately 1″ thick. It is best to use the meat thermometer to check when your steak is ready as no two steaks are ever exactly the same in size. Here’s an overview for each (but remember the exact time will vary):

  • RARE (cool red center) – Cook 1 ½ – 2 ½ minutes per side, until it reaches 125°F
  • MEDIUM RARE (warm red center) – Cook 2 – 3 ½ minutes per side until it reaches 135°F
  • MEDIUM (warm pink center) – Cook 2 ½ – 3 ½ minutes per side until reaches 145°F
  • MEDIUM WELL (slightly pink center) – Cook 3 ½ – 4 minutes per side until it reaches 150°F
  • WELL DONE (no pink) – Cook 4-5 minutes per side until it reaches 160°F
Raw steak with minced garlic and seasonings. Then cooked version with grill marks.

1. Pan Fried Marinated Steak

Probably the easiest and most convenient way to cook these marinated steaks is in a frying pan on the stove. Here are easy instructions:

  1. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry thoroughly with paper towels. Season the steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat with cooking oil. Once the pan is hot, add the steak and sear on one side. Flip over and cook again, until desired doneness has been reached.
  3. Transfer to a plate to let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

2. Grilled Steak On The Barbecue

  1. Preheat the grill so the grates are hot before adding the steak. Pat the steak dry thoroughly with paper towel. Season it with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the steak to the grill and do not move it until you’re ready to flip it over. Cook on one side then flip the steak over and cook until steak has reached your ideal doneness.
  3. Transfer the steak to a plate and let it sit for 5 minutes. Do not cut into the steak to see if it’s done. Instead, use a meat thermometer.
An air fryer steak topped with butter, in an air fryer.

3. Air Fryer Steak

Another great way to cook steak is in an air fryer.

Can You Bake Steak In The Oven?

Yep! You can even bake your steak in the oven! This is an easy way to cook a bunch of steaks all at once on either a baking sheet or in a casserole dish.

How Do You Know When Steak Is Cooked?

Never cut into your steak to see if it is done! This will release all the delicious juices inside and will dry out the meat.

Instead, you want to use a meat thermometer. This is always the best way to check if any meat you are cooking is done. Steak should reach an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare, the USDA recommends using 145°F for medium, and 160°F for well-done. Just poke the meat thermometer right in the center of the steak where it is the thickest.

Six steak marinade recipes in bags with raw steaks. All labelled with ingredients list beside each one. Flavors include classic, fajita, 3 ingredients, garlic herb, balsamic rosemary, sweet and spicy

Common Questions

Do You Marinate Steak Before Cooking?

Yes. The raw steak is added to a container (or bag) with the marinade ingredients. This helps to tenderize the meat before cooking it.

Can I Marinate Frozen Steak?

Yes and no. You cannot add a frozen steak to a marinade. You must thaw it first or it won’t absorb the ingredients properly.
But you CAN marinade a steak and then freeze it. Just add the marinade and sauce ingredients to the bag and freeze them together.

Is It Safe To Marinate Steak Overnight?

Yes as long as it is in an airtight container in the fridge the whole time.

Can I Reuse The Marinade?

The marinade has been with raw meat so it is not recommended that you reuse it. However, the marinade could be heated in a saucepan to 145F and drizzled on top of cooked steak.

Can I Add The Marinade Ingredients To The Cooking Pan?

No. This will cause the steak to steam cook from the moisture of the marinade liquid. There should be no moisture at all on the pan or grill (except cooking oil) so that you can get the perfect crispy outside.

Should You Poke Holes In Steak Before Marinating?

Poking a raw steak with a fork can help to create holes in the steak that allow the marinade to access the meat even deeper. I have not tried this personally so I cannot recommend it.

Is 30 Minutes Long Enough To Marinate Steak?

Not usually, unless you have a really tender steak cut. More tender cuts require less marinating time. I prefer to marinade for a minimum of 2 hours for best flavor and tenderness.

More Marinade Recipes

I love how marinades make dinner so much easier. They freeze well and add so much flavor to enhance your dish. Here are a few other marinade recipes I use all the time:

Six marinated steaks in bags including classic, fajita, only 3 ingredients, garlic herb, balsamic rosemary, and sweet and spicy.

6 Easy Steak Marinade Recipes

These six steak marinades are very easy to make. They can be added to your steak two hours before cooking, marinated in the fridge overnight, or you can add the raw steak soaked in marinade straight to the freezer for future meals.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4 steaks per marinade


Classic Marinade

Fajita Marinade

3-Ingredients Only Marinade

Garlic Herb Marinade

Balsamic Rosemary

Sweet and Spicy Marinade


  • Mix together the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.
    Bowls of ingredients to make marinade.
  • Add the steak to a large freezer bag or airtight container. Pour the marinade on top. Seal tightly and swish the marinade around to coat the steak. Place it in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
    Steak with liquid inside a freezer bag held up by green bag clip stands
  • When ready to cook. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry thoroughly with paper towel. Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking. Discard the leftover marinade.
    raw marinated steak with paper towel and leftover marinade in a plastic bag.

The nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving.

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