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13 Marinades for Ultimate Flavor

Get ready for the mouthwatering flavor infusion with our carefully crafted selection of marinades. Here, you’ll find versatile options, including various flavor profiles and protein-specific recipes. Each one has earned its spot on this list of 13 marinades for ultimate flavor!


Why Use a Marinade?

Marinades offer key benefits, including adding flavor and tenderizing meats. Now, when we say tenderize, it doesn’t mean that it will completely change the meat’s composition from tough to fork-tender. Acids like vinegar, citrus, pineapple, or papaya juice penetrate and can soften tough muscle fibers. The oils help keep the meat moist; the salt adds a minimal bit of plumping (much like a brine), while the herbs and spices infuse it with flavor. The goal is not to over-marinate, as some meats like chicken, fish, seafood, and vegetables are prone to breaking down or turning rubbery. 

Marinating 101

  • Quantity: Know how much marinade you’ll need. The norm is 1/2 cup per pound of meat.
  • Quality: Choose the best meats for your recipe. While a marinade will help add flavor and moisture, it is best to choose your proteins wisely. That includes the size and quality of the product. If you’re interested in an online butcher, we recommend Porter Road. They have a great selection of pork, beef, and chicken available on the market.
  • Application: Make sure you’re getting the most out of your marinating experience. That means applying a good coating of marinade on the meat. Pour the marinade straight onto the meat, and toss with tongs to coat.
  • Equipment and Safety: We recommend using either a large glass baking dish or resealable zip top plastic bag for marinating. Keep marinated foods fresh and mitigate foodborne illness by storing it in your refrigerator until you’re ready to cook. Never marinate food longer than 15 minutes (excluding seafood) at room temperature. Always refrigerate.
  • Timing: Know how long to marinate. Large cuts of meat like beef, lamb, and pork roasts will require 8-24 hours of marinating time. Fish, seafood, and vegetables require a short 15-30 minute marinating time. 
  • Cooking: You can remove your proteins straight from the marinade and place them right on your grill, in a skillet, or oven to cook. However, you can blot the excess moisture away with paper towels and season with a low salt rub for ribs and large roasts. Doing this adds an extra layer of flavor.

Now, let’s more on to the 13 Marinades for Ultimate Flavor!

1.) Lemon-Herb Marinade

Lemon-Herb Marinade

Infuse your chicken, pork, and fish dishes with a vibrant citrus and herb flavors. Transform bland chicken breasts into a crave-worthy meal with this zesty lemon-herb marinade.

2.) Pineapple-Rum-Ginger Steak Marinade

Pineapple, Rum, and Ginger mixture for marinating steaks

This pineapple-rum and ginger steak marinade is sweet from the brown sugar and has a robust earthiness of the rum and soy sauce. This marinade works beautifully on beef steaks and roasts. You can even reduce it to make a sauce.

3.) Carne Asada Marinade

Marinating carne asada

Whether making carne asada for tacos or planning a steak dinner, this marinade is a great starting point. The citrus juices flavor the meat and add tenderizing power that is perfect for flat steaks. 

4.) Pork Chop Marinade

pork chops with marinade on them

Not only is this pork chop marinade packed full of flavor, but it offers you a little extra time and convenience. Make up the marinade the night before and store it in the refrigerator. When you get up in the morning, start the chops marinating. By the time dinner time rolls around, you’ll be ready to grill or bake some tasty pork chops! 

5.) Korean Bulgogi Marinade

Marinated and cooked bulgogi in a bowl

Discover the rich flavor of Korean bulgogi with this marinade recipe. Slice the beef, marinate, cook, and serve it in lettuce wraps or over rice. The flavors are incredible!

6.) The Ultimate Pineapple Marinade


This sweet, fruit-based marinade contains the tenderizing power of pineapple and apple cider vinegar with East Asian-inspired flavors. This marinade works well on all meats, seafood, vegetables, and meat substitutes.

7.) Beef Rib Marinade

Beef Rib Marinade

Are you planning on smoking or grilling some beef ribs this weekend? Consider using this beef rib marinade to help get you in the right direction. The flavors in this marinade are simple but make some tasty, amazing beef ribs! 

8.) Jamaican Jerk Marinade

Jamaican jerk marinade

Caribbean cuisine is delicious and diverse, but one thing remains true: Jamaican jerk hits the top of the flavor list every time. The mixture of herbs, earthy spices, and piquant elements in this marinade is wonderful.

9.) Greek-Style Lamb Marinade

Greek Style Lamb Marinade

Greek cuisine is characterized by olive oil, lemons, herbs like oregano and thyme, and meats like lamb, fish, pork, poultry, fish, and seafood. Often, these meats are marinated, then cooked on an open flame, or baked in the oven. The lemon juice permeates the surface of the meat, tenderizing it, while herbs and other ingredients impart a uniquely delicious Mediterranean flavor.

10.) Pork Rib Marinade

Pork rib marinade

If you’re new to outdoor cooking, you might be wondering what method produces the most tender, succulent pork ribs. Usually, ribs are coated in mustard and dusted with a generous amount of dry rub. However, some older methods have fallen by the wayside–for instance, marinating pork ribs before grilling them. This old method is making a comeback, and we’re here for it!

11.) Balsamic Marinade

Balsamic Chicken Marinade

Balsamic vinegar is amazing in marinades! Its robust flavor adds a kick of flavor from boneless chicken thighs and breasts to steak and pork tenderloin. 

12.) Easy Teriyaki Marinade

Marinating fish with teriyaki

This marinade is the perfect way to infuse teriyaki flavor into your favorite foods. It works well on all types of proteins, and adds delicious flavor to beef jerky! The plus side is that you can make it into a serving sauce! Did we say marinade and sauce? Yes we did. Just double the recipe and use half as a marinade and the other half to make the sauce. You can see why this recipe made our list of 13 Marinades for Ultimate Flavor!

13.) Shrimp Marinade

The Best Shrimp Marinade

A delightful shrimp marinade infused with the zesty combination of Sambal Oelek, bright citrus flavors, and savory soy sauce. This marvelous blend adds heat, tanginess, and umami goodness to grilled, seared, or smoked shrimp. 

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