These are some of the Best Marinade Recipes for Grilling! They impart a delicious flavor that goes cell deep into the meat. Paired with the charred flavor from a charcoal or gas grill, these marinades are a simple way to have a moist, tender, flavorful entree.

Some Marinades are best for a specific type of meat, and others, like teriyaki, are terrific with seafood, beef, chicken, and more! You’ll find recipes for all these categories in this post, plus marinating tips including how long to marinate and helpful tools.

30+ Marinade Recipes collage with 4 photos and circular title text box

Why You’ll Love these Easy Marinade Recipes

  • Marinades are typically made with pantry ingredients and are simple to make.
  • There are so many versions and you can easily tweak them by changing the spices, type of acidic ingredient needed to tenderize, and what you marinate.
  • They’re an easy way to make sure your meat is moist and tender when you pull it off the grill!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Three Main Components of a Marinade?

Acid, oil, and flavorings are the primary components of marinades. The acid can be citrus juice, vinegar, yogurt, buttermilk, and more.

How Do You Make a Marinade?

Making a marinade is as simple as whisking together the ingredients in a bowl. Your blender can also be used. If you slowly add the oil while the blender is mixing the other ingredients, it will thicken or emulsify, like mayonnaise. An emulsification will cling to the meat.

Should You Marinate in the Refrigerator?

Yes, to avoid food poisoning, you must marinate in the refrigerator. Plus, never reuse the marinade as it will collect raw meat juices as well as any bacteria that are on the surface of the meat.

What's the Best Oil to Use in a Marinade?

I use olive oil but vegetable oils like canola work well, too. The monoglycerides and or diglycerides in olive oil may help the marinades penetrate faster.

How Long Should You Marinate?

It depends on the food. More delicate proteins like fish and shellfish need less time than beef or lamb. The acid or enzymes in the marinade will break down the surface texture, allowing the flavors to penetrate more easily.

The recommended marinating times are listed below under each category.

Tips for How to Marinate

  • Make sure to use an acidic ingredient in your marinade. This will tenderize your meat, fish, etc. Examples of these include citrus juice like lemon, lime, or orange juice, vinegar, yogurt, buttermilk, and wine.
  • PRO-Tip: Use approximately 1/2 cup of marinade for each pound of meat.
  • Use a non-reactive pan or container in which to marinate. Pyrex casserole dishes, ceramic dishes, and Ziploc bags all work well. Avoid metal or foil containers.
  • Turn the meat at least once or flip your Ziploc bag so that both sides are equally exposed to the marinade.
  • Don’t oversalt as this can draw moisture out of the meat (remember your high school osmosis lessons).
  • PRO-Tip: Don’t marinate too long or freeze the meat in a marinade as the long exposure to acidic ingredients will break down the proteins making a mushy texture. The goal is to marinate long enough to tenderize, but not so long that the muscle fibers break down too much.
Red Wine, Soy, Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak on a white dinner plate with a spinach salad

Best Beef Marinades

Beef can be marinated for 3-24 hours. To grill, cook to an internal temperature of 125° for rare, 130-135° for medium-rare, 135-140° for medium, 140-150° for medium-well, and 155° for well done (not recommended). Ground beef (due to a higher risk of e-coli) is safest when cooked to 160°.

Grilled Thai Chicken | Marinated in coconut milk with fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and cilantro, this is one of the BEST grilled chicken dishes you'll ever taste!

Favorite Chicken Marinades

Chicken can be marinated for 3-12 hours. Chicken breasts should be cooked to 165°, thighs to 165-175°, and chicken burgers to 170°. Again, the ground chicken should be cooked to a higher temperature as the grinding process may spread bacteria (usually salmonella), that would ordinarily be on the outside of the meat, into the minced meat.

Grilled marinated pork chop on a dinner plate with fresh corn and a red handled fork

Top Pork Marinades

Pork can be marinated for 3-12 hours. Pork should be cooked to 145° for medium-rare, 150° for medium, and 160° for both well done and burgers.

overhead view of frenched lamb chops on a white plate with a bamboo handled fork

Lamb Marinades, Shrimp Marinades, Salmon and Vegetable Marinades

Lamb marinating times and doneness temperatures are the same as beef. Shellfish can be marinated for 15 minutes and Seafood from 15-30 minutes. Vegetables can be marinated for up to 30 minutes.

Helpful Tools for Marinating and Grilling