The 7 Best Steak Marinades For Perfectly Cooked Steak

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With these 7 Best Steak Marinades, you’ll have all sorts of flavor and variety to spice up your next steak dinner.  Get tips for how to marinate steak, how to cook perfect steak, and how to freeze marinated steak PLUS my 7 best steak marinade recipes.

Best Steak Marinades | With these 7 Best Steak Marinades, you’ll have all sorts of flavor and variety to spice up your next steak dinner.  Get tips for how to marinate steak and how to freeze marinated steak plus 7 great steak marinade recipes. | A Sweet Pea Chef

It doesn’t get much better than steak for dinner, am I right? While you might think that cooking juicy, tender, flavorful steak is time-consuming and difficult, I’m here to tell you how it’s not. To make sure your steak turns out perfectly tender and juicy every time, you just need to do a little bit of prepping.  And it really is just a little bit.

And, by prepping, I really mean marinating.

Sure, you can cook a good steak without marinating first, but leaving meat in the fridge in a mix of herbs, spices, oils, vinegars, and other goodness can make ALL the difference.

After numerous steak dinners (not that I’m complaining!) and a lot of experimenting with various flavor combinations, I wanted to share my favorite steak marinades with you. All of them are very simple and easy to make and add a nice touch of variation so you won’t get bored of the same ol’ flavors.

PS: If you like variation, you’ll also love my 7 chicken marinades post, too 🙂

Overhead view of a raw piece of skirt steak, shown as an example of what type of steak is good for marinades since it has tough fibers that are broken down with the marinade.

How To Marinate A Steak

Fortunately, the best way to marinate a steak is also the most simple one and requires combining a few ingredients to make a marinade and having the steak set in it for a bit.

More specifically, here are the steps for how to marinate a steak:

  1. Place the steak in an air-tight container or re-usable storage bag
  2. Toss in the ingredients for the marinade (I’ve got 7 great ones for ya below in this post!)
  3. Press the air out of the bag, and seal tightly
  4. Press the marinade around the steak to coat
  5. Place in the fridge to marinate.

Seriously.  So dang easy.

Ingredients separated for the Red Wine Marinade, including red wine, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, minced garlic cloves and rosemary

Close up of several marinating steaks lines up in a row, ready to be placed into the fridge to marinate and be cooked later.

TIPS FOR HOW TO MARINATE STEAK

Okay, so while it’s simple, there are still some quick tips I’d like to share that will help you marinate and cook your steak like a pro.  Here are some helpful tips on how to marinate steak to have the best results.

  • Use a sealable plastic bag, large bowl with plastic wrap, or an air-tight container.  You want to seal in the juices and flavors as much as possible. As a general rule, I use a 1 quart sized bag when I’m marinating less than a pound of steak, and it’s perfect.
  • Marinate your food in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.  This will help keep your food safe from food-borne illnesses.
  • Keep marinating meat away from other foods in your fridge to avoid unsafe contamination of the raw meat.
  • Use a combination of an acid, oil, and spices in your marinade.
  • Make sure to discard the unused marinade once it’s time to cook the meat and don’t use it as a sauce unless you cook it first because it will contain raw steak juices.
  • For the best results, try to marinate the steak the night before you cook it for the maximum flavor.
  • If you can’t get to cooking your marinated steak within two days, you can also freeze the meat in the marinade to be used later.  That’s a benefit of using the freezer-safe bags – you can just toss them right into the freezer for later.  Then, when it’s time to cook, thaw the meat and cook.
  • For most marinades, use about 1/2 cup of the marinade for every 2 pounds of beef.
  • After removing the beef from the marinade, pat all sides of the steak dry with paper towels to prevent steaming and encourage browning.

No matter which of my best steak marinade recipes you decide to try out first, for steak marinades, these tips will help you get the most flavor.

Okay, so now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get to the steak marinade recipes!

Ingredients separated for the Italian Marinade, including white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, onion powder, finely minced garlic cloves, thyme, basil, oregano, sea salt and pepper.Ingredients separated for Fajita Marinade, including lime juice, pineapple juice, low sodium soy sauce, minced garlic, ground cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, sea salt, black pepper, chopped cilantro and olive oil.

How Long To Marinate A Steak?

When it comes to marinating steak, whichever type of steak you choose, whether it’s a shoulder, skirt or flank steak, you can go ahead and choose any marinade and flavor combination you want. The only thing that does differ is the marinating time.

  • For Tender Cuts of Steak: If you already have a tender cut of beef, like New York strip or filet mignon, only 15 minutes to 2 hours of marinating time are required to add flavor.
  • For Tougher Cuts of Steak: But, if you’re wanting to tenderize your beef for tougher cuts, like skirt steak or flank steak, the meat should soak in the marinade for at least 6 hours but no more than 24 hours.

How Long Is Too Long To Marinate Steak?

Ideally, you should not marinate a steak for more than 24 hours — especially if you have a tender cut of steak.  Any longer than that and the muscle fibers will break down and the texture will become mushy.

Some types of steak, like skirt steak, are naturally not very tender and should be left to marinate for a longer time in order to tenderize. For tougher cuts of beef, I recommend you prepare the marinade the night before and let the steak tenderize and soak up all the flavors overnight.  Then, just grab and cook.

Pan Roasted Steak

How To Freeze Marinated Steak

If you can’t get to cooking your marinated steak within 24 hours, you can safely freeze the meat in the marinade to be used later. That’s why I love using the freezer-safe re-usable bags when marinating steak, for you can just toss them right into the freezer for later. When it’s time to cook the steak, just thaw the meat and cook.

Pan-Roasted Steak

HOW LONG TO COOK STEAK

A serving size of steak is 3 ounces which is roughly the same size as the palm of your hand or a deck of playing cards.  Generally speaking, one 1-pound steak fillet yields about two servings, but the size of steaks can vary.  For the recipes in this post, I have assumed a 1-lb. portion of a tougher cut of steak, flank steak, which works great. For families looking to marinate enough steak, you can easily double the recipes provided for 2+ pounds of steak.

The cook time will vary slightly with the size and thickness of the steak, but there are some basic guidelines you can follow for how long to cook steak.  The major point when cooking steak is that it reaches an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit so that it is safe to eat.

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Levels of Doneness for Steak:

  • Rare: Cool red center, 125° F (cook 1 1/2 – 2 1/2  minutes per side over high heat, depending on thickness)
  • Medium Rare: Warm red center, 135° F (cook 2 – 3 1/2 minutes per side over high heat, depending on thickness)
  • Medium: Warm pink center, 145° F (cook 2 1/2 – 3 1/2  minutes per side over high heat, depending on thickness)
  • Medium Well: Slightly pink center, 150° F (cook 3 1/2 – 4 minutes per side over high heat, depending on thickness)
  • Well Done: Little or no pink, 160° F (cook 4 – 5   minutes per side over high heat, depending on thickness)

In general, we want it at least 145° for a safe-to-eat internal temperature.  However, unlike with chicken breast, it is safer to eat undercooked steak than it is to eat undercooked chicken.  Keep in mind as well that the steak will continue to cook and increase in internal temperature by approximately 5° F AFTER it’s removed from the heat.

If you don’t have a digital thermometer (LOVE), here are some tips for how to know when steak is cooked.

7 sealable freezer bags filled with steak and marinating in different steak marinades, including red wine, Italian, fajita, garlic & herb, ginger soy, lemon pepper, and chipotle.

7 EASY STEAK MARINADE RECIPES

Okay, now I hope to have you excited to marinate your steak to have moist, flavorful, and super tender steak!  To get you started, I’ve got 7 great steak marinade recipes that I use all the time and absolutely love.  Below, you’ll find:

  1. Red Wine Steak Marinade
  2. Italian Steak Marinade
  3. Fajita Steak Marinade
  4. Garlic And Herb Steak Marinade
  5. Ginger Soy Steak Marinade
  6. Lemon Pepper Steak Marinade
  7. Chipotle Steak Marinade

You can either click on the recipe that sounds best to jump right to it or scroll through to get an idea of all the recipes.  Happy marinating!!

7 Best Steak Marinades Recipe Video

1. Red Wine Steak Marinade

Red wine goes very well with steak. Next time, try using red wine it to tenderize the meat as well. Follow my simple, fool-proof Red Wine Marinade recipe to infuse the meat with that subtle wine flavor.

Sealable freezer bag with skirt steak and Red Wine Marinade, marinating and ready to cook.

Red Wine Marinade

Red wine goes very well with steak. Next time, try using red wine it to tenderize the meat as well. Follow my simple, fool-proof Red Wine Marinade recipe to infuse the meat with that subtle wine flavor.

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  1. In a sealable ziplock bag or air-tight container, add the skirt steak, followed by all the ingredients for the marinade.

  2. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly, making sure to press the marinade around the steak to coat.
  3. Place in the fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes, ideally up to 6-20 hours.

2. Italian Steak Marinade

This Italian marinade combines different flavors to accentuate specific ingredients to make a simple steak taste incredible. If you don’t want to overwhelm your steak but just add a lighter flavor to it, my Italian Marinade is a perfect choice.

Sealable freezer bag with skirt steak and the Italian Marinade, marinating and ready to cook.

Italian Marinade

This Italian marinade combines different flavors to accentuate specific ingredients to make a simple steak taste incredible. If you don’t want to overwhelm your steak but just add a lighter flavor to it, my Italian Marinade is a perfect choice.

  • 1 lb. skirt steak
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  1. In a sealable ziplock bag or air-tight container, add the skirt steak, followed by all the ingredients for the marinade.

  2. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly, making sure to press the marinade around the steak to coat.
  3. Place in the fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes, ideally up to 6-20 hours.

3. Fajita Steak Marinade

C’mon, who doesn’t like fajitas?  Combine the best of both worlds and spice up your next steak dinner by letting the meat soak up all the colorful flavors of my Fajita Marinade. Use low-sodium soy sauce and pineapple juice with no added sugar in order to keep this recipe not just yummy but healthy, too.

Sealable freezer bag with skirt steak and the Fajita Marinade, marinating and ready to cook.

Fajita Marinade

Combine the best of both worlds and spice up your next steak dinner by letting the meat soak up all the colorful flavors of my Fajita Marinade.

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 1/3 cup lime juice ((approx. 2-3 limes))
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice, (no sugar added)
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, (minced)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. In a sealable ziplock bag or air-tight container, add the skirt steak, followed by all the ingredients for the marinade.

  2. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly, making sure to press the marinade around the steak to coat.
  3. Place in the fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes, ideally up to 6-20 hours.

4. Garlic And Herb Steak Marinade

Let this simple Garlic and Herb recipe marinate overnight, throw it on the grill, and pair up with a glass of your favorite wine. The ultimate weekday dinner!

Sealable freezer bag with steak and the Garlic & Herb Marinade, marinating and ready to cook.

Garlic And Herb Marinade

Let this simple Garlic and Herb recipe marinate overnight, throw it on the grill, and pair up with a glass of your favorite wine.

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. In a sealable ziplock bag or air-tight container, add the skirt steak, followed by all the ingredients for the marinade.

  2. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly, making sure to press the marinade around the steak to coat.
  3. Place in the fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes, ideally up to 6-20 hours.

5. Ginger Soy Steak Marinade

Give your skirt steak a punch of Asian flavors by marinating it in my Ginger Soy Marinade. The strong flavors of the rice wine vinegar and raw honey balance each other out. To keep your sodium levels in check, always opt for the low sodium soy sauce.

Sealable freezer bag with skirt steak and the Ginger Soy Marinade, marinating and ready to cook.

Ginger Soy Marinade

Give your skirt steak a punch of Asian flavors by marinating it in my Ginger Soy Marinade. The strong flavors of the rice wine vinegar and raw honey balance each other out.

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp raw honey
  • 4 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, (minced)
  1. In a sealable ziplock bag or air-tight container, add the skirt steak, followed by all the ingredients for the marinade.

  2. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly, making sure to press the marinade around the steak to coat.
  3. Place in the fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes, ideally up to 6-20 hours.

6. Lemon Pepper Steak Marinade

It just doesn’t get more simple (or more delicious) than this Lemon Pepper Marinade. Zesty lemon juice, crushed black peppercorns, olive oil, a pinch of sea salt… Sheer perfection!

Sealable freezer bag with steak and the Lemon Pepper Marinade, marinating and ready to cook.

Lemon Pepper Marinade

It just doesn’t get more simple (or more delicious) than this Lemon Pepper Marinade. Zesty lemon juice, crushed black peppercorns, olive oil, a pinch of sea salt.

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. In a sealable ziplock bag or air-tight container, add the skirt steak, followed by all the ingredients for the marinade.

  2. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly, making sure to press the marinade around the steak to coat.
  3. Place in the fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes, ideally up to 6-20 hours.

7. Chipotle Steak Marinade

Add some serious spiciness to your favorite steak by adding adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers) to the marinade. My Chipotle Marinade incorporates cumin, onion and garlic powder with some freshly squeezed lime juice creating a satisfying combination of flavors.

Sealable freezer bag with steak and the Chipotle Marinade, marinating and ready to cook.

Chipotle Marinade

Add some serious spice to your favorite steak by adding adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers) to the marinade. My Chipotle Marinade incorporates cumin, onion and garlic powder with some freshly squeezed lime juice creating a satisfying combination of flavors.

  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce ((from canned chipotle peppers))
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. In a sealable ziplock bag or air-tight container, add the skirt steak, followed by all the ingredients for the marinade.

  2. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly, making sure to press the marinade around the steak to coat.
  3. Place in the fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes, ideally up to 6-20 hours.

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