Skirt Steak Marinade

5 from 16 votes
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This skirt steak marinade combines zesty citrus, savory soy sauce, and bold spices to create tender and flavorful beef. It’s a must-have during grilling season.

Easy and delicious skirt steak marinade, perfect for a summer bbq.

Recipe Science

  • Acidic components in the marinade, such as vinegar or citrus, tenderize skirt steak by breaking down its tough fibers.
  • Oil in the marinade dissolves fat-soluble flavors from herbs and spices, deeply flavoring the steak.
  • Salt in the marinade seasons the meat and aids in moisture retention, keeping the steak juicy during cooking.

Why It Works

This skirt steak marinade works in just 30 minutes! The thinly sliced cut quickly infuses the sauce’s flavor. You can grill or pan-sear it to create a stunning golden brown crust. It’s incredibly delicious to use when making steak fajitas. If you are a tender, juicy steak fan, try this recipe.

I used my go-to New York strip steak marinade as the base and adjusted the flavor to include citrus, cumin, and hot peppers. It’s a great combination, especially as a skirt steak marinade for tacos. Reserve a portion to serve on the side as a sauce to make each slice even tastier.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make this skirt steak marinade recipe.
  • Skirt Steak: A cut of meat from the diaphragm or short plate of the steer below the rib. Skirt steak is a long, thinly sliced strip of beef. It’s unique because the muscle fibers form long strands with a grain that is easy to spot. It’s lean and a bit chewy. Perfect for slicing or chopping up for taco recipes.
  • Fat: Olive oil keeps the meat from drying out when cooking. It also brings out the fat-soluble flavor compounds from the oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes for a more pungent taste.
  • Flavor enhancers: Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce contain umami flavor compounds that enhance the natural beefy taste. Salt tenderizes and brines the meat.
  • Alliums: Minced garlic and dried onion powder provide spice and earthiness.
  • Sweetener: A small amount of sweetener like honey balances the salty ingredients and encourages quicker browning on the surface during cooking.
  • Acid: Red wine vinegar boosts the sauce’s taste. Worcestershire sauce contains distilled white vinegar, which adds tanginess and tenderization without causing the proteins to turn mushy and dry.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

Now that you know how to make a fantastic marinade for skirt steak, it’s easy to switch up the flavor profile. Try these tasty ideas:

  • Beef Options: This marinade works well with other cuts of beef, like flank steak or flat iron steak.
  • Make it Spicy: Add freshly chopped jalapenos or serrano peppers. Increase the red chili flakes, and add chile powder, cayenne, or chipotle. Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce add an excellent charred taste.
  • Use Vinegar: Swap out the Worcestershire sauce for tangy balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Citrus: Add lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice for a stronger citrus taste.
  • Add Asian Flavors: Add minced ginger, sesame oil, miso paste, vegetable oil, and sriracha for an Asian-style marinade. Use regular or low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Add Herbs: Chop fresh oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro, green onions, chives, rosemary, or basil.
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

How to Make Skirt Steak Marinade

Step 1: Prepare the Skirt Steak

When purchasing, the cut of steak can come in pieces as long as 12 inches or bigger. If you plan to grill it, you can keep the long strip whole because it can fit on a large barbecue.

Pro Tip: When cooking on the stovetop, you may want to cut it into smaller pieces, about 5 to 7 inches in length. This makes it easier to maneuver in the pan and slice.

All the skirt steak marinade ingredients in a bowl.

Step 2: Make the Marinade

This recipe makes a highly flavorful and potent marinade that quickly transfers flavor to the meat. Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Skirt steak marinade in a bowl after being whisked together.

Reserve ¼ cup of the mixture and combine it with the red wine vinegar. This makes a delicious sauce to serve with the cooked skirt steak.

Pouring marinade over a skirt steak inside a white casserole dish.

Step 3: Marinate the Steak

Add the steak to a large plastic bag or baking dish, then pour 1 cup of the marinade over it. The steak is thin, so lay it flat and try to submerge it as much as possible, then transfer it to the refrigerator.

Skirt steak marinading in a baking dish.

Let the skirt steak marinate for at least 30 minutes, flipping over after 15 minutes for even flavor application on the surface. If you have an hour, it will be even more flavorful.

Skirt steak searing on a grill pan.

Step 4: Cook the Steak

Remove the steak from the marinade and dry the surface with paper towels. This ensures that the meat develops a golden brown crust. Use your desired cooking method, like grilling or pan-searing. Depending on your preferred doneness, cook for 2 to 4 minutes on each side.

Marinated skirt steak on a cutting board sliced into strips.

Step 5: Rest the Meat

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing. If the steak was kept long, cut it into smaller 5 to 7-inch pieces, then slice against the grain.

Step 6: Serve the Steak

To add an extra layer of flavor to the cooked steak, serve with the reserved marinade mixed with the red wine vinegar. The savory and tangy sauce is great for pouring on top of the sliced steak or serving on the side to dip.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between outside and inside skirt steak?

This cut is sold as the outside or inside skirt. Each has a big difference in texture! The outside skirt is less coarse, making it more tender. It will be about 4 inches wide and ½ to 1 inch thick. The inside skirt is about 7 inches wide and about half as thick. It will be much more chewy. If you end up with the inside portion, tenderize it with a mallet to 1/4-inch thick. Marinating them further tenderizes the meat.

How long can I marinate skirt steak?

The thin cut of beef only needs 30 minutes to marinate and tenderize. Ensure it’s coated in the sauce, then turn it over halfway through. Don’t let the meat sit too long. The salt and acids will start to force out the moisture in the beef, causing it to taste too dry and chewy. If you want to make it 24 hours in advance, marinate for up to an hour, then drain off the marinade.

Does skirt steak get softer if marinated?

Yes, the salt and acids in the marinade loosen the meat’s muscle fibers, making the protein more tender and easier to chew.

What is the best cooking method for skirt steak?

The beef is thinly sliced, so cooking it quickly over high heat is best. Grilling, broiling, or pan-searing are the best techniques. They create a golden brown and flavor crust, keeping the center medium rare to medium and juicy. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

What is skirt steak best used for?

It’s a thin, inexpensive cut that is versatile in different steak recipes. Dice it up for tacos, fajitas, sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks, stir-fries, or pizzas. Grilling makes a delicious Mexican steak called carne asada.

What should I serve with skirt steak?

Wrap with corn tortillas or flour tortillas for steak street tacos, or top with my chimichurri recipe for an Argentinian flavor.

Serve this With

If you tried this Skirt Steak Marinade, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Skirt Steak Marinade

Enhance the flavor and tenderness of your skirt steak by marinating it with a delicious combination of spices, acids, and oils. Adding a marinade helps to break down the tough fibers, resulting in a more succulent and juicy cut of meat.
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 ½ pounds skirt steak
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Instructions 

  • Prepare the Steak – If grilling, you can keep the skirt steak as one long piece. But if you plan on using a grill pan, cut it into 2 or 3 smaller pieces, 5 to 7 inches in length. This will allow them to fit better in the pan and make them easier to slice later.
  • Make the Marinade – In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, onion powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
    In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of the marinade and red wine vinegar. Cover and set aside to serve as a sauce.
  • Marinate the Steak – Place the meat in a baking dish or large resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over, submerge, and cover. Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Flip halfway through for even marinating. Press out the excess air if using a ziplock bag.
  • Cook the Steak – Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture from the surface. Discard marinade. Cook using the desired method (see notes below).
  • Rest the Meat – Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing. If the steak was kept long, cut it into smaller 5 to 7-inch pieces. Slice against the grain.
  • To Serve – Pour reserved marinade over the steak or serve on the side.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: About 1 cup of marinade for up to 2 pounds of steak. Increase recipe size as needed.
  • Make Ahead: Marinate the steak for up to an hour. Drain off the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  • Grill: Preheat the grill to 400 to 450ºF (204 to 232ºC). Grease the grates with oil. Cover and cook for 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
  • Pan Sear: Heat a large cast iron skillet, stainless steel, or grill pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and allow to heat. Sear for 2 to 4  minutes on each side.
  • Doneness Temperature: For medium-rare, target 120 to 125ºF (49 to 52ºC). For medium, target 130 to 135ºF (50 to 57ºC). For medium-well, target 140 to 145°F (60 to 63°C).
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 210kcal (11%)Carbohydrates 3g (1%)Protein 25g (50%)Fat 11g (17%)Saturated Fat 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0.4gCholesterol 71mg (24%)Sodium 439mg (18%)Potassium 377mg (11%)Fiber 0.1gSugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 22IUVitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 15mg (2%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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2 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. STEVE says

    I LIKE A LEAN CUT OF STEAK. WOULD THIS MARINADE WORK WELL WITH A LONDON BROIL OR TOP SIRLOIN?
    THANKS!