This easy steak marinade recipe is the BEST, and it will quickly add tons of flavor to any cut of beef! The mixture is a blend of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, honey, olive oil, and fresh herbs.
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A juicy steak can instantly make your mouth water. It’s a meal that’s simple to prepare and cooks in minutes. This recipe for steak marinade can add an exciting dimension and enhance the flavor of most cuts of beef. The right combination of key ingredients like salt, oil, acid, sweeteners, and aromatics can take the taste to the next level.
This marinade for steak combines soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, minced garlic, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Each ingredient is essential in making every bite more tasty and tender! You can cook the steaks by grilling, broiling, or pan-searing for the ultimate experience.
Steak marinade ingredients
The benefits of a marinade are two-fold; boost flavor and tenderness. To maximize the taste portion, I selected specific ingredients that bumped up the flavor level.
- Fat: Olive oil solubilizes fat-soluble flavor compounds from rosemary, thyme, and black pepper. The oil flavors the surface and helps the ingredients stick.
- Infused Flavors: Water-soluble compounds like salt, soy sauce, onions, and garlic.
- Glutamates: Soy sauce, garlic, and onions provide unique umami flavors.
- Sweetener: A small amount of honey balances the salt and helps to encourage quicker browning.
- Acid: Worchestire sauce is a popular condiment composed of distilled white vinegar and other umami-inducing flavors. A smaller ratio of acid is used because marinating too long can cause the surface of the meat to become mushy and dry instead of tender.
Marinating makes the meat more tender
Steaks vary in toughness or texture based on the location and, ultimately, the cut of meat. You rarely see filet mignon marinated because the muscle fibers aren’t as actively used, yielding soft and tender cuts that are easy to eat.
On the other hand, marinating tougher cuts like a flank steak with more coarse muscle fibers has benefits. Also, thicker 1 1/2-inch and more massive steaks like ribeye or New York strip are great candidates for a marinade to tenderize the meat and add layers of flavor.
Salt makes a steak juicy
The best way to tenderize a steak is to add salt. It functions like a brine, allowing the salty marinade to infuse into the meat through osmosis. According to America’s Test Kitchen, salt does four things:
- Loosens the meat’s muscle fibers making it easier to eat.
- Protein molecules in the meat restructure and create gaps that fill with water.
- Dissolves some muscle proteins and becomes sponge-like, grabbing moisture.
- Naturally enhances and seasons meat.
The final result is a more juicy, seasoned steak!
How long to marinate a steak
It often seems that the longer the marination time, the better. Right? Wrong! It’s all about balancing flavor and moisture. And the reality is the flavors from the marinade cannot get right into the center of the meat. However, sodium glutamates and salt go pretty far. I’ve found that a minimum of 30 minutes and, optimally 1 hour is just enough time to flavor the meat while keeping it moist.
So how long is too long?
If acid is present, like lemon juice or vinegar, marinated overnight over 24 hours is max. Because the marinade for this recipe is soy-based with vinegar, adding too much time can make the beef taste more cured, mushy, and dry. Imagine beef jerky. Less aggressive marinades could be used longer. However, testing is always the best way to find out.
This versatile marinade is perfect for any cut of steak, but preferably tri-tip, flank, skirt, New York Strip, or ribeye. Grilled steak, pan-searing, or reverse searing are my methods of choice to quickly cook the meat and develop a nice crust by the Maillard browning reaction. You can use this marinade as a base and switch up the flavors depending on your mood. Time to get cooking!
More steak recipes
- Grilled Flat Iron with chimichurri
- Ribeye with red wine sauce
- Santa Maria style tri-tip
- Steak fajitas
Serve with more marinade
It’s best to apply a more salt-based marinade to the meat before cooking to make it juicer. This process attracts the most flavor to the surface with limited movement to the meat’s interior. Then after cooking, serve the meat with additionally reserved marinade but with slightly more acid to boost the flavor even further.
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The Best Steak Marinade
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
- 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 steaks, (ribeye, New York strip, porterhouse, T-bone, skirt, sirloin, flank, flat iron)
- Make the Marinade – In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, red onion, honey, green onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper.In a small bowl, add ¼ cup of the steak marinade and red wine vinegar, and set aside.
- Marinate the Steak – Place the meat in a baking dish or large resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Press out the excess air if using a ziplock bag. Flip and marinate for an additional 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Ready to Cook – 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.
- To Serve – Pour reserved marinade over the steak or serve on the side.
- Recipe Yield: 1 cup of marinade. Note that 1 cup is needed per 2 pounds of steak. Increase recipe size as needed.
- Cooking the Steak: Depending on the thickness of the meat, desired doneness, and the method, adjust the cooking time as needed.
- Grill: Preheat the grill over high heat (400 to 450ºF). Carefully grease the cooking grid with the oil. For steaks ¾ to 1-inch thick: Sear covered for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Steaks 1 ½ to 2-inches thick: Sear as directed above, then place on the indirect side of the grill covered to finish cooking for 8 to 14 minutes.
- Pan Sear: Heat a large cast iron or stainless steel pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and allow to heat. Sear for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. This method is best for ¾ to 1-inch thick steaks.
- Reverse Sear: Heat the oven at 275ºF (135ºC). Place a large cast iron skillet in the oven to warm. Additionally, place steaks on a wire rack set on a baking sheet and cook for 15 to 25 minutes, until it reaches 90 to 95ºF (32 to 35ºC) for medium-rare, or 100 to 105ºF (38 to 41ºC) for medium. Transfer skillet to stovetop and heat over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, sear the steaks for 2 minutes, flip and sear for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, then sear the sides for a total of 2 minutes. This method is best for 1 ½ to 2-inch thick steaks.
- Aim for an internal 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).
- Resting Time: Allow steaks to rest for 10 minutes to account for an increase in temperature due to carryover cooking.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
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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