The Best Homemade Steak Marinade

5 from 3 votes
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Tenderize and infuse steaks with mouth-wateringly delicious flavor with this best homemade steak marinade! It’s savory, tangy, herby, bright, and produces steakhouse-quality results!

Sliced beef steak on a serving dish

Steak seasoning is great for transforming even “okay” steaks to the next level when I’m running low on time. But when there’s time for marinating, this easy steak marinade recipe does that tenfold while tenderizing tough cuts into perfectly juicy steaks. It tastes heavenly and produces consistently restaurant-quality results from home (without the hefty price tag!).

This homemade marinade is cost-effective, easily customizable, contains fewer preservatives and additives than store-bought marinades, takes just a couple of minutes to throw together, and combines the three pillars for the best steak marinade: oil, acid, and flavor/seasoning. The combination tenderizes and infuses the meat with heaps of flavor for the juiciest, tender, mouth-watering steaks – whether pan-fried, grilled, or air fried.

Two steaks topped with parsley

Why marinate steak?

  1. Tenderize the meat: The acids/enzymes in this marinade break down tough muscle fibers for super tender meat – perfect for turning even the most budget-friendly/tougher cuts of beef into tender, flavorful steaks.
  2. Infuse with flavor: The marinade will penetrate the meat to complement and enhance its flavor, especially transforming cheap cuts with an extra burst of flavor without overpowering them.
  3. Retain moisture: The combination of oil and acid in the marinade creates a kind of “barrier” to help seal all those delicious juices in the steak while it cooks.

It may also help produce more evenly cooked, better-seared steaks, too. Perfect for a crowd-pleasing, family-friendly meal (with potatoes and veggies or salad) any day of the week!

Steak marinade ingredients

Make the best steak marinade recipe using simple and common pantry staples to create bold-flavored steaks.

Ingredients for steak marinade
  • Worcestershire sauce – packed with savory, umami flavor.
  • Soy sauce – regular or reduced sodium, to add salty flavor. Use a soy sauce substitute if needed.
  • Lemon juice – or lime juice, contains acidity to tenderize and add bright flavor.
  • Olive oil – will help to lock in the steak juices/moisture.
  • Shallot – or sweet onion for a subtly sweet, tangy, aromatic flavor.
  • Fresh herbs – parsley, thyme, rosemary, or chives for fresh flavor and color.
  • Garlic – minced or garlic powder.
  • Tomato paste – acidic and umami-rich.
  • Dijon mustard – to add subtle heat and tang. Other mustard works, too.
  • Italian seasoning – or dried oregano and/or basil. Parsley flakes work instead of fresh.
  • Black pepper – for subtle heat and flavor.

You’ll also need your preferred cut of steak. I used Rib Eye flank but other flank steak, skirt steak, strip steak, flat iron, hanger steaks, T-bone, etc., can be used. And optionally use some butter and additional fresh herbs for serving.

How to make homemade steak marinade

First, chop the shallot and parsley, and juice the lemon. Transfer them to either a large dish/bowl or a gallon-sized Ziplock bag along with the remaining marinade ingredients. Stir/shake well.

Steps for preparing marinade

How to marinate steak

Add the steaks to the marinade, shaking/moving them around so they’re well coated, then seal/cover them and transfer them to the refrigerator if you plan to marinate for longer than 30 minutes.

How long to marinate steak?

While it’s possible to marinate steaks for as little as 30 minutes to achieve some flavor infusion, I recommend at least two hours for a better flavor. However, leaving it overnight (up to 12 hours) will not only flavor but perfectly tenderize the meat, too.

Marinating steak in a reusable bag

The ideal marinating time will vary based on the type and thickness of the steak, though. I.e., if it’s very thin or a tender cut, I recommend 2-4 hours maximum. For tender, but thicker cuts, 4-6 hours maximum. For tougher cuts, up to 12 hours (an absolute maximum of 24 hours).

What happens if you marinate steak for too long? If left too long, the acid in the marinade can break it down too much and cause it to become unpleasantly mealy/mushy and even tough and chewy. The flavors can also overpower the meat.

How to cook marinated steak in a skillet

Heat a grill pan/skillet over high heat (you can also grill or air fry the steak!). When hot, add the marinated steaks, and cook for 3 minutes per side or until the outside is well-browned.

Before and after cooking steak on a skillet

Then, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook the steaks to your desired doneness. The exact cooking time will depend on the cut and thickness of the meat. The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. As a general guideline, the internal temperature should be:

  • Medium Rare: 130-135 °F (54-57ºC),
  • Medium: 135-145 °F (57-63ºC),
  • Well: 145-155 °F (63-68ºC),
  • Well Done: 155-165 °F (68-74ºC).

To avoid overcooking the meat, remove it from the heat 3-4 degrees before it’s ideal, as the residual heat will continue to cook it while it rests.

Leave the steaks to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing them, optionally serving topped with butter and extra parsley/fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Cooked steaks topped with butter

If you try this best marinade for steak recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

The Best Homemade Steak Marinade

5 from 3 votes
By: Samira
Tenderize and infuse steaks with mouth-wateringly delicious flavor with this best steak marinade! It's savory, tangy, herby, bright, and produces steakhouse-quality results!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 28 oz steak rib eye, flank, or others, 2 steaks
  • 2 Tbsp butter optional for serving

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 large lemon
  • 1 shallot medium
  • 2 Tbsp parsley or thyme or chives, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard or other mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning or just dried oregano and/or parsley/basil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions 

  • Chop the shallot and parsley, and juice the lemon. Transfer them to either a large dish or a gallon-sized Ziplock bag along with the remaining marinade ingredients. Stir/shake well.
  • Add the steaks to the marinade, shaking/moving them around so they’re well coated. Seal/cover them and transfer them to the refrigerator if you plan to marinate for longer than 30 minutes.

How Long to Marinate Steak

  • It's possible to marinate steaks for as little as 30 minutes to achieve some flavor infusion. I recommend at least two hours for a better flavor. You can leave it overnight (up to 12 hours) for the best flavor and perfectly tenderized meat.
    The ideal marinating time will vary based on the type and thickness of the steak. If it's thin or a tender cut, I recommend 2-4 hours maximum. For tender, but thicker cuts, 4-6 hours maximum. For tougher cuts, up to 12 hours (an absolute maximum of 24 hours).

To Pan-fry the Steak

  • Note, you could also grill or air fry the steak!
    Heat a grill pan/skillet over high heat. When hot, add the marinated steaks, and cook for 3 minutes per side or until the outside is well-browned.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook the steaks to your desired doneness. The exact cooking time will depend on the cut and thickness of the meat. The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature:
    • Medium Rare: 130-135 °F (54-57ºC),
    • Medium: 135-145 °F (57-63ºC),
    • Well: 145-155 °F (63-68ºC),
    • Well Done: 155-165 °F (68-74ºC).
    To avoid overcooking the meat, remove it from the heat 3-4 degrees before it's ideal, as the residual heat will continue to cook it while it rests.
  • Leave the steaks to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing them, optionally serving topped with butter and extra parsley/fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Notes

  • The best steaks to marinade: I think tougher, budget-friendly steak cuts are those that benefit the most from marinating vs. a simple spice rub, since the process also tenderizes the meat. I don’t recommend marinating Filet Mignon or Sirloin.
  • Marinate in the fridge: Unless you’re only marinating for 30 minutes and cooking the steaks immediately. Otherwise, you risk food-borne illnesses.
  • Use a cast iron/grill pan: For the best sear and even cooking.
  • Make sure the pan is HOT: So you get that delicious crusty sear.
  • For the best sear: Pat the marinated steaks dry before pan-frying.
  • Leave the cooked meat to rest: For at least 5 minutes. This is important to allow the juices to redistribute and settle before slicing the meat (otherwise, they can flow out onto your plate, leaving the meat dry!).
  • Optional add-ins and variations:
    • Balsamic vinegar – instead of or combined with the lemon juice for tang,
    • Hot sauce, pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper – for a burst of heat,
    • Brown sugar – just a little for a subtle sweetness and extra caramelization.
Can I reuse this marinade? Technically, if you boil the marinade for at least 5 minutes to destroy harmful bacteria, you can reuse it as a thickened sauce. However, it’s not advised to reuse it as a marinade for food safety concerns.
How long can I store steak marinade? I recommend omitting the shallot and fresh herbs until just before using it (or 1-2 days maximum). Otherwise, this marinade will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.
What else can I use the marinade for? Along with steaks, this tenderizing steak marinade is perfect for marinating (or as a baste/sauce for) other barbecue meats, lamb, chicken, seafood, and even roasted/grilled vegetables.
Can you freeze marinating steak? If you want to (best only for tougher cuts), I recommend freezing it flat in a freezer bag immediately after adding the meat to the marinade. It will marinate while the meat thaws in the refrigerator overnight.
Check the blog post for more tips!
Course: Condiment, DIYs
Cuisine: Global
Freezer friendly: 2-3 Months
Shelf life: 2 Weeks

Nutrition

Calories: 700kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 42g, Fat: 56g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 34g, Cholesterol: 121mg, Sodium: 1273mg, Potassium: 846mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 267IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 75mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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