5 Easy Steak Marinades
These 5 easy steak marinade recipes are freezer-friendly, simple to prepare, and totally dependable and delicious! Perfect for grilling, sautéing, slow cooking, Instant Pot, meal prep, and more.
Alright, all of you steak lovers…this one’s for you. 😉
Actually, as was the case with the 5 easy chicken marinade recipes that I shared on Monday, each of these steak marinades today would arguably work just as well on chicken, pork or tofu. But I’m particularly partial to these five when it comes to preparing a nice juicy filet. Because I’ll be the first one to admit that — while we eat plant-based meals most of the time at home nowadays — I’m a midwestern girl at heart, and will forever love splurging on a good, perfectly-cooked, thick, juicy steak every now and then.
Probably about half of the time, I tend to go the classic route with cooking steak — simply seasoning mine with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and lots of freshly-cracked black pepper and maybe a pat of butter. But when I’m craving some different flavors, these five marinades have been favorites for awhile. They’re each incredibly versatile, and work on everything from traditional steaks to shredded beef to stir-fries. So whether you’re skewering up some kabobs, or having fajita night, or wanting a big pot of shredded beef in the Instant Pot, or just looking for a new marinade to kick steak night up a delicious notch…check them out, because I think there’s a little something here for everyone.
And the five faves include…
- Cold Brew Steak Marinade: Save your leftover coffee this week — it makes a fantastic marinade!
- Fajita Steak Marinade: No more bland fajita seasoning; there’s so much great flavor in this one.
- Korean Steak Marinade: This classic fruity marinade is the perfect blend of sweet and savory.
- Chimichurri Steak Marinade: Tons of herbs are packed into this zesty classic Argentenian sauce.
- Balsamic & Herb Marinade: Balsamic and Italian herbs are some of my favorite pairings for steak.
To make each marinade, simply whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Then combine the marinade and steak together in a freezer ziplock bag, seal, and refrigerate or freeze according to the directions below until ready to use. So simple!
That said, here are a few tips to keep in mind with marinating steak…
Marinade to Steak Ratio:
You’re welcome to use however much marinade you would like per pound of steak, but in general, I recommend around 1/2 cup marinade per 1 pound of steak. Feel free to use your preferred cut of steak.
- Fridge marinade time: I recommend marinating your steak packs in the refrigerator for anywhere from 30 minutes up to 1 day (24 hours).
- Freezer marinade time: I recommend marinating your steak packs in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Always thaw steak properly: As tempting as it may be to try and “quick-thaw” frozen steak, food safety guidelines recommend that you always thaw steak slowly in the refrigerator. Ideally, you can plan ahead and pop your frozen steak pack in the fridge and let it rest for 24 hours or so, or until it has completely thawed. But to speed the process up, you can place the steak pack in a bowl of cold water, then refrigerate until the steak pack has completely thawed.
- Don’t try to cook partially-frozen steak: Probably goes without saying, but if you jump the gun, the steak will cook unevenly. So thaw completely.
- Basting with marinades: There are a variety of opinions in the food safety world about how safe/unsafe it is to baste your steak with its marinade. Some say it’s ok to use the marinade as a baste in the beginning stages of cooking, but many strongly disagree. To err on the side of caution, if you would like to use the marinade as a baste while cooking, I recommend using extra marinade that you have reserved ahead of time. (Basically, marinade that hasn’t touched the raw steak.)
- Use high-heat oils: If you’re planning to cook your steak over high heat, be sure to use high-heat-safe oils. I generally use traditional olive oil, which has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil. But grapeseed and safflower oils work well too.
- Freezer bags: I recommend using the designated freezer ziplock bags (vs. the thinner/cheaper sandwich plastic bags) for these steak packs. They are stronger and (obvs) freezer friendly, and will help prevent leaks. And I also love using freezer bags because you can note the expiration date on the front. Here is an eco-friendly reusable freezer bag option too!
- Meal prep containers: We also regularly use meal prep containers for quick marinades in our house. I don’t recommend them for freezing, since there’s no way to eliminate all of the excess air inside. But for a quick (1 to 24 hour) marinade, they work well.
- Everyday bowls: Another simple option for quick (1 to 24 hour) marinade would be to use any small mixing or serving bowls that fit your amount of steak. Just mix, cover with a sheet of foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
- Instant-Read Thermometer: However you choose to cook your steak, I always recommend having an instant-read thermometer on hand to ensure that your steak is cooked through…and not overcooked. (The FDA recommends cooking your beef to a minimum of 145°F.) I love and recommend this $10 thermometer from Amazon. (<– affiliate link)
- Broiling/Grilling/Slow Cooking: I’ve included general instructions for each of these methods below. They will each vary (especially with cook time) according to the cut and size of your steak, so again, I recommend using a thermometer to guarantee accurate doneness.
I’ve included instructions below for how to broil or grill traditional steaks. But note that these marinades also work really well for cooking shredded beef in the Instant Pot or slow cooker, or sautéing bite-sized pieces of steak in stir-fries as well. So many options!
So have fun with them, and enjoy every bite of your delicious steak. 🙌
5 Easy Steak Marinades
These 5 easy steak marinade recipes are simple to make, freezer-friendly, and totally dependable and delicious! Perfect for grilling, broiling, slow cooking, meal prep, and more.
Cold Brew Marinade:
- 3/4 cup cold brew coffee (or any strong coffee)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon each: Dijon mustard and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon each: garlic powder and onion powder
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup Asian pear puree or juice* (or you can sub any kind of pear)
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or olive oil)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon each: garlic powder and ground ginger
- optional: 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon thinly-sliced scallions
- 1 batch chimichurri sauce
Balsamic & Herb Marinade:
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Whisk together the ingredients for (one) marinade in a small bowl until combined.
- Combine marinade with steak in a ziplock freezer bag, and toss until the steak is evenly coated in the marinade. Carefully press out any extra air that might be in the bag, then seal. (You will need 1/3 cup marinade per 1 pound of steak.)
- If Using Immediately: Refrigerate the steak pack(s) for anywhere from 30 minutes to up to 1 day.
- If Freezing: Immediately transfer the steak pack(s) to the freezer, and freeze for up to 3 months. Then when you’re ready to cook the steak, transfer the steak pack back to the refrigerator for 24 hours, or until it has thawed completely. Or to speed up the process, you can submerge the sealed steak pack in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator until it has thawed completely.
- When ready to cook, remove the steak from the marinade, discard the remaining marinade, and let the steak rest on a plate for 20 minutes at room temperature. (This will help it cook more evenly.) Cook however you prefer. (See recommendations below.)
Cooking times will vary depending on the cut and size of steak that you use. The FDA recommends that steak be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F. But in general, medium-rare is 135°, medium is 140°, and medium-well is 150°. I always recommend using an instant-read cooking thermometer to test the steak while cooking to ensure the correct doneness. For an 8-ounce sirloin, here are some general recommendations.
Broiled: Turn on your oven’s broiler, and place the top rack about 8 inches below the broiler element. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large oven-proof cast iron pan** over high heat. Add steak and sear on each side for 30 seconds. Transfer pan to the oven and broil for 4 minutes, flipping the steak halfway through, or until the steak reaches your desired level of doneness. Remove from the oven, transfer the steak to a clean plate, and loosely cover the plate with aluminum foil. Let the steak rest for at least 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.
Grilled: Heat grill to high heat. Add steak and grill for 5 minutes. Then flip and cook for approximately 3 more minutes for medium-rare (135°F), 5 more minutes for medium (140°F), or 7 more minutes for medium-well (150°F). Transfer the steak to a clean plate, and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Let the steak rest for at least 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.
Slow Cooker: Add steak and marinade to the bowl of a slow cooker. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low, until the steak is cooked through (165°F). Shred if you would like, and serve warm. (I recommend a batch size of at least 1 pound of beef in the slow cooker.)
Instant Pot: Add steak/beef and marinade to the bowl of Instant Pot. Close lid securely and set vent to “Sealing”. Press “Manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then adjust the +/- buttons until time reads 35 minutes. Cook. Then very carefully, turn the vent to “Venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released and the valve has dropped. Remove the lid, shred the steak/beef if you’d like. Serve immediately.
As always, if making these recipes gluten-free, be sure to use certified gluten-free ingredients.
*I love using Asian pears for the Korean marinade. But any kind of pears (fresh or canned) will work for this recipe.
**If you don’t have a cast-iron (or oven-proof) pan, you can sear the steak in any sauté pan on the stovetop. Then transfer the steak to a baking sheet to broil.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!