Because I don’t know about you, but I always tend to think that “the other white meat” is begging for an extra kick of flavor. So whether you’re craving a nice dijon grilled pork chop, or maybe juicy pork carnitas tacos, or some zesty moo shu pork, or just some classic BBQ spare ribs…these five marinades are sure to hit the spot. And better yet? They’re all 100% freezer friendly (perfect for meal prep!), naturally gluten-free, easy to make, and ultra-delicious. Plus, they work well with various cooking methods and nearly any cut of pork you may be craving (chops, tenderloin, shoulder, spare ribs and more).
So let’s get to it!
When it comes specifically to pork, these are 5 of the marinades I use most often:
Moo Shu Pork Marinade: a yummy hoisin-based marinade
BBQ Pork Marinade: my favorite KC-style homemade bbq sauce is always a winner
Pineapple Ginger Pork Marinade: sweet and savory with a kick
Maple Dijon Pork Marinade: mustard and pork were made for each other
Pork Carnitas Marinade: a freezer-friendly version (no alcohol!) of this zesty Mexi marinade
To make each marinade, simply whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Then combine the marinade and pork 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 pork…
Marinade to Pork Ratio:
You’re welcome to use however much marinade you would like per pound of pork, but in general, I recommend 1/2 cup marinade per 1 pound of pork.
Fridge marinade time: I recommend marinating your pork packs in the refrigerator for anywhere from 30 minutes up to 1 day (24 hours).
Freezer marinade time: I recommend marinating your pork packs in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Always thaw pork properly: As tempting as it may be to try and “quick-thaw” frozen pork, food safety guidelines recommend that you always thaw pork slowly in the refrigerator. Ideally, you can plan ahead and pop your frozen pork 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 pork pack in a bowl of cold water, then refrigerate until the pork pack has completely thawed.
Don’t try to cook partially-frozen pork: Probably goes without saying, but if you jump the gun, the pork 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 pork 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 pork.)
Freezer bags: I recommend using the designated freezer ziplock bags (vs. the thinner/cheaper sandwich plastic bags) for these pork 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 pork. Just mix, cover with a sheet of foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Instant-Read Thermometer: However you choose to cook your pork, I always recommend having an instant-read thermometer on hand to ensure that your pork is cooked through…and not overcooked. (The FDA recommends cooking your pork to 145°F.) I love and recommend this $10 thermometer from Amazon. (<– affiliate link)
Baking/Grilling/Sautéing/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 pork, so again, I recommend using a thermometer to guarantee accurate doneness.
Truly, between these five marinades, all of the various cuts of pork, plus all of the various ways to cook pork…there are a zillion potential options here for a delicious meal. So have fun with them, and happy marinating!
Whisk together the ingredients for (one) marinade in a small bowl until combined.
Combine marinade with pork in a ziplock freezer bag, and toss until the pork is evenly coated in the marinade. Carefully press out any extra air that might be in the bag, then seal. (You will need 1/2 cup marinade per 1 pound of pork.)
If Using Immediately: Refrigerate the pork pack(s) for anywhere from 30 minutes to up to 1 day.
If Freezing: Immediately transfer the pork pack(s) to the freezer, and freeze for up to 3 months. Then when you’re ready to cook the pork, transfer the pork 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 pork pack in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator until it has thawed completely.
When ready to cook, remove the pork from the marinade, discard the remaining marinade, and cook however you prefer. (See recommendations below.)
I LOVE this series. I prepped the Dijon Marinade with Chicken before work to have tonight. So excited!!
Thank you Ali!
Could you possibly substitute the syrup for agave for a more friendly Diabetic recipe?
Loved this series! So great to have a go-to for different marinades, and different ways to cook them, all in one post. I’m bookmarking all of these for sure! Thank you!
I used sugar free maple syrup.
I have a difficult time getting your receipts to open & view? I don’t want the Receipt Tab…..Can You just post where you can click & open?
I am LOVING these pork, chicken, and steak marinade ideas! I’m having a baby in April and to stock up our freezer I’m going to make each of these (steak and chicken too!) for easy meals after baby arrives. I’m excited to just thaw and grill with some veggies on the side!
Hi Ali! Lets see your 5 fish marinades next!
thank you for all of these, happy with my beef marinades, but will look at the ones you’ve put together too, but don’t have any interesting pork marinades, just basic recipes, mostly for pork chops, so love each of these, hoisin looks really really good!
This is such a great idea for a series of posts! So very helpful–I much prefer to make my own sauces/marinades but am usually strapped for ideas. Fab instructions too. Thanks Ali!
Made some yummy pork quesadillas tonight using the carnitas marinade. Totally delicious, my husband and I both loved them. Thanks!
All the marinade recipes look great, I can’t wait to begin trying them! Thank you for providing multiple ways to cook the marinated chicken in the recipe titled 5 Easy Chicken Marinade Recipes. I see for the steak and pork marinade recipes you have written, see cooking recommendations below, however, no recommendations come up with the recipes, as they did for the chicken marinades. Is there any way to update the website recipes to include cooking recommendations like you provided for the chicken marinades? Thank you so much.
I’m looking for the cooking instructions for pork, but can’t find – please help!
hello! I must be missing something. I would like to sear, then bake, pork in your marinade and do not see baking instructions (or grilling, sauteing etc…) Thank you
AWESOME marinades. I just love your recipes. Thank you for making me look like a good cook.
Thanks for these wonderful ideas! Can you add the recommendations for baking, grilling, etc?
Maybe I am clueless, but I didn’t find your suggestions for cooking the pork. I am trying the pineapple ginger marinade in the grill tonight and will let you know how it goes. It sounds pretty scrumptious!
All the others have cooking directions can you please do the same for the pork ! Thank you
Nice and easy. Thank you.
I cant find the cooking instructions for the pork marinade recipes !
Just a thought but if you are using fresh pineapple and marinade too like overnight in the fridge, the meat will become mush. It is a very effective natural meat tenderizer. Ask me how I know..
Love the pork marinade recipes. Pork is so much leaner than it used to be. Would like to try your marinade recipes for making pork chop tasty and not dry.
Looking for cooking recommendations and length of time for the pork marinade. Please send. Thanks.
I appreciate your recipes! Thanks so much for all your great ideas.
Today I came to find a pork marinade today and I have seen several here! I haven’t yet decided which one to use because they all sound so good! I’d like to marinate some “country style” pork but with something other than the “mojo” style, for just 2 servings! We are a simple family of two…not so easy to find “small” recipes for two of us!