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5 Marinades Easy Enough to Memorize

From lemon herb to teriyaki, these are the classic marinades you need to master this summer.
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Clockwise from left: Teriyaki; Balsamic Garlic; Lemon Herb; Fajita; Garlic 
We’re kicking off grilling season in style with five of our all-time favorite marinades (recipes listed below). All are a snap to make and use pantry staples and herbs you might have planted or grabbed at the farmers’ market.

For the teriyaki, fajita and lemon-herb marinades, simply mix all ingredients in a shallow glass or plastic dish—or resealable food storage plastic bag—and add your meat of choice and refrigerate, turning the meat occasionally, for at least 1 hour but no longer than 24 hours.

For the garlic and balsamic garlic marinades, heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, stirring frequently, until golden. Stir in the rosemary, mustard and soy sauce; remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and sherry (or balsamic vinegar for the balsamic garlic marinade); cool. Pour marinade into a shallow glass or plastic dish—or resealable food storage plastic bag—and add your meat of choice and refrigerate, turning the meat occasionally, for at least 1 hour but no longer than 24 hours.

Teriyaki Marinade

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Yield: ½ cup 


Fajita Marinade

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Yield: ½ cup 


Garlic Marinade

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup red or white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup dry sherry or apple juice

Yield: ¾ cup


Balsamic Garlic Marinade

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar

Yield: ¾ cup 


Lemon-Herb Marinade

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons dry vermouth, dry white wine or beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or ¼ teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or ¼ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Yield: 2/3 cup


A few other helpful marinade tips from our test kitchen:

  • Mix marinades—and marinate foods—in glass or plastic containers or food-storage plastic bags because these containers won’t react with acidic ingredients like vinegar, wine or lemon juice.
  • Use ¼ to ½ cup marinade for each 1 to 2 pounds of food.
  • Marinate all foods except fish in the refrigerator up to 24 hours; if you let it marinate longer, food can become mushy. Marinate fish only 15 to 30 minutes or it will become mushy.
  • After you’ve removed meat from the marinade, the remaining marinade needs to be boiled to be served as a sauce (if not boiled, throw it away). In a 1-quart saucepan, heat marinade to boiling, stirring constantly; boil and stir 1 minute.



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