Marinades 101 How To

 A marinade is a liquid mixture that you can soak food in before it’s cooked to make it way more delicious.

Source:  adapted from 

You can use a plastic bag…marinate2
…or a nonreactive dish (glass, ceramic, plastic, stainless steel, but not aluminum or copper because they will react to the acid).

The Formula

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have the exact ingredients in a recipe — just follow this basic formula.

Amarinate3CID (but not too much) eg: vinegar, lemon/lime/orange juice, wine, buttermilk, or yogurt why: tenderize protein to let the other flavor-enhancing ingredients get in there.
SALT or soy sauce why: also tenderizes
OIL e.g., olive oil, canola oil why: helps release the flavor of spices or herbs and hold them in contact with the meat.
HERBS/SEASONINGS/SUGAR e.g., garlic, rosemary, ginger, chilies, maple syrup why: adds flavor.

Some Marinate Pairings


rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce, mirin (sweet wine), ginger, coconut milk, lime juice, lemongrass, sugar, cilantro, garlic

red and white vinegar, red and white wine, beer, lemon juice, garlic, basil, parsley, tarragon, oregano, mint, chives, dill, thyme, rosemary, mustard, sugar/honey

Bourbon, Tabasco sauce, buttermilk, Worcestershire, sugar/honey/maple syrup

yogurt, cumin, turmeric, coriander, curry powder, cilantro, mint, garlic

chilies, cumin, oregano, lime juice

Tips + Tricks

Watch out for sugar.

marinate4Sugary ingredients in a marinade — like maple syrup, honey, brown sugar/white sugar, sweet wines — can cause your food to char when you cook them. So take note when a marinade has sugar in it and either use lower the heat or move the food around more as you’re cooking it


Get even coverage


If you’re using a dish, get your food item in a single layer then flip it once or twice over the course of its flavor bath. Shake/flip a couple times if you’re using a plastic bag.



Don’t poke holes in the meat.


This is a debate. The esteemed experts at Cook’s Illustrated say you should. BuzzFeed Food editors believe poking holes in your meat is silly and will cause the natural juices to seep out when the meat is cooked, leaving it dry and abused.



A longer marinade isn’t always better — but it usually is 


There are several factors to take into account with marinade time: type of meat, size of meat chunks, and acidity of the marinade. For dark proteins — beef, lamb, pork — longer is always better. BUT, if the food is delicate — shrimp, flaky fish — stop marinating after 15 or 30 minutes or the acid will start to break down the protein too much. Chicken is somewhere in the middle, anywhere from 2 to 12 hours is good depending on the cut (skin-on breasts require less time, for example).


Some proteins need a marinade’s added flavor more than others


Oh hey boneless skinless chicken breasts, you look SO GROSS. You and other protein that is tough, dry, naturally flavorless, or cheap will be especially improved by a marinade. (So in addition to chicken breast, think hanger steaks, pork chops, etc.)



Wipe it off


When you take something out of a marinade, wipe it gently to remove most of the clingy bits of herbs or garlic. Otherwise they will char when you cook the meat.



Marinades can be sauces, too.


You can set asmarinate10ide some of your marinade before it comes into contact with any raw meat to use it later is a sauce. You can also use the marinade after it’s bathed the raw meat, but you have to boil the marinade first to get rid of any bacteria. Otherwise, just throw the marinade away. Don’t try to reuse it to marinate other meat.


Need some recipes here are some good ones using different marinades

Get Recipes for Fish       Get Recipes for  Shrimp

 Get Recipes for Chicken   Get Recipes for Lamb

  Get Recipes for Beef    Get Recipes for Pork

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