Classic Steak Marinade

Classic steak marinade

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
91 Calories
9g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 91
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 586mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 65mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A high-quality steak doesn't need any help. A not-so-great steak, on the other hand, can definitely benefit from a good marinade.

If you are grilling a steak, particularly leaner cuts like flat-iron, skirt, or flank steak, then it is wise to marinate them first. 

This steak marinade recipe is considered a wet marinade (versus a dry rub) and provides just enough acid to help tenderize 1 1/2 pounds of steak but also infuses the outer layer with delicious flavor. If you will be grilling more than 1 1/2 pounds of meat, simply double, triple, or quadruple the marinade ingredients.


Click Play to See This Classic Steak Marinade Recipe Come Together


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive or avocado oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Classic Steak Marinade
    The Spruce
  2. Place red-wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and whisk together.

    Red wine vinegar
    The Spruce
  3. Slowly drizzle in olive oil or avocado oil, whisking constantly, until well combined.

    Whisk vinegar
    The Spruce
  4. Add sea salt, oregano, pepper, thyme, onion powder, and minced garlic, and stir until well combined. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5 minutes or so before using.

    Add spices
    The Spruce
  5. Place steak in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the top, massaging it into the meat and making sure all surfaces are coated well. 

    Put steak in resealable bag
    The Spruce
  6. Seal the bag, put it on a rimmed pan to catch any escaping juices or in a shallow bowl and place in the refrigerator for about 2 1/2 hours. Marinating time for beef depends on the cut and thickness. Consult this marinating beef chart to get the right time for your steak.

    Put it on a plate
    The Spruce
  7. Once the meat is marinated, it's time to grill according to your preferred method. 

    Time to grill
    The Spruce
  8. This marinade can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.


  • After removing the meat from the marinade, the leftover marinade can be discarded or used as a sauce by boiling it for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

Recipe Variations

  • Balsamic vinegar can be used in place of the red wine vinegar, and teriyaki sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Lemon, orange, or lime zest can be added for brightness, and whole black, red, or pink peppercorns can be used in place of ground black pepper.
  • The herbs can be adjusted according to your palate. For a Mexican flavor, try using adobo instead of Worcestershire, cilantro in place of fresh thyme, and adding a few sliced jalapeños.

What Does a Marinade Do?

The primary purpose of a marinade is to infuse meat, fish, or vegetables with flavor. A side benefit is that the acid in a marinade (usually vinegar, lemon juice, or wine) helps to break down the tough connective tissue of some cuts of meat to make it tender.

Because marinades contain an acid, marinating should always be done in a glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or plastic container—never in aluminum because it will react with this metal and render an off taste to the food.

Always cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid and marinate in the refrigerator.

Difference Between a Wet Marinade and a Dry Rub

When it comes right down to it, a wet marinade imparts flavor and tenderness, while a dry rub just helps flavor a cut of meat.