Classic Steak Marinade

Flank Steak Marinating

StockFood/Andre Baranowski/Riser/Getty Images

Ratings (32)
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 3/4 cup (4 to 6 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
68 Calories
3g Fat
10g Carbs
2g Protein
(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.


  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (or granulated onion)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 pounds steak (your choice of cut)

Steps to Make It

  1. Place red-wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and whisk together.

  2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil or avocado oil, whisking constantly, until well combined.

  3. Add sea salt, oregano, pepper, thyme, onion powder, and minced garlic, and stir until well combined.

  4. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5 minutes or so before using.

  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.  

  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.

  7. Once the meat is marinated, it's time to grill according to your preferred method. 

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

Kitchen Note

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.


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 jalapenos.

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.