Jalapeño-Garlic Marinade

Jalapeno peppers in bowl

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Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 3 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
4 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 4
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 178mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 16mg 0%
*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.)

Marinades are a universal way to add flavor to beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables, and although easy enough to purchase a bottled version, making your own is simple, free of preservatives, often less expensive, and will feature fresh ingredients. This marinade combines the flavors of jalapeño peppers and garlic, adding a lot of flavor and a bit of spice to any cut of meat or vegetable.

The recipe comes together in the blender, making for a quick preparation. Once the peppers and onion are ground to a pulp, the mixture is blended along with water, red wine vinegar, oregano, cumin, and ground red chile peppers (such as cayenne) until combined. Then the marinade is ready to add flavor to cuts of beef, such as flank, skirt, and hanger steak, or boneless chicken, chicken thighs, and fish like salmon, mahi-mahi, or tilapia. This jalapeño-garlic marinade is also great to use when grilling vegetables, like zucchini and bell peppers.

If you're not a fan of spice, don't worry about the marinade being too hot; Once seeded, jalapeños lose much of their heat. However, feel free to adjust the number of peppers to suit your tastes, or if you prefer food on the spicy side, simply leave in the jalapeño pepper seeds in for a hotter marinade. No matter how you prepare the jalapeño, it's best to wear clean kitchen gloves while cutting and seeding—if not, the capsaicin, the chemical that makes the pepper spicy, will get onto your skin and can cause burning, especially if you touch your eyes or mouth.


  • 4 medium jalapeño peppers

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground red chile pepper, such as cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Wearing kitchen gloves, cut the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the stem and seeds. Chop the jalapeño halves into quarters. Place the jalapeños pieces and peeled garlic in a blender with 2 tablespoons of water. Grind to a pulp.

  3. Add the remaining water and the rest of the marinade ingredients. Continue blending until the mixture is well combined.

  4. Let the marinade stand, covered, in the blender for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes more before using. 

  5. Use the mixture to marinate meat, fish, or vegetables and enjoy.

How to Use

To marinate, place the meat, fish, or vegetables in a bowl, baking dish, or zip-top bag and add the jalapeño-garlic marinade. For meats like beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game, marinate for 2 to 6 hours; marinate fish and vegetables for 30 minutes. If not using the marinade right away, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

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