Delicious Soy Sauce and Brown Sugar Fish Marinade

Fish marinade on salmon
Fudio / Getty Images
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 3/4 cups (12 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
41 Calories
0g Fat
7g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 3/4 cups (12 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 41
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 630mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 2g
Calcium 28mg 2%
*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.)

This flavorful fish marinade is perfection in not only how it tastes but also how it works with the fish. The low acid level of the combination of ingredients will not cook the fish before it hits the grill so fish can sit in the marinade longer and take on more flavor. The combination of soy sauce and brown sugar gives it a teriyaki flavor and aids in caramelizing the surface of the fish.


  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a glass container. Ideally, this marinade should be made a few days in advance to allow the flavors to marry.

  3. To use, place fish of choice in a resealable plastic bag and pour enough marinade over so it covers all of the flesh. Seal bag and marinate for 30 to 60 minutes. 

    Types of Fish to Use

    • With this marinade, you want to choose a meaty fish that can handle strongly flavored ingredients such as soy sauce, garlic, and brown sugar. Delicate fillets such as sole or flounder would not work as their mild taste and tender flesh would become overwhelmed by the marinade.
    • The first fish we may think of to use here are salmon and tuna, as they take to Asian flavors very nicely
    • Don't forget about swordfish and mahi-mahi as well. Basically, any thick fleshed fish that will become enhanced by this marinade is a good choice.
    • Don't forget about shrimp!
    • This recipe would also be delicious as a marinade for grilled chicken.

    Tips for Marinating Fish

    • Although many types of fish are wonderful with just a coating of oil before being cooked, a marinade is a great way to add flavor, keep the fish moist, and prevent it from sticking to the grill.
    • However, whereas beef, especially tough cuts, benefit from long marinating times (often overnight), fish is a different story. Fish is naturally tender and therefore doesn't need a liquid to break down any fibers and tenderize the flesh. In addition, it does not take very long for the flavors of the marinade to infuse the fish; the firmest fish steaks need to sit in the mixture one to two hours while most other types of fish only require 30 minutes. 
    • But be careful—marinating the fish too long can have a negative effect on the finished dish. If there is a high amount of acid in the marinade, such as citrus juice or vinegar, the acid can actually begin to cook the fish, rendering it dry and overdone once cooked.