How Long To Marinate Steak (And Why)?

Exact Answeer: 30 Minutes To 8 Hours

A Steak is a form of meat cut from animals like sheep, goats, camel, horse, pigs, ostrich, turkey, reindeer, pork, mutton, gammon, and many more. Steak is the form of meat that is sliced across the muscle fibers including the bone. This part is the most tender part of the meat. There are also vegetarian options in steaks that include portobello mushroom, which is formed in the steak shape.

Beef steaks are one of the most common types of steak that are grilled or fried. It can be cooked at different times depending on your taste preference. The steak ranges may include blue (very rare) to blush pink and dark pink. These colors are changed when the steak is cooked depending upon whether it is cooked properly or overdone. The most significant part of a rare steak is the soft, cold, and red center seared and marinated with the depth of flavors.

How Long To Marinate Steak


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How Long To Marinate Steak?

Cut Of MeatMarinate Duration
Tender cut30 minutes-2 hours
Non-tender cut2 hours-8 hours

The process of marinating a steak depends on how long you want to marinate the steak. The processes may differ according to the cut of the meat. If you have a cut that is already tender and you just want to add more depth more flavors, marinate for 30 minutes- 2 hours. If your steak is not tenderized and your main goal is to make it tender and introduce flavors then the meat should rest in the marinade for at least 2 hours for up to 8 hours.

For making the meat tender and juicy you need to marinate it the best way. The most common way of marinating is to make one with a mixture of olive oil. balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, dijon mustard, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. This highlights the natural taste of the meat making it more d=deligious, tender, and juicy. Adding greens like basil, oregano will make the sauce fresh.

While marination it is to keep in mind, that the flavors are only meant for the outer skin to make it crispier and more flavorsome. If you want deep flavoring you can marinate the steak by cutting it into pieces first. But this will break down that fat that helps in the cooking process of the steak. It is not advised to marinate the meat longer than overnight as the tenderisation of proteins in the meat can turn into acids, making the outside layer mealy and mushy without softening the insides.

A good tip to include flavors in the meat is to reserve some of the flavors before adding the raw meat. Add the reserved flavors to the cooked meat as a glaze or sauce. Another way to introduce flavors within the meat is by pounding the meat to a thinner starting point, so the flavors will get to every bite of the steak. It is always advised to marinate the meat properly before getting a mushy bite.

Why Does It Take So Long To Marinate Steak?

Marinating the steak adds a depth of flavor without doing much effort. The marinade adds flavor and the acid through the lemon juice makes the steak more tenderizing. The simple blend of ingredients can make your steak moisturized and softer adding a whole new deliciousness to the steak. The acid through lemon juice weakens the steak’s tissue making the surface all set to get flavors.

Cutting the steak into slices can help in deep penetration of the marinate into your steak. The salt in the soy sauce can penetrate well inside the whole steak making it more delicious and flavored. Salt also draws out any excess liquid and thus, the brine gets reabsorbed by breaking down the muscles.

It takes time for the marinade to penetrate the layers of the meat and so, it is recommended to marinate the meat overnight. The actions of enzymes get at a full pace at night and hence, helping the marinate reach the bottom layers too. The marinate allows adding a depth of flavor and taste with just basic pantry items. You can add spice, smoke, or sweetness to your steak depending on your taste preference.

Try not to use acid-based flavorings as they can make the meat dried out and toughen up. But adding lime water can make the steak tenderized without causing much harm. Marinate the steak in the refrigerator that will inhibit any bacterial growth. Do not reuse the marinade instead, serve it alongside the meat. Adhere to using non-reactive materials as they can ruin the produce.

You can then go with grilling, broiling, baking, or roasting the steak. You can also try up mixing a few processes to make it more tender. Use skewers, resealable bags, well-buttered baking dishes to make the flavors last long.


You can marinate a steak from as little as 30 minutes to as long as 8 hours. Depending upon the taste and time in hand you can make the marinade on the steak last long. It is preferred to marinate the steak overnight to help the flavorings from the marinade penetrate deep into the skin. It is also advised to cut the pieces into slices before marinating them as it will help the marinade to reach the bottom layers.

Depending upon how you want your steak to taste and the type of seasonings added the time of marinating can be adjusted. You can also experiment with different cooking styles to make the meat more tender. It is essential to add lemon juice and salt as it helps in making the skin break and starting the enzymes to act.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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