Flavor Combinations for Fantastic Marinades

You’re only a few ingredients away from making a fantastic marinade. We raid the pantry for flavor combinations.

Raid your pantry for these easy flavor combos that make delicious marinades.

We’ve already discussed that a marinade isn’t a dumping ground for every little ingredient you have in the kitchen. But there’s no need to always follow a recipe. There’s no fun in that!

A good starting place is to mix up some oil and an acid. Go with a one-to-one ratio. I almost always add minced garlic to this. Then go in with one or two herbs or spices. Season with salt and taste it. You need to like how it tastes.

Here’s some inspiration for you.

Oil + Apple Cider Vinegar + Lavender

I know this doesn’t have garlic, but I love this. My mother created this combo when I was in high school. She belonged to an herb club and had to share an interesting marinade. She still uses this on steak.

Oil + Lime Juice + Jalapenos + Garlic + Chili Powder


Oil + red chili paste + lime juice + cilantro + coconut milk

Try this on shrimp. Marinade for just 30 minutes though. Then drain, pat them dry and sizzle them in a hot pan.

Oil + Garlic + Lemon Juice + Spicy Mustard

My 3.5-year-old son loves mustard. He regularly eats mustard sandwiches. Yeah, just bread and mustard. I’ve realized that if I use mustard in a marinade on pork, he’ll eat it up.

Oil + Garlic + Honey + Soy Sauce + Fish Sauce

This is a good Asian combination. It can become way too salty way too quickly, so add only a dash of fish sauce. And taste test, taste test, taste test.

Oil + Garlic + Lemon Juice + Onion + Fresh Rosemary

You can really use any fresh herb you have growing. Fresh herbs add a punch of flavor. Try it on chicken breasts.

Oil + Garlic + Thyme + Orange

The orange adds a hint of sweetness to the garlic and thyme. This is good on pan-fried fish.

Oil + Garlic + Oregano + Thyme + Red Wine

Make this with steak. The red wine makes this a strong marinade. Plus, once you open that bottle of wine, you know you’ll have some sipping to do. Win-win!

Amy Bowen

Amy had no clue how to cook until she became the food reporter for a daily newspaper in Minnesota. At 25, she even struggled with boxed mac and cheese. These days, Amy is a much better cook, thanks to interviewing cooks and chefs for more than 10 years. She even makes four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon, no boxed mac in sight. Amy is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.