You’re only a few ingredients away from making a fantastic marinade. We raid the pantry for flavor combinations.
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!
I’ve rounded up some great flavor combinations for fantastic marinades to get you started. Use your culinary creativity and let me know what you come up with in the comment below!
What Goes In A Fantastic Marinade?
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 marinade inspiration for you.
Marinade Flavor Combinations
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
Olé! Add some heat to your meats with this marinade.
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 son loves 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!
This post originally appeared in July 2016 and was revised and republished in March 2023.
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