How Far In Advance To Marinate Steak?

Marinating steak on a board

Marinating steak before cooking is the perfect way to add flavor to any dish. However, it is important to understand how far in advance you should marinate your steak as anything longer can cause it to become mushy.

Although steak is normally grilled, it can be pan-fried, and to tenderize it and make it more enjoyable, it is marinated.

A marinade can be a source of vinegar, herbs, oil, and even sauces. You simply pour it over your meat or fish to tenderize it or add flavor to it before cooking. It is safe to marinate steak however it is also vital to learn how long and how far in advance you need to do this.

One of the advantages of marinating steak is that it makes your steak tastier and the cuts tend to be more enjoyable. There are different types of recipes for marinating steak and it is safe to keep food in a marinade for a long time to help break down the fibers of the steak.

Steak is one of the tastiest types of meat and grilling it is one common way to make it. Most recipes for marinating steak are recommended to last up to 6 hours or more but read on to know how far in advance you can marinate steak.

What’s The Purpose Of Marinating?

Marinating simply means soaking your foods for some hours in a seasoned and often acidic liquid before cooking. Marinating is a cooking technique that has been around for a while and the basic purpose is to break down the fibers of your food and further add flavor to it.

Steak is a common food item people marinate before grilling, Marinating chicken is also common. Marinating is not a bad thing but it is important to be careful so you don’t over marinate it.

You should never allow the steak to marinate at room temperature and the purpose of marinating steak is to tenderize tougher parts of the steak and make it easier to cut.

Marinating chicken and beef together
Image: @Mehaniq via Twenty20

How Far In Advance To Marinate Steak?

The goal of marinating steak is to tenderize the tough parts so you should have it soaked in the marinade at least 6 hours before the grilling time. You shouldn’t marinate the steak for more than 24 hours no matter the texture of the meat as any house longer will only turn the texture mushy and ruin the flank part.


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It is best to keep the marinating of steak pretty simple. However, some recipes might call for up to 6 hours or more hence you should use basic ingredients such as oil, soy sauce, or acidic juice.

Regardless of the ingredients used in making your marinade, do not marinate your steak for two days in advance.

Marinade Tips You May Need

There are no rules to how you choose to make your marinade but to make sure you are on the right track and your steak isn’t overcooked or mushy, here are simple tips to guide you.

  • Ensure to place your marinating steak in the refrigerator for grilling later
  • Use a plastic zip lock bag to make cleaning easy and take less space
  • Tenderize your steak with a fork before marinating as this maximize its flavor
  • Prepare your marinade in advance and place in the freezer for weeks or months
  • Any marinades that contain alcohol or acid can chemically cook your steak so ensure not to keep it in for longer than 4 hours.

Do you rinse marinade off steak before cooking?

A marinade is a great flavor enhancer however some recipes might call for you to remove it before cooking to prevent flare-ups on the grill. But not to worry, once you start cooking, the excess will fall off and if you do wipe off the marinade before cooking, you should keep a little on the steak surface to make sure it retains some flavor.

Is it okay to let the steak marinate overnight?

Steak only needs to marinate for 2 hours unless you want it really soft then you can go longer. As soon as your marinade is ready, you should add your steak and let it soak in the delicious flavor however it’s safe to marinate overnight as long as the meat is tough enough but you don’t need that much.

Is it better to marinate in the fridge or room temp?

It’s better to marinate in the fridge. Marinating at room temperature can cause bacteria to quickly grow on your meat and this can lead to some foodborne diseases hence it’s best to marinate in the fridge where no bacteria can multiply on it.

Wrapping Up

Steak is not the only thing you can marinate, it can be beef, chicken, lamb, or pork.

Marinating is just the perfect way you can intensify the taste of your meat and make an enjoyable meal out of it. Only three-component makes up a marinade and that is the flavors, acid, and oil. Don’t hesitate to get creative in making your marinade either.

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