Make a Marinade Easily



Making a marinade is a cooking technique that sounds more intimidating than it actually is. In reality, you can be as casual or as fussy about them as you want to be. There is no reason to buy one of those pre-bottled marinades with sketchy ingredients from the grocery store when you can throw one together in a matter of minutes and be in total control of what you put into your body.

At its simplest, a marinade is a mixture of liquid fat, acid, and spices. Meat and veggies soak in the mixture for some time, then you can sauté, grill, bake, etc. The acid in the marinade tenderizes the food and allows the flavors of the spices to penetrate fully, and the fat further carries the flavor throughout. The longer the food bathes in the marinade, the stronger the flavor. I find that most veggies are good after about 30 minutes of soaking, and meats love hours in the mixture.

Ingredients for your Marinade

You can mix and match any of the ingredients below to make your own custom marinade. These are my favorite ingredients, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. This is one of those throw-together-what-you-have cooking methods.

Liquid fat:

  • avocado oil
  • olive oil
  • melted bacon fat


  • citrus juice: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc.
  • vinegar: white, apple cider, balsamic, pineapple, red wine, etc.
  • soy sauce (not really an acid, but will act in the same way)


  • pre-mixed spice blends are perfect
  • finely chopped fresh herbs
  • garlic

Sweetener, if desired:

  • brown sugar
  • honey
  • maple syrup

Mix your ingredients together, using about half the amount of acid as fat. So if you need ¼ c of avocado oil, use about 2 T vinegar. If you add any sweetener, then you’ll want to double your acid.

Then pour your marinade over your uncooked food and refrigerate if needed. I prefer to marinate in class or ceramic rather than plastic bags. One, because we don’t need any more plastic bags in our landfills, and two, because I wonder if the acid doesn’t start to break down the plastic and allow it to leach into your food.

Marinade Recipes

If you don’t want to create your own off-the-cuff marinade, here are a few to get you started.

Marinade for Chicken or Pork

  • ½ c avocado oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ c maple syrup
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Marinade for Veggies

  • ¾ c olive oil
  • ¼ c red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. each of fresh rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Get in there and get marinating! It’s easy, tasty, and a great way to use up whatever you have on hand.




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