Best Quick Steak Marinade

This is the very BEST quick steak marinade, perfect for grilling up juicy, flavorful steaks – even cheap cuts! – so tasty you won’t need sauce.  

Get ready for grilling season with Garlic Steak and Potato Foil Packs, Grilled Chicken Margherita, and Southwest Mango Pineapple Grilled Chicken Salad

Best Quick Steak Marinade |

It’s that time of year again for full-on grilling season, and I could not be more excited about it. Around here we have a definite season for grilling since half of the year it’s too cold to stand outside and flip anything with a pair of tongs, though back in January I did put on about 13 layers and stand out on the back deck to make dinner a few nights. The things I’ll do out of sheer desperation for grilled food!

But, now that the weather is making a definite trend toward summer, I’ve been grilling up a storm (and wearing only two layers!) and the first thing I’ve been working on is a recipe for a perfect, super juicy. flavorful steak. 

It’s hard to believe that growing up I thought steak was dry, tough, and flavorless, so therefore I wouldn’t eat it. In fact, I didn’t have a good steak until I was getting into adulthood. Then, I finally realized that steak didn’t have to be dry, tough, or flavorless. In fact, it could be crazy-delicious, juicy, and bursting with big, bold flavors. It’s all in the marinade!

Best Quick Steak Marinade |


Although the key to a great steak is the marinade, don’t worry, you won’t have to plan for hours in advance to reap its benefits. That’s because today I’m sharing with you my secret for a 20-minute marinade that will transform even cheaper cuts into delicious and tender steak with enough flavor to make you forget to pull out the A-1.

This steak marinade starts with a base of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, which makes a perfect combination for tenderizing the meat. I whisk the soy and vinegar together with the oil, worcestershire sauce, honey, herbs, dry mustard, and garlic powder. All of these ingredients will infuse into the steak for big flavor. Add the steak and the marinade into a sealable bag, and chill for 15-20 minutes in the fridge before throwing your steak on the grill.


Though this marinade will work on any cut of steak, it’s true that some are better than others, depending on your personal tastes. I tend to go for a leaner cut of beef, like t-bone, top loin, tenderloin, or ribeye. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t purchase other cuts of steak. 

Chuck steaks, hanger, skirt, and flank will taste great after 20 minutes in the perfect steak marinade (thanks soy sauce and balsamic) but you can also lean toward leaving it in the bag longer to really seal in that flavor and make your steak as tender as you prefer, up to 24 hours.

Best Quick Steak Marinade |


Even though I swear by the 20-minute time on this marinade, you can soak it for longer. For example, if you have extra time or want to make this marinade in the morning or the night before, you can either make it and marinate it longer (up to 6 hours or overnight) or put it all together 20 minutes before you are ready to grill. 

If you are using a lesser cut of steak, you can go longer to really tenderize it. If you get in a real pickle or forget about it, your steak will still be good to cook for up to 24 hours in a marinade.


If you are allergic to soy or don’t like the taste of soy, you can use a substitution instead on in the marinade. 

  • Consider skipping it all together and just using the other ingredients, increasing your oil and balsamic by ⅓ cup each.
  • Tamari sauce is another Japanese sauce you can use that tastes like soy but is thicker and more flavorful than soy sauce. 
  • Coconut aminos make a good substitution for soy sauce. 
  • Bragg liquid aminos will help to tenderize your steak and add flavor as well. 
  • You can also increase the amount of worcestershire sauce if you enjoy that flavor more.


  • Preheat the grill so the grates are nice and hot before putting the steaks on.
  • Once you’ve placed the steak on the grates, try to move it as little as possible.
  • Only flip your steak once to keep it from sticking to the grates and to cook it evenly on both sides. 
  • Don’t cut into your steak to check for readiness! This will let the juices run out and dry out your steak. Use a thermometer or the hand test (take a look at this article if you’re unfamiliar with the hand test — I love this method).
  • Once cooked, allow steak to rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it to preserve the juices and keep it from drying out.

Best Quick Steak Marinade |

What people are saying about the Best Quick Steak Marinade

“Absolutely loved it.. its in my written recipe book now and on high rotation. Just takes STEAK to a WHOLE new level. Highly recommend.” – Caroline

“This was fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that much flavor and tenderness after marinating for only about 30-40 minutes.” – Lauren 

“I tried this last night and it was phenomenal. Was out of balsamic so had to use apple cider vinegar with a little sugar mixed in as a sub. Otherwise followed the recipe precisely. Marinated for ABOUT an hour. Thanks for the recipe.” – Christina 

“Used this marinade for Denver steaks and it was DELICIOUS! Me and my husband loved it, thank you!” – Marina 

Best Quick Steak Marinade |
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4.96 from 22 votes

Best Quick Steak Marinade

This is the very BEST quick steak marinade, perfect for grilling up juicy, flavorful steaks - even cheap cuts! - so tasty you don't need sauce. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword steak
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Tiffany


  • 4-6 8-ounce steaks
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • chopped parsley, for garnish optional


  • Whisk together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, oil, worcestershire sauce, honey, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and dried mustard. 
  • Add steaks and marinade to a zip lock bag, tossing the steaks a few times to coat. Press the excess air out, seal the bag, and chill for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Use tongs to transfer steaks to a preheated grill. Cook until desired doneness is reached. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. 

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Hi, what kind of oil do you use?

    Hi Sheri- you can use whatever your preference is/whatever you have on hand. Olive, canola etc.

what is the hand test for doneness

This is almost the exact same marinade I use for flank steak about every other week all summer. the only difference is that i use cumin instead of mustard – and i don’t measure anything!

    Sounds delicious!! Thanks for sharing, Melissa!

Great Marinade

5 stars
I’m always ready to try a new steak marinade, I’ve made marinades with similar ingredients so know how well this recipe will work buy haven’t made one with dried mustard or honey, nice, thank you

i also liked this recipe,you have used many amazing ingredients in your recipes to make it tastier.I will also try to make such recipes by using such ingredients.

5 stars
Hi there, I tried this last night and it was phenomenal. Was out of balsamic so had to use apple cider vinegar with a little sugar mixed in as a sub. Otherwise followed the recipe precisely. Marinated for ABOUT an HOur. Thanks for the recipe.

    Great thinking with your substitution! Thanks for sharing your awesome idea, Christina! I am happy to hear that it turned out great!!

5 stars
Used this marinade for denver steaks and it was DELICIOUS! Me and my guaband loved it, thank you!

    YUM!! So excited to hear that you two loved this recipe! Thanks for stopping by, Marina!

5 stars
This marinade deserves serious recognition! Delicious!!

    Thanks Corrie! Super excited to hear that you loved it!

5 stars
this was fantastic. i don’t think i’ve ever gotten that much flavor and tenderness after marinating for only about 30-40 minutes. Do you think you could use this marinade for chicken breasts? Esp if they are a thick cut?

    Hi Lauren! I actually haven’t tried this with chicken yet- but it sounds delicious! Super excited to hear that you enjoyed this marinade, Lauren!

That “touch test” is a great help!! I’m trying out the marinade tonight – got home late and husband had eaten the leftovers for lunch that i had hoped to have tonight. So…

    I hope it turns out amazingly delicious for you, Joan!

      5 stars
      It really was good! I used Pomegranate vinegar; and fresh squeezed garlic … on very lean, not especially tender sirloins. Had to pan-fry instead of grill and still turned out very well. This will make amazing shish-kebab marinade next summer too!

        Fantastic! I am super excited to hear that you enjoyed this marinade- sounds like you set yourself up for success for sure!

5 stars
Absolutely loved it.. its in my written recipe book now and on high rotation. Just takes STEAK to a WHOLE new level. Highly recommend.

    There isn’t much better of a compliment than when a reader says a recipe has become part of their regular rotation! Super excited to hear this, Caroline! Thanks for your feedback!

5 stars
This was amazing! Used it on some ribeyes and was very happy! Ive bookmar this page and will do this with steak from noW on! CheErs

    Nick, I am super excited to hear that you loved this steak marinade so much!! Thanks for stopping by!

5 stars
We tried this recipe a few weeks ago and loved it! In fact, my oldest aon asked that we have it for his birthday dinner toMoRroW, which will Be the thIrd time we have had it in about two months. Thank you so much!!!

    Way to go, Amy!! Good job pleasing those boys- sometimes it’s tough! 😉 Happy Birthday to your son!

All I have is red wine vinegar, regular vinegar and some cider vinegar. Could I substitute one of those?

    The balsamic is a very particular flavor. You can sub apple cider or red wine but be aware it will change the flavor of the steak! Do NOT use distilled white vinegar!

      Rice vinegar would work also would but I strongly recommend balsamic for the flavor!

5 stars
I’m only a very occasionally steak eater and this marinade made me think twice, absolutely delicious and the steak was so tender.

    That is hilarious! I am stoked to hear that you’re considering being a regular steak consumer! 😉 Thanks for your feedback, Tricia!

will the honeY Make it sweet?

    With the amount called for in this recipe you won’t notice a sweet flavor from it!

Can you marinate it for 24-48 hours?

    Sure- if you’d prefer that! And have the time to do so 😉

5 stars
The steak was delicious and and marinade with that hint of vinegar had such an amazing taste for a quick marinade(tasted like I soaked it overnight instead of 20 minutes).

    Thanks for your feedback, Louis! Glad to hear that you enjoyed this marinade so much!

5 stars
Oh my gosh!!! Let me tell you I was very worried about a 20-30min marinade especially since you always here that you have to marinate the steak for hours and I also loved the fact that this works great with cheap cuts because I had somewhat of a cheap meat. I ended up marinating the steak for an hour(by total accident) and I thought it no.. This is going to be yucky. It was the furthest thing from it. It was flavorful, meat was juicy, it wasn’t overbearing with it being marinating for an hour. It was perfect. I didn’t have dried mustard so I used Frenchs yellow mustard and it was fine. I just added more another tablespoon and it was fine. Nothing was overbearing or you couldn’t taste one thing more than another. It marinated my steak perfectly and my husband couldn’t believe how awesome it was. He goes from now on you marinate the steaks. I was like whoa, it must be good for you to say that. Haha great receipe I won’t use anything else and if you go longer than 20min it won’t be too much.

    Awesome job, Bernadette!! Way to prove the theory wrong 😉 Thanks for sharing your feedback!

Tried this tonight. Hands down best stEak we ever hAd we are gOing to tHe store TOMORROW to stock up on cross rib streak AND MARINATING it.

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe so much, Wanda! Thank you for sharing your feedback. I bet it will be super delicious with your next, as well!

5 stars
This REALLY is the best marinade!! Very easy receipe, it’s ingredients people usually have in their pantry and what I really love about this marinade is that you can use it on cheaper cuts of meat!! I had beef round steak that I wanted to use for steak tacos, obviously not an expensive cut. So I wanted to find a really great marinade. I stumbled onto this one and I will never use any other marinade for steak again. My husband could not believe how tender and juicy and flavorful the steak was. Usually my husband does all the marinades but now he goes “hey you wanna make that marinade from last time, it was really good”. Haha so now i do the marinating… I’m so happy I found this quick and flavorful marinade!! It’s my go to now. Thank you!!!

    Way to go, Bernadette!! Way to show up your husband 😉 Glad to hear that you two enjoyed this marinade so much!

CAn i marinated over night or is this to much for the steaks
Thank you
Cant wait to try

A LOVEly marinated. I didn’t Have honey so I used brown sugar. It was great. Thank you!

    Great job, Tricia! Super excited to hear that you enjoyed this marinade!

5 stars
So easy and delicious!

    Thanks, Lauren!

I don’t have HONey. What could I substitute instead?

    Hey Beth! I think you could use white sugar, but not brown sugar because it will likely burn. You could also try using some orange or apple juice for sweetness but please note that neither of these methods have been tested! I’d love to hear the outcome if you give either of these a try.

Is there anytHing i couls substitute for soy sauce?

    I do strongly recommend using soy sauce for the best results, but if you have to sub you can try using coconut aminos or maybe even Worcestershire sauce. I haven’t used this substitution before so I can’t guarantee the results however.

5 stars
Amazing !!!! Thank you

Can i leave it For many hours
To soften it more?

When you say hot grate what is the temp of the grill? Do I close the lid to cook? I need more instructions for this part. I’ve RUINED soooo many steaks.

    I preheat the grill for 5 minutes, and yes close the lid!

5 stars
This truly is the best marinade ever! I have tried many marinades only to barely taste them. This offers so much flavor. I think it’s the slight sweetness and the italian seasoning that takes it to another level. Even my steak purist MIL loved it! I will say it’s even better when i let it marinade for up to 24 hours. also, we love the flavor so much that I make extra marinade and keep some for after grilling.thank you!

    Steak purist- that made me laugh! Way to impress your MIL! 😉 Thanks, Talia!

How do you cook the steaks? My husband thinks loW and slow. I disagree and think high and fast on the grill. What have you found is the best methos for cooking steaks on a grill?

    I am of similar opinion as you! I preheat the grill so it’s nice and hot, then put the steak on. Try to move it as little as possible and when it’s done, let it rest 5 minutes!

4 stars
Flavorful steaks!

5 stars
I made this for dinner tonight for the family and they absolutely loved it – will definitely add this into the grilling rotation!

    So glad you enjoyed this marinade!

5 stars
I used a large clove of garlic and a teaspoon of hot english mustard as i didn’t have powdered form, and it was loved!! All the beef went super quick!

    Awesome!! Thanks for sharing, Jude!

5 stars
This is DELICIOUS on ostrich filets.

    Interesting!! Thanks for sharing.

5 stars
Yum yum yum
Its a firm new favourite. I even Tried it on some lamb chops and subbed the italian herbs for just Rosemary- delish!

    Sounds fantastic!

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