sliced steak on white plate

To marinate or not to marinate? Before you cook that pricey steak — and they’re all pricey these days — this is a question you must ask yourself, as marinating isn’t something that can be done at the last second. As a rule of thumb, recipe developer

So what’s in this marinade? Musgrave says that a combination of vinegar, lemon juice, and soy sauce are all used to break down the proteins in the steak, thus making it more tender and, she assures us, "juicy and delicious" to boot. She also says that her special ingredient is a hint of cayenne, something she says "adds just a pinch of spice to the marinade." Not only does this marinade work well with steak, but she also says "This would be great on chicken or pork."

Gather the ingredients for this tenderizing steak marinade

ingredients for steak marinade

This marinade includes 2 types of fresh produce: garlic, plus some juice from a lemon. You’ll also need a few bottled condiments: soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Add in some salt, pepper, and cayenne, and you’re good to go.

Combine the ingredients and marinate the steak

whisking steak marinade in bowl

First things first: Squeeze the lemon and measure out the necessary amount of juice, then peel and mince the garlic. Combine these ingredients with the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and stir until everything is well-combined.

Place you steak in a plastic bag, a casserole dish, or a large non-metal bowl, and pour the marinade on top. Let the steak sit in the marinade for at least an hour, and up to 8 hours. If you’re opting for a longer period of time, put the steak in the refrigerator for food safety reasons — the USDA recommends that meats and other perishables not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Leave the marinade on the steak as it cooks

marinated steak cooking in pan

If you’re wondering whether you need to dry off the steak when it’s time to cook it, Musgrave says no. As she tells us, "I like to keep some of the marinade on the steak while cooking." You can cook the steak any way you like, although Musgrave notes that "Pan searing for a few minutes per side, or grilling are great methods for cooking a marinated steak."

No need to discard the leftover marinade

marinade in bowl with spoon

Once you take the steak out of the marinade, should you just pour it down the drain? No, there’s no need to waste the ingredients. Instead, Musgrave recommends "Once the steaks are done cooking, add … the marinade to the pan to reduce into a sauce." As a precaution against food-borne illness, however, you should bring it to a boil and cook it for at least 5 minutes to guard against any contamination from the uncooked meat.

Tenderizing Steak Marinade Recipe


  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Combine the ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.
  2. Pour the marinade over the steak in a zip-top bag or non-metal dish.
  3. Marinate the steak for 1-8 hours.
  4. Cook the steak as desired.


Calories per Serving 152
Total Fat 13.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g
Total Sugars 3.1 g
Sodium 1,046.4 mg
Protein 1.5 g