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Summer is almost upon us, and this is — by far — the best simple steak marinade for grilling (or for pan-searing and air-frying, too)! With soy sauce, maple syrup, and plenty of garlic, it’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory — and it’s ready with just 5 minutes of prep time.

The best simple steak marinade for grilling on New York strips that have been grilled.
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love this Recipe
  2. Steak Marinade Ingredients
  3. Directions
  4. How Long to Marinate Steak
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Simple Steak Marinade for Grilling Recipe

For more steak recipes, be sure to try this smothered round steak, a steak salad, these grilled steak tips, filet mignon in a cast iron skillet, and these flank steak fajitas, too!

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Tenderizes the Meat. The acidic components in a marinade (such as the vinegar here) help break down the muscle fibers in the meat, resulting in a more tender texture.
  • Infuses the Steak with Flavor. If you’re looking for a simple steak marinade to give your grilled meat that extra dose of flavor, then you’ve come to the right place. The combination of olive oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and seasoning complements and enhances the natural flavor of the beef without overpowering it.
  • Quick and Easy. Whisk it together in about 5 minutes with basic ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.
A simple steak marinade for grilling in a glass measuring cup.

Steak Marinade Ingredients

What makes this steak marinade easy? It’s the simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry! As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil: helps transfer the flavor from the marinade into the meat.
  • Soy sauce: provides salty, umami flavor that pairs beautifully with the red meat. For a steak marinade without soy sauce, try substituting with an equal amount of coconut aminos or tamari. A splash of Worcestershire sauce is also nice.
  • Maple syrup: for a hint of sweetness, which also caramelizes on the heat of the grill and gives the steak a great char. Sub with brown sugar or honey if you prefer.
  • Vinegar: I love the combination of seasoned rice vinegar with the soy sauce in this marinade, but you can sub with another vinegar like apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar to achieve the same bright, tangy flavor and tenderizing qualities. Fresh lemon juice would also be a fine acidic component to this marinade.
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, and ground ginger: additional seasoning to flavor the meat. Of course, you can use fresh ingredients if you’ve got them — sliced green onions, 1½ teaspoons minced garlic cloves, and about 2 teaspoons grated gingerroot.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Steak: The best cuts of steak to marinate are typically those that are a bit tougher and could benefit from tenderization and flavor enhancement. Good options include flank steak, skirt steak, flat iron steak, round steak, and chuck steak. That said, any steak that you love can be enhanced by a good marinade. I’ve shown New York strip steaks here since they’re some of our favorites.
Steaks marinating in a Ziploc bag with the a simple steak marinade for grilling.

Directions

The best steak marinade for grilling is one that’s enhances the natural flavor of the meat, allowing the steak to truly shine! It’s got to have the basics (oil, acid, and seasoning); better yet if it’s ready with minimal effort. You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick overview with my notes:

  • Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large glass measuring cup or small bowl. You’ll have a total of about 2½ cups of marinade.
  • Place the steak in a large Ziploc freezer bag or in a glass dish.
  • Pour the marinade over top, seal the bag (or cover the dish), and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Different cuts of meat will do better with different marinating times, so I’ve included more information on that below.
  • Remove the steak from the bag and discard the marinade.
  • Grill the steaks until they reach your desired level of doneness. An instant read meat thermometer is the best way to know when it’s ready to come off of the grill. You’re looking for about 135°F for medium-rare, 140°F for medium, and 150°F for a medium-well finish. The sugars in the marinade create a great char and flavor on the outside of the steaks. The inside maintains that tender, juicy texture.
  • Let the steak rest for at least 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat (rather than running out onto your plate).
A simple steak marinade for grilling on New York strip steaks on a wooden cutting board.

How Long to Marinate Steak

You can use this particular marinade with a variety of cuts, but you’ll want to vary the marinating time depending on the cut of meat that you choose.

Tougher cuts (like flank steak, round steak, and chuck steak) should marinate for at least 4 hours, but not more than 24 hours. Tender cuts of beef (like a filet mignon/tenderloin, ribeye, or New York strip) only need to be marinated for 15 minutes, and not more than 4 hours.

Marinating steaks for too long can give the meat a mushy texture as it sits in the acid.

Grilled steaks on a wooden cutting board.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the marinated grilled steak alongside garlic roasted broccoli, corn on the cob, vinegar coleslaw, baked potatoes, grilled potatoes, Southern macaroni salad, Southern potato salad, or on top of a steak salad. To round out the meal with another side dish, offer a basket of sour cream blueberry muffins, a skillet of cast iron cornbread, a crusty baguette, a pot of Dutch oven mac and cheese, or a bowl of Charleston red rice as well.

Square side shot of a simple steak marinade on grilled steak on a blue and white plate.

More Marinade Recipes to Try

Square side shot of grilled steak with a simple steak marinade.

Simple Steak Marinade for Grilling

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Marinating Time 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings (2.5 cups marinade total)
Calories 67 kcal
A simple steak marinade for all of your grilling season needs — and it's ready with just 5 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

For the Marinade

For the Steak

  • 2 lbs. steak (I used boneless New York Strip steak here, but you can use chuck steak, shoulder steak, top round steak, bottom round steak, skirt steak, hanger steak, flank steak, ribeye, tri-tip, or sirloin steaks as well)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Prepare the Marinade

  • In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients until completely combined.
    A simple steak marinade for grilling in a glass measuring cup.
  • Place steak in large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over top. Seal the bag, toss gently to coat, and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 15 minutes but not more than 4 hours (for tender cuts of steak) or at least 4 hours (but not more than 24 hours for tougher cuts).
    Process shot showing how to marinate steaks for grilling.

To Grill New York Strip Steak

  • About 15 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Season with salt and pepper.
    Steaks marinating in a Ziploc bag with the a simple steak marinade for grilling.
  • Heat the grill to high. Remove steaks from the marinade and discard marinade. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare (an internal temperature of 135°F), 5 to 7 minutes for medium (140°F), or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well (150°F). Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
    Square side shot of grilled steak with a simple steak marinade.

Notes

  • To prep ahead, you can whisk together the marinade and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days before adding it to your steak.
  • Marinate tougher cuts of steak for at least 4 hours (and up to 24 hours). Tender, delicate cuts only need about 15 minutes in the marinade (or up to 4 hours).
  • Feel free to add other herbs and spices to the marinade as well. For instance, give it a spicy kick with some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. Herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, and chives all pair nicely with steak. A dollop of Dijon mustard would also be a nice addition to the mixture.
  • Nutrition information is an estimate for ¼ cup of the marinade. The total nutrition facts for your meal will vary greatly depending on the cut of beef used.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 67kcalCarbohydrates: 8gFat: 3gSodium: 426mgPotassium: 47mgSugar: 6gCalcium: 15mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword: grilled steak recipe, simple steak marinade, steak marinade for grilling, steak marinade recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in June, 2019. It was updated in May, 2024.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Brenda says:

    5 stars
    Love love love this recipe!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Brenda! 🙂

  2. Kylee says:

    I halved the recipe, used tenderized round steak, and subbed peanut oil for the olive oil. Tenderized the round steak with a non-splatter tenderizer to 1/4″ thick and cutting into roughly 6×4″ pieces. Meat was marinated for 8 hours then grilled at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. The flavor and texture is great! Juicy and melted in your mouth. Wonderful recipe, will be using again!

    1. Blair says:

      That sounds perfect, Kylee! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  3. Help says:

    The recipe doesn’t say how much of each ingredient we need?!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi! Yes, the specific measurements for each ingredient are listed in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  4. Kay Saint says:

    5 stars
    An AMAZING recipe! I cut the steak into strips, let it sit in the marinade for 20+min and then cook it in the air fryer. Produces a nice & crispy outside! Best marinade I’ve ever had!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Great tip, Kay! I’ve never tried it in the air fryer. Thank you!

  5. Sha Rhoden says:

    This was Amazing!! Love the Maple syrup!! Gave steak a great char on grill!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you!