How to Use Marinades

​How to Use Marinades

A marinade is a seasoned liquid used to tenderize or add flavour to meat, poultry, fish or vegetables. Most marinades contain oil, herbs and spices, as well as acid. 


What do the different parts of a marinade do?


  • Acids: This is what makes your meat become more tender. Acids like vinegar, wine, beer and fruit juices help to break down connective tissues and cell walls.   
  • Oils: Help prevent foods from drying out in cooking. Certain oils, such as sesame oil and peanut oil, add flavour as well. If you are looking for oils with little to no taste, we suggest canola or grapeseed oil.   
  • Herbs: Known as aromatics, herbs provide depth of flavour. Fresh herbs will provide more flavour to a marinade faster than dried herbs. Dried herbs often need time for their flavours to release; they work best when they have more time with your food of choice. We suggest using dried herbs in place of ground herbs. Ground herbs can remain on your food after marinating and give a gritty texture when eating.  
  • Spices: Another aromatic that provides flavour. Spices come from the seeds, fruit, root, bark or stems of certain plants. Spices can overpower other flavours and should be used sparingly until you are familiar with them.  
  • Salt: Enhances flavours. Come here to learn the differences between Table, Kosher, Pickling and Finishing Salt.



How long do I marinate different foods?  


  • Fish and seafood:  Marinate for 20 – 30 minutes. Marinating longer than 30 minutes can cause texture changes.  
  • Tougher meats: For tougher cuts of meat, such as brisket or flank steak, marinate 8 – 24 hours. Long marinating times allow the acids to break down connective tissues.  
  • Tender meats and vegetables: Marinate 30 minutes – 2 hours to add flavour.  



  Keep the following tips in mind when using marinate: 


  • Each food needs to marinate separately, even if you are using the same marinade. This prevents cross-contamination of food-borne illnesses.   
  • If you plan on basting your food with more marinade while cooking, put a small amount, about 1/4 cup, of the unused marinade into a separate dish and set it aside before you start marinating.   
  •  Use glass or plastic containers as metal dishes can cause the food to pick up a metallic flavour.   
  • When you marinade food for more than 30 minutes, it must be kept in the refrigerator.  
  • Marinades are to be used once. Any leftover marinade must be discarded right after use.     
  • When marinating, use dried herbs in place of ground herbs. Ground herbs can remain on your food and give a gritty texture when eating. 
  • Beef, Lamb and Bison
    • Easy

      This grilled sirloin steak gets its name from its dark brown marinade made of molasses, soy sauce and sesame oil.

    • Easy

      Hailing from Jamaica, jerk seasoning is a blend of fragrant spices and herbs. This recipe uses a jerk mixture as a marinade for a barbecued flank steak.

    • Easy

      Do you prefer beef or bison? Get a taste of both with these grilled skewers. Both meats are marinated in a sweet and spicy sauce for extra flavour.

    • Medium
      Wine marinated lamb chops

      Lamb chops cook up beautifully on the barbecue. This elegant grilled meat dish is first marinated in a blend of white wine, Dijon mustard, lemon and rosemary.

  • Poultry
    • Easy
      Balsamic Coffee Marinade

      Give your meat or poultry an Italian twist with the flavours of balsamic vinegar and coffee.

    • Easy
      Greek Ouzo Marinade

      Ouzo is an anise-flavoured liqueur that’s quite popular in Greece. Use this marinade to create a flavourful chicken dish.

    • Easy
      Spiced Coconut Marinade

      This marinade combines the sweetness of coconut milk with the warmth of spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper to create a delicious contrast in flavours.

    • Medium
      Moroccan Chicken Wings

      Moroccan spices like cinnamon, cumin, paprika and cloves make up the marinade for these barbecued chicken wing

  • Vegetarian
    • Easy
      Chickpea Salad with Feta

      This chickpea salad takes advantage of Mediterranean-style ingredients like kalamata olives, feta cheese and lemon juice. Serve it as a side dish or as a cold lunch entrée.

    • Easy
      Overnight Slaw

      Let this cabbage coleslaw marinate overnight so that all the flavours can properly mingle together. It’s great as a side dish or as a topping on our Crispy Baked Fish Sandwiches.

    • Easy
      Fried Tofu sticks

      Serve this vegetarian dish as an appetizer in place of chicken wings or meatballs. They go wonderfully with our Indonesian peanut butter-based Gado Gado Dip.

    • Easy
      Citrus Queso

      We added orange and lime to this classic Mexican cheese. Serve this refreshing citrus cheese on top of your next taco for a more authentic street taco flavour. 

  • Fish & Seafood
    • Easy
      Caribbean Shrimp

      Bring the flavours of the Caribbean into your backyard with these grilled shrimp skewers. Marinate your shrimp in a rum-spiked pineapple juice sauce before barbecuing for a succulent summer dish.

    • Medium
      Citrus and Vodka Marinated Planked Salmon

      The flavours of a screwdriver cocktail go astonishingly well with salmon. Barbecuing on cedar planks gives fish a smoky flavour and it keeps it off the direct heat of the grill.

    • Easy
      Teriyaki Tuna Steaks

      Thick tuna steaks cook up beautifully on the barbecue. Cook this Asian-inspired tuna to medium rare for the best results.

    • Easy
      Halibut Mexicana

      Halibut is a lean white fish with a firm texture that works well on the barbecue. Give this grilled halibut some extra zing with a Mexican-inspired citrus chipotle sauce.

Featured Recipes

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  • Medium