The Best 3 Ingredient Steak Marinade (Or Chicken!)

This 3-ingredient steak marinade is so easy and so flavorful, and it comes together quickly with just balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and freshly minced garlic. You’ll be shocked at how this simple marinade adds so much flavor to steak, chicken, or even vegetables.

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3 ingredient steak marinade in a glass cylinder with a whisk.

Why you’ll love this easy marinade

Any recipe with only three ingredients deserves a place in your regular dinner rotation!  You can’t get an easier marinade anywhere, and it has the absolute best flavor. 

It’s almost that time of year where we’re cooking outside multiple times a week, so this is a good one to have on hand. The next time you’re grilling steak, chicken, or even veggies you just have to try this easy homemade steak marinade.

It sounds basic, but these simple ingredients create the perfect blend of tangy balsamic vinegar, savory soy sauce, and minced garlic. It’s a perfect balance of all three ingredients and comes out great every single time.

Not only is this marinade delicious (I think it’s the best steak marinade, personally!), but it helps to make tougher cuts of steak more tender.

If you’re looking to impress with an easy marinade, this is the one! This flavorful steak marinade is my husband’s absolute favorite!  He asks for it every time we’re cooking steak or chicken (a win/win in my book!).

Soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and minced garlic in small bowls with labels on a countertop.

Ingredients

  • Lean steak – I prefer to use lean cuts of steak here to cut down on the saturated fat content (and I prefer a less fatty cut of meat!). You can use whatever cut of steak you like. You can also use chicken thighs or chicken breast. My favorite cuts or top sirloin, skirt steak, flank steak or filet mignon.
  • Balsamic vinegar – The tangy flavor from the balsamic vinegar is strong enough but also not overpowering in this easy recipe. It adds the perfect amount of flavor.
  • Soy sauce – This gives the perfect amount of salty/savory flavor. Feel free to use low sodium soy sauce if you need to. You can also use coconut aminos or tamari if you are gluten free.  
  • Fresh garlic cloves – Fresh garlic cloves add a ton of extra flavor, so I highly recommend using fresh over garlic powder. Make your life easier and get this garlic microblade!

I love the marinade as is, but you can also use any spices or fresh herbs that you like too. You can add salt if needed, black pepper, lemon juice, dijon mustard or even orange juice for more flavor. You can also add olive oil to the marinade if you like.

Step-by-step instructions  

  1. In a small bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and freshly minced garlic.
3 ingredient steak marinade being poured onto raw steak in a clear glass bowl.
  1. In a medium sized shallow dish or ziploc bag, add your raw steak and marinade. Mix so that the steak is fully coated in the marinade.
Steak marinating in a clear glass bowl.
  1. For best results, marinate for at least 20 minutes in the fridge (not room temperature for food safety!) and then prepare your marinated steak however you like to and to your preferred level of doneness. 
Cooked steak in a bowl with salad and rice.

Recipe FAQ

How do I marinate steak or chicken?

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to marinate steak or chicken is in a gallon sized ziplock bag.  Pour the marinade and the raw meat into the large baggie.  Once the baggie is locked shut (make darn sure here) massage the marinate into the meat.  Allow the protein to marinate at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator before cooking.

Can I reuse my marinade?

No. Once the marinade touches raw meat, dispose of the any extra. This cannot be used with other foods to marinate since it has touched the raw meat. If you need more marinade, simply make a double batch!

3 ingredient steak marinade in a glass cylinder with a whisk.

What to serve with this?

If you are preparing this marinade for steak, I love serving it with a huge salad and a baked potato. This marinade could also be great on chicken or even veggies for grilled veggie skewers.  

This easy steak marinade would go great with these recipes, too:  

Shop this recipe

  1. Garlic Microblade 

Variations

  • Use white balsamic vinegar instead of regular for a sweeter flavor.
  • Coconut aminos instead of soy sauce for lower sodium and a bit of a different flavor.
  • Add lemon juice, lime juice or even orange juice to add some citrus flavor!
  • Add Worcestershire sauce for a smokier flavor.
  • Add brown sugar or honey for a sweeter marinade.
  • Add a little heat by adding red pepper flakes to your marinade.

More recipes you’ll love

3 ingredient steak marinade in a glass cylinder with a whisk.

The Best 3 Ingredient Steak Marinade

The most delicious steak or chicken marinade made from three simple ingredients!
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Prep Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean steak or chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves minced

Instructions

  • In a small bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and freshly minced garlic.
  • In a medium sized shallow dish or ziploc bag, add your raw steak and marinade. Mix so that the steak is fully coated in the marinade.
  • For best results, marinate for at least 20 minutes in the fridge (not room temperature for food safety!) and then prepare your marinated steak however you like to and to your preferred level of doneness. 

Notes

Nutrition facts only include the marinade.

Nutrition

Calories: 32kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.03g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 815mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 0.3IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

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3 Responses

  1. How long can you marinate steak with or can you marinate it overnight??

    my many thanks Stan

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It's me, Jamie!

I’m a Registered Dietitian dedicated to helping you break free of the all-or-nothing dieting with balanced and realistic healthy eating.

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Meet Jamie

I’m a Registered Dietitian and I’ve been exactly where you are, right now. The all or nothing dieting, the constant food guilt, the scale obsession, absolutely no balance with food…. Sound familiar?