How Long Can You Marinate Steak

Cooking a sizzling steak with a juicy burst of flavor is no mean feat. It requires a perfect recipe and right cooking technique. While preparing a delicious steak, don’t overlook the marination process. It is a great way to add flavor and tenderness to a steak. The marinating process is an intricate combination of time and ingredients. Neglecting any of these aspects can ruin your tender steak.

Marination time plays a pivotal role in infusing your steak with flavor. Every moment counts as the marinade penetrates deep into the meat, transforming it into a succulent dish. In this blog post, we’ll explore how long you can marinate steak to get the perfect steak.

Why Do You Need to Marinate Steak?

Marination elevates your steak to new heights of flavor and tenderness. It’s like unlocking a treasure trove of flavors. The steak marinade combines acids, oils, herbs, spices, and other flavorings. These flavors penetrate the meat, infusing it with a rich taste profile. As the steak marinates, the flavors seep into the meat. It transforms your ordinary piece of steak into a mouthwatering masterpiece.

Marination also tenderizes the meat. Many marinades contain acidic components such as vinegar, or citrus juices, which break down tough muscle fibers. These acids break down collagen, a connective tissue responsible for steak’s toughness. It makes the steak tender, juicy, and easier to chew.

Another benefit of marination is moisture retention. The combination of oils, acids, and other ingredients in the marinade helps lock in the steak’s natural juices. It results in a moist and juicy final product. Moisture retention packs every bite of the steak with succulents, ensuring a memorable experience.

How Long Does It Take to Marinate a Steak?

The duration of steak marination depends on the type, cut, and thickness of the steak. Generally, marinating steak shouldn’t take more than 24 hours.

One and a half to two hours is usually enough for thinner cuts. But, for thicker cuts such as a rib-eye steak, it’s best to marinate between four to eight hours. Keeping meat in a steak marinade for too long can lead to a mushy texture or off-flavors.

You can experiment with Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce, or different ingredients to create the best steak marinade. Allowing the steak to marinate overnight will bring out its full flavor potential so that you can enjoy an unforgettable culinary experience.

How Do You Avoid Mushy Steak?

Cutting into a steak and finding it mushy is a disappointment. To avoid this, follow the directions listed in your marinade recipe. Leaving meat in marinade for too long could lead to a mushy texture. Instead, stick to the recommended marinating time and don’t exceed it.

The choice of meat is also crucial for the texture of your steak. Opt for cuts with higher fat content, like ribeye, striploin, or tenderloin. The fat helps keep the steak juicy and tender. You can also toss some olive oil and steak marinade ingredients. They will turn the steak into a masterpiece of flavor and texture.

Moreover, moisture on the surface of the steak can hinder proper searing. Use a paper towel to pat dry both sides of the steak before cooking. It will remove excess moisture. It helps create a beautiful sear. It also enhances the steak’s texture and flavor.

Marinating Times of Different Kinds Of Steaks

Choosing the right marinating time for different types of steaks is important. Each type of steak has different tenderness and flavor. Here is a guide to the marinating times for various types of steak:


It is the most tender and flavorful cut. It is also called filet mignon. It is present close to the end of the last rib of the beef. This part doesn’t have much fat. However, it’s softness and rich flavor are unmatchable.

The marination range for tenderloin is between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Don’t soak it in marinade for more than 2 hours. Over-marination will destroy the tenderness of this delicious cut.

The New York Strip

Get ready for flavor explosion with this rectangular short loin cut. Featuring a delectable strip of fat, this cut offers a perfect balance of fat and meat. Soak it for 30 to 1 hour in steak marinade. Avoid leaving it for over 2 hours, as it will ruin the steak. Next, check out our guide on how to grill New York strip steak so it tastes amazing.


Indulge in this special cut. It combines the top loin and a small New York steak. This unique cut is located at the back of the beef loin. For best results, marinate meat for 30 minutes to 1 hour. But be warned, going beyond 2 hours will toughen it up.


This cut is known for its taste and unique marbling. It comes from the center of the rib section. Its high-fat content and rich flavor have made it a favorite among many. Marinate ribeye for a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour. The steak will become tough and chewy if left for more than 2 hours.

Flank Steak

This cut is located at the lower abdominal area of cows, with a long shape. It has a lot of connective tissues and less fat. The presence of connective tissues makes this cut tough. It requires more time to marinate. Soak it for about 4 to 6 hours to make it tender. You can leave it in the marinade for up to 24 hours, but not more than that.

Skirt Steak

Discover the Mexican-origin fajita steak with its perfect thickness and marbling. While it’s not as tender as other cuts, it’s an ideal choice to use for making delicious fajitas. To get the best results, leave the marinated steak for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours. But be sure not to exceed 24 hours, or it could turn rubbery.

Chicken Steak

Transform your dry chicken breasts into a flavor-packed delight! Marination not only adds moisture but also enhances the taste. You can marinate for 2 hours to 2 days. Soaking it for 24 hours in the marinade is the best way to achieve the juiciest chicken imaginable.

Fish Steak

Get ready for a taste sensation with fish steak. With such delicate flesh, marination is key. Marinate it for 1-2 hours to achieve the perfect texture. While it’s tempting to let it soak longer, doing so can turn your steak into a mushy mess. Plus, bacterial growth is risky if you let it marinate for more than 24 hours. So go ahead and enjoy your fish steak.

Lamb Steak

Lamb steak is made from the loin of a sheep. It is known for its unique flavor and tender texture. This cut also requires careful marination. Marinate it for 2 to 4 hours. You can soak lamb steal for up to 24 hours.

Can You Freeze a Steak in Marinade?

Yes, you can freeze steak in marinade. Freezing is the best way to preserve the delicious flavor of the steak and marinade. Use an airtight container when freezing your steak in marinade. You should also leave some space in the container for expansion.

What Happens If You Leave Steak Marinating Too Long?

Don’t ruin your steak by marinating it for too long. Over-marination leads to a mushy texture and a less enjoyable taste. Moreover, leaving it for too long can invite bacteria to the party. Save your taste buds and health by sticking to the steak marinade recipe and recommended marination time. It’s a small step for a big payoff.

Tips to Marinate a Steak

The following tips can help you marinate a steak for the perfect flavor and texture:

  • Want tender and delicious steak every time? Start with fresh marinade ingredients.
  • When marinating, make sure to use an airtight container.
  • Monitor the steak to prevent over-marination.
  • Keeping the steak refrigerated during the process. It will ensure max flavor and quality.
  • Adding herbs and spices will also give it that extra edge.
  • Don’t add too much sugar or acid. Excess of these ingredients can lead to an unwanted mushy texture.


Want to achieve that juicy and flavorful steak? The secret is marination. However, the time and ingredients used must be perfect, as it can either make or break the outcome of your steak. Beware of over-marinating, as it can make your steak mushy and gross. Get ready to cook steak like a pro with these essential marinating tips. Simply follow them, and you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the ideal steak.


How long can you let the steak marinate in the fridge?

You can let the steak marinate in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Is it OK to marinate a steak overnight?

Yes, it is safe to marinate a steak overnight. However, you should monitor the steak for any signs of over-marination, such as a mushy and overly tender texture.

Is 30 minutes long enough to marinate steak?

Different steaks required different marination times. However, 30 minutes is usually long enough for thin cuts of steak. If you’re using a thicker cut, you may need to marinate it for 4 to 6 hours.

Can you eat steak after 7 days in fridge?

No, don’t eat steak after 7 days. Consuming the steak within five days is best for safe and optimal consumption. After 7 days, the steak will become unsafe to eat.

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