This 3 ingredient steak marinade combines Worcestershire sauce, garlic and liquid smoke to create the BEST marinade ever! Perfect for any cut of steak.
What makes my famous air fryer steak so perfect? The steak marinade we use with it.
There is a misconception that marinades for steak need to have tons of seasonings and sauces in it, but that it is not the case. This 3 ingredient steak marinade recipe proves just that. It’s so simple but creates the most delicious steak and meat every single time.
What are the 3 basic components of marinating?
A basic marinade like this one has three basic components that are essential for a perfectly cooked piece of meat: an acid, an oil OR vegetable, and a flavoring agent. We use all three in this 3 ingredient marinade:
- Acid: Worcestershire sauce OR soy sauce.
- Vegetable OR oil: Minced garlic OR garlic olive oil.
- Flavor agent: Liquid smoke.
This marinade is salty, umami, and packs in all the flavor. It comes together in seconds and, unlike other marinades, this one sticks to the steak beautifully. It’s so versatile, we also use it with other protein.
Ready to marinate some steak now?
This is a simple yet elegant marinade: Use the best quality sauces and freshly mince your garlic. This will make all the difference in the flavor. Here is everything you’ll need:
- Worcestershire sauce. The magic ingredient that just works SO well with red meat. You can substitute this for soy sauce or tamari.
- Garlic OR garlic olive oil. Freshly minced or jarred garlic, NOT garlic powder.
- Liquid smoke. The secret ingredient that gives the marinade a lovely smokey and rich flavor, without needing any seasonings.
- Butter or oil. Not for the marinade, but to grill the steak.
How to make 3 ingredient steak marinade
Making the steak marinade is easy to make: the only thing to remember is to shake off the excess marinade before grilling the steaks. You can drizzle any extra marinade over the grilled steaks. Here is the basic idea of making the marinade, marinating and cooking the steaks:
- Whisk all the ingredients together until combined.
- Marinate: Pour the marinade over your steaks (or protein of choice), turning once so both sides are covered. Marinate the steaks for at least 30 minutes or up to two hours.
- Cook: Use tongs to pick up the steaks, allowing excess marinade to drip off. Place the steaks on a grill and cook.
- Rest and drizzle: Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before drizzling with the excess marinade and serving.
Worcestershire sauce VS soy sauce
The Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce is an important component for the marinade: they add the balance of richness and saltiness that sticks to the steak throughout the cooking process and after. Worcestershire sauce is our top choice, because it isn’t as umami as soy sauce is.
- Worcestershire sauce is a concentrated and liquid condiment that usually contains a mix of vinegar, molasses, salt, tamarind paste, and sometimes anchovies. We like to use it in recipes using ground beef, like meatloaf or a Shepherd’s pie, or drizzle it over a quiche or omelette.
- Soy sauce also works. Choose traditional Asian brands that have no added sugar or flavorings.
- Need Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce substitutes? Try using tamari or coconut aminos.
What types of steaks works with this marinade?
The beauty of this marinade is that it works well with ANY steak. However, the more tender cuts of steak retain the flavor the best, as they absorb an acidic marinade better. Here are our favorites:
- Beef tenderloin (filet mignon)
- Top sirloin
- Flank steak
How long should you marinate steak with a 3 ingredient marinade?
If you are short on time, you can marinate the steak for just 30 minutes. However, for the best flavor, marinate them for at least an hour.
For thinner and lower fat cuts of steak (like flank or skirt steak), you can marinate them for up to 12 hours.
Wondering what is the best way to store steak marinade? Here are best practices for marinade storage:
- Up to one week: Store in the refrigerator, covered. Give the marinade a whisk before adding it to your meat in case there has been some separation.
- 1 month or more: Place the marinade in a freezer friendly container and store it in the freezer for up to two months. Let it thaw completely before using it.
Other ways to use this marinade
This marinade isn’t just great for steak: it works well for chicken, seafood, and other meat too. Here are some of our favorite protein to use it with:
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no need to actually use oil in a marinade, especially if there is marbling throughout. It is the acidic element which retains the flavor, not the oil.
To guarantee juicy and tender steaks every single time, allow at least 30 minutes of marination time.
Swap out the liquid smoke for 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika.
3 Ingredient Steak Marinade
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Add all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until combined.
- Pour the marinade over 4 steaks (4-6 ounces each) and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Use tongs to remove steak and shake off excess marinade. Place on a hot grill or pan and cook until the desired steak preference.
- Let the cooked steaks rest for 10 minutes, before drizzling excess marinade over the top.