This is my favorite garlic marinade and I am so psyched to share it with you today so you can add tons of yummy garlicky flavor to your grilled poultry, meat, seafood or tofu all summer long. You can also use this marinade recipe to marinate meat that you cook inside during colder months. You’ll love the simplicity of the method–no chopping required and the clean-up is so easy!

garlic marinated grilled shrimp kebabs, marinated tofu, garlic marinated chicken seen overhead on a gray table with a jar of garlic marinade

Why We Love This Recipe For Garlic Marinade

Marinating is such a great way to add tons of flavor to grilled meat and even really lean cuts like chicken breast, pork tenderloin or even tofu. Whatever you add to this marinade– it will come out packing a garlic flavor punch! It’s one of my favorite marinades.

This technique is maybe not so unfamiliar if you’ve been around here for a while. This garlic herb grilled chicken is pretty similar. And so is the technique for the chicken on this Fajita Salad. But this recipe is like the master recipe for all garlic marinade because it works for all proteins. It is an equal opportunity marinade.

Recipe Highlights

  • Good news–you can cook the meat inside too. It’s not just for grilling. Try it with a pork loin roast!
  • Make a big batch of the marinade ahead. It’s such an easy way to add flavor to lot’s of proteins throughout the week.
  • It requires very minimal ingredients.
  • It only takes 5 minutes to make! Yet another reason why it’s the best garlic marinade ever.

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

A jar of garlic marinade from the side
  • Garlic: You’ll only need 3 whole garlic cloves for this recipe. For the best results (in terms of garlic flavor) and most nutritious results, use fresh garlic instead of jarred garlic. Jarred garlic contains Phosphoric Acid which is a phosphate, and according to the Center For Science in the Public Interest, we should “cut back” phosphates in our diets. Also, just in case–stay away from garlic powder here.
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: If you need to use another type of oil, use avocado oil.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Check out my guide to vinegar to see what to use if you don’t have red wine vinegar.
  • Seasoning: Kosher salt (or sea salt), freshly ground black pepper, and Italian seasoning, Greek seasoning or herbs de Provence

Step-by-Step Instructions To Make This Garlic Herb Marinade 

Step 1: Smash garlic & make marinate

Press the garlic cloves with the side of a chef’s knife to crush slightly. Remove the papery skin and transfer the garlic to a large re-sealable bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible, then seal it closed and lay it on a work surface. Smash the garlic with the flat side of a meat mallet until completely pulverized (alternatively, use a rolling pin or the smooth bottom of a skillet). Open the bag and add oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper. Then just sort of mix that altogether a bit by shaking the bag around.

This marinade is very potent stuff, so it goes a long way. One batch will marinate up to 1 1/2 pounds of meat. Add in chicken thighs, pork chops, tofu or desired protein, and seal bag shut.

Step 2: Marinate meat, seafood or tofu

Set the bag aside to let your choice of protein marinate. For poultry and meat, marinate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. For seafood, marinate for 10 to 30 minutes. Drain and discard the marinade. For tofu, marinate 30 minutes to 8 hours (here it is okay to use the marinade to brush over tofu while cooking). Then proceed to cook the protein over medium-high on a gas grill or in a grill pan. Alternatively, bake or saute if desired. Cook until desired degree of doneness and juicy perfection.

FAQs and Expert Tips

Serving suggestions for protein marinated with this garlic marinade:

Once you marinate a grillable with this recipe, you’ll need a few side dishes too. May I suggest this Panzanella Salad or my Italian Pasta Salad to go with it?

Great for meal prep!

This garlic marinade is great for meal prep. Cook up a couple of chicken breasts with the marinade and store in the fridge for quick lunches during the week.

Storing instructions:

If you want to make a big batch of the garlic herb marinade (scale it by 2-3x) or have excess marinade, store it in a sealable container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If freezing, make sure to leave 1-inch at the top. Freeze for 2 to 3 months. Dethaw at room temperature.

Variations to try:

Lemon and garlic go really well together, so if you wanted a little lemon flavor you could add lemon juice and lemon zest to the marinade instead of vinegar. You could also swap out the dried herbs for fresh herbs, or add soy sauce, green onions and sesame oil for an Asian twist.

A jar of garlic marinade from the side

More Sauces and Marinades

At Healthy Seasonal Recipes, we specialize in cooking with fresh veggies and creating weeknight meals. Sign up HERE to get more produce-forward dinner ideas for FREE! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought! Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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A platter of garlic marinated pork and chicken on a woven placemat

Simple Garlic Marinade Recipe


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5 from 10 reviews

Description

My Favorite Garlic Marinade | Toss any protein you like into this simple marinade and prepare to be wowed! No chopping, no mess- try this technique (all made in a bag) and you’ll never need another marinade recipe again! It works with tofu, shrimp, fish, beef chicken and pork!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tespoons Italian seasoning, Greek seasoning or herbs de Provence
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Press garlic cloves with the side of a chef’s knife to crush slightly. Remove papery skin and transfer to a large re-sealable bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible, seal closed and lay on work surface. Smash garlic with the smooth side of a meat mallet until completely pulverized. Open bag, add oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper. Agitate to combine. Then add in poultry, meat, seafood or tofu. Seal bag shut.
  2. For poultry and meat marinate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. For seafood, marinate 10 to 30 minutes. Drain and discard marinade. For tofu: marinate 30 minutes to 8 hours (and it is okay to use the marinade to brush over tofu while cooking.)

Notes

Cooking Tips:

  • For the best garlic flavor and most nutritious results, use fresh garlic instead of jarred garlic. Jarred garlic contains Phosphoric Acid which is a phosphate, and according to the Center For Science in the Public Interest, we should “cut back” phosphates in our diets.
  • If you do not have a meat mallet, you can use the flat bottom of a heavy skillet or a rolling pin to smash the garlic.

Total Fat: 5 g

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: sauces and marinades
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6 batch
  • Calories: 42
  • Sodium: 146
  • Fat: 5
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Protein: 0