Soy Garlic Chicken Marinade that works equally well for beef, pork, and fish. This easy marinade recipe results in moist, flavorful meat every time for a winning meal.
I’ve shared a number of marinade recipes on this site, including my Best Steak Marinade, The Best Tri Tip Marinade, The Best Salmon Marinade, Basil Marinade for Chicken, and The Best Flank Steak Marinade.
While there are infinite ways we can prepare a marinade, I’ve found including umami, sweet, and tangy flavors together typically result in a surefire win. This combination of flavors ensures your taste buds are getting a full spectrum of flavor.
This is where soy and garlic flavors come to thrive.
Combining these two all-stars with something sweet and something tangy lands us on a winning marinade that can be applied to any cut of meat.
This simple soy garlic marinade recipe makes enough marinade for 3 to 4.5 pounds of meat or chicken. If you don’t need all of the marinade, you can use leftover marinade on in other healthy recipes in the future or use it as a dipping sauce.
In this sense, you can marinade tri tip, skirt steak, a large fish filet, pork tenderloin, and more using the same exact marinade you see here.
Let’s discuss the main ingredients needed to make this delicious marinade.
Ingredients for Soy Garlic Marinade:
Avocado Oil: Oil helps all of the ingredients blend together and stay together so that you end up with an emulsified marinade.
It also adds richness (flavor) to the marinade and helps protect whatever protein you’re cooking from burning during the baking, grilling, or searing process.
This ensures the protein stays nice and moist and has plenty of flavor.
I like using avocado oil because it has a high smoke point, making it ideal for cooking at high temperatures.
You can also use your favorite cooking oil like vegetable oil or canola oil here. I don’t recommend using olive oil if you’re planning on cooking the chicken (or beef, pork, fish, etc.) at a high heat because it has a fairly low smoke point.
Soy sauce brings a decent sodium content with it, so I typically don’t add any extra salt to the marinade. Based on your salt preference, you can absolutely add some sea salt or kosher salt.
For a soy-free version, use coconut aminos and omit the pure maple syrup because coconut aminos are already naturally sweet.
Rice Vinegar: Vinegar adds some tanginess to the marinade with rounds out the flavors so that we get a full palate experience.
While other vinegars will work as a replacement for rice vinegar and you can also use lemon juice or lime juice, I find rice vinegar produces the best flavor. Balsamic vinegar is the next best replacement.
Pure Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar: To add sweetness to the marinade, we add pure maple syrup or brown sugar.
Fresh Garlic: Cloves of fresh garlic get blended in with the marinade ingredients to bump up the flavor and boldness. You can scale the garlic clove amount up or down based on your personal preference.
Dried Paprika, Dried Oregano, Black Pepper: The seasonings here. Sweet paprika, oregano and black pepper give a little something extra to the marinade. You can replace them with Italian seasoning or skip the dried herbs altogether.
- If you enjoy the flavor of sesame oil and you have it on hand, feel free to replace one tablespoon of avocado oil with one tablespoon of sesame oil.
- Use honey instead of pure maple syrup for honey soy marinade.
- Use one tablespoon of garlic powder instead of fresh garlic cloves.
- For a spicy version of this marinade, add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes or hot sauce.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard if you love a little mustard chicken action.
Now that we’ve covered the simple ingredients list, let’s make this soy garlic chicken marinade.
How to Make Soy Garlic Chicken Marinade:
Note: if you don’t own a small blender, you can finely mince the garlic and stir everything well in a bowl.
Use the marinade immediately or store it in an airtight container or jar until you’re ready to use it. This versatile marinade can be kept for a couple weeks.
Transfer your meat of choice to a large zip lock bag or sealable container and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and swish everything around until the meat is covered with marinade.
I love doing both chicken tenders and bone-in thighs.
Marinate any raw meat including chicken, beef, or pork for at least 1-2 hours (up to 24 hours) for the best results, and fish for a minimum of 15 minutes.
When you’re ready to cook, fire up the outdoor grill, oven, or air fryer and use your cooking method of choice to prepare the meat.
Garnish the meat with chopped green onions for a pop of color and flavor if you’d like.
I love using this marinade to marinate chicken (boneless thighs, bone-in thighs, chicken tenders, and chicken breasts alike) for baked chicken. The cooking time and temperature varies depending on the cut of meat.
Baking Instructions for Chicken:
Transfer the marinated raw chicken to a baking sheet or large casserole dish and preheat the oven.
For boneless chicken tenders, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tenders reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
For thick boneless skinless chicken breasts, bake at 350 for 25 to 35 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
For bone-in chicken thighs, I bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the thighs reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, this is higher than the minimum cooking temperature of 165 degrees F, but I find thighs have the best flavor and texture when they are cooked above 165.
For boneless chicken thighs, bake at 425 for 20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175 to 180.
Use an instant-read thermometer to verify the internal temperature of whatever kinds of meat you marinate to ensure you’re getting your desired level of doneness.
Looking to use this garlic soy marinade on different forms of proteins? Here are some cooking instructions for various types of meat.
How to Use Soy Garlic Marinade:
- Marinated Skirt Steak
- Perfect Grilled Steak
- Air Fryer Steak
- Grilled Salmon
- The Best Grilled Chicken Thighs
Once you have finished cooking your protein of choice, allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving. For beef, transfer the meat to a cutting board to let it rest before slicing.
Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!
Marinate everything, and go!
Garlic Soy Chicken Marinade
- Add all of the marinade ingredients to a small blender such as a Magic Bullet or Nutri Bullet and blend until everything is completely combined and the garlic is all blended up. Use the marinade immediately or store it in an airtight container or jar until you’re ready to use it. This versatile marinade can be kept for a couple weeks.
- Transfer your meat of choice to a large zip lock bag or sealable container and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and swish everything around until the meat is covered with marinade.
- Marinate any raw meat including chicken, beef, or pork for at least 1-2 hours (up to 24 hours) for the best results, and fish for a minimum of 15 minutes.
- When you’re ready to cook, fire up the outdoor grill, oven, or air fryer and use your cooking method of choice to prepare the meat. Baking instructions for various cuts of chicken below.
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