Steak lovers, it’s time to elevate your grilling game beyond the usual salt, pepper, or that go-to grilling blend. What’s your favorite steak? Maybe it’s a juicy flank steak, a tender filet mignon, or even a robust sirloin? Whatever your preference, getting a gourmet makeover with a burst of flavors from the garden is easier than you think. That’s right, I’m talking about marinating steaks with fresh herbs.

Stop. Close your eyes. (Well, you’re reading this, so you can’t. Whoops!) Just imagine the aromatic blend of freshly chopped herbs. Rosemary. Thyme. Ooo, is that a hint of Italian seasoning you smell mingling with the rich, savory essence of olive oil and a zesty twist of lemon juice? (Your mouth is watering, isn’t it?) 

Grilled steak with garlic and rosemary recipe - marinate steak before grilling.

Marinating isn’t just a great way to infuse your steak with tons of flavor. It’s also a foolproof method to ensure a tender, juicy steak every time. Whether you’re working with tougher cuts like skirt steak or hanger steak, or splurging on the best Angus beef from your local grocery store, this fresh herb marinade is the secret to unlocking a whole new level of steak perfection.

Trust me on this. Let’s ditch the dry rub for just a day and try this easy marinade that’s sure to become your next favorite steak recipe.

fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, sage, parsley are great to marinate steaks

What Kind of Herbs Do I Use?

When it comes to steak, certain herbs seem to have a magic touch, enhancing the meat’s natural flavors and adding their unique zest. Here are my favorite herbs to pair with a good steak, whether you’re grilling up a sirloin tip, a New York strip, or even cheaper cuts of meat from your local grocery store:

    • Rosemary: Its robust, piney flavor is a match made in heaven for steak.
    • Basil: Adds a sweet, slightly peppery kick.
    • Parsley: Brings a fresh, clean taste to the mix.
    • Oregano: Its earthy, slightly bitter notes complement beef wonderfully.
    • Chives & Green Onion: These add a mild, oniony zing.
    • Fennel: Offers a hint of licorice, elevating the steak’s savory notes.
    • Tarragon: Introduces a subtle, bittersweet edge.
    • Thinly Sliced Shallots & Garlic Cloves: These are the secret MVPs, giving every bite a depth of flavor that’s simply irresistible.

Feel free to chop these herbs or let their beauty shine whole on the stem. The choice is yours! 

Completing the Flavor Profile

When it comes to creating that ‘wow’ factor in a dish, especially a stellar steak marinade, it’s all about striking a delicious balance among diverse taste sensations. It’s like being a flavor DJ, mixing tracks of savory, salty, spicy, sour, and sweet to get the crowd (in this case, your taste buds) going wild. Let’s break down this flavor party:

  • Savory: The backbone of our marinade. Think fresh herbs mingling with the robust, earthy tones of a good sirloin steak or a flavorful cut like flank steak or strip steak. It’s the base beat of our flavor mix.

  • Salty: Salt isn’t merely a seasoning. It’s a flavor enhancer! A sprinkle of salt wakes up all the other flavors and makes them shine brighter.

  • Spicy: Here’s where black pepper (or even a dash of chili powder for the daring) comes in, to add a spicy kick that cuts through and balances the richness of the meat.

  • Sour: The acid component, like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, isn’t just for tang. It tenderizes the meat, breaking down tough fibers, especially in tougher cuts like skirt steak or hanger steak. This ensures every bite is juicy and tender.

  • Sweet: A teaspoon of honey, molasses, or even brown sugar rounds out the marinade, adding depth and a hint of caramelized goodness. It’s like the secret melody that ties everything together.

Most great marinades, dressings, (or even that one marinade recipe you snipped out of that cooking magazine) follow this harmonious blend. It’s about combining these elements in the right proportions to create a marinade that’s not just a flavor coating, but an integral part of the steak’s identity.

How to Marinate Steaks with Fresh Herbs

  1. In a gallon sized bag, add in your herbs of choice.
  2. Add in your “acid” flavor profile, such as:
    – red wine vinegar
    – couple thin slices of lemon
  3. Add in the “sweet” flavor profile, such as:
    – honey
    – molasses
    – brown sugar
  4. Season the steaks with salt and pepper, add the steaks into the bag. Squeeze out all the air.
  5. Marinate in refrigerator for a couple of hours to overnight.

I leave all the herbs on the steaks when I’m grilling.

Grilled Garlic and Rosemary Ribeye Steak - after grilling

FAQs on Marinating Steaks with Fresh Herbs

Can I add Worcestershire sauce to the marinade? Absolutely! Worcestershire sauce can add a depth of umami flavor, making your steak even more flavorful. A tablespoon or two should do the trick.

Should the steak be at room temperature before grilling? Yes, for best results, let the marinated steak come to room temperature before grilling. This helps in cooking the steak evenly and achieving that perfect level of doneness.

What’s the best way to ensure my steak is tender? Besides using a good marinade, cooking your steak on medium-high heat and letting it rest on a cutting board covered loosely with foil for a few minutes after grilling will help retain its juices, making it tender and delicious.

How long should I marinate the steak for the best flavor? Ideally, marinate your steak for at least 2 hours, but for a really flavorful steak, marinating overnight in the refrigerator will infuse even more taste.

How can I tell if my steak is cooked properly? An instant-read thermometer is your best friend here. Aim for an internal temperature of around 165 degrees F. Always check the temperature at the thickest part of the steak.

Is it better to marinate steak in a plastic bag or a bowl? Both work well, but a plastic bag (like a freezer bag) is often preferred as it allows the marinade to cover more surface area of the meat. Plus, it’s great for saving space in the fridge.

What herbs pair well with steak? Fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley are excellent with steak. They add a fresh, aromatic quality that complements the rich flavor of the meat.

Can I reuse the marinade for something else? For food safety reasons, it’s not recommended to reuse marinade that’s been in contact with raw meat. However, you can set aside a portion of the marinade before adding the steak to use as a sauce or side dish.

What should I serve with marinated steak? Steak goes well with a variety of side dishes like grilled vegetables, a fresh salad, or even a simple herb butter to melt over the top of your cooked steak.

Is this marinade suitable for other types of meat? Absolutely! This herb-based marinade works great with other types of red meat and even poultry. Feel free to experiment with different cuts to find your personal favorite.

Marinate Steaks with Fresh Herbs Recipe

Use fresh herbs from your garden to marinate steaks for the grill.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 342 kcal


  • 1 bunch fresh herbs of your choice chopped or left on stem
  • 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon sliced
  • 1 teaspoon honey molasses or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 steaks of your choice
  • salt and pepper


  • In a gallon-sized ziplock bag, add the herbs, garlic cloves, lemon (or vinegar), honey and olive oil.
  • Season each steak with salt and pepper. Place steaks into the ziplock bag, massaging the herbs and oil into each steak. Remove as much air as possible from bag and seal.
  • Refrigerate to marinate for 2 hours up to overnight.
  • When ready to grill, you can leave the herbs on the steak, they'll provide additional flavor to the steak when cooking.
  • Grill steaks to your liking.


Calories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 23gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 60mgPotassium: 332mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 123IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 2mg
Keyword grilling, steak
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