Lemon garlic marinade is perfect for chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, and other meats! This blend of lemon, garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs makes a fresh and healthy marinade.
And if you’re wondering about the difference between marinate, marinade, and macerate in cooking, read on!
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience at no additional cost to you.
The Difference Between Marinate and Marinade?
Marinade, marinate, and macerate are three similar-sounding culinary terms. They are often confused with each other, but they have three different definitions.
So is it marinade or marinate? It’s both! Essentially, marinade is a noun, and marinate is a verb. You marinate the meat in a marinade.
The basic idea of a marinade is to tenderize a tough cut of meat, or just give it flavor.
Depending on what “country” you want to travel to, adding various herbs and spices to your marinade helps propel flavors up to the next level.
Cumin is found in both Mexican and Indian cuisines, add cinnamon and allspice for a Middle Eastern twist.
My favorite marinade is Greek-inspired; with lots of garlic, oregano or rosemary, lemon juice, and olive oil.
I use it on Greek chicken, lamb, beef, shrimp, or as a pork belly marinade.
My lemon garlic marinade recipe is my go-to when I’m doing a round of Whole30, as it’s compliant with the diet. The lemon garlic marinade is also gluten-free and low-carb, making it perfect for just about everyone!
How Long Should You Marinate Chicken and Other Meats?
The amount of time you marinate meat generally depends on what you’re marinating.
Shrimp or fish need the shortest marinating time; anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to soak up the juicy flavors.
Chicken can be marinated for several hours, and beef does best if marinated overnight.
The goal is to let the meat soak up the flavors in the marinade and become tender. Most recipes recommend marinating meat and poultry for 6 – 24 hours.
If you marinate food for too long, it can cause the texture to become mushy, and in extreme cases, the marinade and meat mixture can grow bacteria if it’s left marinating for days.
What Can I Use in a Marinade?
As long as you have something acidic, like wine, citrus juice, or vinegar, you can make a marinade out of just about anything.
There are many types of marinade. I use this lemon juicer for getting fresh lemon juice.
The acidity does a great job of enhancing flavors and it helps the meat soak up the food since it breaks down the food’s surface.
Can You Freeze Marinated Meat?
Freezing marinated meat is easy and you can do it! I often do meal prep and prepare a double batch of marinade.
I pour the lemon garlic marinade over my shrimp, chicken, beef, or pork and then freeze in zip lock bags. As the meat defrosts, it will continue to marinate.
The frozen marinated meat will stay good for up to nine months!
What Does Macerate Mean?
The term macerate is applied more to fruit, and the term infused gives a good idea of what macerating does.
You can macerate fruit in alcohol, sugar, and herbs (lavender, mint, etc) to infuse the fruit with flavor.
One of the best ideas is macerated cherries! You can throw them on top of ice cream for an elegant dinner party dessert.
Lemon Garlic Marinade Recipe (Whole 30 Compliant)
Whenever possible, I give measurements for the ingredients in my recipes, but since everyone’s tastes are different, this recipe does not have exact measurements.
Usually, I just add the ingredients until it “tastes right”. What’s tasty to my palate, might not be to yours. If my cheeks pucker, I add more olive oil.
I recommend buying some kosher salt too. It’s just better. I like Morton’s (it’s cheap!) and keep it in a little ramekin next to the stove.
- Olive oil 1/4 to 1/2 c. depending on how much meat you’re marinating
- Juice of a lemon
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic crushed (more if you’re not planning on kissing anyone),
- 1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped oregano thyme and rosemary, preferably fresh, but if you’re using fresh, remember with rosemary, a little goes a long way!)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Whisk it all together. Taste and adjust seasoning. It should be flavorful like salad dressing.
- Marinate chicken 20 minutes to several hours. Shrimp marinates for up to 1/2 hour. Beef, lamb and pork can be marinated overnight.
- Timesaving tip: pour marinade into a zip-lock bag with meat. Freeze. While meat defrosts overnight, it will also soak up the marinade and be ready to cook.
- Bake, broil or BBQ meat as desired.
Here are some tools I find indispensable in my kitchen! (Affiliate link)