7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for grilling season

get ready to achieve major flavor with little effort on your grill this summer! 7 delicious grilling marinade recipes to keep in your back pocket as you gear up for grilling season, including my family’s teriyaki sauce recipe, a greek-inspired yogurt marinade, moroccan chermoula, middle eastern shawarma, our house marinade, & more! if you’re planning on grilling at all this summer, be sure bookmark this blog post or pin it for later!7 delicious grilling marinade recipes to keep in your back pocket as you gear up for grilling season, including my family’s teriyaki sauce recipe, a greek-inspired yogurt marinade, moroccan chermoula, middle eastern shawarma, our house marinade, & more! #playswellwithbutter #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #steakmarinade #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade #vegetablemarinade

pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!

grilling season is here ??? grilling season is here ??? grilling season is here ???!!!

i’m sliiightly excited, in case you couldn’t tell ?. here in minnesota, firing up the grill for the first time of the season marks the beginning of summer. & coming from a place where we’re either freezing or buried in snow (or both?!) for 6-7 months out of the year, summer is the time of year to absolutely LIVE for.

here on plays well with butter, the next couple of months will be all about grilling with pwwb let’s grill, girls!, a series that will help you find the confidence to take over your grill this summer.

pwwb let’s grill, girls! will walk you through some grilling basics (like how to light your grill…without burning your eyebrows off!) & will equip you with an arsenal of foolproof grilling recipes you can come back to all summer long. i couldn’t be more excited! {learn more about pwwb let’s grill, girls! HERE!}

& of course, an arsenal of foolproof grilling recipes would not be complete without an arsenal of foolproof & flavor-packed grilling marinades. so that’s exactly what we’re talking about today!

7 go-to grilling marinades for grilling season!

if our grill is at the heart of our summer (which it totally is here at the pwwb house!), then a good collection of go-to grilling marinades is at the heart of all of our summer cooking.

whether you’re grilling up chicken, steaks, pork chops, kebabs, or even a big batch of grilled veggies, marinating your meats & veggies before they hit the grill is such an easy way to make sure all your summer meals are filled with flavor, from the inside out.

i’m so excited to share 7 of my go-tos when it comes to whipping up an easy & flavor-filled grilling marinade. i like to say they’re “not your mama’s marinades” since every single one is easy to throw together with things you probably already have in your pantry, but each has a special little twist that gives it a major “wow” factor. i’m pretty sure you’ll keep you coming back to this post again & again & again this summer!

included in the grilling marinade recipe lineup are…

(click to jump to specific recipes!)

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go-to grilling marinade #1: the pwwb all-purpose grilling marinadeEqual parts zesty, sweet & spicy, this all-purpose grilling marinade hits on all of the the right notes. Brown sugar lends the perfect amount of sweetness to help create an addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling, & pantry spices like chili powder & smoked paprika add just the right amount of kick. #playswellwithbutter #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #steakmarinade #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade #vegetablemarinade

equal parts zesty, sweet & spicy, this all-purpose grilling marinade hits on all of the right notes. brown sugar lends the perfect amount of sweetness to help create an addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling, & pantry spices like chili powder & smoked paprika add just the right amount of kick.

we’re completely obsessed…& i’m pretty sure that you will be too!  

why we love it: there’s a reason why this is our pwwb house marinade! made with pantry ingredients you likely keep on hand at all times, this all-purpose grilling marinade is easy to whip up on a complete whim (without any extra trips to the grocery store!). plus, you can use it on pretty much anything & it’ll be completely delicious. Equal parts zesty, sweet & spicy, this all-purpose grilling marinade hits on all of the the right notes. Brown sugar lends the perfect amount of sweetness to help create an addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling, & pantry spices like chili powder & smoked paprika add just the right amount of kick. #playswellwithbutter #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #steakmarinade #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade #vegetablemarinade

how to use it: this all-purpose grilling marinade goes well with pretty much everything, hence its name! a few of our favorite ways to use it include:

  • grilled chicken
  • grilled steaks
  • grilled pork chops
  • grilled kebabs
  • grilled veggies (bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, & sweet potatoes…mmm!)

Equal parts zesty, sweet & spicy, this all-purpose grill marinade hits on all of the the right notes. Brown sugar lends the perfect amount of sweetness to help create an addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling, & pantry spices like chili powder & smoked paprika add just the right amount of kick. #playswellwithbutter #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #steakmarinade #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade #vegetablemarinade

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ALL-PURPOSE GRILLING MARINADE RECIPE!!!

pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!

go-to grilling marinade #2: greek-ish grilling marinadeA Greek-inspired grilling marinade perfect for whenever you’re grilling up a recipe or meal with a little bit of Mediterranean flare. This Greek-ish grilling marinade has a Greek yogurt base, which keeps whatever you’re grilling completely tender & juicy, & tons of garlic, lemon & oregano to add tons of Mediterranean flavor to every single bite. Perfect for grilled chicken, grilled lamb, or grilled veggies! #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #greekmarinade #greekchickenmarinade #grillingrecipes

i’ve never traveled to greece, but i did spend a good portion of my college days travelling to the various greek cafes around campus for gyros, souvlaki & greek fries between the hours of 2-3 am. #expert ?

so while i can’t speak to its authenticity (hence: greek-ISH), this marinade IS filled with the flavors i think of when i think of my go-to greek cafe meals. it’s made with greek yogurt, olive oil & red wine vinegar, & it packs a mean punch of lemony, garlicky, oregano-y flavor. (& honestly…what more could you want than that?!)

why we love it: similar to buttermilk, the greek yogurt in this greek-ish grilling marinade has proteins that act as a natural tenderizer, helping keep whatever meat you’re marinating super tender, without drying it out at all. plus, the yogurt in this greek-ish grilling marinade turns into the most insane crust when grilled. it’s crusty-charred perfection that’ll have you 100% hooked.A Greek-inspired grilling marinade perfect for whenever you’re grilling up a recipe or meal with a little bit of Mediterranean flare. This Greek-ish grilling marinade has a Greek yogurt base, which keeps whatever you’re grilling completely tender & juicy, & tons of garlic, lemon & oregano to add tons of Mediterranean flavor to every single bite. Perfect for grilled chicken, grilled lamb, or grilled veggies! #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #greekmarinade #greekchickenmarinade #grillingrecipes

how to use it: turn to this greek-ish grilling marinade whenever you’re grilling up a recipe or meal with a little bit of mediterranean flare. a few of our favorite ways to use it include:

  • grilled chicken
  • grilled pork
  • grilled lamb
  • grilled kebabs

A Greek-inspired grilling marinade perfect for whenever you’re grilling up a recipe or meal with a little bit of Mediterranean flare. This Greek-ish grilling marinade has a Greek yogurt base, which keeps whatever you’re grilling completely tender & juicy, & tons of garlic, lemon & oregano to add tons of Mediterranean flavor to every single bite. Perfect for grilled chicken, grilled lamb, or grilled veggies! #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #greekmarinade #greekchickenmarinade #grillingrecipes

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL GREEK-ISH GRILLING MARINADE RECIPE!!!

pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!

go-to grilling marinade #3: mom’s teriyaki sauceMy mom’s teriyaki recipe is the perfectly balanced teriyaki sauce, with just the right amount of umami from soy sauce, ginger, & garlic, & a beautiful sweetness from brown sugar, which helps create an addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling. The perfect teriyaki sauce recipe to make teriyaki chicken, teriyaki beef, or teriyaki burgers! #playswellwithbutter #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #teriyaki #teriyakisauce #teriyakimarinade #teriyakichicken #teriyakibeef

my mom’s teriyaki sauce is one of my most treasured family recipes. i’m so excited to share it with you right in time for grilling season!

mom’s recipe is the perfectly balanced teriyaki sauce, with just the right amount of umami from soy sauce, ginger, & garlic, & beautiful sweetness from brown sugar, which helps create that addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling. a staple marinade for grilling season, for sure!

why we love it: out of all the recipes i’ll be sharing throughout the entire pwwb let’s grill, girls! series, my mom’s teriyaki sauce is the one that’s by far nearest & dearest to my heart. every summer my family headed to lake superior for our annual family trip: sailing the apostle islands.

since the boat we chartered had a teeny tiny kitchen, my mom always prepped a few amazing meals we could make easily throughout the week on the sailboat’s grill. her teriyaki was always the highlight of our trip. in fact, this teriyaki sauce recipe is likely the very recipe that ignited my love affair for all things grilled.My mom’s teriyaki recipe is the perfectly balanced teriyaki sauce, with just the right amount of umami from soy sauce, ginger, & garlic, & a beautiful sweetness from brown sugar, which helps create an addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling. The perfect teriyaki sauce recipe to make teriyaki chicken, teriyaki beef, or teriyaki burgers! #playswellwithbutter #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #teriyaki #teriyakisauce #teriyakimarinade #teriyakichicken #teriyakibeef

how to use it: we keep things pretty traditional when we’re grilling with mom’s teriyaki sauce, just because you really can’t beat a perfectly salty-sweet bite of teriyaki chicken or beef. a few of our go-tos when it comes to teriyaki include:

  • grilled chicken
  • grilled steaks
  • grilled pork chops
  • grilled kebabs
  • brushed over grilled teriyaki burgers!!!

My mom’s teriyaki recipe is the perfectly balanced teriyaki sauce, with just the right amount of umami from soy sauce, ginger, & garlic, & a beautiful sweetness from brown sugar, which helps create an addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling. The perfect teriyaki sauce recipe to make teriyaki chicken, teriyaki beef, or teriyaki burgers! #playswellwithbutter #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #teriyaki #teriyakisauce #teriyakimarinade #teriyakichicken #teriyakibeef

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL TERIYAKI SAUCE RECIPE!!!

pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!

go-to grilling marinade #4: shawarma marinadean easy shawarma marinade recipe, filled with an easy homemade shawarma seasoning (cumin, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, turmeric!). the warmth in the middle eastern spices is offset by a little bit of lemon & honey to create absolutely addictive flavor. Use it to make easy grilled shawarma chicken or a hummus bowl! #playswellwithbutter #shawarma #shawarmamarinade #shawarmarecipe #shawarmaseasoning #shawarmachicken #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade

oh, hello, lover!!! ???

this easy shawarma marinade recipe is filled with an easy homemade shawarma seasoning (cumin, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, turmeric!). the warmth in the middle eastern spices is offset by a little bit of lemon & honey. so simple. so freakin’ good. 

in fact! grilled chicken shawarma is the star ingredient of one of the most popular recipes here on pwwb, grilled chicken shawarma hummus bowls. you guys freak out over this recipe, & i really don’t blame you! this shawarma marinade so easy to throw together, & so filled with addictive flavor.

why we love it: every time i make shawarma, i think to myself “??? omg, why don’t i make this more often?!” it is simple to make, especially if your spice rack is well-stocked!

as far as homemade shawarma seasoning goes, you probably have everything you need for it in your spice rack already (cumin, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, & turmeric!). once you mix up the spice blend, you hardly need any other ingredients – some lemon, olive oil & honey…that’s it!

the brightness of the lemon juice balances out the warmth in the shawarma spices, & the honey helps create that addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling.

& the best part? you can use this easy shawarma marinade on pretty much everything! (as chris would say, it would make a shoe taste good!!!)

an easy shawarma marinade recipe, filled with an easy homemade shawarma seasoning (cumin, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, turmeric!). the warmth in the middle eastern spices is offset by a little bit of lemon & honey to create absolutely addictive flavor. Use it to make easy grilled shawarma chicken or a hummus bowl! #playswellwithbutter #shawarma #shawarmamarinade #shawarmarecipe #shawarmaseasoning #shawarmachicken #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade

how to use it: you can shawarma pretty much anything (yes, verb!), & that’s one of the reasons i love this shawarma marinade most! some of my favorite things to shawarma include…

  • #1, of course, is grilled shawarma chicken
  • grilled lamb shawarma
  • grilled beef shawarma
  • grilled shawarma kebabs
  • grilled veggies (onions, bell peppers, & sweet potatoes…omg!)
  • grilled chickpeas…?

an easy shawarma marinade recipe, filled with an easy homemade shawarma seasoning (cumin, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, turmeric!). the warmth in the middle eastern spices is offset by a little bit of lemon & honey to create absolutely addictive flavor. Use it to make easy grilled shawarma chicken or a hummus bowl! #playswellwithbutter #shawarma #shawarmamarinade #shawarmarecipe #shawarmaseasoning #shawarmachicken #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SHAWARMA MARINADE RECIPE!!!

pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!

go-to grilling marinade #5: chermoula sauceSimilar to chimichurri, chermoula is packed with garlic & punchy fresh herbs (like cilantro, parsley, mint), but it also has a hint of warmth from spices common in North African & Middle Eastern cooking (cumin & coriander ftw!). It’s traditionally served over grilled fish...but I’m pretty sure once you have it you’ll want to put it on everythaaang. #playswellwithbutter #chermoula #chermoulasauce #morrocanfood #morrocanrecipes #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade

don’t even say it! i know exactly what you’re thinking!

“wtf is chermoula?!?!”

right?!

i mean, i don’t blame you at all – it’s certainly the thought that went through my mind the first time i heard of it.

the easiest way to describe it? chermoula is basically moroccan chimichurri.

similar to chimichurri, chermoula (pronounced “sher-moolah”) is packed with garlic & punchy fresh herbs (hello cilantro, parsley, mint), but it also has a hint of warmth from spices common in north african & middle eastern cooking (cumin & coriander ftw!). it’s traditionally served over grilled fish, but i’m pretty sure once you have it you’ll want to put it on everythaaang.

why we love it: i fell in love with chermoula sauce when i was working as a server at a lake resort in college. chef kept it on our menu all summer long & it wasn’t long before i feel head over heels for chermoula. it adds a suckerpunch of bright & punchy freshness to whatever you put it on. plus, since it pretty much goes with anything, it’s another great all-purpose sauce to keep in your arsenal!Similar to chimichurri, chermoula is packed with garlic & punchy fresh herbs (like cilantro, parsley, mint), but it also has a hint of warmth from spices common in North African & Middle Eastern cooking (cumin & coriander ftw!). It’s traditionally served over grilled fish...but I’m pretty sure once you have it you’ll want to put it on everythaaang. #playswellwithbutter #chermoula #chermoulasauce #morrocanfood #morrocanrecipes #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade

how to use it: turn to chermoula whenever you want to add a good pop of brightness & freshness to whatever you’re grilling. i’d challenge you to give it a try whenever you’re tempted to make pesto or chimichurri (for the zillionth time…). a few ideas that’ll never do you dirty:

  • drizzled overtop grilled fish or shrimp (that’s how it’s traditionally used in north african cuisine!)
  • grilled chicken
  • grilled pork chops
  • tossed into your favorite summery salad
  • slathered on a grilled burger or turkey burger (???)

Similar to chimichurri, chermoula is packed with garlic & punchy fresh herbs (like cilantro, parsley, mint), but it also has a hint of warmth from spices common in North African & Middle Eastern cooking (cumin & coriander ftw!). It’s traditionally served over grilled fish...but I’m pretty sure once you have it you’ll want to put it on everythaaang. #playswellwithbutter #chermoula #chermoulasauce #morrocanfood #morrocanrecipes #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL CHERMOULA SAUCE MARINADE RECIPE!!!

pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!

go-to grilling marinade #6: al pastormade with pineapple, orange juice, & chiles, al pastor is perfection when you’re craving sweet heat with some mexican flare. if you want to make something with MAJOR flavor without the MAJOR time commitment, this al pastor marinade is about to become your newest bff! #playswellwithbutter #alpastor #alpastorrecipe #alpastormarinade #alpastortacos #grilledalpastsor #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade

if you’ve ever had pastor-style street tacos, i know you’re jumping out of your seat right now. (i mean, i definitely am!) carnitas & barbacoa seem to get all the love in the food blogging world (with good reason, for sure!), al pastor is where it’s at, especially when it comes to grilling.

made with pineapple, orange juice, & chiles, al pastor is perfection when you’re craving sweet heat with some mexican flare. the pineapple & orange are absolutely key in al pastor, as their citrus does triple duty by…

  1. tenderizing the meat, making this the perfect marinade to use on tougher cuts of meat that are a bit more budget-friendly – especially if you’re grilling for a crowd!
  2. adding that signature bright pop of flavor to every bite of al pastor, helping to cut through both the richness of the meat & the heat in the al pastor marinade.
  3. giving the al pastor marinade natural sugars key for creating the perfect caramelized crust, also known as the addictively crispy bits that will have you diving into your al pastor bite after bite after bite…

why we love it: if you LOVE mexican food & you want to make something with MAJOR flavor without the MAJOR time commitment, this al pastor marinade is about to become your newest bff.

while relatively simple to make, traditional al pastor marinade is made with whole chiles that i don’t always have on hand. my al pastor marinade delivers all the flavor you expect when you bite into a piece of perfectly carmelly & crusty al pastor, using pantry ingredients i always have on hand.

& i mean…does life get better than whipping together some majorly addictive tacos on a whim??made with pineapple, orange juice, & chiles, al pastor is perfection when you’re craving sweet heat with some mexican flare. if you want to make something with MAJOR flavor without the MAJOR time commitment, this al pastor marinade is about to become your newest bff! #playswellwithbutter #alpastor #alpastorrecipe #alpastormarinade #alpastortacos #grilledalpastsor #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade

how to use it: whip up some pastor whenever you’re craving easy & fresh mexican this summer!

  • grilled pork chops or pork butt steaks
  • grilled chicken
  • grilled pork al pastor tacos
  • grilled chicken al pastor taco salad
  • grilled al pastor burrito bowls…
  • …the options are endless!!!

made with pineapple, orange juice, & chiles, al pastor is perfection when you’re craving sweet heat with some mexican flare. if you want to make something with MAJOR flavor without the MAJOR time commitment, this al pastor marinade is about to become your newest bff! #playswellwithbutter #alpastor #alpastorrecipe #alpastormarinade #alpastortacos #grilledalpastsor #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL AL PASTOR MARINADE RECIPE!!!

pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!

go-to grilling marinade #7: brown sugar bourbon grilling marinadeTangy, sweet, & rich, this brown sugar bourbon marinade feels majorly fancy but couldn’t be easier to throw together! It is made with pantry ingredients (brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, & some dried spices!) & a heavy pour of bourbon - of course! #playswellwithbutter #brownsugarbourbon #bourbon #bourbonchicken #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade

tangy, sweet, & rich, this brown sugar bourbon marinade feels majorly fancy but couldn’t be easier to throw together! it is made with pantry ingredients (brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, & some dried spices!) & a heavy pour of bourbon, of course! the bourbon & balsamic play off each other nicely, while the brown sugar helps create an addictively caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling.

who knew you could be so steak house fancy with some simple pantry ingredients?!

why we love it: do i even need to explain our love for this one?! brown sugar + bourbon, people!!! ??? jk, jk, jk – but really! this brown sugar bourbon marinade will go over well with whiskey lovers & whiskey haters alike. (trust! i’m not much of a whiskey person, but chris totally is. we both freak out over this brown sugar bourbon marinade!)

the bourbon is balanced out by a good amount of balsamic vinegar, which tones down the harshness of the whiskey. instead, as the marinade does its magic on whatever meat or veggies you’re grilling, it creates a tangy, sweet, rich flavor that is to.die.for.Tangy, sweet, & rich, this brown sugar bourbon marinade feels majorly fancy but couldn’t be easier to throw together! It is made with pantry ingredients (brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, & some dried spices!) & a heavy pour of bourbon - of course! #playswellwithbutter #brownsugarbourbon #bourbon #bourbonchicken #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade

how to use it: this brown sugar bourbon grill marinade is another great all-purpose marinade! its flavors lend themselves well to…

  • grilled chicken
  • grilled steaks
  • grilled pork chops
  • grilled kebabs
  • grilled veggies (onions, mushrooms, & baby potatoes…omg!)

Tangy, sweet, & rich, this brown sugar bourbon marinade feels majorly fancy but couldn’t be easier to throw together! It is made with pantry ingredients (brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, & some dried spices!) & a heavy pour of bourbon - of course! #playswellwithbutter #brownsugarbourbon #bourbon #bourbonchicken #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL BROWN SUGAR BOURBON MARINADE RECIPE!!!

pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!

wrapping up!

are you starving yet?! i know i am. it was so fun to create these grill marinade recipes for you, & i cannot wait to see you put them to use on your grills all summer long! don’t forget to pin this post to come back to later! when you head out to your grill to give it all a try this summer, be sure to snap a selfie with your grill or take a quick pic of your grilled masterpieces & share them with me by tagging @playswellwithbutter. 

want more grilling tips, tricks, & foolproof recipes? subscribe to receive pwwb let’s grill, girls! updates sent straight to your inbox. i’ll send you all of the grilling recipes & reminders included in the series so you can save them in an easy & convenient spot for referencing all summer long. subscribe below!

still have grilling questions? comments? recipe requests? drop them in a comment below. i’m here to help you! xo

don’t forget to pin these 7 go-to grilling marinade recipes for later!!!7 delicious grilling marinade recipes to keep in your back pocket as you gear up for grilling season, including my family’s teriyaki sauce recipe, a greek-inspired yogurt marinade, moroccan chermoula, middle eastern shawarma, our house marinade, & more! #playswellwithbutter #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #grillingrecipes #steakmarinade #chickenmarinade #porkmarinade #vegetablemarinade

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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