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Grilled all-purpose marinated chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with diced chives.

PWWB All-Purpose Grilling Marinade

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Cup 1x
  • Category: Sauces & Condiments, Marinade
  • Method: No-Cook, Grill
  • Cuisine: American


Equal parts zesty, sweet & spicy, this All-Purpose Marinade recipe hits all of the right notes! Pantry spices like chili powder & smoked paprika add just the right amount of kick to this homemade marinade, while brown sugar lends the perfect amount of sweetness, creating an absolutely crave-worthy caramelized crust on whatever you’re grilling. This easy grill marinade is an all-purpose solution for grilling more flavorful chicken, steak, pork, seafood, veggies, & more!


  • 2 pounds meat or veggies of choice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (see Recipe Notes, below)
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • optional: pinch cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

All-purpose marinade ingredients arranged on a light blue surface: olive oil, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, & optional cayenne pepper.


  1. Mix the all-purpose grill marinade: Add the olive oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, paprika, & a pinch of cayenne pepper, if using, to a bowl or jar. Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Whisk or shake to combine.All-purpose marinade shown in a small ball jar, sitting atop a light blue surface with two cloves of garlic resting on the surface in the foreground.
  2. Marinate: Pour the all-purpose marinade over your meat or veggies of choice. Marinate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
    Chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in All-Purpose marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface.
  3. Grill as desired. Enjoy!
    Grilled all-purpose marinated chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with diced chives.


  • Make it vegan: Use your favorite vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce (this is my go-to), or double up on soy sauce & omit Worcestershire sauce altogether.
  • Suggested marinade time: Marinating time will vary based on the type of protein you’d like to use. Having tested this All-Purpose Marinade recipe with a variety of different proteins & a variety of different marinating times, here’s what I suggest:
    • Seafood – At least 20 minutes & no more than 1 hour.
    • Chicken & pork – At least 6 hours & up to 3 days.
    • Beef & lamb – At least 12 hours & up to 3 days.
    • Veggies – At least 20 minutes or up to 5 days.
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: If you’d like to marinate something beyond the suggested marinade times above but would like to do some meal prep, I suggest prepping the marinade in advance. Store it in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days – the flavors meld together even more as the marinade sits. When you’re ready to start marinating (refer to the suggested marinating times above), simply give it the marinade a shake & pour it over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy!

Keywords: all-purpose grill marinade, all-purpose marinade, grilled chicken marinade, grilled pork chop marinade, steak marinade, summer, pantry ingredients, easy, weeknight dinner