Tuscan Marinade with Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary

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A bold & flavorful Tuscan marinade, inspired by my favorite flavors of Tuscany: lemon, garlic, & fresh rosemary. Made with 6 simple ingredients & in 10 minutes or less, this Tuscan-style lemon garlic marinade is the easiest way to add bright and punchy flavor to your favorite grilled foods.

Perfect for grilled Tuscan-style chicken, steak, pork, lamb, veggies, & more!

Featured In Grilling Series
Grilled Tuscan chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with lemon wedges, fresh rosemary, & crushed red pepper flake.

A Taste of Tuscany At Home with This Simple Marinade!

Ever since my days working as a server in a fine-dining Italian restaurant, I’ve been absolutely smitten with all things Italian.

Something that many people don’t realize about Italy is the fact that it’s a hyper-regional country. Culture and traditions drastically vary from region to region, and cuisine follows suit.

Today we’re talking about Tuscany, one of the more well-known regions in central Italy. Other than its wine and its pasta, of course, Tuscany is pretty famous for being Italy’s grill-loving and meat-obsessed region.

We’ve shared other Tuscan-inspired meals before – like our juicy and tender Grilled Tuscan Steak and our flavor-filled Tuscan-Style Grilled Spatchcock Chicken but today we’re talking all about the marinade behind those epic summer meals…our Tuscan Marinade!

Lemon, garlic, dried and fresh herbs infuse this marinade with bright and punchy flavors that can transport you to Tuscany any time you grill!

This Tuscan-inspired lemon, garlic and herb marinade embodies just about everything I love about Italian cooking.

It’s made with just 6 simple ingredients but delivers bright and punchy flavor that you can use on just about anything from Tuscan-style chicken, the BEST grilled steaks, juicy and flavorful grilled pork, or lemony, garlicky grilled veggies.

One easy marinade recipe, endless opportunities for Tuscan-style deliciousness!

Want more marinades for grilling season? We’ve got you covered! Check out PWWB’s 15 Go-To Grilling Marinades.

Key Ingredients

My absolute favorite thing about this Tuscan marinade recipe is the fact that it delivers a mega-punch of flavor despite having a pretty simple and straight-forward ingredients list.

Don’t you love when that happens?!

Olive oil, lemon wedges, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flake, oregano, garlic, & fresh rosemary arranged on a light blue surface.
This marinade represents everything I love about Italian cooking – it takes simple humble ingredients and turns it into flavors that are truly greater than the sum of its parts!

Here’s what you’ll need...

  • Lemon – Making use of both the zest and the freshly squeezed juice creates the intense lemony flavor we’re after here.
  • Garlic – LOTS of it, at that! You’ll need 6 whole cloves.
  • Herbs – Namely rosemary (fresh is best!) and oregano (dried works great!).
  • Crushed red pepper flake – Which is also easily omitted if you don’t care for a kick of heat…I love the peppery bite that it adds.
  • Olive oil – Since the ingredients list for this Italian herb marinade is so simple, you’ll want to be sure to use the good stuff here. You don’t need an extra-premium finishing oil, but the fruity-peppery flavor of a nice extra virgin olive oil makes a world of difference in the overall flavor of the marinade. This is my go-to EVOO.

How to Make This Tuscan Garlic and Herb Marinade

Building off the simplicity of its ingredients, this Tuscan-inspired lemon garlic marinade couldn’t be easier to throw together. It’s the simplest 10-minute operation.

Chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Tuscan marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface.
While this marinade works wonderfully as a tuscan chicken marinade, you can also use it to add lemony, garlicky flavor to seafood, veggies, pork, or steak!

To make this Tuscan lemon garlic marinade, simply add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl, whisk to combine, and add your proteins or veggies of choice. That’s it!

Suggested Marinating Time: Marinating time will vary based on the type of protein you’d like to use. Because of the amount of lemon juice used in the marinade, it’s important not to marinate for too long, as it will really negatively affect the texture of meat. (Mushy, mealy meat = no good.)

Having tested this recipe with a variety of different proteins and marinating times, here’s what we suggest:

  • Seafood – at least 20 minutes and no more than 1 hour.
  • Chicken and pork – at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours for maximum flavor.
  • Beef and lamb – at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
  • Veggies – at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Chicken thighs in a Ziploc bag, marinating in Tuscan marinade. The bag sits atop a light blue surface. "Tuscan Marinade" is penned in the bag's memo area.
Prep Tip! ⇢ Add all of the ingredients to a gallon-sized bag or a Mason jar and shake to combine. Both provide quick prep and minimal clean-up – so easy!

Meal Prep

Despite the suggested marinating periods for this Tuscan marinade, you can still prep the marinade itself well in advance. Prep the marinade and store it in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to start marinating, simply pour the marinade over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy peasy!

Serving Suggestions

The beauty of this marinade is its versatility; consider it your go-to all-purpose lemon garlic marinade.

You can use it on pretty much anything, and it’ll taste delicious no matter what.

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Boneless skinless chicken. Chicken breasts and thighs take to this lemony marinade really well. We love skewering them up into kebabs but you can, of course, grill ’em up whole.
  • Whole chicken. One of my favorite things in the entire world is a Grilled Tuscan-style Whole Chicken, with crispy-charred skin and juicy meat. The lemon, garlic and rosemary in the marinade are perfect for whole chicken!
  • Veggies! This lemony garlic and herb marinade works on pretty much every grilled veggie imaginable – grilled potatoes are my personal favorite, and grilled Tuscan cauliflower steaks make for the heartiest vegan-friendly grilled dinner!
  • Seafood. I suggest a sturdy white fish (like swordfish) or shellfish (such as shrimp or scallops).
  • Pork. This lemon and rosemary marinade works beautifully on individual pork chops or whole pork tenderloin.
  • Beef and Lamb. A lemon garlic marinade might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to red meat, but it’s a surprisingly delicious pair. Hellooo, garlicky rosemary lamb (grilled chops = love) and Grilled Tuscan Steak (ribeye, NY strip, flank steak are all fantastic!).
Grilled Tuscan chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with lemon wedges, fresh rosemary, & crushed red pepper flake.
My ideal plate? ⇢ Lemony Tuscan grilled chicken skewers served with a simple mixed greens salad and some grilled potatoes. Simple. Flavorful. Perfect.

I cannot wait for you to try this Tuscan Marinade! It’s lemony, garlicky, herbaceous goodness, and I’m 100% positive you’ll love it.

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo and tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations!

Print
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Grilled Tuscan chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with lemon wedges, fresh rosemary, & crushed red pepper flake.

Tuscan Marinade with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup marinade 1x
  • Category: Sauces & Condiments
  • Method: No-Cook, Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

A bold and flavorful Tuscan Marinade, inspired by my favorite flavors of Tuscany: lemon, garlic, and fresh rosemary. This simple homemade marinade calls for just 6 simple ingredients and is made in 10 minutes or less for an easy way to add TONS of flavor to your grilled favorites.

Use it for grilled Tuscan chicken, pork, steak, veggies, and more!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds meat or veggies of choice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, broken in half or roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (depending how spicy you like it)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper Olive oil, lemon wedges, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flake, oregano, garlic, and fresh rosemary arranged on a light blue surface.

Instructions

  1. Mix the Tuscan garlic and herb marinade: Add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, oregano, crushed red pepper flake, kosher salt and ground black pepper to a medium bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Tuscan marinade shown in a small ball jar, sitting atop a light blue surface with a lemon wedge in the foreground & fresh rosemary sprigs in the background.
  2. Marinate: Pour the Tuscan marinade over your meat or veggies of choice. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for the recommended marinating time (see Recipe Notes, below). Chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Tuscan marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface.
  3. Grill as desired. Enjoy!Grilled Tuscan chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with lemon wedges, fresh rosemary, & crushed red pepper flake.


Notes

  • Suggested marinade time: Marinating time will vary based on the type of protein you’d like to use. Because of the amount of lemon juice used in the marinade, it’s important not to marinate for too long, as it will really negatively affect the texture of meat. Having tested this Tuscan lemon garlic marinade on a variety of different proteins with a variety of different marinating times, here’s what we suggest:
    • Seafood – at least 20 minutes and no more than 1 hour.
    • Chicken and pork – at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours for maximum flavor.
    • Beef and lamb – at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
    • Veggies – at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: If you’d like to marinate something later in the week, I suggest making the marinade in advance, whenever you’re meal prepping for the week. Store it in a jar or an airtight container for up to 5 days – the flavors meld together even more as the marinade sits. At least 4 hours before you’re ready to hit the grill, simply pour the marinade over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy peasy!

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat

Grilled Tuscan chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with lemon wedges, fresh rosemary, & crushed red pepper flake.

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more unfussy recipes that pack a big punch of flavor!

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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Comments

  1. 9.3.23
    Pamela H said:

    This is an easy and very delicious recipe! I have regular pins and “Favourite” pins and this one has made it to the FAVS!! Thanks for sharing!

    • 9.5.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      We’re so glad to hear that, Pamela! Thank you so much for your kind comment!

  2. 6.20.23
    Chanra Sours said:

    I made this last night with thin sliced chicken breasts and chicken thighs. I also marinated a mixture of vegetables as well and grilled everything. It was one of the best marinades! The left overs are also amazing. I actually did not have 4 hours to marinade the chicken so I did it for 2 hours and it still came out super flavorful and juicy!! I am sure if I did it for the full 4+ hours, it would be even better!!






    • 6.21.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      So happy to hear you loved the marinade, Chanra!! It’s such a good one!! 🙂

  3. 11.30.21
    April said:

    Oh my goodness!! Made this tonight and it’s seriously one of the best marinades. So simple, yet so flavorful. Made with chicken breast and it was so tender. Definitely a keeper. Thank you for this awesome recipe!






    • 12.27.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      So glad you enjoyed, April! We love how simple it is & glad you agree!