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. Calling for 6 simple ingredients & made in 10 minutes or less, this Tuscan-style lemon garlic marinade is the easiest way to add TONS of flavor to your favorite grilled foods –Grilled Tuscan-style chicken, steak, pork, lamb, veggies, you name it...this garlic and herb marinade will be a new go-to for whatever you're grilling this summer!
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.

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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 & traditions drastically vary region to region, & cuisine follows suit.

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

This Tuscan-inspired lemon, garlic and herb marinade embodies just about everything I love about Italian cooking. It’s made with the simplest ingredients but delivers SO. MUCH. FLAVOR. You can use it on just about anything, & it’ll taste absolutely unreal.

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.

Tuscan Marinade – Recipe Highlights

This Tuscan marinade is…

  • BRIGHT & PUNCHY. Made with lemon zest & freshly squeezed lemon juice, this Tuscan marinade recipe tastes totally bright & happy, with a big ol’ punch of garlicky goodness.
  • SIMPLE. This recipe calls for just 6 total ingredients & it can be mixed up in 10 minutes or less. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
  • VERSATILE. The best part? You can use it on just about everything. Tuscan-style chicken. The BEST grilled steaks. Juicy & flavorful grilled pork. Lemony, garlicky grilled veggies.

One easy marinade recipe, endless opportunities for Tuscan-style deliciousness. ♡ Read on to learn more about this Tuscan marinade recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!

This Tuscan marinade is made with fresh, flavorful 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 & straight-forward ingredients list. (Don’t you love when that happens??)

Tuscan marinade ingredients arranged on a light blue surface: olive oil, lemon wedges, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flake, oregano, garlic, & fresh rosemary.
Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

You’ll need just 6 ingredients…

  • Lemon – Making use of both the zest & 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!) & 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 Tuscan 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 this garlic and herb marinade. This is my go-to EVOO.

How to make this lemony 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.
Note: full Recipe Directions are provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Here’s how you do it: Simply combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl & whisk to combine. If you’re prepping for later use, you can combine all of the ingredients in a small jar & shake to combine.

That’s it! Seriously easy, right?

With the Tuscan garlic and herb marinade mixed & ready to go, you can use it immediately or pop it in the fridge for later use. (More on that in a sec!)

How long to marinate:

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 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 & no more than 1 hour.
  • Chicken & pork – at least 4 hours & up to 6 hours for maximum flavor.
  • Beef & lamb – at least 12 hours & up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
  • Veggies – at least 20 minutes & up to 24 hours.
Side angle of chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Tuscan marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface.

Make-Ahead & Meal Prep:

Great news for meal preppers: despite the suggested marinating periods for this Tuscan marinade, you can still prep the marinade itself well in advance.

To make it ahead of time, simply prep the marinade & store it in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator. The marinade will keep for up to 5 days. When you’re ready to start marinating (based on the suggested marinating periods, above), simply pour the marinade over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy peasy!

& a little bonus for prepping in advance? The flavors of the Tuscan marinade meld together even more as the marinade sits.

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.

How to use this Tuscan lemon garlic marinade recipe:

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, & it’ll taste delicious no matter what.

A few of our favorite ways to put this Tuscan garlic & rosemary marinade to use:

  • Boneless skinless chicken. Chicken breasts & 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 whole chicken, with crispy-charred skin & juicy meat. The lemon, garlic & rosemary in the marinade are perfect for whole chicken!
  • Veggies! This lemony garlic and herb marinade works on pretty much every veggie imaginable – grilled potatoes are my personal favorite, & 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 & rosemary marinade works beautifully on individual pork chops or whole pork tenderloin.
  • Beef & 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) & Grilled Tuscan Steak (ribeye, NY strip, flank steak are all fantastic!).

What to serve with your grilled Tuscan-style goodies:

  • My #1 pick = grilled potatoes. This grilled fries recipe calls for many of the same ingredients you’ll already have on hand for the marinade!
  • Make a simple salad. Toss your favorite greens in an easy vinaigrette (this All-Purpose Vinaigrette is my go-to!) with some tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, or whatever fresh veggies you love most.
  • Or, make a slightly more special salad. You can never go wrong with a good Caprese salad (I like drizzling mine with pesto for extra umph!) or a satisfying Panzanella (I like to grill my bread for extra flavor).
  • OR! Whip up quick Grated Zucchini Salad, one of my favorite no-cook summery dishes.
  • This Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad is simple to make & is perfect for feeding a crowd! Always a hit at summer parties.

My ideal plate? Lemony Tuscan chicken skewers served with a simple arugula salad (dressed in a little olive oil, lemon juice, & tossed with shaved parm) & some grilled potatoes (tossed in olive oil & garlic powder, & finished with a little sprinkle of parm). Simple. Flavorful. Perfect.

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.

I cannot wait for you to try this Tuscan Marinade! It’s lemony, garlicky, herbaceous goodness, & 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 & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Want more grilling marinade ideas? We’ve got you covered! Check out our 15 Go-To Grilling Marinades next. Happy grilling! ♡

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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

  • 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 & flavorful Tuscan marinade, inspired by my favorite flavors of Tuscany: lemon, garlic, & fresh rosemary. Calling for 6 simple ingredients & made in 10 minutes or less, this Tuscan-style lemon garlic marinade is the easiest way to add TONS of flavor to your grilled favorites.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds meat or veggies of choice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, zested & juiced
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, broken in half or roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/21 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (depending how spicy you like it)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper Tuscan marinade ingredients arranged on a light blue surface: olive oil, lemon wedges, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flake, oregano, garlic, & fresh rosemary.

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 & 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 & no more than 1 hour.
    • Chicken & pork – at least 4 hours & up to 6 hours for maximum flavor.
    • Beef & lamb – at least 12 hours & up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
    • Veggies – at least 20 minutes & 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!

Keywords: Tuscan, lemon garlic marinade, garlic and herb marinade, marinade recipe, easy, no-cook, grilling & smoking, Italian, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan

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.

If you love this Tuscan Marinade Recipe, here are more grill marinade recipes you have to try this summer!

Obsessed with all things grilled? Here are some grilling recipes you’ll love this summer!

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Thank you so much for reading & supporting Plays Well With Butter. This post includes affiliate links for products I truly love & use on the reg in my own home. All opinions are always my own! Should you make a purchase using one of these links, PWWB will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps me continue to bring you great original & free content.

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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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