All Purpose Marinade

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This all-purpose marinade recipe is so easy to make using just 5 ingredients and is ready in under 5 minutes. It tastes absolutely scrumptious on basically everything, from grilled chicken to burgers to veggies.

Close-up of chicken breast in all-purpose marinade.

With summer here, many of us are marinating meat and grilling out on a regular basis. Burgers, chicken, chops, steaks, fish, veggies, you name it, a good marinade can make the meal. There are two marinades often used in my neck of the woods that aren’t readily available everywhere else. These are Dale’s Sauce and Moore’s Marinade, which are both made in Alabama. They are the key ingredient in many of the meats I cook as well as my steak sandwiches.

Here is my homemade all-purpose marinade recipe that can be whipped up in the time it takes for you to gather the ingredients from your pantry. It isn’t spot on the same as what you get in the store, but you’ll find it similar enough and equally delicious on EVERYTHING. 

A general marinade is generally good on all things. This can also be made right when you need it or ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. I sure do hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Labeled ingredients for all purpose marinade.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Liquid smoke
  • Ground ginger
  • Garlic powder

How to Make All Purpose Marinade

Place soy sauce in large jar.

Place your soy sauce in a bowl or large jar.

I like to use this jar because it has measurements on the side and you can just put the lid on and shake it away when you get all of your ingredients in. You can also easily store it in the fridge in this.

Add water to jar.

Add your water…

Add garlic powder to jar.

Then the garlic powder…

Add ground ginger to jar.

Ground ginger…

Add apple cider vinegar to jar.

And apple cider vinegar.

Add liquid smoke to jar.

If you have it, add a wee bit of liquid smoke too.

Place lid on all purpose marinade jar.

There ya go! Now put your lid on…

Shake all purpose marinade in jar.

And give it a good shake.

Wasn’t this easy?

Place chicken breasts in baking dish.

Cooking with All Purpose Marinade

Now put some type of meat in a baking dish. Today I’m going to use skinless boneless chicken breast.

Pour marinade all over chicken breasts.

Pour the marinade all over the chicken. Let the chicken breasts marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Marinated chicken breasts in baking dish.

After your meat is done marinating, cook or grill it however you normally would.

In this instance, I covered my baking dish in foil and baked it at 350 for 30 minutes (or until the chicken was done in the center).

Marinated chicken breast with green beans and mashed potato. All purpose marinade in background.

Today I’m serving my marinated chicken with mashed potato, fresh green beans, and homemade biscuits.


Store the all purpose marinade in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

  • If you can’t find liquid smoke, feel free to leave that out. I don’t want you to go fretting all over because it will be just fine without it. Liquid smoke is an all-natural way to give your meat a wee bit of smoky grilled flavor.
  • You can totally substitute the garlic powder for 1 minced garlic clove if you like.
  • For spice, add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Here are some suggested marinating times:
    • Most meat (chicken, beef, lamb, and pork) can marinate from 30 minutes up to 2 days.
    • Vegetables can marinate from 30 minutes up to 5 days.
    • Seafood should marinate for no longer than an hour.

Recipe FAQs

Can I marinate frozen chicken?

Yes you can. Either marinate the chicken as it thaws in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, place the fresh chicken in a freezer bag with the marinade and place it in the freezer. Then the marinade will do its thing while the meat is defrosting in the fridge.

What do I marinate in all purpose marinade?

You can marinate basically any meat or vegetable in this all purpose marinade recipe. Here are some suggestions to start:

Plate of steak kabobs in beef kabob marinade.

Beef Kabob Marinade

This quick and easy homemade beef kabob marinade recipe is a smoky, tangy, and savory taste sensation that results in the juiciest steak kabobs imaginable.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Dressing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: marinade
Servings: 4
Calories: 42kcal


  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke, optional


  • Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake to mix well.
    ½ tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup water, ½ tsp liquid smoke, optional
  • Marinate beef in the mixture for 30 minutes or more. After marinating, discard the used marinade. Store unused marinade in the refrigerator.
  • For beef kabobs, after threading the marinated steak onto wooden skewers alongside the vegetables, I place them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn them every 10 minutes until vegetables are lightly brown around the edges.


Calories: 42kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3245mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining,

the breeze is blowing,

the birds are singing,

and the lawn mower is broken.

– James Dent

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  1. 5 stars
    This simple little sauce is so handy. TY for sharing. Dale’s Sauce was to salty for me but your sauce is perfect.

  2. 5 stars
    I know I’m a decade late to the party, but thanks! I was looking at your steak kabob recipe and came here to check your marinade thinking “I’ll use whatever her recipe is and then add some liquid smoke!” Already done! Man, I love liquid smoke! I know you stressed to people not stressing about it, but I say it’s worth making a pantry staple!!

    Also, I love how entertaining your blurbs about your recipes are. I’m new here, but I’m definitely planning on digging around to see what other recipe gems I can add to my life from your site! Thanks!

  3. Hi Christy, I made this for dinner tonight and it was FABULOUS!! Quick question: In the step by step instructions with the photos, there is an “add the garlic powder” step, but garlic powder isn’t listed in the ingredients. How much do you add? I sprinkled it on top while grilling when I realized I missed adding it into the marinade. This made the most tender and delicious chicken and I can’t wait to try it on pork next. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe…and all your other recipes…and for writing cookbooks that make me happy when I look at them. :o)

  4. I was wondering how you use this on burgers? Sorry if it’s already been asked but I couldn’t find it if it was
    Thank you in advance

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