Making a good marinade that is versatile with both chicken and steak is a secret superpower to have in your cooking toolbox. This balsamic chicken marinade is so easy to make and tastes so good on chicken but might actually be a better balsamic steak marinade. It is a five-ingredient marinade that is perfect for grilled chicken or steak to top off a fresh summer salad.
This balsamic marinade is another one of my go-to marinades during the summer especially since it can go both ways - chicken or pork.
Since my other go-to recipe is teriyaki chicken, pork, or steak, and pairs well with this simple caesar pasta salad. Having options for dinner that don't require turning on the oven is key in my life. The beautiful thing about grilling marinades is they also are great for crock pot cooking too.
Balsamic Marinade Ingredients
Five simple ingredients make this flavorful recipe. Here are the ingredients you need to make your chicken or steak be a hit off the grill.
- Balsamic Vinegar - Balsamic vinegar should be fairly easy to get if you don't normally have it on hand. The highest quality isn't necessarily needed for the marinade. I have used a more generic version for this recipe and the flavor is just fine.
- Oil - Avocado oil is my new obsession. Olive oil can also be used in the place of avocado oil. In a pinch, vegetable oil could be used but wouldn't be my recommendation.
- Honey - Depending on the beekeepers you have in your area, you might be able to find local honey to use. Otherwise, whatever honey you can find on the grocery store shelves is fine.
- Mustard - Dijon mustard is my preferred mustard but brown, spicy, or regular yellow mustard will work as well.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is always best in my opinion. Minced jarred garlic will also work. In a pinch, garlic powder will work as a substitute.
- Steak Seasoning - Pick your favorite steak seasoning to season the chicken or steak before grilling. One with pepper has the best flavor against the balsamic marinade.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
How to Make Balsamic Chicken Marinade
This marinade is so easy to make. The hard part is waiting for the meal. Here are the simple steps to follow to get your perfectly grilled chicken or steak off the grill.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix to combine making sure the honey is dissolved.
Either drop the chicken into the bowl if there is room to add it or place the steak and chicken in another container or bag.
Marinate in the balsamic marinade for 30 minutes to 2 hours before grilling.
Season with steak seasoning. Place onto a grill at 350. Cook until chicken juices run clear or steak is done to your wellness.
Remove the chicken or steak from the grill and let rest for several minutes before slicing or serving.
Tips for Grilling Chicken and Steak
Grilling is a great way to add flavor to food, but it is easy to dry out the meat. To get the most flavor and juiciness from the cooking process follow these tips.
- Right Temperature - Chicken needs to be cooked until it reaches 165 degrees. At this point, the juices will run clear from the chicken. For steak
- Prevent Stick - use an oil with a high smoking point to grease the grill grates by putting oil on a paper towel and running it across the grates.
- Control the Cooking Temp - To grill the juiciest chicken, you will grill at medium-high heat of around 350 degrees. For steak, you want a HOTTER temperature of 400 degrees to 425. You will cook the steak for about 60% of the time on the first side and 40% on the flipped side. To have the best cooking experience, keep the grill lid down for cooking both steak and chicken.
- Flip Once - For both chicken and steak, flip once. This keeps the juices from running out of the meat.
Picking the right meat is also key. Here are some tips to making sure your meat selection helps your flavor with the amount of time you need to cook each selection of meat
Boneless Chicken Breasts or Thighs
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side
Internal Temperature: 165 degrees
½- to 1-Inch-Thick Steaks (such as Flank and Skirt)
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side (for medium-rare)
Internal Temperature: 130 to 145 degrees
1- to 1½-Inch-Thick Steaks (such as Strip and Ribeye)
Cooking Time: Direct heat, 5 to 6 minutes per side (for medium-rare)
Internal Temperature: 130 to 145 degrees
Variations to Balsamic Marinade
Want to change up the flavors a bit. Here are some ideas on how to add different flavors to the recipe.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes to the marinade to heat it up a bit.
- Italian - add zesty Italian dressing mix and basil to the marinade and don't add the mustard and honey for a more Italian marinade.
See this crock pot balsamic beef recipe on my website for how to use this recipe as a crock pot recipe.
The leftover balsamic chicken or steak can be kept both in the fridge or freezer. Here is how you can store the leftovers.
- Refrigerator Storage: Keep the chicken or beef in the microwave for up to 5 days.
- Freezer Storage: Freeze uncooked meat in marinade for up to three months. Keep cooked meat frozen for up to one month.
Reheat the leftovers in the microwave, air fryer, or in a steamer basket.
Grilled Chicken Recipes
Look no further than these recipes if you are looking for a juicy and flavorful grilled chicken recipe.
Balsamic Marinade for Chicken or Steak
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons steak seasoning
- Combine the balsamic vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, and garlic. Stir to dissolve the honey completely.
- Place the chicken or steak into a bowl or ziploc bag large enough to hold the marinade and meat.
- Let marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Cook chicken or steak to your desired doneness.
- Let meat rest for five minutes before serving.
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook Chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended