Can You Marinate Steak With Italian Dressing?

can you marinate steak with italian dressing

Marinating steak is a great way to help tenderize tougher cuts of meat, as well as add flavor to the finished product.

Since Italian dressing is an oil-based marinade with vinegar and spices added, it can be a good fit for steak.

Some people would disagree with using Italian dressing to marinate steak because they classify it as a salad dressing instead of a marinade.

Others might say that salad dressing is too thin and doesn’t coat the meat well enough.

Either way, can you marinate steak with Italian dressing?

Let’s find out…

What Is Italian Dressing?

Italian dressing is a vinaigrette that was originally created in Italy as a simple blend of olive oil and wine vinegar.

However, nowadays it is much more common to see Italian dressing sold as a bottled mixture of vegetable or canola oil, water, vinegar, herbs and spices such as garlic powder and onion powder.

Italian dressing might also contain other ingredients, such as mustard, sugar or pepper.

The oil typically used is either olive oil or sunflower oil. Canola oil can also be an option, but it will change the flavor of the dressing slightly.

If you are looking for a vegan Italian dressing option, there are now several brands available that avoid using any animal-based ingredients and are made only with olive oil and vinegar.

Is Italian Dressing Good For Marinating Steak?

Because of the large number of spices and herbs in Italian dressing, it can be a great choice for marinating steak.

The spices provide extra flavor and help to cover up any undesirable flavors that your cut of meat might have.

Also, if you select a good quality Italian dressing, you can be certain that it is made with high-quality oil and vinegar.

This means the marinade will not just taste good, but it will also be healthy and nutritious.

If you check out your average Italian dressing label, you will see that most brands advertise their dressings as being low in calories and fat.

There isn’t much information about the availability of vegan Italian dressing, but it is possible to find some options that fit these criteria.

How To Marinate Steak With Italian Dressing

To marinate steak with Italian dressing, simply pour the bottle over your cut of meat at least one hour before cooking.

The longer you marinate it, the stronger the flavor will be. After an hour of marinating, cook your meat as usual.

Remember to pour off any excess Italian dressing so that it doesn’t affect your final dish too much or cause flare-ups on the grill or stovetop.

Tip: When you’re finished cooking your steak, save any leftover Italian dressing to use as a dipping sauce.

Marinating steak with Italian dressing is easy and can give you delicious results.

It doesn’t take long and the flavors are unbeatable.

Whether you choose to cook your steak using the traditional grill method or try pan-frying, frying, pot roasting, or even slow cooking it, Italian dressing is a great marinade for any cut of meat.

What Does Italian Dressing Do To Meat?

Italian dressing, like other marinates, helps to break down and tenderize the beef.

The acids in the dressing help to break down and soften tough cuts of meat, while also adding flavor.

And like we mentioned before, Italian dressing is not made only with oil and vinegar; spices and other ingredients are added as well.

This means that you can effectively add some extra vitamins and minerals to your meat by using Italian dressing as a marinade.

Not only is the taste better than adding salt and pepper to your steak, but you will also be getting some extra vitamins that might not normally be present in beef.

Other Considerations

Keep in mind that Italian dressing does have a high acid content.

This means that you should not use it as a marinade for an extended period of time.

If you leave your steak to marinate overnight, the acid might begin to cook the meat and give it an undesirable texture.

It is best to marinate steak with Italian dressing for one hour at most, but one hour should be enough to give your meat the proper flavor you are looking for.

Also, keep in mind that Italian dressing does contain sugar.

If you plan on frying or grilling your steak, this is not much of an issue because it will burn off during cooking.

But if you are pan-frying (or using another cooking method), the sugar might cause excess smoke and cause your meat to brown much darker than you anticipated.

While this will not ruin your steak, it could add an unpleasantly sweet flavor that might be too strong for certain individuals.

If you plan on pan-frying or frying with Italian dressing, I recommend pouring off the excess Italian dressing before cooking.

You should also wait at least 10 minutes before adding any more oil or butter to your pan so that it can heat up properly.

This will ensure that you are not overcooking your steak and give it an unpleasant flavor.

Lastly, when choosing a container for storing your leftover Italian dressing, keep in mind that the acids in the dressing might react with metal containers.

This means that you should store your Italian dressing in a glass or ceramic container for best results.


In conclusion, Italian dressing is a great marinade for all types of steak.

It’s perfect for those tougher cuts such as flank, hanger, or skirt steak.

You can marinate any piece of beef, regardless of cut or size, for up to an hour before cooking.

And if you’re looking for more flavor than just salt and pepper, Italian dressing is a great choice!

I would highly recommend giving this a go and am positive that you won’t be disappointed with the results.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope you’ve learned something about marinating steak with Italian dressing.

Feel free to share it with other steak lovers who may find it of value.

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