AskDefine | Define marinate

Dictionary Definition

marinate v : soak in marinade; "marinade herring" [syn: marinade]

User Contributed Dictionary



Probably from Italian marinare, marinate or pickle.


  1. To allow a sauce or flavoring mixture to absorb into something; to soak something in a marinade to flavor or prepare it for cooking.
    You'll get a better flavour from the chicken if you marinate it first.


soak in marinade



  1. Form of Second-person plural present tense, marinare
  2. Form of Second-person plural imperative, marinare#Italian|marinare

Extensive Definition

Marination, also known as marinating, is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origins of the word allude to the use of brine (aqua marina) in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in liquid. The liquid in question, the 'marinade' can be acidic with ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, or wine, or savory with soy sauce, brine or other prepared sauces. Along with these liquids, a marinade often contains oils, herbs, and spices to further flavor the food items.
It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat or harder vegetables such as beetroot, eggplant (aubergine), and courgette (zucchini). The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines. For example, in Indian cuisine the marinade is usually prepared with yoghurt and spices.

Tissue breakdown

In meats, the acid causes the tissue to break down, allowing more moisture to be absorbed and giving a juicier end product. However, too much acid can be detrimental to the end product. A good marinade will have a delicate balance of spices, acids, and oil.
Often confused with marinating, "macerating" is also a form of food preparation. Often soft vegetables, legumes or fruits are used and are also coated in a liquid. This process, again, makes the food tastier and easier to chew and digest

Health Advisements

Some studies have shown that a reaction between creatine in muscle meats and amino acids caused by flame-cooking at high temperatures produces cancer-causing agents known as heterocyclic amines (HCA). New research seems to indicate that marinades may discourage formation of certain HCAs in char-grilled meat.
Immersion in an acid-based marinade for as little as forty minutes resulted in a decrease of 92-99% of heterocyclic amines in recent tests by the American Institute for Cancer Research. More studies are being conducted, but the acidic component in marinades seems to be very effective. Marinating is currently the best known method of discouraging the formation of HCAs.
The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends discarding used marinade that has been applied to raw meats. Meats, such as red meat, fish, and chicken, may contain unhealthful substances which may enter the marinade, according to health experts attributed by the AICR. These substances would become neutralized in the cooking process but using the same marinade later in preparation holds the risk of reapplication. If additional flavoring from the marinade is desired, prepare a new batch.


marinate in German: Marinieren
marinate in Spanish: Marinar
marinate in Esperanto: Marinado
marinate in Hebrew: השריה
marinate in Lithuanian: Marinatas
marinate in Dutch: Marinade
marinate in Japanese: マリネ
marinate in Norwegian: Marinade
marinate in Polish: Marynowanie
marinate in Portuguese: Marinar
marinate in Russian: Маринование
marinate in Finnish: Marinointi

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

anhydrate, blast-freeze, brine, corn, cure, dehydrate, desiccate, dry, dry-cure, dry-salt, embalm, evaporate, freeze, freeze-dry, fume, irradiate, jerk, kipper, marinade, mummify, pickle, preservatize, quick-freeze, refrigerate, salt, season, smoke, smoke-cure, stuff
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