How-To & Diy

Tips for Marinades: To Salt or Not to Salt

July  6, 2013

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

This week our our VP of Technology Karl shared a handy marinade formula -- no recipe required. With his five easy steps, you’re well on your way to a variety of homemade marinades and more flavorful grilled dishes. But even experienced marinade-makers have heard conflicting advice about when to add salt. Should it go in the marinade? Or should you salt the dish later? Does it matter?

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Pegreen asked the community to weigh in on this conundrum, and so far we've got ChefOno in the salt the marinade camp. He explains:

Whereas most marinades don't do much for tenderizing or anything for moisture, salt does. It will help the flavors in the marinade penetrate and remain behind after cooking. And of course, salt is a flavor enhancer by and of itself. There are no downsides (unless you over-salt) despite the myth about salt "drawing out moisture."

We want to know what you think. Add your two cents to the question on the Hotline here, or continue the conversation in the comments below! 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • carswell
  • Pegeen
  • monkeymom
  • Karl Rosaen
    Karl Rosaen
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


carswell July 29, 2013
Yes, I use salt in marinades or directly on the surface of fish and meat - for precisely the reasons ChefOno describes.
Pegeen July 8, 2013
ChefOno's information was very helpful to me... I like the short-hand to brine chicken and pork but salt the beef (meaning salt it directly). The article by Shirley Corriher that he mentions was very interesting, in terms of the value of dairy for marinating beef.
to brine chicken and pork but salt the beef (meaning salt it directly), was interesting.
monkeymom July 8, 2013
Yes on the salt! It has a better chance of getting seasoned throughout the flesh instead of just on the surface.
Karl R. July 7, 2013
The food52 community comes through! Good to know! I think my revised approach will be to use salt to taste as part of the marinade.