This tri tip marinade is a blend of olive oil, herbs and spices that produces a tender and juicy tri tip roast every time. You can also use this flavorful marinade for other types of beef, chicken, pork and even seafood!

A good marinade really adds a lot of flavor to any cut of meat or fish. I always make marinated salmon, pork tenderloin marinade, and of course beef tri tip marinade.

The best tri tip marinade for perfectly tender beef every time! #beef #dinneratthezoo The best tri tip marinade for perfectly tender beef every time! #beef #dinneratthezoo

Meat cooked in tri tip marinade sliced and served with grilled vegetables.

You can’t go wrong with steak, and tri tip is one of my favorite cuts. I always use this tri tip marinade to flavor my meat for perfect results every time!


Tri tip is a triangle shaped beef roast that comes from the bottom sirloin area of the cow. This cut of beef is naturally tender and well marbled, and is especially delicious when cooked on the grill, a smoker or in a skillet on the stove top. If you can’t find meat labeled as tri tip at your local grocery store, it may be packaged under a different name such as Santa Maria cut or bottom sirloin tip.

How do you make tri tip marinade?

This marinade is a blend of soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, fresh garlic, dried Italian herbs and spices. Mix everything together in either a bowl or a gallon sized freezer bag. Add your tri tip, and give it at least one hour to soak up all that great flavor!

Ingredients in small bowls for a beef marinade.

Helpful hints for the perfect marinade

  • This marinade can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days before you plan to use it, so it’s great to make in advance if you’re entertaining. You can even freeze your marinade for up to 2 months if need be! The olive oil may solidify as the marinade sits in the fridge, it will liquefy again if you leave the marinade at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  • Feel free to use a low sodium soy sauce if you’re watching your salt intake.
  • Italian seasoning is a blend of dried herbs that can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores. This seasoning is typically a mixture of dried basil, parsley, garlic and oregano. If you can’t find Italian seasoning, you can blend together your own combination of dried herbs in equal amounts.
  • This marinade works well with other types of beef, I recommend using it on flank steak, New York strip, ribeye, sirloin or filet mignon. It’s also great with chicken thighs, pork chops or salmon fillets.
  • For maximum flavor, you can marinate your beef for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

A piece of tri tip steak in a bowl of marinade.

Tri tip marinade flavor variations

While I love this marinade as written, you can easily switch up the flavors to customize it to your tastes.

  • Cilantro Lime: Substitute fresh lime juice for the lemon juice. Add 1 teaspoon of lime zest. Omit the Italian seasoning, and add 1/3 cup of fresh chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Sesame Ginger: Swap out the lemon juice with lime juice. Omit the Italian seasoning, and add 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger. Stir in 1/2 cup sliced green onions.
  • Garlic Lovers: Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and double the amount of fresh garlic.
  • Italian Style: Swap out the lemon juice with red wine, and add 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs such as rosemary, thyme and parsley.

Tri tip cooked on a grill pan.

How to cook tri tip

You can smoke, grill, broil or pan sear your tri tip. Keep in mind that this is a larger cut of meat, and hence will take more time to cook than something like a steak. You can sear your meat on the grill or in a pan, then you’ll want to cook it at a lower heat until you reach your desired internal temperature. I recommend using a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature of the meat as it cooks. I typically cook my tri tip to 140 degrees F which is medium.

Sliced meat cooked in tri tip marinade over rice with vegetables.


Thinly slice your tri tip against the grain for the most tender bites of meat. This cut of meat has fibers that run vertically in one section, and the other part of the meat has fibers that run at an angle. You’ll want to pay attention to the area you’re slicing to make sure it’s cut properly. Serve your meat as-is with an assortment of side dishes, or use it in other dishes such as salads, sandwiches and tacos.

This tri tip marinade produces the best tri tip I’ve ever had! No matter how you choose to cook your meat, it’s sure to get rave reviews.

More beef recipes you’ll enjoy

Tri Tip Marinade Video

5 from 64 votes

Tri Tip Marinade

AuthorSara Welch
Meat cooked in tri tip marinade sliced and served with grilled vegetables.
This tri tip marinade is a blend of olive oil, herbs and spices that produces a tender and juicy tri tip roast every time. You can also use this flavorful marinade for other types of beef, chicken, pork and even seafood!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Marinating Time1 hour
Total Time6 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 1/3 cup soy sauce can use low sodium
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar


  • Place all the ingredients in a bowl or in a resealable gallon sized freezer bag. Mix to combine.
  • Add the tri tip the marinade. Marinate for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
  • Grill, broil or pan cook the tri tip as desired. Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice the meat against the grain, then serve.


Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 627mg | Potassium: 139mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 5.8mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.4mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This marinade is definitely a keeper! My family loved it! I have been grilling tri tip since the mid 80’s before it became popular and have tried many, many marinades. This one ranks in the top 3. I seared it and then cooked it on indirect heat for about 45-50 minutes total. I took it off the grill at 130 degrees and let it rest while I grilled asparagus. It was a perfect medium-rare and very tender. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  2. If cooking in oven, how long should i cook for and what temperature? Also, i should pick broil on oven right? Sorry.. beginner here 🙂

      1. So select Bake or Broil on oven for 425 and then sear in cast iron? Thank you so much! It will be my new years eve dinner 🙂

  3. I buy meat in bulk, then package and freeze it. Would it break down the meat too much to have it vacuum sealed in this marinate when it goes into the freezer?

    1. The only thing I’d be concerned about is the lemon juice. You could use all the ingredients except the lemon juice, freeze it, then add the lemon juice after you take the meat out to thaw.

  4. 5 stars
    I finally got some meat at Costco so I made this tri tip and it was worth waiting for! I came out so tender and delicous!

    1. I usually do from scratch …no recipe…but I decided to follow a recipe for once! Best tri tip I’ve ever made…I’m in my late 6o’s so I’ve made quite a few of this these for my sons…

  5. 5 stars
    My family uses sauces on their meat once it’s cooked, with this marinade they did not need anything! It was the best marinade that I have ever used!

  6. 5 stars
    Yum! This marinade looks so good! We are having steak on the BBQ this weekend. I’m going to try this marinade with it. Thanks for sharing!

  7. This looks delicious – can’t wait to try it! Have a few questions…
    1. If cooking on the grill, what temp do you cook this at – high, med or low?
    2. How long does it typically take to get to the 140 degrees?
    3. Do you need to turn the meat over during cooking?

    1. I cook on medium to medium-low, it’s a larger piece of meat so you want to be able to cook it through without the outside burning. I cook for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

  8. That marinade sounds like perfection! Now I have to decide if I want salmon, chicken, or beef first!

  9. 5 stars
    It’s such a good morning when I wake up and see this steak marinating in the refrigerator. I know it’s going to be a yummy dinner!! Love it!