Marinating Beef For Roasting


Marinating beef for roasting has become a trend in recent years and is the reason why many people would choose to marinate their beef before roasting it. It’s not difficult to understand why more and more people are choosing to go this route.Here is a recipe for marinating beef for roasting.


Marinades, rubs and pastes add enticing flavour layers to your beef. If you’re new to marinating, getting started is a cinch as the basics are likely waiting patiently in your pantry.



A marinade is a mixture of ingredients used to add layers of extra flavour to your beef. While some acidic or enzymatic marinades can tenderise meat, the main role of a marinade is to enrich flavour. To achieve tender meat, you need to select the right cut for your cooking method and cook it well – our Meat Cuts app will help.


  • Wet marinades use combinations of liquid and dry ingredients to create flavour infusions.  
  • Dry marinades (also known as dry rubs) are made up of dried herbs and spices. The moisture in beef absorbs essential oils from the dry ingredients, giving the meat a lovely subtle flavour. 
  • Pastes are made up from herbs, spices and a little liquid. Oil, finely pounded ginger and garlic are often added to bind the ingredients.


  • Discard any liquid, dry rub or paste that has come into contact with raw beef.
  • Keep any unused dry rub mix in an airtight container.
  • Refrigerate unused liquid marinades in a sealed container for 1–2 days.
  • Pastes covered with plastic wrap can keep in the fridge for 1–2 days.


 How much marinade?

  • Use half a cup of marinade to flavour 500 g beef.
  • Avoid sugary ingredients – sugar will burn before the beef is cooked.
  • Go easy on salty ingredients like soy sauce – they cause the beef to leach juices, making the meat dry.

How long to marinate?

  • Place beef into the prepared marinade and let it soak up the flavours.
  • Always cover and refrigerate your marinating beef unless you plan on cooking it within 20 minutes of preparation. 
  • Marinate whole pieces of beef like roasts and steaks for 12–24 hours.
  • Meat cubes for kebabs need 2–3 hours marinating time.

How to cook marinated beef

  • Remove beef from marinade and lightly pat the meat with absorbent paper to ensure it browns well.
  • Cook beef using your planned cooking method.
  • Don’t pour marinade over the meat during cooking as it stews the beef and causes flare-ups. 
  • To keep beef moist, brush with a little marinade as it cooks, except during the last minutes of cooking time.


Never pour raw, leftover marinade over cooked meat

Always bring your marinade mixture to boiling point and boil for a few minutes to kill any harmful bacteria. Serve separately alongside the cooked meat.


Marinades are quick and easy, especially if you stick to simple flavour combinations. Experiment with these fridge and pantry fusions:

  • Fresh, robust herbs like thyme and rosemary with olive oil
  • A mix of tomato and Worcestershire sauces
  • Soy sauce, a little honey and orange juice
  • Tomato sauce, a little red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil, a little lemon juice and dried oregano and/or rosemary
  • Soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil


Spicy tomato marinade

Grate half a large onion, cook with 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp crushed garlic. Add 1 tsp dry mustard, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, ¼ cup tomato paste and ½ cup water. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mediterranean marinade

Combine 3 cloves of crushed garlic, ½ cup tomato paste, 2 tsp dried oregano, ¼ cup oil and ¼ cup red wine. Mix well.

Soy marinade

Combine soy sauce with a little honey and orange juice. Mix well.

Red wine vinegar and mustard marinade

Combine tomato sauce, a little red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Mix well.

Lemon and olive oil marinade

Mix a little olive oil, lemon juice and dried oregano and/or rosemary.

Asian marinade

Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Mix well.

Spicy vindaloo marinade

Combine 1 tsp each ground cardamom and ground cinnamon, 2 tsp each of ground cumin, turmeric and hot mustard, ¼ tsp chilli flakes and ¼ cup white vinegar. Mix well.


How to use a dry rub

  • Use 2–3 tbsp of dry rub per 500 g of meat.
  • Rub into the beef about 20 minutes before cooking. 
  • Use enough pressure to ensure the marinade sticks evenly to the meat.
  • Remove excess rub with a dry brush. 
  • Coat lightly with oil before the beef hits the heat.
  • Squeeze a little lemon juice over the meat as it cooks – this stops the spices and herbs from burning. 

The art of combining herbs and spices

From pantry to supermarket, you’ll find inspiration for dry rubs everywhere. For best results, keep the combos simple.

  • Use your favourite seasoning or experiment with a ready-made spice and herb mix. 
  • Try lemon and garlic, Moroccan spice, Tuscan herbs or even steak seasoning mixes.
  • Ground peppercorns, seeds (coriander, cumin and fennel), dried herbs (rosemary or oregano) and garlic powder easily combine to make delicious rubs. 


Brush or spray the beef lightly with oil and rub with one of these tasty combos before you cook.

Hungarian-style rub

  • 2 tsp sweet paprika, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt flakes, 1 tsp ground cinnamon or cumin and a pinch dried parsley.

All-purpose rub

  • 2 tsp crushed dried green and white peppercorns, 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds, 2 tbsp dried tarragon leaves, 2 tbsp crushed yellow mustard seeds, 1 tbsp black peppercorns and a good pinch of salt.

Spicy chilli rub

  • 2 tbsp crushed coriander seeds, 2 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp crushed chilli flakes and a pinch of sugar and salt.


How to use pastes

Gently rub the paste onto the meat before barbecuing or roasting, taking care not to overload.


Nice and spicy

Combine 2 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp chilli flakes, ¼ cup chopped coriander and ¼ cup white vinegar.

Mustard and herbs

Rub the roast with a mix of salt, pepper and a little seeded or Dijon mustard and dried mixed herbs before roasting.

Peppercorns and garlic

Combine a small can of green peppercorns (drained and lightly crushed), 2 cloves crushed garlic, 60 g slightly crushed dried black peppercorns and 2 tbsp oil. Add a little ground cumin, ground coriander or dried oregano for variation.

Marinated Roast Beef

Marinated rump roast

Prep:20 mins

Cook:2 hrs

Marinate Time:4 hrs

Total:6 hrs 20 mins

Servings:6 to 8 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)SAVE RECIPE

This dish is wonderful for holidays, weekend dinners, or just when you’re looking for something a bit different to throw into the weekly routine. With only seven ingredients, it’s not daunting and can be marinated the night before, to make for an easier cooking process.

The marinade of soy sauce, sugar, garlic, thyme, and ginger helps tenderize and flavor the beef. It does double duty since it’s used to baste the beef in the last 30 minutes of cooking. You can marinate the beef for as little as four hours or up to overnight, but don’t leave the roast beef in the marinade much longer than eight hours, since it will eventually turn the texture of the beef mushy.

Serve roast beef with classic vegetable sides like mashed or roasted potatoes, glazed carrots, and green beans. Homemade rolls would also be a real treat.

Click Play to See This Marinated Roast Beef Recipe Come Together


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless rump roast

Steps to Make It


  1. Gather the ingredients.Ingredients for marinated roast beef
  2. Combine the water, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, thyme, and garlic in a large, resealable food storage bag (large enough to hold the beef roast).Marinade in a zip-top bag
  3. Pierce the roast all over with fork.Roast pierced all over with fork
  4. Place the roast in the bag, close the bag, and turn to coat thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the bag occasionally.Roast in bag with marinade
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Remove the roast from the bag, returning the marinade to the refrigerator. Place the beef on a rack in a shallow pan.Marinated roast on a roasting rack
  6. Roast, uncovered, for about 2 hours.
  7. Meanwhile, put the reserved marinade in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute.Marinade boiled in saucepan
  8. Baste the roast with marinade during the last 30 minutes of roasting time.Basted, cooked roast
  9. Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.Roast resting under aluminum foil
  10. Slice, serve, and enjoy.Sliced roast beef


  • An eye of round roast is one of the best choices for this oven roast beef, but it can be made with a sirloin tip roast or a rump roast.
  • The marinade adds lots of flavor to the beef, with the soy sauce providing the salty element. Taste the marinated beef before further seasoning with salt and pepper.

How Long Can I Marinate Beef?

Marinating adds flavor and can help to tenderize tough cuts of beef, like roast beef. While at least four hours is recommended for this recipe to fully infuse the meat with flavor, you can leave it for up to eight hours. More than eight hours and the beef will start to lose its structure. When marinating beef, you may be tempted to leave it as long as possible for the most tender results, but the meat will become unpleasantly mushy if marinated for too long. For this reason, avoid over-marinating.

Marinated Roast Beef

This is how to transform an economical beef into something really special – use a herb garlic roast beef marinade to inject extra flavour, juiciness and tenderise. The marinated roast beef comes out of the oven with a deep golden crust, blushing pink, unbelievably juicy and bursting with flavour!

** Follow the Roast Beef Cut guide below to determine which cuts are best for marinating**

Sliced Marinated Roast Beef on a platter with roasted vegetables, ready to be served

Marinated Roast Beef

This is a recipe that was born during the days when I was a poverty stricken uni student who refused to live on packet ramen day after day. I wanted roast beef and gravy, damn it! But of course, my budget would never stretch to Prime Rib, so I’d purchase the best value roast beef cuts I could find then end up chewing my way through dry, tasteless roast beef.

Because that is, after all, the reason we pay top dollar for premium cuts – it’s tender, juicy and full of flavour.

So I started marinating the economical beef I purchased, to add flavour and juiciness. And I never stopped! 

Use this roast beef marinade for economical roast beef cuts to add flavour and juiciness!

Overhead photo of roast beef dinner

Roast Beef Marinade ingredients

Here’s what you need. The ingredients in this are pretty similar to my Steak Marinade. It’s a great one for beef because it adds savoury flavour without overwhelming ie it complements and enhances the beef flavour, rather than overtaking it completely.

(PS Soy sauce acts as a brine in this recipe, injecting salt into the flesh. As opposed to adding Asian flavours – there is nothing remotely Asian about this roast beef recipe!

Marinated Roast Beef ingredients

Best Roast Beef Cuts

Use this recipe on any economical beef roast cut. It would be wasted on expensive cuts, so do not use it on Prime Rib, beef tenderloin or any cut of roast beef that you’ve paid top dollar for.

Here’s a list of some of the most common roast beef cuts – I’ve done my best to translate the name of cuts between Australia, the US and UK!


  • Oyster Blade Roast  (Aus) / Top Blade Roast (US) – great for this marinade! Pretty tender cut with decent flavour, very good value. Looks like the pictured roast beef but has a thin line of membrane in the middle.
  • Bolar Blade (Aus/parts of UK) – perfect for this marinade! An economical cut with fair flavour and is reasonably tender but is enhanced by marinading. This is pictured in the post and video. This cut doesn’t really exist in the US, it’s part of the cow shoulder gets mixed up in chuck meat.
  • Eye of Round Roast (US) / Girello (Australia) – ideal for this marinade because it’s a leaner, tougher cut of meat with less beefy flavour. In Australia, this cut of beef is usually sold in medallion steak form or pre marinated at supermarkets, so it’s not really available.
  • Silverside (Aus/UK) / Bottom Round Roast (US) – this is one of the tougher cuts of roast beef, usually slow cooked. It’s used for corned beef and to make things like Pastrami. This marinade is ideal for adding flavour to this cut and it can be cooked to pink as pictured, as long as the beef is sliced very thinly.


  • Rump Roast (Aust) / Top Sirloin Roast (US) – tender, juicy and marbled and a good quality one doesn’t need marinating BUT if you get a very economical one, it will certainly benefit from marinading.
  • Topside Roast (Aus/UK name) / Top Round Roast (US) – probably the most popular cut for a classic roast beef (ie not marinated). If you’ve purchased a good quality one, there’s no need to marinade. But if you’ve purchased a good value one, this roast beef marinade will certainly enhance it.


  • Tender, juicy, prime beef cuts – Prime rib / standing rib roast, scotch fillet roast (which is standing rib minus the bone), tenderloin, strip loin roast / Porterhouse roast. These are pricier, quality cuts and a marinade would be wasted on them!
  • Slow cooking cuts – Brisket, chuck and ribs. These are tough cuts of beef that need to be slow cooked to breakdown the tough fibres. Because of this, I typically do not marinade them as the slow cooking time is when the flavour is infused into the beef – recipes like Pot Roast, Beef Stew, Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce and Brisket in BBQ Sauce.
Roast beef marinade

How to make it

The making part is very straight forward – marinade, plonk on veggies and roast on high (240C/450F) to get a nice crust, then turn down to 180C/350F to finish cooking.

MOST IMPORTANT STEP is to rest the beef for a minimum of 20 minutes, ideally 30 minutes, to allow the juices to get sucked back into the beef. If you do not rest, the meat juices will run everywhere the second you cut it = less juicy beef. 

How long to marinade roast beef?

Because we’re talking about a piece of meat that’s somewhat larger than chicken breast, you’ll get the best results if you can marinate for 2 to 3 days. Anything less than 24 hours is better than not marinating at all, but it’s less effective.

How to make Marinated Roast Beef

Final Tips!

  • Take the beef out of the fridge 1 hour prior – key to take the chill out of the core a bit to encourage even cooking
  • Slice thinly against the grain – No matter what cut of beef you are using, slice the beef thinly against the grain for the most tender bite. just look for the direction of the meat fibres and cut 90° across them.
  • Start high, then go low(ish) – this recipe starts high at 240C/450F to get the crust going, then finishes roasting at 180C/350F until it’s perfectly pink and super juicy inside.
  • Roast on veggies OR a rack – this encourages more even cooking of the roast by elevating it off the base of the pan (well, skillet in my case. Handy to make gravy afterwards rather than man handling a roasting pan on the stove ).

You can just use a rack, I personally think anyone would be made to turn down tasty roasted veg that have sucked up the flavour of the marinade AND been basted with juices from the roast beef, but who am I to judge? 

Roasted Vegetables with Marinated Roast Beef in a black skillet

Gravy is optional here – we’ve added good flavour into the beef so you don’t need it. But I’m never one to turn down gravy, so I’ve popped the recipe in the notes.

But truly, it’s great even without. This beef is so juicy, it is literally squirting juices everywhere when you cut into it – and that’s even after resting it for a good 30 minutes.

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