I love marinating before cooking as it really adds a delicious flavor and texture. But do you have to throw the marinade away once you’ve removed the meat? Can you reuse that batch of your favorite sauce safely?
After all, it seems such a waste to just dump that flavorsome liquid down the drain.
It’s generally not advised to reuse marinades. Treat it like raw meat as the liquid will be contaminated by any bacteria from the first batch, so is not safe for storing and reusing. To turn into a serving sauce, boil the marinade to kill off germs.
The safest option is definitely to throw out used marinade straight away and not reuse it for another batch of raw meat.
But are there things you can do to safely reuse the marinade? Will it work as well and still taste the same? I did a bit of research into what exactly is safe when it comes to marinades. Read on to see what I’ve discovered.
When Is Reusing Marinade Safe?
The safest way is not to reuse marinade at all. If you’re planning on marinating a large batch of meat but can’t do it all in one go then reserve a portion or two for later use before putting the raw meat in.
You are able to marinate several batches of meat in one marinade in the same session (say 24 hours max) as long as you keep it in the fridge like raw meat. But under no circumstances should you store marinade for any length of time and reuse it.
Raw poultry, seafood, and meat juices may well be contaminated with harmful bacteria that could make you very ill, so a marinade should only be used once for marinating purposes.
According to the USDA, the only safe way to use meat marinade again is to boil it straight after taking the meat out to destroy any harmful bacteria.
Of course, you will need to let it cool completely before using it again. Boiling it up in this way may also change both the consistency and flavor of the marinade.
Personally, I would only use this boiled marinade as a baste or glaze to brush on the meat towards the end of cooking which can be done without having to let it cool first.
You could also make a sauce or gravy out of it for pouring on the meat after it’s cooked to add some more flavor.
I should mention the risks of marinating at room temperature which I covered in my post, can you marinate at room temperature?
How To Boil A Used Marinade To Make It Safe
It’s a fairly simple process to boil your used marinade so that it’s safe to eat.
Just grab a saucepan and pour in any leftover liquid that has been in contact with the raw meat. Bring it to the boil and make sure it stays at a rolling boil for several minutes so that any bacteria present is killed off.
Foodborne bacteria die at 165 F (75 C) so vigorously boiling the liquid at around 212 F (100 C) is enough to do the job.
If you’re planning on reducing the liquid for a sauce then continue simmering your marinade until it’s reached the desired consistency.
Make sure to taste your now safe marinade to check it still has the desired flavor and consistency as some recipes will not work as well as others when heated at high temperatures.
How Many Times Can You Use A Marinade Before Throwing It Out?
The best guidance is to only use a marinade once and I would not recommend reusing it at all unless you are reusing it on the same day and it’s been stored in the fridge.
Essentially, treat marinade like you would raw meat – use it within 24 hours, don’t let bugs grow in it from storing in warm temperatures, and cook it thoroughly before consumption.
If in any doubt then mix up a new batch as they are cheap to make.
The idea of a marinade is that it interacts with the meat or poultry, infusing flavors and tenderizing in the process. This means that some of the marinade will be absorbed and some juices from the meat drawn out.
In other words, the marinade you first mixed in the bowl will not be the same one you’re left with after letting meat marinate in it for an hour or so.
How Long Can You Keep Marinade In The Fridge?
A marinade can last several days in the fridge depending on the ingredients. Oil and water will separate out and some ingredients will spoil like dairy products. Used marinade should be discarded after its use.
This is one of those ‘it depends’ type answers as how long you can store unused marinade in the fridge depends very much on the ingredients used.
Most marinades are a mixture of acids like vinegar, or lemon juice mixed with oil, spices, and herbs. This sort of concoction should keep for at least a few days in a sealed container in your refrigerator, if not longer.
It’s impossible to say how long with any certainty so always check it’s ok before using and if in doubt, throw it out!
Recipes that contain fresh fruit juices or dairy products will not last as long so you need to be very careful and only store them for a couple of days at most.
With store-bought marinades always follow the guidance on the label.
Can You Freeze And Reuse Marinade
You can freeze portions of an unused marinade in a suitable container. That way you will always have a marinade to hand that just needs defrosting before use.
The flavors should not be affected too much by freezing. It will never be as good as a freshly made marinade though!
Freezing used marinade for reuse runs the risk of bacteria growth and is not recommended. It is possible to boil the marinade to kill bacteria and freeze it like cooked meat but it’s safer to mix up a fresh batch.
Can You Cook Meat In The Same Marinade?
It is possible to cook meat in a marinade and this technique of cooking meat in liquid is called braising. Alternatively, you can cook the meat as usual and baste it with marinade periodically.
Braising will depend on the ingredients as not all marinades will suit this cooking – thin consistency marinades are best and ones with yogurt or sugar are not ideal.
Place in an oven-proof dish and bake uncovered for the time required for the size of the piece of meat to be thoroughly cooked.
If basting, it’s recommended to boil the marinade first before basting so as to kill any bacteria left from contact with the raw meat. Basting late might cause it to still have harmful germs and not enough cooking time to kill them.
For steaks and chops or anything else you are cooking on the grill, you should pat off any excess marinade before grilling. This is because the sugars and oils it contains will burn off quicker than the meat cooks giving it a burnt look and flavor you may not want.
Final Thoughts on Reusing Marinade
I hope you enjoyed reading my article on how to safely reuse a marinade mixture.
The safest way, as you may have gathered by now, is to either throw the marinade away after using it once or boil it to use as a baste, sauce, or gravy.
If you make too much marinade it’s a good idea to keep some back before it touches any raw meat, fish, or poultry. You can then keep it in the fridge for a couple of days for use later or freeze it.
Above all, be safe, and if in doubt, throw it out!
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