Recipe: Easy Garlic & Herb Marinade for Tofu, Chicken, or Pork

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There is nothing this simple, punchy marinade can’t do. Make it once and I guarantee it’ll be a mainstay in your meal plan — no matter what’s for dinner. With just the right balance of tart lemon and pungent garlic, this is a bold-flavored marinade that’s versatile enough to pair with anything you’re cooking, and it comes together in mere minutes.

Cooking Marinated Tofu

While this marinade is a natural fit for mild-mannered chicken and pork, I especially love it with tofu, which has the chameleon-like ability to soak up any and all flavors it meets. Marinating for as little as 30 minutes will infuse it with good flavor, but it’s even better if you can let it sit for a couple hours (or, better yet, overnight).

I also recommend cutting the block into cubes, triangles, strips, or however you plan to cook with it; the smaller the pieces, the more the marinade can really work into the tofu. All cooking methods — baked in the oven, seared in the stovetop, stir-fried, or grilled — are fair game for marinated tofu.

Why The Dried Herbs

Fresh herbs have the biggest, brightest impact when they’re added to a dish just before serving or in the final minute of cooking. Add them too soon, and their flavor quickly gets muted and lost. That’s why this recipe calls for dried herbs. Aside from being an easy and inexpensive pantry win, dried herbs add flavor to the marinade without fading.

We’re all for fresh herb, but to get the most bang for your buck, save them for the finished dish where you can enjoy them at their best.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Our Favorite Ways to Cook Marinated Tofu

36 Ratings

Easy Garlic & Herb Marinade for Tofu, Chicken, or Pork

Makesabout 1/2 cup


  • 1/3 cup

    freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

  • 4 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon

    dried Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

Optional (pick one):

  • 14 to 16 ounces

    extra-firm tofu, drained, cut, and pressed

  • Up to 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

  • Up to 1 1/2 pounds

    pork chops

  • Up to 1 1/2 pounds

    pork tenderloin



  1. Whisk the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl until well-combined. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until emulsified.

  2. Add the tofu, chicken, or pork and gently toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Or store the marinade in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The marinade can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Storage: Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.