The Best Dressings and Sauces That Double as Marinades

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in a sticky situation. And no, I’m not talking about that one time I spilled so much syrup on the kitchen floor I simply had to move out of my apartment and start a new life. I mean the kind of sticky situation where you buy some lovely chicken thinking you’ll whip up a cool marinade and let it sit overnight and then have flavorful, juicy chicken the next day, only to realize all you have in your fridge is a door full of condiments and some moldy raspberries you literally bought this morning. Buddy, I feel you. But no need to whip up anything—chances are the best marinade is something you already have in your fridge or pantry, especially if you’ve been paying attention to Sporked‘s recommendations. From a cheesy Italian dressing to a kicky sweet chili sauce, these sauces and salad dressings are ready to make your meats even better—just don’t spill them all over the kitchen floor.

Trader Joe’s Organic Italian Dressing with Romano Cheese

I actually use this dressing-marinade trick almost weekly over the summer. Why? Because asparagus marinated in this stuff and then baked or grilled is one of life’s greatest joys. It truly takes care of everything for you: the salt the fat, the acid. And it’s good with pretty much anything. Want to marinate chicken in it? Do it, it’s fabulous. Tofu? I’d bet money that’s a hit. As Sporked contributor Danny Palumbo put it, the “pungent bite of the Romano cheese elevates this Italian dressing to elite status.” Sure, you can use pretty much any Italian dressing as a marinade, but this one’s the best.

Read the full ranking of the best Italian dressing

Chosen Foods Lemon Garlic

If pretty much every food you eat makes you say, “I wish this had more garlic in it,” try soaking your chicken breasts in this Chosen Foods Lemon Garlic dressing. Yes. I know. It’s keto friendly and sometimes “keto friendly” means “not good,” but this dressing is great. “It’s tangy and citrusy, but has a powerful, savory garlic flavor,” managing editor Gwynedd Stuart wrote. “I love it.” If you really want some kickin’ breath, marinate your meat in this and then toss it onto a salad topped with this dressing. Delicious.

Read the full ranking of the best keto salad dressing

Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning

Say it with me: fried 👏 chicken 👏 marinated 👏 in 👏 ranch 👏 is 👏 superior. Really though. There are countless ranch-marinated fried chicken recipes out there, from ones that involve dousing the chicken in dressing to ones that suggest rubbing the chicken down with good ol’ Hidden Valley Ranch powder. No matter the state of matter of the ranch, this makes for the fried chicken of your dreams. Because even once you get past the crispy, flavorful, spiced-up, deep-fried outside, the actual chicken in the middle is garlicky, salty, and delicious and keeps you coming back for more. I kind of want to try this on tofu just to see what happens. I shall report back.

Read the full ranking of every Hidden Valley Ranch product

Bachan’s Yuzu Original Japanese Barbecue Sauce

BBQ sauce is generally a bit thick and gloppy to use as a marinade, but not this BBQ sauce. See, it’s thin and soy sauce based, and as Sporked senior writer Jordan Myrick pointed out in their ranking of the best BBQ sauces, “The thin consistency makes it perfect for marinating meats and vegetables.” Plus, yuzu! A little bit of tangy citrus juice always makes a marinade better.

Read the full ranking of the best BBQ sauce

Maggi Mild Sweet Chili Sauce

This sweet chili sauce wasn’t the Sporked crew’s favorite sweet chili sauce, but, hear me out, it is the savoriest one they tried, and that makes it best suited to use as a marinade. As editor-in-chief Justine Sterling wrote, “This thick, extra chunky sweet chili sauce is extremely savory. Personally, I think this is the best sweet chili sauce brand to use as a marinade.” Seriously. Soak some tofu in this. Throw it on the grill or in the wok. You won’t regret it.

Read the full ranking of the best sweet chili sauce

cookout week sporked

It’s Cookout Week at Sporked!

To kick off summer, we’re highlighting all the best foods and drinks you should be buying for cookouts, BBQs, grilling seshes, or any other type of al fresco partying and eating you’ll be doing this season.

About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *