What’s the Difference Between Marinade and Grilling Glaze?



It can be easy to confuse a marinade with a grilling glaze and know how best to use them. At first thought, both seem to accomplish the same goal: to soak a protein or vegetable in a liquid in order to infuse and intensify flavor. While the two are sometimes used interchangeably, there are differences in the technique and function of a marinade and a grilling glaze.

Marinades are perfect for infusing flavor into meats, vegetables, tofu, or tempeh, whereas grilling glazes are designed to create an exterior caramelized coating. In other words, the difference between them is either saturating the flavor within or layering flavor on the outside.

Yumm! Sauce® and Jal-Ses® Salsa can both be used to create a variety of marinades and grilling glazes. Let’s learn how!

Marinating Techniques

Some classic marinades you might know and love include BBQ, teriyaki, balsamic-herb, lemon garlic, and sweet mustard. But what’s the best way to use them?

Before marinating, it’s essential to thoroughly salt your protein of choice. Salting will help enhance flavor while extracting some moisture so that the marinade can better permeate and infuse the meat with the flavor profile of your marinade’s ingredients.  The same applies if you’re opting for tofu or vegetables, as salting can pull out the excess water.

Pour the marinade into a resealable bag containing your choice of protein or vegetables and place it in the fridge. While the general rule is that the longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor will be, the minimum recommended times for refrigeration will depend on the specific food you are using. While seafood can start absorbing the liquid in as little as 15 minutes, tofu or chicken can take 2 to 12 hours to successfully marinate. In contrast, beef might need to marinate overnight, especially if it’s a tougher cut. Marinades can also help tenderize tough meat!

Glazing Techniques

Interestingly, many marinade recipes can also be used as grilling glazes. Unlike the marinade technique, grilling glazes are applied right before or during grilling without the need for soaking. Instead of infusing the flavor over time, the glaze will form a tasty coating on the outside as it cooks. Continuously brush your grilled ingredients on all sides with multiple layers throughout the grilling process, or you can drizzle it on at the end as a finishing sauce using a different brush or spoon to avoid any potential raw meat contamination.

How to Make Your Own Marinade and Grilling Glaze Recipes

You can make your own marinade or grilling glaze using a simple base of oil, acid, herbs, spices, and sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. For marinades, you can start with olive oil and add an acid like orange or lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt to the base, while a glaze can benefit more from a savory foundation of soy sauce or balsamic vinegar. You can then add herbs, spices, and sweeteners to create your own flavor profile, like an herb-infused marinade with oregano and rosemary or a teriyaki-style glaze with ginger, garlic, and Jal-Ses Salsa from Cafe Yumm!. Adding cornstarch or arrowroot powder – also known as velveting – to either mixture can help them reach desired thickness and give your recipe a velvety smooth finish.

If you want to create a marinade or glaze, but don’t have the time to make your own recipe, a pre-made sauce can also work. Yumm! Sauce is the perfect ingredient because it can be used as your base for a marinade and grilling glaze or simply brushed on your meat and veggies straight out of the bottle. Packed with a savory, umami flavor and made from a simple base of almonds, garbanzo beans, garlic, and lemon juice, it’s amazing on chicken, salmon, and tofu. Try this recipe for oven-roasted vegetables using just a few simple ingredients.

You can also choose our Chipotle Yumm! Sauce or Roasted Garlic Yumm! Sauce for an extra kick. If you really want to turn up the heat, add a few tablespoons of Jal-Ses Salsa to any marinade or grilling glaze. The earthy sesame flavor combined with spicy jalapenos, herby cilantro, and tangy lemon goes great with teriyaki, peanut sauce, or any soy sauce-based recipe.


Eat Healthier Without Sacrificing Flavor

Café Yumm! offers a uniquely Northwest selection of condiments as well as organic and sustainably sourced beans and rice that can enhance any meal, whether you’re enjoying teriyaki, seafood, or just trying to up your greens. Pick from any of our sauces or salsas and start getting more Yumm! in every meal.