We are going to show you just how easy it is to make the best homemade marinade for turkey tenderloins, turkey cutlets, or turkey legs in just 7 minutes!
With a base of orange juice and apple cider vinegar, plus seasonings including paprika, thyme, and rosemary, our turkey tenderloin marinade is perfect for smoking, grilling, and infusing every bite of turkey with that WHOLE LOTTA YUM flavor you know and love in as little as 30-minutes.
Turkey Tenderloin Marinade Recipe
We have been on a turkey kick in our home since we grabbed a variety of packages last fall when prices were rock bottom. And since we started defrosting the packages we have enjoyed a wide variety of turkey dishes seasoned in a few different ways. Today we are sharing our turkey tenderloin marinade recipe with you because it's the perfect addition to your recipe box, whether you have an actual recipe box at home or simply an ever growing list of bookmarks and tabs for digital recipes.
Speaking of other turkey recipes, have you checked out our air fryer turkey tenderloins and our air fryer turkey legs recipes? We absolutely love using our air fryer to make a variety of food options from simple snacks to whole meals because we know that the air fryer is a kitchen powerhouse.
While the name implies that our marinade for turkey tenderloins is only for tenderloin pieces, you can also use this homemade marinade on other cuts of turkey including cutlets and turkey breast, as well as turkey thighs and legs (although you will get better flavoring with white meat portions).
After marinading your turkey tenderloins (or other pieces of turkey meat) for at least 30 minutes, you can cook and serve your turkey pieces in a variety of ways based on your time, food preferences, and kitchen appliances.
Oh, and if you are looking for more ways to season turkey we have a fantastic smoked turkey rub recipe or you could simply coat boneless pieces with panko breadcrumbs like we did with these breaded turkey cutlets.
Why You'll Love This!
- Ready in just 7-minutes, our easy recipe for homemade turkey tenderloin marinade is the best way to infuse both savory and citrus flavors into your favorite turkey pieces.
- Seasoned with herbs and spices including garlic, paprika, thyme, and rosemary all nestled in a mix of orange juice, apple cider vinegar, and oil, this turkey marinade recipe is the perfect mix for adding boldness to your dinner, it's truly the best turkey recipe for a quick meal.
- Compliant with gluten-free, low-carb, and keto lifestyles, even with a little bit of brown sugar, our turkey loin marinade is a great way to season your turkey tenderloin pieces while maintaining your healthy eating lifestyle.
- Whether you are looking to grill, air fry, pan fry, or saute, your marinated turkey pieces will be ready to go in as little as 30-minutes!
We aren't holding anything back with our marinade for turkey tenderloins, but we are being mindful of the ingredients you are most likely to already have in your kitchen.
- olive oil - we use extra virgin olive oil for most recipes
- orange juice - without the pulp
- apple cider vinegar
- minced garlic - you can use either fresh garlic and mince it yourself or grab a jar of pre-minced garlic
- ground black pepper
- sweet paprika - sweet or regular paprika is fine but we don't recommend smoked paprika for this recipe
- dried thyme or fresh thyme
- dried rosemary
- brown sugar - tenderizes the meat and helps with browning however you can leave it out if you would prefer to cut down on sugars in this recipe
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the exact turkey breast tenderloin marinade quantities
- Fresh herbs can be used in place of the dried herbs, use 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs to 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
- More delicious turkey tenderloin marinade variations include adding dijon mustard, lemon juice, or soy sauce.
- Don't just marinate turkey tenderloin with this recipe, it's incredibly versatile you can also cook pork tenderloin, a whole turkey, or other turkey parts like thighs, or turkey breast. Or instead of turkey whole turkey breast tenderloin, you can cook sliced turkey tenderloins like comparable to chicken fingers size.
- Sugar-Free - To make this turkey marinade sugar-free either remove the brown sugar or replace it with a sugar-free brown sugar substitute.
How to Marinate Turkey Tenderloins
To make our marinade for turkey breast tenderloins you simply need to combine all of the fabulous ingredients in a bag or container. From there, a quick soak (or a longer stint if you really want that orange garlic flavor infused into your turkey) and then cook using your favorite method whether that's to grill turkey, smoking, air frying, or to saute them in a cast iron skillet.
Mix all of the turkey tender marinade ingredients together in a small bowl, medium size bowl, or shallow glass pan including the olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, salt, ground pepper, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and brown sugar.
Place turkey tenderloins in the marinade and coat the turkey. Instead of placing the turkey breast tenderloin in a baking dish, you can also put everything inside a Ziplock bag, making sure to seal bag tightly.
Marinade for at least 30-60 minutes and up to 24 hours. For marinade times longer than 30-minutes we do recommend you place your bowl in the fridge, covered.
Remove the turkey from the marinade in the shallow pan, discard marinade for food safety, and cook the turkey tenderloin according to your favorite recipe. If you're looking for suggestions try our air fryer turkey tenderloins recipe.
Easy turkey tenderloin recipe ideas
- Air fryer turkey breast tenderloins
- Instant Pot turkey breast tenderloins
- How to grill turkey tenderloins
NOTE: Regardless of the method you cook turkey, use a meat thermometer and make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 f. And let the turkey tenderloins rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- If you are making your turkey marinade ahead of time, store your prepared turkey tenderloin marinade mix in an airtight container and use with-in 2-3 days. Some separation may occur, so stir or shake to combine before marinating meat.
- While you can marinate the turkey for up to 24 hours, a much shorter time of just 30-60 minutes works great for a quick and easy last-minute recipe, especially for boneless cuts of turkey.
- As the name implies, our turkey tenderloin marinade is made for turkey tenderloin pieces, but you can use it for larger pieces of turkey including cutlets, turkey breast (both boneless and bone-in), as well as turkey thighs and drumsticks. When marinating larger pieces of turkey meat, we do recommend you give it at least 2 hours.
- Using a marinade works for any cooking method whether you're baking, grilling, cooking on the stove, in a crock-pot, Instant Pot, or with an air fryer.
- Don't reuse marinades after you have soaked your meat, whether homemade or store-bought.
What to serve with turkey?
Turkey pairs very well with a variety of potato dishes whether baked, mashed potatoes, or boiled, root vegetables including turnips and squash, as well as greens including broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and side salads.
What's the difference between a marinade and a brine?
Marinades add a punch of flavor to the meat by soaking in a mix of oil, acid, and seasoning. This can be done quickly, with shorter marinade times as low as 30-minutes.
A brine, however, is used to add moisture to the meat and increase the juiciness of the final dish, and they often include a lot of salt. To be effective, you typically need to soak your meat in a brine for at least 24 hours.
Should I marinate turkey overnight?
For smaller cuts of boneless meat, you can add great flavor using a marinade for as little as 30-minutes, although you will increase the punch that your flavor adds by marinating longer. Larger pieces of meat, including bone-in options, do pretty well with a 2-4 hour marinade. You can safely marinate meat overnight and for up to 24-hours, however, with longer marinating times, refrigeration is needed.
Is turkey tenderloin the same as turkey breast?
Turkey tenderloin is part of the turkey breast meat and it is boneless without skin attached. The turkey tenderloins are often called turkey breast tenderloin and are often removed and sold separately as it's own cut of turkey.
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