The Best, Basic Marinade of the Summer: Dijon, Garlic and Lemon Marinade / Mia / Katie Workman /

At the end of a hot summer day, we all like to fling a piece of chicken or fish or steak on the grill, and be eating dinner with no fuss in short order.  But not a boring dinner, no that’s not for us.

If you want one boilerplate marinade for the summer, this is it. With this 5-ingredient  mixture you’ll be turning the most basic piece of protein into a meal you’d be happy to serve your family and just about anyone who might stop by on a warm summer night.   It will last for at least 5 days in the fridge.

This marinade is perfect for chicken, pork, shrimp, and any kind of fish, though tThis the the mustard chicken marinade I turn to over and over. Marinate chicken for at least 4 hours, up to 12 for bone-in pieces, shrimp for 30 minutes to 1 hour, and fish for 30 minutes max (more on marinating times here).

This is a vibrant mixture of lemon, garlic, shallots, and of course Dijon mustard.  Truly when you start any marinade with garlic and lemons it’s hard to go wrong.  The mustard helps emulsify the marinade, making it thicker so it really clings to the food.  It will last for several days in the fridge, and if you are visiting a friend, a pretty jar of this makes a wonderful gift (especially if you then use it to make dinner).


Serve with a Garlicky Garden Pasta Salad, or a Modern Greek Salad.  This is also a great salad dressing, especially if you substitute half the lemon juice with rice vinegar.  And it takes well to all kinds of add-ins, like fresh basil, or green onions or scallions subbed in for all or part of the shallots.

The Best, Basic Marinade of the Summer: Dijon, Garlic and Lemon Marinade / Mia / Katie Workman /

Now that you’re in the marinating mood, and if you’re moving on from this terrific lemon chicken marinade (and more)….


Ginger, Lime and Mint Marinade

Ginger Mint and Lime Marinade / Carrie Crow / Katie Workman /

Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade

Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade / Carrie Crow / Katie Workman /

Jamaican Jerk Style Marinade

Jamaican Jerk Marinade / Carrie Crow / Katie Workman /

But if you are just making one marinade all summer, I still pick this one:

Other Dijon Mustard Recipes:

The Best, Basic Marinade of the Summer: Dijon, Garlic and Lemon Marinade

If you make just one marinade this summer, this would be the one.
Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 3 lemons zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Put the olive oil, shallots, lemon zest and juice, mustard, and salt and pepper in a salad shaker, bowl or a jar with a lid.  Whisk or shake to combine well.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 6g | Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 12IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. I’ve been looking and looking for a dressing with these exact ingredients to go over a kale and brussel sprout salad.

    I still plan to keep it and use for my marinating!

    Think this would work to make a light salad dressing? Thank you!

  2. Just FYI. I made this recipe and bought shallots (as listed in the ingredients), then peeped the picture and saw scallions, not shallots. Recipe was delish, but which was I supposed to use?

    1. Hi there! The recipe does call for shallots, but you can swap in green onion for all or part, and add fresh herbs (like the basil in the photo). I made it a bit clearer in the text, but suffice it to say that sometimes as we’re shooting a dish, we throw in an additionanl food item or two, which without explanation might be confusing — as it was here!

  3. Hi, quick question- to use with pork tenderloin, how long should it marinate? With the lemon I’m thinking my usual overnight soak isn’t a good idea?

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