The main difference between marinade and sauce is that marinade is a liquid solution in which you can soak food before cooking, while sauce is a thick liquid you serve with food.
Marinades and sauces are two types of liquid solutions we use in cooking. These might have similar types of ingredients and add flavour to the food. But there is a distinct difference between marinade and sauce.
Key Areas Covered
What is a Marinade
A marinade is simply a liquid solution in which you can soak food, especially meat, before cooking. The process of soaking food in a marinade is called marinating. A marinade can add flavour to the food and make it more tender. A good marinade always has the right balance of oil, acid, and seasonings. It often uses an acidic ingredient like vinegar, citrus juice, and wine or an enzymatic component like papaya, pineapple, guava, kiwi, and ginger. These ingredients cause the tissues of the meat to weaken, allowing the seasoning and fluids to enter the meat.
However, you shouldn’t marinate food for an extended period of time. This can make the meat tough and dry. The amount of time used to marinate actually depends on the type and cut of meat. Beef and pork require marinating for longer periods while fish and seafood only require marinating for about 15-30 minutes. Marinades are especially useful for grilled food.
What is a Sauce
A sauce is a liquid or semi-liquid you serve with food to add moistness and flavour. It always acts as a condiment to the main dish. A sauce can add flavour, moisture as well as visual appeal to food. Although we mostly consider sauces as liquids, some sauces have more solid parts than liquid components. Sauces are made in cuisines all over the world, using a variety of ingredients and processes.
Apple sauce, tomato sauce, soy sauce, béchamel sauce, oyster sauce, mayonnaise, bread sauce and Worcestershire sauce are some examples of sauces. Moreover, sauces that are made for salads are called salad dressing. Sauce made by deglazing a pan is called pan source.
Sauces can be prepared and served cold or can be prepared cold but served lukewarmly. Some sauces can be cooked and served warm or cooked and served cold. Some sauces like soy sauce and tomato sauce are readily available in stores, but some other sauces have to be freshly made at home.
Difference Between Marinade and Sauce
A marinade is simply a liquid solution in which you can soak food, especially meat, before cooking, while a sauce is a liquid or semi-liquid you serve with food to add moistness and flavour.
We soak food in a marinade before cooking, but a sauce is usually served with cooked food or added to food during the cooking process.
A marinade is a mix of ingredients, and it’s not cooked, but a sauce goes through a cooking process.
The main difference between marinade and sauce is that marinade is a liquid solution in which you can soak food before cooking, while the sauce is a thick liquid you serve with food. If you want to use your leftover marinade as a sauce to add flavour, make sure to cook it first.
1. Riches, Derrick. “What Is a Marinade and Why Should You Be Using One?” The Spruce Eats, Available here.
2. Filippone, Peggy Trowbridge. “How to Use Leftover Marinade and Other Tips.” The Spruce Eats, Available here.