Marinating vs Macerating

I tend to think of “marinating” when it comes to getting flavor into food (meat, tofu, veg, fruit) and “macerating” as the process of adding sugar to a fruit to draw out the juices and break down the flesh.

According to a couple of brief web searches it seems that I may be wrong in my understanding of the meaning/usage of the two terms.

Edited to add: I also tend to think of marinating as an act prior to cooking something and macerating not necessarily involving cooking the item after it has been macerated. Though I can also immediately think of situations where that doesn’t apply, too.


Macerated is also used in the practice of medicine :mask:.


From what I’ve read there’s no real consensus over the difference. Maybe it’s one of those differences without a distinction.

Marinading seems to apply to proteins and vegetables where macerate applies to fruits.

I marinade meat, some vegetables, and my liver; that’s it. Fruit I tend to eat fresh and raw.


I think you’re right in the early part of your explanation, and the definitions support that.

I also think of marinating typically as a before (and also as a tenderizer in many cases), but I guess you could could cook first and add the marinade/sauce after.

Macerate I think I only use for fruit, though I guess you could probably call salting some vegetables to pull out water or bitterness macerating as well.


When you marinate food you soak it in a liquid mixture to flavor and tenderize it. Teriyaki marinade is a good example. You can buy this marinade – a combination of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, cooking oil and ginger – but I do not think it is as good as homemade. In a word, homemade tastes fresher. For the best kitchen appliance here.