The aroma of a steak being seared in a cast-iron skillet means that dinner is just about ready. No matter what type of steak is on the menu, it should be caramelized on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside. No one likes a steak that’s tough.

For some cuts, it’s important to tenderize steak before cooking. The term is as straightforward as it sounds—making meat more tender. There are a variety of not-so-secret kitchen secrets about the best way to tenderize steak, including one surprising household item: baking soda. Read on to learn how to tenderize steak with baking soda!

Does baking soda tenderize steak?

Yes, beyond its clever cleaning uses and role as a staple baking ingredient, baking soda can also be used to tenderize steak. Or any meat, really. It’s a surprisingly effective method.

The reason is that when baking soda comes into contact with a steak’s surface, it alkalizes the steak, or raises the steak’s pH levels. This helps the meat fibers be less tight. Like the salt in a brine solution, this makes the steak more tender (and tasty). It also helps the steak retain more water.

Just look at this TikTok from @CheffreyEats, who compares the outcome of cooking two steaks—one tenderized with baking soda and one without. The result is noticeable. As one user comments, “it makes a world of difference in tenderness.” Genius!

@cheffreyeats Perfect Steak! #steak #bussin #cook #cooking #chef #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #velveting #viral #trending #homecooking #dinner #chefathome #recipe ♬ original sound – CheffreyEats

How to Make Steak Extra Tender

Take a look at the most unusual methods you can use to make steak more tender:

Baking soda

Add baking soda to the steak’s surface by delicately sprinkling it on. Make sure not to overdo the amount of baking soda you use because it can easily over-tenderize the meat. Carefully rub the baking soda into the meat’s surface before moving it to a zip-top bag or glass bowl.

From there, leave it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. Then take the meat out of the container and rinse it ensuring that all—or most—of the baking soda is off the steak. Then grill the steak and see if you notice the difference!


Another surprising yet efficient tenderizing agent is plain Greek yogurt. Use it to create a marinade, and not only does it tenderize steak, but it creates a dynamic flavor, too.

Coffee grounds

Coffee lovers, this tenderizer is for you. It may not be the most common choice, but its acidic properties are somewhat similar to yogurt in enhancing the flavor and making the meat more tender. Try out this coffee marinated steak to see the process for yourself.

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