Best Steak Marinade for "Steak and Tubes"

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This easy steak marinade makes practically any cut of steak tender and delicious. Use it on beef tenderloin, beef stew, or steak tips and stir fry or grill the meat for a savory main dish to pair with buttered noodles.

Marinated steak on a plate next to buttered noodles.

This steak marinade recipe has been in my family for over 30 years.

It has been the #1 Most Requested birthday dinner, I can't even begin to count the number of times I've made it.

I use this 2-ingredient steak marinade on chunks of beef tenderloin and ALWAYS serve it with buttered noodles, specifically penne pasta.

When paired together, our family calls this dish: "Steak and Tubes."

The ridiculous name for the pasta shape was what my mom called it to "sell it" to my little sister. The name just stuck, and the recipe requires both the steak and the pasta together to be authentic in our family.

But if you don't want to serve it with buttered noodles, I promise you'll love the steak marinade enough to use it all by itself with other easy sides for a special meal.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

If you asked my mom who invented this dish or my family who loves eating this dish, they would tell you that this is the best steak marinade recipe because:

  1. Just 2 Ingredients: It really doesn't get easier than this.
  2. Prep Ahead: I love that when you marinate steak, when it comes time to cook the meal, everything goes really quickly. It's exactly why we've made it for holiday and birthday meals.
  3. The Sauce: My husband insisted I share this note: "The best part of this dinner is dipping the buttered noodles in the finished steak sauce, be sure to use all the marinade!"


The two bottles of italian dressing and teriyaki sauce are on the counter next to a measuring cup.

When a recipe has only two ingredients, it becomes pretty important to get the right ones.

To make this easy steak marinade, all you need is:

  1. Kraft ZESTY Italian Dressing: It absolutely HAS to be the zesty version, not the regular Italian dressing.
  2. Kikkoman Original Teriyaki Sauce: Yes, I love to make my own homemade thick teriyaki sauce. But for this recipe, I always, always use the prepared bottle.

Could you substitute a homemade Italian dressing or another brand? Could you substitute the teriyaki for another brand?

Yes, you could and it would work but it won't taste the same, and that might still be ok. But if you want to try the recipe exactly as we've made it for 30+ years, you'll need those two easy items from the grocery store.

To finish cooking the full "steak and tubes" meal, you will also need:

  • Steak: See notes below on which cut to use
  • Penne Pasta: You could substitute another shape, but this one is traditional
  • Butter
  • Garlic Salt

The Best Steak for Marinating

This is where things get a little controversial among die-hard "steak and tubes" fanatics.

Growing up, my mom always used beef tenderloin that was cut into 1.5-inch cubes.

When I mention that to friends, I've heard loud gasps of horror: Why would you take such a nice, expensive cut of beef, and marinate it??

The answer is simple: Because it is utterly delicious and we're serving it for a special occasion.

Now there have been times where we were craving this special dish but I was not on a "birthday dinner budget."

When I need to make this recipe more cost effective, I absolutely substitute other more budget-friendly cuts of steak.

You could use:

  • Beef Stew Chunks
  • Flank Steak
  • Round Steak
  • Chuck Steak
  • Steak Tips

NOTE: If you plan to grill the steak, you'll want to use a flank steak or steak tips and skip slicing it into smaller pieces as directed below.

How to Marinate the Beef

First, no matter what kind of steak you're using, it is important to chop the meat into smaller pieces.

UNLESS you plan to grill the meat. In that case, leave your flank steak or steak tips whole.

For the beef tenderloin or other larger roasts, cut the steak into 1.5-inch chunks.

If you're using a flank steak, I'd recommend thinly slicing it against the grain.

Put the cut steak into a glass dish.

Combine the Italian dressing and Teriyaki sauce in a measuring cup and whisk together with a fork.

Pour the marinade over the steak and use a fork or tongs to gently toss the steak pieces in the marinade. You want every single bit of surface area coated in sauce.

The chunks of beef are in a glass dish. The marinade is being poured over the top.

Cover the dish and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours. The longer you can let it marinade, the better.

The minimum time I've ever marinated the steak is about 4 hours but we almost always do it the day before the meal.

How to Cook the Marinated Beef

Let the marinated steak sit on the counter for 20 minutes before you plan to cook it to reduce the chill from the fridge.

To cook the sliced steak, set out a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.

Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and let it melt until it bubbles slightly.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the steak out of the marinade and let the excess drip back into the dish.

Add the strained steak to the hot skillet and brown it in the butter, about 3 - 5 minutes.

Once the beef has browned on all sides, pour the marinade into the dish and let the steak finish cooking through as the marinade comes to a bubble.

The marinated beef is in a large, deep skillet.

Food Safety Note

For food safety reasons, you really have to make sure the marinade has come to a full boil before you eat it.

If you don't like the idea of your beef simmering in the marinade or you're worried that your steak is already cooked through enough, simply add the reserved marinade to a separate sauce pan and bring it to a heavy boil before using it to drizzle over the finished meat.

Serving Suggestions

A white plate has the marinated steak next to a scoop of buttered penne pasta and a caesar salad.

Our family is very particular about this recipe.

We always serve it like this:

  1. The Marinated Steak
  2. Buttered Penne Pasta: Just penne pasta tossed in melted butter with a sprinkle of garlic salt over the top.

My mom always served it with glazed baby carrots, the sweet brown sugar and butter sauce perfectly pairs with this awesome steak sauce.

Sometimes I add a Caesar salad.

Everyone I have ever served this dish loves to dip the pieces of steak into the butter from the noodles and into the beef marinade on the plate. We all practically lick our plates with this meal in order to not miss one delicious drop.

📖 Recipe

Marinated steak on a plate next to buttered noodles.

Steak Marinade for "Steak and Tubes"

5 from 1 vote
This easy steak marinade is delicious on steak tips, flank steak, beef stew, or even beef tenderloin for a special meal. Saute the beef in a skillet in melted butter and serve with a side of buttered noodles for a delicious and easy dinner.
TOTAL TIME 30 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 20 minutes
YIELD 6 servings


For the Steak Marinade:

  • 1 cup of Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing be sure to buy the ZESTY variety
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 2 lbs beef cut into 1.5-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp butter

For the Buttered Noodles (Also known as "Tubes"):

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic salt


Marinate the Steak

  • At least 24 hours before you plan to serve the meal you need to prepare the steak marinade.
  • Trim any large portions of fat from the beef and cut it into 1.5-inch pieces. 
  • You need a 1 to 1 ratio of Italian dressing and teriyaki sauce. 2 cups of marinade will generously cover your steak and provide a finished sauce at the end. Combine them in a measuring cup and pour over the meat in a glass dish. Use a fork or spoon to gently toss the steak in the marinade. Make sure each piece has been coated in the marinade. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Overnight is even better if you can plan ahead. 

Cook the Steak

  • Place the dish of marinating steak on the counter for 20 minutes before you plan to cook so the steak isn't too cold when it hits the skillet.
  • Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and melt the butter until it is just bubbling.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to the saute pan, letting the excess marinade drip back into the dish.
  • Brown the beef in the butter for 3 - 5 minutes.
  • Pour the reserved marinade into the skillet and bring it to a boil while the steak simmers and finishes cooking.
  • NOTE: If your steak is already cooked through, you can pour the reserved marinade into a saucepan and boil it before serving. Don't overcook the beef.  

For the Buttered Noodles

  • Boil the pasta for the shortest amount of time directed on the packaging. Drain.
  • Melt the butter in the pot over medium heat. Toss in the pasta and sprinkle with the garlic salt. Continue to stir occasionally so that some of the pasta just barely starts to crisp up in the butter. Our family fights over the crunchy ones.
  • Serve the finished steak with a drizzle of the sauce over the top along with a serving of buttered noodles on the side.

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Steak and Tubes: the most ridiculously delicious dinner ever!! A simple steak marinade with garlic butter noodles is the most satisfyingly delicious celebratory dinner you can make for your loved ones.


  1. Pingback: Family-friendly New Year's Eve recipes you can make ahead
    1. Hi Tom, We have a family of four and usually have just a few bites left of the steak. You could easily increase the steak without having to increase the marinade too much but if you go more than 3 pounds of steak, then I'd double the marinade. Enjoy!

  2. Can you recommend a substitute for the Kraft Zesty Italian dressing? I would love to try the marinade out, but I live in Australia and can't seem to find that exact product locally ;(

  3. Tiff! I made this for Jeff this weekend for Valentine's Day and I can say for certain that this meal has leap frogged into Jeff's top 5 favorite meals. He's never commented so much on a meal, maybe ever. What was funny was that it was almost exactly what you had talked about in your instructions above! Here are a few quotes (unpromted): "Have you had any of the crunchy noodles? They are awesome!!" "What did you put in these noodles, they are sooooo good!" "What did you marinate the meat in, holy cow! It is so flavorful!!" It was as good as I remember as well and so easy. Thanks for reminding me of this yummy meal! Oh, Jeff says thank you too!! 🙂

  4. Thinking about making this "Tiffany Classic" for Valentine's Day this weekend! I can remember the first time I tried it at our apartment off of Junction Road! Soooooo Yummy!!

  5. Chelsea, buttered noodles are my "stranded on an island" must-have food. They are the first stop comfort food in my book for sure!

  6. As soon as o read this I got up and started boiling water for pasta! I love garlic butter pasta it's like ultimate comfort food!

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