Get ready to taste the best Chimichurri Chicken recipe with this homemade Argentinian-inspired chimichurri sauce. You can grill or pan fry it to perfection and serve with extra chimichurri on a side.
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What Is Chimichurri Chicken?
Get ready to grab those napkins because things are about to get juicy! This chimichurri chicken recipe combines chicken breast or chicken thighs with a garlicky, herby, fresh and summery chimichurri sauce.
The result? A juicy, drippy, flavor-packed Argentinian chicken your entire family will love!
If you’ve never had chimichurri sauce before, I compare it to pesto but lighter because it is made with fresh parsley instead of basil. This chimichurri chicken requires as little as 30 minutes marinating or can be left to marinate overnight.
Ingredients for Chimichurri Chicken
This chimichurri chicken recipe requires just a handful of simple ingredients to make chimichurri sauce plus your choice of chicken.
- Fresh parsley: Only the leaves. I used Italian parsley but curly parsley will work as well.
- Fresh garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are the best. I do not recommend to use minced garlic from a jar but it will work in a pinch.
- Olive oil: I always use quality extra virgin olive oil as it contains the most flavor.
- Red wine vinegar: For a zing. You can also use white wine vinegar or lemon juice.
- Spices: Dried oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Chicken: I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts because the sauce is very rich from addition of olive oil. Of course, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs, if you wish.
How to Make Chimichurri Chicken
Here is a quick overview how to make chimichurri chicken from scratch. You can whip up the sauce in practically seconds with a food processor or in a few minutes by hand.
Once prepared, this chicken chimichurri recipe can be cooked on the grill, on the stove or in the oven making it versatile and easy to prepare chicken recipe year round.
- Make the chimichurri sauce: First, combine parsley and garlic in a food processor and process until chopped. Then add olive oil, vinegar, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and process into a chunky sauce. You can also mince all ingredients by hand.
- Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, add the chicken and most of the chimichurri sauce, then mix to make sure chicken is fully covered. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. Once marinated, make sure to discard any leftover marinade for food safety reasons!
Next, it’s time to cook the chimichurri chicken. You can do this in one of three ways.
- Grilled chimichurri chicken: Preheat grill on medium-high heat to 450-500 degrees F and rub grill grates with oiled paper towel. Place chicken on the grill, close the lid and grill chicken breasts for 4-5 minutes or chicken thighs for 5-6 minutes per side. Do not overcook.
- Baked chimichurri chicken: Lightly oil the bottom of a large baking dish and lay the marinated chicken in a single layer. Bake uncovered at 450 F for 25-30 minutes for chicken breasts and approximately 40 minutes for chicken thighs.
- Pan fried chimichurri chicken: Preheat large skillet with a bit of oil, and pan fry chicken for 5-6 minutes per side. This method will slightly burn the herbs in the chimichurri sauce though it still tastes delicious!
Tips for Best Results
Here are my top tips for the best chimichurri chicken recipe!
- To avoid overcooked chicken: I like to cook chicken only to 150 F, then allowing it to rest. The residual heat should bring the temperature up to 165 F while meat rests, so your chicken remains tender and succulent. If you’re wary, then allow chicken to reach 165F during cooking time as per USDA guidelines. To check if chicken is ready, insert meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken.
- Let the chicken rest: Cover cooked chimichurri chicken with foil and let it sit for at least 4-5 minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
- Bone-in chicken: Feel free to use chicken drumsticks or bone-in chicken thighs but cook chicken a bit longer then.
- Experiment with fresh herbs: You can make chimichurri sauce with parsley or cilantro, so feel free to use what you have to hand.
- Shallot: While not traditional, you can add a finely chopped shallot to the chimichurri sauce for extra depth of flavor.
- Red chili pepper: Use one small red chili pepper instead of red pepper flakes.
What Can I Serve Chimichurri Chicken with?
Once cooked, serve the chicken topped with the remaining chimichurri sauce. The chimichurri chicken is tender, juicy, and packed with the fresh and herby flavors. Perfect accompaniment to tons of meals!
Here are some of my favorite ways:
- Grains and potatoes: Serve with a side of quinoa, brown rice or mashed potatoes. It also pairs well with dishes like this Mediterranean quinoa salad.
- Side salads: My favorite option with this chicken is a simple spring mix salad, healthy coleslaw or Mexican bean salad.
- Roasted vegetables: Like baked asparagus recipe.
- Toss leftovers into a salad: You can enjoy leftover chimichurri chicken cold in a simple salad like this cucumber tomato avocado salad.
- Wraps: Chop it up and add it to a wrap along with some greens for a quick and flavorful meal-on-the-go!
How to Store
Store: Allow cooked chicken to cool down, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can enjoy it hot or cold!
Freeze: Allow the cooked chicken to cool before transferring to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying cold or reheating.
I prefer to cook boneless skinless chicken breasts with chimichurri sauce as the sauce itself has a lot of fat from the olive oil, so the dry white meat works very well. However, feel free to use chicken thighs, with skin-on or skin-off, bone-in or boneless. Although the cooking time will vary. You could even use this chimichurri sauce for cooking chicken kabobs.
Since you will be serving the chicken with extra sauce, you can get away with as little as 30 minutes of marinating time. However, the longer, the better. For that reason, I recommend marinating chicken overnight whenever possible. Anything up to 24 hours will work.
Yes, you can make chimichurri chicken ahead of time. You can allow the chicken to marinate with the chimichurri sauce in the refrigerator or freeze it with the marinade. Once frozen, store for up to 2 months. It will marinate while you allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge. The chimichurri sauce can be prepared several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
Chimichurri sauce tastes garlicky, herby and fresh with a bit of a heat kick.
No. Both pesto and chimichurri sauces are made with olive oil and garlic but they are very different. Pesto is an Italian sauce made with fresh basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Chimichurri is Argentinian sauce made with fresh parsley, vinegar and chili peppers.
More Chicken Recipes to Try
- Cilantro lime chicken
- Cajun chicken
- Chili lime chicken
- Greek chicken
- Lemon garlic chicken
- Grilled BBQ chicken breast
- Lemon rosemary chicken
- Grilled chicken thighs
- Grilled chicken burger
- Roasted chicken thighs and potatoes
- Baked boneless chicken thighs
Chimichurri Chicken Recipe
- Hold the bouquet of parsley by the stems and remove (shave off) parsley leaves. Then coarsely chop. In a food processor, add parsley and garlic, process until finely chopped. Add olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt. Give a few pulses just to combine until chunky sauce forms.
- In a large bowl, add chicken and most of the chimichurri sauce, reserving some for serving. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours. Discard marinade before cooking. When ready to cook, you can grill, bake or pan fry the chicken.
- Grill: Preheat grill on medium-high (450-500 degrees F) and rub with oiled paper towel. Place chicken on the grill, close the lid and grill chicken thighs for 10-12 minutes or chicken breasts for 8-10 minutes turning once. Do not overcook. Remove chicken from the grill, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Bake: In a large baking dish, add marinated chicken in a single layer. Bake uncovered in 450 degrees F preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until internal read thermometer registers 150 degrees F internal temperature. You do not need to wait for 165 degrees F as meat will get there during resting. This way you will avoid dry chicken.
- Pan Fry: Cook chicken in preheated skillet on medium heat for 5-6 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. Keep in mind that pieces of parsley will burn a bit and that's fine.
- Serve chimichurri chicken warm topped with remaining chimichurri sauce.
- Make ahead: Allow chicken to marinate with the chimichurri sauce overnight, covered in the refrigerator, or freeze it with the marinade (without marinating in the fridge first).
- Store: Refrigerate chimichurri chicken in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Transfer cooked and cooled chicken to freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying cold or reheating.