Get ready to taste the best Chimichurri Chicken recipe with this homemade Argentinian-inspired herby, garlicky chimichurri sauce. Enjoy as part of your healthy grill recipes, bake, or pan-fry to perfection and serve up with extra sauce for a tender, juicy, flavorful addition to any meal!
Love chicken thighs? Who doesn’t! Check out my Ukrainian baked chicken thighs or roasted chicken thighs and potatoes and Thai slow cooker chicken thighs for more inspiration.
Table of contents
Herby and Succulent Chimichurri Chicken
Get ready to grab those napkins because things are about to get juicy! This chimichurri chicken recipe combines chicken breast or thighs with a garlicky, herby, fresh, and summery chimichurri sauce. The result? A juicy, drippy, flavor-packed Argentinian chicken your entire family will love!
I love marinated chicken! Coconut lime grilled chicken thighs, chili lime chicken, and any of these 5 other easy chicken marinades all get featured in my chicken rotation alongside this chimichurri grilled chicken depending on what flavors I’m in the mood for.
If you’ve never had chimichurri sauce before, I liken it to pesto but lighter due to parsley instead of basil. This sauce combines parsley, oregano, maple (or honey), garlic, salt, olive oil, and red or white wine vinegar for a tangy, garlicky, herby fresh flavor that tastes like summer! Luckily for you, it can be enjoyed any time of the year; grilled, baked, or pan-fried to perfection!
Even better, you can make the sauce in one of three ways, depending on what herbs you have available; parsley, mint, or arugula! Best of all, though, you can whip up the sauce in practically seconds with a food processor (or a few minutes by hand). Once marinated, you can have this flavorful chicken on your table in under 30 minutes!
Funnily enough, in Argentina, chimichurri sauce is served as an accompaniment – not used as a marinade. However, once you’ve tried this chimichurri chicken this way, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s worth it! Serve it up with a simple green salad, some rice, broiled asparagus, or even pasta – there are tons of ways to enjoy this herby chicken (list of ideas below!)
Why This Recipe Works?
- The chimichurri sauce requires just a handful of ingredients and is ready in just minutes or even seconds with a food processor!
- The sauce can also be made in three ways, depending on what herbs you have available. So, you’ll never miss out!
- The chimichurri chicken is tender, juicy, and packed with the fresh and herby flavors of the chimichurri – the perfect accompaniment to tons of meals!
- This chimichurri chicken requires as little as 30 minutes marinating – or can be left to marinate overnight!
- Once marinated, this chicken can be cooked and, on your table, in under 30 minutes!
- This chicken dish is low-carb and keto-friendly!
- It can be cooked on a grill, in the oven, or pan-fried – for ultimate versatility!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken: You can use 4lb of bone-in chicken thighs or around 3lb of boneless chicken thighs or breasts. I like to use skinless, boneless chicken breast when possible – check the FAQ for more guidance.
- Chimichurri sauce: I use my homemade chimichurri sauce, which you can make three ways depending on what herbs you have available. The basic version combines fresh parsley with dried oregano, garlic, salt, maple (or honey), olive oil, and red or white wine vinegar for a refreshing, summery flavor.
Keep reading below (after the recipe how-to) for more information on recipe add-ins and variations!
How to Cook Chimichurri Chicken (3 Ways!)
Once prepared, this chimichurri chicken recipe can be cooked in one of three ways, making it versatile and easy to prepare year-round!
- Prepare the chimichurri sauce: First, combine all the chimichurri sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and process into a chunky sauce.
- Marinate the chicken: In a large container, add the chicken and pierce it several times with a small knife. Pour half the chimichurri sauce over the chicken, and then use your hands to make sure all the meat is fully covered. Allow it 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.
- Grill the chicken: Chimichurri grilled chicken is best cooked over indirect high heat for 15-20 minutes per side or until the juices run clear. You can check this with a knife near the bone and be aware that bone-in chicken will take longer to cook. Grills can vary, so check your chicken often to make sure it doesn’t overcook- you know your grill best, so it’s hard to advise on exact cooking times.
- Bake the chicken: lightly oil the bottom of a large baking dish and lay the marinated chicken in a single layer. Bake uncovered at 450F/230C until an internal read thermometer registers 150F/65C internal temperature. Baked chimichurri chicken will take around 25-30 minutes for chicken breasts and approximately 40 minutes for chicken thighs.
The baked chimichurri chicken should reach the safe 165F internal temperature while it rests from residual heat. Baking It this way means tender, juicy chicken every single time.
- Pan-fry the chicken: Preheat a skillet with a bit of oil, and then cook the chimichurri chicken until cooked through. For chicken breasts, this is usually 5-6 minutes per side. For chicken thighs, then 10-12 minutes per side is best. Cook the chicken covered to allow it to cook through the center without burning. Love the crispiness of pan fried but cutting down on oil? Use your air fryer and follow cooking direction for air fryer chicken breast.
This method will slightly burn the herbs in the chimichurri sauce though it still tastes delicious!
- To serve the chimichurri chicken: Once cooked, serve the chicken drizzled with the remaining chimichurri sauce (not the half you used as a marinade!) and enjoy.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Let the chicken rest: For at least 4-5 minutes before serving, to allow the juices to redistribute.
- To avoid overcooked chicken: I like to make sure it reaches 150F, then allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. The residual heat should bring the temperature up to 165F while it rests so your chicken remains tender and succulent. If you’re ‘wary,’ then allow it to reach 160F during cooking time.
- Experiment with the herbs: The sauce can be made three ways, so feel free to use what you have to hand!
Add-ins and Recipe Variations
There are several ways you can adapt the chimichurri sauce to your liking for this chimichurri chicken recipe, including:
- For heat: Feel free to add a small red chili to the chimichurri sauce or some red pepper flakes.
- Shallot: While not traditional, you can add a finely chopped shallot to the chimichurri sauce for extra depth of flavor.
- For red chimichurri: You can add red bell pepper or tomato to the sauce.
I prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts with this chimichurri sauce as the sauce itself has a lot of fat from the olive oil, so the dry white meat works very well. I recommend cutting it lengthwise so that it marinates and cooks better. However, feel free to use chicken breasts or thighs, skin-on or skin-off, bone-in or boneless – it all works (though 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 it overnight, when possible. Anything up to 24 hours will work.
Fun fact, in Argentina, no one marinates their chicken or steak in chimichurri sauce – but it’s delicious!
Depending on whether you go for grilled, pan-fried, or baked chimichurri chicken, the results will differ slightly. However, how you enjoy the herby chicken will remain the same. Here are some of my favorite ways:
- Grains/potato: 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 chimichurri chicken is a simple tomato-based salad like lettuce salad recipe. It will also pair with a healthy coleslaw, dill coleslaw, or Mexican bean salad.
- Veggie sides: Like roasted asparagus or baked zucchini sticks.
- Toss leftovers into a salad: You can enjoy leftover chimichurri chicken cold in a simple salad like this spinach salad, arugula salad, or even this baby kale salad.
- Wraps: Chop it up and add it to a wrap along with some salad veggies for a quick and flavorful meal-on-the-go!
- Pasta: Chop up the chicken and serve it with pasta tossed with the remaining chimichurri sauce and, optionally, a little cheese. This could be served warm or as a cold pasta salad (like with this tomato pasta salad). This chicken will also pair similarly with orzo and couscous.
Making Chimichurri Chicken Recipe in Advance
Make ahead: You can allow the chicken to marinate with the chimichurri sauce overnight, covered in the refrigerator, or freeze it with the marinade (I do this in Ziploc/reusable silicone bags). 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 covered.
Storing: Allow the chimichurri chicken to cool down, then refrigerate, covered, 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.
More Chicken Recipes to Try
- Grilled chicken
- Greek chicken kabobs
- Healthy lemon chicken recipe
- Baked honey garlic chicken
- Cajun chicken
- Greek chicken marinade
You might also enjoy browsing through my entire collection of healthy chicken recipes!
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1/4 cup white red or white wine vinegar
- 3 – 4 large garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 1 cup parsley packed
- Dash of maple syrup or raw honey
- Check out chimichurri sauce 3 ways if you have mint or arugula.
- 4 lbs of bone in chicken thighs or 3 lbs boneless thighs or breasts*
- In a food processor or high speed blender, add Chimichurri ingredients and process on Low until chunky sauce forms.
- In a large bowl, add chicken and pierce randomly with a small knife. Pour half of Chimichurri sauce on top and mix with your hands to coat the meat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or preferably overnight. The longer the better, obviously. Discard marinade before cooking.
- Grill: Grill on indirect high heat with closed lid for 15-20 minutes per side. Or until juices run clear (check with a knife near bone. Bone in chicken takes longer to cook. Grills vary so check your chicken often. You know your grill best, so it’s hard to advise on exact cooking time.
- Bake: Rub the bottom of large baking dish with oil and lay marinated chicken breasts or thighs in a single layer. Bake uncovered in 450 degrees F preheated oven for 25-35 minutes for chicken breasts and 40 minutes for thighs. 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 in preheated on medium heat skillet. Breasts – for 5-6 minutes covered per side. Thighs – for 10-12 minutes per side. Covering chicken will allow it to get cooked through in the thickest part without burning. However, keep in mind that pieces of parsley will burn a bit and that’s fine.
- Serve hot drizzled with remaining Chimichurri sauce. Crispy charred fatty chicken skin – to eat or not to eat – you decide. I occasionally do.:)
- Make ahead: Allow chicken to marinate with the chimichurri sauce overnight, covered in the refrigerator, or freeze it with the marinade.
- Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Transfer cooled chicken to freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying cold or reheating.
- * I used 12 large chicken thighs bone in and skin on. You can use boneless and skinless chicken breasts which would be perfect because they are lean. Cut them in thinner pieces lengthwise.
- **Check out chimichurri sauce 3 ways if you have mint or arugula.
Nutritional Info varies greatly on what cut of chicken you use, whether you eat skin or not and how much Chimichurri sauce you slather on it.:)
A huge hit for our pesto-loving family …. a great way to jazz-up chicken with non-spicy Argentine-flair.
Chimichurri sauce was fragrant, and reminiscent of Italian pesto but more “bright” since parsley has a lighter flavor than basil, and is a traditional palate-freshener. We love garlic so we doubled the amount, which brought out the deep layers of this sauce. Next time we’ll make double the sauce, and freeze it for future dishes … I’ll use this on everything!! 🙂 Thanks!
So glad your family enjoyed the recipe! Garlic is my fav too!
I like this recipe on steak and need try it on chicken.
My dad used to do this sauce for fried fish but it is good with chicken too!!!
With any meat, really!
My favourite summer recipe!!!
Another 5-star recipe!! I didn’t alter a thing…this chimichurri sauce is perfect as is! I used large boneless, skinless chicken tenders and marinated them for about 7 hours. I used a wood pellet smoker grill and the chicken turned out perfectly tender and so flavorful. I made the sauce with fresh flat leaf Italian parsley from our yard as well as garlic from our garden from last fall’s harvest. Such fresh, perfectly blended flavors in this recipe. I chose a dash of honey this time, which was perfect, but just out of curiosity I might try the maple syrup next time for comparison.
It was delicious!
Wow the recipe was absolutely wonderful,I love Grilled Chicken so much,Thanks for sharing this Recipe Olena!
You are very welcome!
Thanks! I will try them for sure, coconut cilantro looks especially interesting. Btw I used a tip yesterday for marinating meat that was new for me. I just put the marinade with the chicken in a large ziploc and tossed together. That’s so convenient! Clean hands, clean dishes, even coating.
Yes, that is! A bit environmentally unfriendly.:) I had a friend who used to mix large salads in a white garbage bag.
Absolutely excellent, a new staple in our household. My family adores what they believe is called ‘green chicken’ lol.
For marinating, I remove the blade from my food processor and dump the chicken in it. Saves on additional dishes and is environment friendly ??
Thanks for sharing ?
That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite, Christine!
We are tired of grilled chicken with lemon so I was looking for a new recipe. This was delicious! I have marinated chicken thighs for a couple hours and cooked them at roaster at home for an hour. It worked out perfectly! I also like the fact that the ingredients are simple and affordable.
Hi Galina. YES!. Glad you enjoyed.:) While grilled chicken sounds easy sometimes you are at a loss how to season it. Try my lemon rosemary and coconut cilantro grilled chicken.
Oh my! Sure wish it would stop raining….
I wish it stopped raining in Vancouver too.