Mexican
Chimichurri chicken served on a plate with lime slices

Chimichurri Chicken is a spicy, zesty chicken recipe made with chicken thighs or breasts marinated in a simple chimichurri sauce, then pan-fried or grilled and topped with more sauce before serving.

Chicken chimichurri served on a plate with lime slices

Elevate your chicken with this Chimichurri Chicken recipe! Chicken thighs are marinated in a fresh and vibrant chimichurri sauce, packed with flavor in every bite. You can cook it in a skillet or on the grill, so you can enjoy this recipe all year round.

Pair with lime cilantro rice or roasted Mexican vegetables for a healthy and satisfying meal.

Here's why I love this recipe so much:

  • Chimichurri is incredibly tasty! Made with fresh herbs and spices like cilantro, parsley, lime juice, and garlic, the sauce is used to marinate and tenderize meat, as well as baste just before serving. It adds a bright, refreshing, and spicy flavor.
  • Use your preferred cooking method. This recipe can be prepared on the grill, roasted in the oven or pan-fried.
  • It assembles quickly. With the lime juice and red wine vinegar in the chimichurri sauce quickly tenderizing the meat, the chicken only needs to marinate for 30 minutes to infuse with all the flavors. It's perfect for a quick weeknight dinner but tasty enough for a special weekend party.

Ingredients for Chimichurri Chicken separated into bowls for mixing Ingredients for Chimichurri Chicken separated into bowls for mixing

Chimichurri Chicken Ingredients

  • Parsley and coriander: I used an even mix of parsley and cilantro which gives the chimichurri sauce its distinctive, herb-rich flavor.
  • Condiments: I used a mix of kosher salt, oregano, red chili flakes, and coarse black pepper.
  • Lime juice and red wine vinegar: These ingredients are common in most chimichurri sauces. I used red wine vinegar and lime juice to quickly flavor and tenderize the chicken.
  • Olive oil: You can also use avocado oil or your favorite vegetable oil.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves add a spicy touch to the sauce.
  • Chicken: I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they are juicy and full of flavor, perfect for this bold chimichurri sauce, but you can also use bone-in chicken thighs or breasts if you prefer.

For juicier chicken, do not overcook it. The chicken should have an internal temperature of 165˚F at the thickest point on a instant read thermometer.

How to make chicken chimichurri

Prepare the chimichurri sauce. Place garlic cloves, lime juice, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse in 1-second intervals until all ingredients are finely chopped, about 5-6 times.

All the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce were added and blended in a food processorAll the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce were added and blended in a food processor

Reserve Add ¼ cup of sauce and set aside for drizzling and serving later.

Marinate the chicken. In a nonreactive bowl, lightly season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add the chimichurri sauce to the chicken thighs. Gently turn the chicken to coat evenly with the marinade.

Cover the chicken and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but up to 8 hours.

Chicken thighs on a plate covered with chimichurri sauce ready for marinatingChicken thighs on a plate covered with chimichurri sauce ready for marinating

Bring to room temperature. 15 minutes before you are ready to cook, remove the chicken and the reserved sauce from the refrigerator and place them on the table to let the chimichurri dissolve. It will probably have thickened in the refrigerator and will need to return to the right consistency.

Cook the chicken. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chicken thighs for about 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F using a instant read thermometerCooking time varies depending on whether you use skinless or skinless chicken thighs and breasts.

Pan-fried Chimichurri ChickenPan-fried Chimichurri Chicken

Serve. Toss the chicken thighs with the reserved chimichurri sauce and serve with cilantro lime rice, chipotle potatoes, or black beans.

Chicken Chimichurri Served with Lime WedgesChicken Chimichurri Served with Lime Wedges

Recipe Tips

  • For perfect cooking and crustLet the pan heat up over medium-high heat for a few minutes before cooking the chicken. Turn it as little as possible.
  • For a more charred flavorcook the chicken chimichurri on the grill or in a grill pan.
  • Why Chimichurri Sauce Uses So Much Olive Oildo not add more oil to the pan and do not dry the chicken.
  • I do not recommend marinating for more than 8 hours, otherwise the chicken will fall apart too much and take on a strange texture.
  • Do you have any leftover sauce? Pour it over steaks like carne asada, fish or pork!
  • Don't have chicken legs? You can also use chicken breasts or drumsticks. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the meat.

Storage and heating

To store, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

To reheat, microwave in 30 second increments until heated through. You can also reheat in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

Other Chicken Recipes

Chicken Chimichurri

Preparation: 10 minutes

Marinating time: 30 minutes

Cooked: 15 minutes

Total: 55 minutes

Chimichurri Chicken is a lively and flavorful recipe, marinated in a simple chimichurri sauce and then pan-fried or grilled.

Instructions

  • Add parsley, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, lime juice, red wine vinegar, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, and black pepper to a food processor. Blend until all ingredients are finely chopped. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.

  • Reserve ¼ cup of the chimichurri sauce and refrigerate to use when serving.

  • Combine the chicken thighs and remaining chimichurri sauce in a large bowl. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, up to 8 hours. 2 hours is ideal.

  • 15 minutes before you are ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator along with the reserved chimichurri sauce. Leave it on the table to let it come to room temperature.

  • To cook in a pan: Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Shake off any excess marinade and add the chicken thighs to the hot skillet. Cook for about 5-7 minutes per side until the internal temperature reaches 165℉.

  • To grill: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Shake off excess marinade and add chicken thighs to hot grates. Cover and grill for 5-7 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 165˚F.

  • Serve with the reserved chimichurri sauce.

Notes

  • Since chimichurri sauce uses a lot of olive oil, do not add more oil to the pan or dry out the chicken.
  • I don't recommend marinating for more than 8 hours, otherwise the chicken will fall apart too much and have a weird texture.
  • Don't have any skinless, boneless chicken thighs? You can use chicken breasts or drumsticks. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the meat. Use a meat thermometer to make sure you don't overcook it.

Nutritional information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 272kilocalorie (14%), Carbohydrates: 3G (1%), Protein: 30G (60%), Fat: 15G (23%), Saturated fats: 3G (15%), Polyunsaturated fats: 2G, Monounsaturated fat: 9G, Trans Fats: 0.03G, Cholesterol: 144mg (48%), Sodium: 921mg (38%), Potassium: 472mg (13%), Fiber: 1G (4%), Sugar: 0.3G, Vitamin A: 1124IU (22%), C vitamin: 17mg (21%), Soccer: 46mg (5%), Iron: 2mg (11%)

Photographs by Ashley McLaughlin.

This recipe was originally published in February 2024 and has been updated with new photos.

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