Fire up the grill for this chimichurri chicken! A super easy recipe, this chimichurri chicken can be made with lean chicken breasts or dark meat chicken thighs—your choice! A quick food-processor sauce and a brief 30-minute marinating time is all this recipe takes. 

This chimichurri chicken is:

  • Quick and easy
  • Bold 
  • Fresh 
  • Healthy
  • Great for weeknights and meal prep

What is Chimichurri sauce?

Chimichurri is a classic Argentinian sauce made of finely chopped fresh parsley, oregano, onion (I like to use shallot), and garlic all combined with olive oil and vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper. It’s simple in nature, but bold in flavor.

This thick sauce is used heavily in Argentina with grilled meats but is also delicious with fish and seafood, roasted vegetables, and potatoes.

image of herbs, garlic, shallot, peppercorns, salt, olive oil and vinegar arranged on a marble countertop

How to make chimichurri chicken:

This recipe is as straightforward as they come! Chimichurri chicken is simply chicken marinated in chimichurri sauce. Easy peasy ladies and gents. 

So what does a chimichurri sauce entail? For starters you’ll need some fresh parsley, fresh oregano (or dried oregano), onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, and good olive oil. I season the bright sauce with salt and pepper, but if you like things a bit spicier you can add a dash of red pepper flakes too.

To make the sauce you’ll add the herbs, onion, and garlic to a food processor and pulse just until chopped. All that’s left is to add the oil and vinegar and pulse it all together to create the herby Argentinian sauce!

You can use either chicken breasts or thighs for this chimichurri chicken recipe—the process is slightly different between the two, but neither are challenging. Let’s walk through the process for both cuts of chicken.

grid of images showing the process of making chimichurri sauce in a food processor.

Chimichurri chicken breast

The key to making realllllly good chicken breast is to thinly slice it and to cook it quickly. This method of cooking chicken breast ensures that each piece of chicken cooks at the same rate, ensuring the meat stays juicy and tender—not dry and overcooked. I employ this method in this recipe, adding a little bit of marinating time to further promote juiciness and flavor. 

  1. Make the chimichurri sauce in the food processor
  2. Slice the chicken breasts into ½-inch thick slices (pop the chicken in the freezer 15 minutes prior to prepping and it will make slicing easier).
  3. Toss the sliced chicken breasts with ¼ cup chimichurri and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Marinate chicken breasts for 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours.
  5. Grill chicken breasts over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side.
two photos side by side, one photo is a white bowl filled with sliced chicken breast tossed with chimichurri and the second image is chicken thighs with chimichurri sauce tucked underneath the skin

Chimichurri chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on):

When grilling chicken thighs it’s best to start skin-side down on the grill grate. The reason for this is that the skin can crisp up for just a few minutes before getting flipped grilled until cooked through. If grilled too long skin-side down, the skin with burn and become bitter.

By starting skin side down, you can control how crispy and charred the skin gets without worrying if it’s cooked through yet.

  1. Make the chimichurri sauce in the food processor
  2. Lightly loosen the skin from thighs and spoon 1 tablespoon chimichurri sauce underneath the skin.
  3. Generously season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. 
  4. Transfer chicken thighs to the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or cover and chill for up to 12 hours.
  5. Grill chicken thighs, skin side down, over medium-high heat until charred, 4 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken thighs and continue to cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers, but not touching the bone, registers 165ºF (74ºC), 8–10 minutes.
grilled chimichurri chicken breast one a white plate with a bowl of chimichurri set off to the side

Can I Use Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs?

Sure, why not! Marinate one pound boneless skinless chicken thighs in ¼ cup chimichurri sauce for at least 30 minutes or up to eight hours (I find four hours to be the sweet spot).

Heat a grill to medium-high, brush the grill grate with oil, and grill the thighs until charred on both sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers registers 165ºF (74ºC), 4–6 minutes per side.

Grilled chicken thighs on a white plate drizzled with chimichurri sauce with a bowl of green sauce off to the side

How Long Should You Marinate the Chicken?

In general, it’s best to marinate chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes and no longer than 12 hours. Any longer than 12 hours in a marinade and chicken can start to become mealy and off-textured. If you’re using a super acidic marinade I would keep the marinating time to 8 hours or less.

What to Serve with Chimichurri Chicken

grilled chimichurri chicken breast one a white plate with a bowl of chimichurri set off to the side

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the chimichurri sauce up to one week ahead of time. The sauce will last two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but it’s best used within the first week.

If you want to make a big batch of sauce for quick meals on the fly, you can also freeze it! To freeze chimichurri, pour the sauce into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once solid, transfer the frozen sauce cubes to an airtight container or zipper-lock bag and store in the freezer for up to three months.

Just be sure to bring the sauce to room temperature before using or serving so the flavors can unlock a bit.

You May Also Like…

Grilled chicken thighs on a white plate drizzled with chimichurri sauce with a bowl of green sauce off to the side

Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make this Chimichurri Chicken!

To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can click the button on any of the photos, or the red button on the side bar or below the recipe. Happy cooking!

Chimichurri Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Marinating time 30 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Category Main Dish
Cuisine Argentinian
Author Lauren Grant

Description

Chimichurri chicken two ways! This charred chicken recipe can be made with either chicken thighs or breasts and creates tender, juicy meat with a bright and bold sauce to go with it.  

Ingredients

Chicken Breast

Chicken Thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

Chicken Thighs (boneless, skinless)

Instructions

Chicken Breasts

  • Toss chicken with ¼ cup Chimichurri and salt; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high.
  • Brush grill grate with oil. Grill chicken pieces until charred and cooked through, 1½ –2 minutes per side.
  • Drizzle chicken with additional chimichurri sauce and serve.

Chicken Thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

  • Loosen skin on thighs and insert about 1 tablespoon Chimichurri underneath the skin, then wrap any excess skin around the thigh. Season thighs generously with salt and pepper, then place in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or cover and chill for up to 12 hours.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high.
  • Brush grill grate with oil. Place thighs skin side-down on grate and grill until charred, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip (beware of flare ups) and continue to grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers but not touching the bone registers 165ºF (74ºC), 8–10 minutes.
  • Drizzle thighs with additional chimichurri sauce and serve.

Chicken Thighs (boneless, skinless)

  • Toss chicken with ¼ cup Chimichurri and salt; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high.
  • Brush grill grate with oil. Grill chicken thighs until charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted int he centers registers 165ºF (74ºC), 4–6 minutes per side.
  • Drizzle chicken with additional chimichurri sauce and serve.

Notes

Keep an eye on the grill if you are cooking chicken thighs. The added fat in the skin can cause flare ups—nothing to be concerned about, but it is a good idea to keep an eye on the grill! Take caution when flipping the thighs as fat that has pooled underneath the skin may drip out and cause a flare up.

Nutrition

Serving: 4-ounces chicken breast + 2 tablespoons sauceCalories: 239kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 24gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 1.5gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 259mgFiber: 1g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Grilled chicken thighs on a white plate drizzled with chimichurri sauce with a bowl of green sauce off to the side

Pin This Recipe

Love this recipe and want to save it? Pin this recipe!

Pin This Recipe
Dinner's on Me Tonight!
Subscribe now and unlock the exclusive 15-minute recipe I make every week!
chicken salad on lettuce on a white plate

Share it with the world

Pin

About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

Learn More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




Comments