Chimichurri Grilled Chicken Thighs

Chimichurri is one of those vibrant, flavorful sauces that would taste good on cardboard. Now, I'm not suggesting that you try it on cardboard....I was just making a point. I'm suggesting that you try it on my Chimichurri Grilled Chicken Thighs, a dish that I serve on repeat during grilling season. After that, maybe try it with steak, shrimp, fish, grilled vegetables, or even as a dressing on a salad. Your options are plentiful, so fortunately cardboard never has to enter the picture.

Chimichurri grilled chicken thighs on a platter.

Why my Chimichurri Grilled Chicken Thighs are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser

Chimichurri is the zesty and herbaceous Argentinian cousin to oh-so-popular Italian pesto. While pesto is generally made from fresh basil, chimichurri features a base of fresh parsley, oregano and oftentimes cilantro. Vinegar and lemon juice give it a tangy flavor and, unlike pesto, it is prepared without cheese, making it friendly to a variety of diets.

Here's why I love these Chimichurri Grilled Chicken Thighs:

  1. 5 minute marinade: The marinade/sauce for this recipe could not be easier. Simply place all of the ingredients (except for the chicken) into your blender or food processor and give it a whirl until smooth. From that point, you marinate your chicken and grill!
  2. Flavor overload: For such a simple recipe, this chicken packs a lot of flavor. The marinade is the perfect blend of herby, tangy, spicy and salty, which complements the juicy, crisp and slightly smoky grilled chicken thighs.
  3. Good for grillmasters and grill-amateurs alike: If you're a little apprehensive at the grill...never fear. This recipe is very forgiving, partially due to the marinade and partially due to the fact that I've opted for chicken thighs over breasts. Chicken thighs have a higher fat content, making them less likely to dry out on the grill, even if you overcook them for a minute or two. You've got this!
Jar of Chimichurri marinade for grilled chicken thighs.

Ingredients

Ingredients for chimichurri grilled chicken thighs.
  • Fresh parsley: Look for "flat leaf" or Italian parsley as shown in my photo over the curly variety, if possible, as it has a more robust flavor.
  • Fresh cilantro: Usually located right next to the parsley in your produce section. Some people aren't fans of cilantro and claim that it has a "soapy" flavor. If this is you, just double the parsley and omit the cilantro.
  • Fresh oregano: Leaves only. If you can't find fresh oregano, substitute 2 teaspoon dried oregano.
  • Shallot: Usually located next to the onions in the produce section. Coarsely chop the shallot prior to adding it to your blender.
  • Chopped or minced fresh garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar: Balsamic or white wine vinegar may be substituted
  • Lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Crushed red pepper: My recipe called for ½ tsp. If you like a spicier flavor, use up to 1 teaspoon in your marinade.
  • Chicken thighs: My recipe calls for boneless, skinless thighs. You may use bone-in and/or skin-on thighs, but the cooking time will be longer usually 20-25 minutes. See the FAQ section, below, if you are interested in using chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs.

Step by step photos and instructions

  1. Place the olive oil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, garlic, shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and red pepper in a blender or food processor.
  2. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as necessary.

3. Place the chicken thighs in a medium bowl or a zip-top bag. Add the chimichurri marinade and turn the chicken to coat. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours, turning occasionally.

4. Heat your grill or grill pan to medium high. Grill the chicken, turning once, until chicken is browned on both sides and cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Serve hot!

Chimichurri grilled chicken thighs on the grill.

Frequently asked questions

What is chimichurri sauce?

Known for its vibrant green color and its zesty, tangy and herbaceous flavor, chimichurri originated in Argentina and is commonly used in South American cuisine. Chimichurri often serves as a refreshing marinade for grilled meats, such as chicken, steak, or pork, but it can also be used as a sauce for fish and
vegetables or as a dressing for salads.

The basic ingredients of chimichurri include fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, fresh or dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Some recipes for the sauce call for the addition of fresh mint and lemon or lime juice.

What should I serve with chimichurri grilled chicken thighs?

Chimichurri grilled chicken thighs are a flavorful main dish that pair well with a variety of sides. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Grilled vegetables tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper
2. A simple green salad (such as my Spinach Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing.)
3. Corn on the cob
4. Black beans and rice for a traditional Latin American combination
5. Good crusty bread to mop up all of the flavorful chimichurri sauce!

Can I substitute grilled chicken breasts for chicken thighs?

Yes, you can substitute chicken breasts for chicken thighs, but there will be some differences:
1. Flavor: Chicken thighs generally have a richer flavor compared to chicken breasts due to their higher fat content.
2. Moisture: Chicken thighs have a higher fat content so they tend to be more forgiving when it comes to cooking time. They are less likely to dry out on the grill, resulting in a juicier final product.
3. Cost: Chicken thighs are generally more affordable than chicken breasts, making them a budget-friendly option for grilling, especially if you are grilling for a crowd.

Video tutorial: See my Chimichurri Grilled Chicken Thighs in action!

Love nothing more than firing up the grill and cooking al fresco? Take a look at some of my other recipes!:

Tried this recipe and loved it? Take a photo and tag me on Instagram or give it a review!

Chimichurri grilled chicken thighs on a platter.

Chimichurri Grilled Chicken Thighs

Julie Hession
These chimichurri grilled chicken thighs are guaranteed to become a new favorite in your outdoor grilling rotation. The zesty, herbaceous marinade comes together in minutes in your blender, so it's easy to make everything ahead of time and then toss the chicken onto the grill whenever you're ready to eat.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 382 kcal
5 from 5 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Equipment

  • Blender or food processor
  • Grill or grill pan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro (stems removed)
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley (stems removed)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (packed)
  • 3 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium shallot (chopped)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Instructions
 

  • Place the olive oil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, garlic, shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and red pepper in a blender or food processor.
  • Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as necessary.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a medium bowl or a zip-top bag. Add the chimichurri marinade and turn the chicken to coat. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours, turning occasionally.
  • Heat your grill or grill pan to medium high. Grill the chicken, turning once, until chicken is browned on both sides and cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Serve hot!

Video

Notes

  • The chicken thighs can be placed in the marinade for up to 8 hours if you want to prepare them in advance.
  • The marinade itself can be made up to three days in advance and stored in the refrigerator, covered.
  • Chimichurri marinade is also great on steaks, shrimp, pork, fish and grilled vegetables.  

Nutrition

Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 545mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 832IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

Similar Posts

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This looks so good. I'm reading Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee. Same thing, food all throughout. I get so hungry reading it. It even has recipes in between chapters that sound wonderful. I've got a couple tagged. I'll have to read these books too.

  2. 5 stars
    The chicken salad sounds delicious!

    I checked out a Year in Provence from the library, on cd, but I didn't finish it. The guy's voice that was reading the story was really annoying. Nasally.
    But I do want to read the book! I was lucky enough to visit Provence when I was a senior in high school. It's gorgeous, of course.

  3. 5 stars
    Mmm, this looks fabulous... I love that exact mix on a pizza.. but this is more grown-up (and probably healthier 😉

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating