Cilantro Chimichurri is a fresh, flavorful sauce made with vinegar, garlic, shallot, lots of fresh herbs, and chile for heat. It’s made primarily with olive oil and vinegar, making it a perfect, light summer sauce! Chimichurri has a bright, tangy taste and is delicious spooned over grilled meats, fish, vegetables, and potatoes. We’ve even tossed it with our Crispy Grilled Chicken Wings — divine! It also makes a great dipping sauce or condiment for sandwiches! Truly, it is incredibly versatile!
Our recipe definitely favors fresh cilantro, whereas a traditional chimichurri is made with mostly fresh parsley. Regardless, it’s quick and easy to make, with a prep time of 5-10 minutes, based on how fast you chop. Alternatively, you can pulse everything in a food processor to make it smoother. Cilantro chimichurri sauce is best served fresh, but it can also be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks! A meal prep dream!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Red wine vinegar: There’s a good deal of red wine vinegar in chimichurri sauce, which gives it its tangy flavor and helps to temper the heat of raw garlic and shallot.
- Kosher salt: To season the sauce!
- Garlic: Chopped fresh garlic cloves add a lot of flavor and a slight heat to the sauce.
- Shallot: Less intense than a red onion, add chopped shallot, which will mellow out as it sits in the vinegar (it kind of acts as a pickling agent).
- Fresno chile: We love the heat from the fresno chile, but you can omit if you don’t want it spicy. Alternatively, for less heat, simply remove the seeds and ribs.
- Cilantro and flat leaf parsley: Lots and lots of fresh herbs!! We favor cilantro, so go heavier on that, but there’s a good amount of fresh parsley as well. This is definitely an herb sauce.
- Extra virgin olive oil: The body of the sauce is made from extra virgin olive oil. Use something high quality and bright, but not too nutty as you don’t want to over power the fresh herbs.
How To Make Cilantro Chimichurri
This easy homemade cilantro chimichurri is so simpler to make! With just 5-10 minutes of prep, you can have the sauce ready to go! Let the garlic, shallot, and chili sit for 15 minutes or so in red wine vinegar before finishing with fresh herbs, just to give all those ingredients a chance to mellow out.
Combine red wine vinegar, Kosher salt, chopped garlic, shallot, and chile in a glass jar or mixing bowl, then let it sit out on the counter while you chop the fresh herbs. After about 15 minutes, add the chopped cilantro and parsley, along with a good deal of a high quality olive oil, then whisk well (or shake if in a sealed jar).
Et voila! You’ve just made a truly delicious chimichurri sauce that you can now enjoy all week long! We like to let it sit for a bit, but if you don’t have time, you can serve it immediately.
- Use fresh herbs for best flavor! This cannot be overstated. You definitely need to use fresh cilantro and fresh parsley for chimichurri sauce.
- Measure the herbs after chopping. Otherwise your ratios will be off!
- If using a food processor, don’t overprocess. You want the sauce to have some texture.
- Adjust the seasonings to taste! Some people like their chimichurri more garlicky, while others prefer it more acidic.
Variations and Substituions
- Red wine vinegar: this is the most traditional vinegar used in chimichurri, but you can substitute with white wine vinegar for a lighter, more delicate flavor. Alternatively, you could use fresh lemon juice in place of vinegar, but this will have a much strong acidic flavor.
- Fresno chile: If you can’t find or don’t want to use a fresno chili pepper, try aji amarillo, a Peruvian chili pepper, for a bit of heat. Jalapeño works great too!
- Herbs: Instead of parsley, try using fresh or dried oregano, thyme, or fresh rosemary for a different flavor profile (or simply to use up leftover herbs in the fridge!).
Pesto is a sauce made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Chimichurri is a sauce made with parsley, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. Both sauces are typically used as condiments, but they have different flavors and textures.
Yes, you can use other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, or rosemary. You can also add other ingredients such as dried chili flakes, nuts or capers.
For best storage, keep chimichurri sauce in an airtight container in a refrigerator. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.
Chimichurri is believed to have originated in Argentina. It is thought to have been created by gauchos, or Argentine cowboys, who used it to season their grilled meats. The sauce quickly became popular throughout Argentina and Uruguay, and it is now enjoyed all over the world. Including in the Well Seasoned kitchen, obvi!
The Best Ways To Serve Cilantro Chimichurri:
- Grilled meats: spoon our cilantro chimichurri over grilled meats, such as steak, chicken, and fish or shellfish. Consider trying with our Roasted Salmon, Grilled Swordfish Skewers or Grilled Spatchcock Chicken. If you don’t eat meat, this would be delicious over tofu!
- Vegetables: use the sauce to season veggies, such as grilled vegetables, roasted potatoes or potato wedges, and steamed or roasted broccoli. Try it with our Grilled Asparagus!
- As a salad dressing! Hear me out! This would be fantastic over grain bowls, such as this Israeli Couscous salad or our Couscous Salad with Roasted Shrimp.
- Dipping sauce: for bread, crackers, or crudité. Like truly, just get a baguette and dip without remorse!
We can’t wait for you to try this versatile sauce which can be used endlessly with so many of our favorite dishes! If you make this Cilantro Chimichurri recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
And make sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow along on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook for more Well Seasoned recipes! DON’T FORGET to tag us on social channels when you make a recipe at #wellseasonedstudio !! We LOVE seeing what you’re up to in the kitchen!
Cilantro Chimichurri (For Grilled Meats + Seafood)
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium shallot finely chopped
- ½ medium Fresno chile finely chopped (or more if you want it spicier)
- ½ cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley roughly chopped
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Tone down the intensity of the aromatics. Place ½ cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp Kosher salt, 3 cloves chopped garlic, 1 chopped shallot, and chile in a glass jar or mixing bowl, then let sit for about 15 minutes.
- Finish the chimichurri. Add ½ cup chopped cilantro, ½ cup chopped parsley, and ¾ cup olive oil, then whisk to combine (or place lid on, if using a jar, and shake well). Taste, adjust seasoning if needed, then set aside.
- Leftovers: Use the chimichurri sauce within 2 weeks. Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator. If the oil congeals at all, simply allow to sit out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes prior to serving, then give it a good stir.
- Freezing: Leftover cilantro chimichurri can be frozen for up to 3 months. We recommend portioning it into ice cube trays, then freezing so you have individual cubes. Once frozen, then can be transferred to a freezer-safe bag of container. Add directly to sauces on a stove top or defrost overnight in a fridge before using.
- Red wine vinegar: For a more delicate chimichurri with a lighter taste, you can use white wine vinegar.
- Herbs: Consider replacing parsley with chopped thyme, oregano, or rosemary for a different flavor.
- Chile: If you can’t find or don’t want to use a Fresno chile, you can substitute with any other chili pepper you like. Or consider adding a generous pinch of red pepper flakes.
A few photos by Ari and remaining photos by Jo Harding.