A zippy condiment, this traditional Chimichurri sauce recipe is perfect for grill nights. Use as a marinade, a sauce, or both. And the best part is it only takes 5 minutes.
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I am obsessed with condiments, and no-cook sauces are my favorite. From my quick and easy romesco sauce to the best creamy avocado sauce. Sauces are my jam. That is why I believe this is the BEST chimichurri sauce.
Why we love this recipe:
- Naturally gluten-free and dairy-free
- Easy to make in less than 5 minutes
- The BEST sauce for steak (in my very humble opinion)
And while I love cilantro, I know many of you do not. Fear not, this authentic recipe is cilantro-free. As chimichurris should be. And if you love this recipe, and hate cilantro, check out our roasted salsa with mint.
Authentic chimichurri recipes contain just a few fresh ingredients. It is critical to use fresh herbs rather than dried and high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Here is everything you need for the recipe:
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh oregano
- Red wine vinegar
- Fresh garlic
- Crushed red pepper flakes (also called chili flakes)
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
See the recipe card for quantities.
Substitutions and Ingredient Variations
Fresh bird's eye chili can be added for a spicier flavor, or the chili flakes can be entirely omitted for a mild chimichurri sauce.
Some variations of chimichurri contain lemon juice. I believe this is too acidic when combined with the proper amount of vinegar. After resting the sauce for at least 20 minutes (or when you are running low on red wine vinegar), consider adding a squeeze of lemon if it needs more zing.
⏲️ How to Make Chimichurri
I prepare my chimichurri sauce in a food processor, typically because I am preparing a double batch (it is really that good). However, the authentic way is by hand. You can use either and I have included directions for both methods.
Step 1- Prep the Herbs
For the oregano, you want to remove the leaves and discard the stems. For the parsley, you want to remove the bulk of the stems and roughly chop the leaves.
For the garlic press down with the side of your knife to crush the clove. This will loosen the skin so you can remove and it and discard it.
BY HAND METHOD- Finely chop the herbs and garlic.
Step 2- Combine
Place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the herbs and garlic are finely chopped.
Transfer the mix to a bowl. add the olive oil and mix.
BY HAND METHOD- Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Step 3- Rest
Chimichurri needs to rest for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and develop. At this point, you can taste for salt and pepper and then serve.
🥗 How to Use Chimichurri
Chimichurri can be used as a marinade for meats and vegetables or as a sauce. I recommend using it as a marinade, like for this bavette steak, or as a sauce when you have a dried rubbed steak. Serve with flatbreads for dipping.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Do not blend the chimichurri ingredients or add the olive oil to your food processor. This will result in pesto rather than the chunkier dressing that is traditional chimichurri.
- Always serve chimichurri at room temperature.
- Forgot to set our the sauce to warm and it is time to eat? Add a splash of hot water.
This sauce recipe is ideal for meal prep because it can last up to 5 days in the fridge when stored in a tightly sealed jar. Bring to room temperature before using.
Chimichurri sauce can be frozen, although I suggest only using it as a marinade or adding it to rice or quinoa when it thaws out. You can freeze in a freezer bag or freeze in an ice cube tray and add the blocks to a freezer bag. It will keep for 2 to 3 months.
Chimichurri is a no-cook sauce that can be used as a marinade or a condiment. The green version is most common and contains parsley, oregano, chili flakes, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. It is part of traditional Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisines.
No, authentic chimichurri sauce recipes do not contain cilantro. Although there are some variations that swap cilantro for oregano.
Chimichurri is a chunkier sauce than pesto and not emulsified. While the herbs are finely chopped you can see they are separately defined and floating in the olive oil. Whereas, pesto is a more cohesive sauce. Traditional pesto is made with basil and traditional chimichurri is oregano and parsley.
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- In a food processor, place all the ingredients, except the oil in a food processor. Pulse until all the ingredients are finely chopped.⅓ cup fresh parsley, ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 4 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Transfer the sauce to a bowl and pour the olive oil over the mixture. Let stand for at least 20 minutes then taste for salt, pepper, and red pepper. Add more as needed.½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Bring to room temperature before using.