BEST Grilled Chimichurri Chicken Breasts Recipe
Chimichurri Chicken Breasts are juicy and delicious, made on the grill, with homemade barbecue sauce, and topped with chimichurri sauce. It is slightly spicy with sweet chili barbecue sauce, chopped jalapeno, and red pepper flakes toned down with fresh lemon juice and zest. This chicken with chimichurri sauce goes with anything from mashed potatoes to crisp and refreshing corn.
If you are wondering where chimichurri got its name, we have several answers for you. One of them is that Jimmy McCurry, an Irish immigrant, discovered it when he tried to make Worcestershire sauce with local ingredients in the early 1800s. Others believe that the condiment came in the late 1900s with Basque immigrants who introduced their herb sauce they called cheemeechooree. And another is that it was the British prisoners asking for curry when they wanted condiments and “give me curry” sounds like chimichurri.
Our chimichurri chicken breast recipe is easy to do and can be changed easily by using chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts or leaving out the red pepper and jalapenos for those who do not like spicy food. The chicken is cooked in a rich and tangy barbecue sauce and topped with our homemade chimichurri sauce recipe made with garlic, olive oil, lemon, jalapeno, and seasoning.
For this chimichurri chicken recipe, gather the ingredients below. After, scroll down to our recipe card for the instructions and measurements.
Chicken chimichurri ingredients:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Barbecue sauce
- Brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Sweet chili sauce
- Black pepper
Chimichurri sauce ingredients:
- Chopped garlic cloves
- Fresh parsley: Finely chopped parsley. We used flat-leaf parsley.
- Fresh cilantro
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Lemon zest
- Large lemon: Juiced.
- Jalapeno: Deseeded.
- Dried Italian seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
How to make chimichurri chicken breasts from scratch?
- Make the chimichurri sauce: First, blend all the chimichurri sauce ingredients in a food processor on low for one to two minutes or until the cilantro and parsley are chopped uniformly. It should be smooth but have texture. Put the sauce in an airtight container and leave it in the fridge until it is needed.
- Mix up the barbecue sauce: Now, add the bbq sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar to a medium bowl and stir well.
- Preheat the grill: Next, preheat your grill to medium heat and oil the grates with cooking spray.
- Season the chicken: In the meantime, pat the chicken breasts with paper towels to dry them and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Grill the chicken: Then, place the chicken on the grill and top it with barbecue sauce using a barbecue brush. Put the lid on the grill and let it cook for five or six minutes before flipping them.
- Flip and finish: After, flip the chicken and spread on more sauce. Cover and cook chicken for another five to six minutes. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken should read 155 degrees F.
- Let them rest: Last, take the chicken off the grill and let them rest, covered with aluminum foil, for five minutes or until the temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
- Serve with sauce: Finally, serve with a big dollop of the prepared chimichurri sauce on top of the chicken pieces. Put the remaining chimichurri sauce in the fridge to keep it chilled.
- Different zest: Try a different zest flavor like lime or orange instead of lemon.
- Dark meat: If you like dark meat (it is the juiciest chicken meat), try using boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts.
- Different vinegar: Feel free to use your favorite vinegar such as balsamic, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
- Fresh herbs and spices: Go ahead and use your own favorite herbs and spices like fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, or cumin.
- Lose the heat: Some people just do not like spicy food. For them, leave out the jalapeno and red pepper flakes but you can still use the chili sauce because it has a milder flavor and you need it for the taste.
- More heat: On the other hand, if you want your chimichurri chicken breasts to be spicier, try adding some red chili flakes or chili peppers. Depending on the kind of chili pepper you use, you can make this super hot or too hot to handle.
- Pan-fried: If the weather is not cooperating, you can pan-fry your chimichurri chicken breasts instead.
How to serve:
This is the best chimichurri chicken recipe I have ever tried and I recommend you serve it with any side dish for any meal. You can even have it for breakfast! Try one of these great serving ideas or share your own in the comments section.
- Chimichurri chicken breasts pair wonderfully with a salad, vegetables, or even a side of french fries. Try it with whatever you like. It is sure to be a hit!
- If you have leftover chimichurri sauce, drizzle it on some vegetable kebabs or try it on our delicious grilled vegetables.
- Authentic Argentine chimichurri chicken is a great addition to a Mexican or Hispanic meal with beans, corn, and rice.
- You could also use this spicy and tangy sauce as a salad dressing. We have a fresh and crisp pomegranate salad recipe that would go perfectly with it.
- Leftover chicken would be great for making sandwiches. Chop it up or shred it and put it on a bun for a yummy snack.
- Any kind of chicken goes great with mashed potatoes like our creamy instant pot mashed potatoes.
Frequently asked questions
What does chimichurri taste like?
Some people (mostly children) look at the green chimichurri sauce and refuse to eat it because it looks “gross”. But just get them to try it. It is packed with all sorts of flavors like oregano, garlic, parsley, and cilantro with a bit of red pepper and jalapeno for spiciness. Many people say fresh chimichurri tastes zesty, fresh, and a little spicy.
Why is my chicken dry?
Using lean chicken breasts that are skinless with no bones can make for a dry chicken dish. Overcooking your chicken is the most common reason for dry meat. That is why you should check the cooked chicken and remove it from the heat when it reaches 155 degrees F. It will continue heating to 160 degrees F while it rests.
Is chimichurri healthy?
Yes, it is packed with vitamins like A, C, E, K, and calcium as well as a good number of carotenes and iron too. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and strengthens your immune system. The healthy fats in the sauce from the olive oil can help you lower your cholesterol levels too.
Can I marinate the chicken?
To marinate chicken, you can put it in a shallow dish like a baking dish with about 1/2 of the reserved chimichurri sauce. Put it in the fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes. It is not good to marinate chicken longer than 20 minutes because the vinegar and lemon juice will break down the meat quickly. Discard the rest of the chimichurri marinade because it cannot be used after touching raw chicken.
What are the nutrition facts in this recipe?
Each serving has 616 calories, 20 grams of carbs, 36 grams of fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 110 mg cholesterol, 963 mg sodium, and 15 grams of sugar. On the other hand, it also has 36 grams of protein, 27 grams of monounsaturated fat, 5 grams polyunsaturated fat, and 853 mg of potassium as well as 3 mg iron, 90 mg calcium, 40 mg vitamin C, and 1,649 units vitamin A.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: Put leftover grilled chimichurri chicken in an airtight container and you can refrigerate it for about three days.
- Freeze: You can also freeze your leftovers. Just put them in a freezer-safe container and they will stay fresh for up to three months.
- Thaw: For the best results, thaw your leftover chicken chimichurri in the fridge overnight before serving it.
- Reheat: To reheat, microwave for 30 to 90 seconds or heat on the grill for two minutes.
More chicken recipes to try:
- You can also cook chicken inside on a grill pan or a cast-iron skillet. The cooking time may be different so use a meat thermometer.
- If you do not have a food processor or blender, just use a knife to finely chop the herbs.
- To save time, you can use chicken tenders instead. They are smaller and thinner, so you only need to cook them for about three to four minutes.
- Like those awesome grill marks? To get them, sear your chicken on high for one minute per side first.
- Shorten prep time by using premade chimichurri. It can be store-bought or homemade chimichurri sauce.
- This chimichurri recipe can be altered to fit your guests’ preferences by changing or omitting the spicy ingredients, using different meat like pork, or leaving out cilantro.
- Wear gloves when you handle the jalapenos. The oil soaks into your skin causing your eyes to burn if you touch them.
- If you like your sauce warm, put it in a medium pot on the stove on medium-high heat for one or two minutes.
- Be sure to let your chicken rest so the juice can redistribute.
- Looking for more grilled chicken recipes? Check out our food blog. We have all the recipes you need.
Chimichurri Chicken Breasts
- 4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large lemon juiced
- 1 jalapeno deseeded
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
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- First, blend all the chimichurri sauce ingredients in a food processor on low for one to two minutes, until smooth but should still have some texture. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and leave it in the fridge until ready to use.
- Next, add the bbq sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar to a medium bowl and stir well.
- After that, preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium heat and oil the grates with cooking spray.
- Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels and season them with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Then, place the chicken on the grill and top it with barbecue sauce using a kitchen brush. Close the lid on the grill and let it cook for five or six minutes. Flip, spread on more sauce, cover, and cook for another five to six minutes. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken should read 155 degrees F.
- Take the chicken off the grill and let it rest, covered with aluminum foil, for five minutes.
- Finally, arrange the chicken on a serving platter, top it with the prepared chimichurri sauce, and serve.
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