Cilantro chimichurri sauce is made from tossing together delicious fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley with red wine vinegar, garlic, shallot and extra virgin olive oil. It has crushed red pepper flakes, lime juice and oregano for extra flavor with salt and pepper as the final seasoning. This cilantro chimichurri recipe is the perfect condiment to serve with steak, meat veggies, and so much more!
Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce that is normally served with steak and other meat. It’s made from chopped fresh herbs that are mixed with olive oil and vinegar. We fell in love with it visiting Argentina! We make it often, and I’ve finally nailed down how we like it best in this easy recipe. As a fan of cilantro, I think it’s the best chimichurri recipe there is!
The chimichurri variations are endless but most Argentinian’s make a version that is more traditional. An authentic chimichurri recipe typically includes more parsley and leaves out the lime. This version of this classic sauce is so tasty with it though, cilantro lovers will love it!
With it’s tart, zippy flavor, this South American favorite sauce pairs deliciously with steak, chicken, shrimp, fish, veggies and so many other main dishes and sides. The cilantro lime twist in this cilantro version makes it more versatile since those undertones make it go just as fabulously with crockpot chicken tacos or pork tenderloin carnitas as a taco condiment. Or choose to pair it along with our citrus flavored Mexican marinated chicken, or anything else with a similar flavor profile!
This simple sauce takes under 10 minutes to make too! That and the fact that it lasts so long in the fridge makes this a must have condiment. It can go on endless numbers of dishes to add so much flavor to just about anything savory. This recipe is simply the best cilantro chimichurri you’ll find and you’ll become as obsessed with it’s flavor as I am!
The overall theme for cilantro chimichurri sauce ingredients is that fresh is best. You can get away with garlic powder in other recipes but really need to use fresh ingredients for this one. There are a few places you can substitute though and they’re outlined here along with details on each ingredient in this delicious recipe:
- fresh cilantro – cilantro is the main ingredient here and you’ll need a full bushel of it
- fresh parsley – Italian parsley is best. you can definitely just use more cilantro but using a little bit of parsley adds complexity.
- minced garlic – has to be fresh, not pre-minced
- red bell pepper – this adds crunch and a pop of color
- shallot – shallot is preferably since it has a softer bite but red onion works great here too
- red wine vinegar – you can substitute white wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar in a pinch but red wine vinegar is best
- lime juice – must be fresh squeezed not jarred! You can substitute lemon juice or more red wine vinegar if you want a different flavor profile or don’t have lime.
- dried oregano – adds that traditional flavor and you can be substitute fresh if preferred
- salt I use Himalayan, taste and adjust salt to taste
- black pepper – finely milled fresh ground pepper is best here
- crushed red pepper – you can leave this out to keep it mild or you can substitute chili crisp oil for a twist
- extra virgin olive oil – EVOO, the real MVP of this dish! Olive oil both preserves the chimichurri sauce and is critical for the right texture. You can substitute avocado oil since it has a milder flavor but extra virgin olive oil is truly best here.
How to make cilantro chimichurri sauce
Since it’s an uncooked sauce, there are really just a few steps to making this delicious variation of cilantro chimichurri. You can improvise but this process truly makes the best chimichurri.
- Chop the fresh herbs and red pepper and mince the garlic and shallot or red onion.
- Add the rest of the ingredients: red wine vinegar, lime juice, oregano, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes and stir.
- Drizzle in olive oil, preferably while stirring. Adjust salt, pepper and spice to taste and enjoy! You can use a mini food processor to chop but for best results DO NOT pour the olive oil in and blend it. Remove all herbs from the bowl of the food processor to another medium bowl before drizzling in olive oil or the chimichurri won’t have the right consistency. If the oil gets processed like this, the herbs will be too finely blended and the oil will get frothy and weird. Still okay, just not as good as it is if you drizzle it in.
Storage and freezing
One of the best parts of making this cilantro chimichurri recipe is that it keeps well for quite a while in the refrigerator! Having this on hand can turn everything from ho-hum scrambled eggs to salads to steaks into a true culinary treat.
Refrigerator storage: Store leftover chimichurri in a mason jar or another airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Remove from refrigerator 20 minutes before serving to allow it to come to room temperature since the olive oil may solidify.
Chimichurri is preserved by having a layer of oil on top (see photo below). If your chimichurri does not have a thin layer of oil at the top of the jar, add a little more to the top before placing in the refrigerator. It will be at it’s freshest the first 24 hours and best used on it’s own as a sauce within the first few days. If using later on, use it in a recipe paired with something else (topping eggs, seasoning taco meat, etc.)
Freezing: Chimichurri can be frozen in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, remove and store frozen cubes in a tightly sealing freezer bag for up to 3 months. Remove as much of the air from the bag as possible to prevent freezer burn and make it last longer.
- To get the most flavorful chimichurri sauce, make sure to adjust the salt and spice level to your preference. Do this again after adding more olive oil to leftover chimichurri sauce.
- Use the food processor for chopping but don’t blend the olive oil into the chimichurri.
- Make sure to let those flavors meld for a little while before serving. A few hours is best but even 15 minutes will help.
- You don’t have to be precise with your cilantro. Having some stem in the mix doesn’t matter for this cilantro chimichurri sauce recipe!
Ways to use cilantro chimichurri
This green sauce is magic and a list of favorite ways to use it could be endless! Here are a few delicious ways you can use this versatile sauce:
- Serve with grilled meat like grilled steak, chicken and veggies in the classic Argentine style
- Use as a marinade for meat before cooking. If you double the recipe, you can use half for the marinade and reserve half for a sauce to serve with it.
- Eggs, hashbrowns, choizo sweet potato skillet, and other savory breakfasts
- Sandwiches mixed with mayonnaise or drizzled in on it’s own
- Tacos, enchiladas or other Mexican dishes
- Tossed with greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and whatever else you want as a salad dressing
- It sounds odd together but it pairs with the umami flavors on these oven roasted portobellos deliciously
- Spoon it over rice bowls to give them more flavor
- Toss with pasta as a light flavorful sauce
- As an oil and vinegar alternative dip for crusty bread
- Tossed with roasted potatoes, potato wedges or veggies
- Topping avocado toast
- As a basting sauce for grilling
Yes! Chimichurri is best if you make it half hour to 4 hours before using. This allows the flavors to meld. Let it sit at room temperature and stir right before serving. It will last in the fridge for up to 3 weeks but is at it’s best for the first 24 hours.
Chimichurri is a classic Argentinian sauce that is traditionally paired with steak, other cuts of beef, chicken and other meats. An authentic chimichurri sauce typically has parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Oregano, red onion, crushed red pepper, or other ingredients are sometimes added as well.
Of course! the recipe uses dried since oregano dries well and most people have it on hand. If substituting fresh oregano, you may need to add an extra 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
- 1 Mini food processor Optional if you don't feel like chopping
- 1 Small bowl
- 1 Spoon
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (option: use food processor to chop)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (option: use food processor to chop)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 medium cloves; has to be fresh, not pre-minced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
- 2 Tablespoons minced shallot about 1 shallot
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt I use Himalayan, taste and adjust salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional if you want it spicy
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add chopped cilantro, parsley, garlic, red pepper, red wine vinegar, lime juice, and oregano to a small bowl.
- Drizzle in olive oil, salt, pepper and chili pepper and stir well to mix in. Add more salt or crushed red pepper to your taste and preference.
- Serve chimichurri with steaks, meat, veggies, on eggs, or whatever way you can think of. Serve at room temperature and refrigerate if not using within 24 hours. If refrigerating, allow to come to room temperature and stir before using.