Homemade and beautifully colorful, Chimichurri Sauce is an Argentinean or Uruguayan sauce, condiment, or marinade that’s based on olive oil, herbs, and garlic. Think “pesto” and you have an idea of what it’s like. This herby, vibrant, and packed with fresh flavor sauce is also super easy to make.
It’s an uncooked sauce used both as an ingredient in cooking and as a table condiment for meat, poultry, and vegetables. The sauce comes in both green and red.
Recipes like my Tamarind Cashew Dipping Sauce and Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce are great for when you want a delicious sauce. I’ve always thought that a good sauce can elevate a meal so much, and this is one of my Sauce Recipes you’ll want in your recipe box!
I first shared this recipe back in 2011, and it’s one of my go-to recipes, but wanted to update the pictures, recipe card, and information, so it’s improved for reader experience.
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
What does it taste like?
It’s made with fresh herbs and spices with a strong garlic flavor. So it tastes perky and lively. Grassy. And well-balanced.
The first time I had it, I wasn’t impressed. I had gotten it from a food truck (remember when they were all the rage back in 2010?). That one that I tried was far too oily and garlicky for my tastes.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. I use less garlic in my version, allowing the flavors of whatever you’re eating to come through, rather than overpower those flavors.
What do you put this Argentinean sauce on?
This sauce adds a nice fresh, summery, herbal flavor.
It’s lovely as a sauce for anything as diverse as fish to steak, and it’s often used as a marinade for steak, poultry, and veggies.
Slather an ear of corn on the cob with it! It’s great over veggies (my favorite use).
I love it spooned over a nice burger.
Try it over pasta just like you would use pesto.
Or, mix it into rice or quinoa.
One of the pizza places we like to go to offers it as a topping on your baked pizza.
Try it on crab cakes.
The first time I had it was with empanadas. It’s wonderful with fried foods to cut some of the richness of the frying.
Try dipping bread into it.
Or, mix a spoonful into lentil soup.
There are so many uses for this flavorful great sauce.
Next week I’ll be bringing you a delicious little dish that you can serve with this sauce! Keep an eye out!
How long does chimichurri last?
I love that this can be made ahead, which makes it perfect for entertaining, like when you have the family over for a birthday celebration, or for Father’s Day!
Store this sauce in an airtight container in the fridge; it should keep well for about 5 days. Some oils will solidify in the fridge; I’ll talk a little more about that lower in the post. Bring it back to room temperature when serving.
Can I Freeze It?
Yes, if you don’t plan on using it right away, it freezes well, for up to 6 months.
You can freeze the pre-made sauce in ice cube trays, if desired, so it’s nice and easy to take a small amount out of the freezer. After it’s frozen in the ice cube trays, pop the cubes out and place in a ziptop bag or other airtight container for storage. When you’re ready to use it, just thaw in refrigerator.
Preserving or canning
I recommend enjoying this sauce fairly soon after making it. Again, a few days in the fridge, or a few months in the freezer.
A mixture with oil, fresh herbs, and garlic is not safe for home canning. Botulinum bacteria (Botulism) can survive and grow in that environment. Also, canning fresh herbs destroys their fresh flavors. It’s much safer and tastier to make it fresh.
Is This Recipe Authentic?
No, this recipe isn’t authentic, and that’s ok! I created this recipe based on my tastes and flavor preferences after doing lots of research into the condiment.
Typically, it’s made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and red wine vinegar. My family doesn’t care too much for vinegar, and so many of the recipes I create don’t have any vinegar in them.
Also, Authentic Argentine Chimichurri is not made with cilantro. I love the flavor of the cilantro in this; it gives it a nice boost.
When you think about it, there are so many variations of this sauce (everyone’s Grandma has her own version) it’s difficult to say which is the most authentic recipe. So, I’m ok with the fact that it isn’t authentic. It’s still the best chimichurri I’ve had!
How do you make it?
I’ve seen some recipes that say to make an authentic version, you must chop everything by hand. I say, no! You can use a food processor to great advantage here.
Just make sure that you aren’t blending it to a puree (so I don’t recommend using a blender for this sauce). You want a loose, oil-based condiment, so a food processor, pulsing a few times, is perfect, and will save you a lot of time and energy.
Chop by Hand (if you want)
If you want you can chop everything by hand. It will work. Just chop fairly fine, and stir all ingredients well to blend.
If you’re using a food processor, there’s no need to pre-chop the herbs (YAY!). Simply pulse, stopping to scrape down sides occasionally, until finely minced. Again, the sauce should have some body and texture you don’t want a puree.
Oh, and it’s ok to have some stems in the sauce. They get chopped up just like the leaves of the herbs.
Mortar and pestle
You could make all or part of the sauce using a mortar and pestle if you want.
Smash the garlic in the mortar and pestle.
You can also use a rounded ½ teaspoon of whole cumin seeds and toast them in a dry skillet. Once they are golden brown and fragrant, crush them in a mortar and pestle, then add the crushed cumin to the food processor. It adds a wonderful toasty fresh flavor to the sauce.
It isn’t necessary to do these extra steps using the mortar and pestle, but it adds a great flavor, and it’s kinda fun to use these old tools!
What about that oil hardening in the fridge?
Almost all oils will become cloudy and eventually solidify at cold refrigerator temperatures.
Generally speaking, refined oils (such as regular olive oil, vegetable oil, or seed oil) will solidify at a lower temperature than extra virgin olive oil. Meaning that EVOO will get cloudy faster.
There will, however, be some variations among different brands of oils. Some manufacturers chill the oil to solidify it, and will then filter the solids out, in a process called ‘winterizing’, which makes them less likely to get cloudy and hard in the fridge.
I usually use grapeseed oil for much of my cooking now. It has a neutral flavor, high smoke point, and doesn’t solidify in the fridge.
You might also have luck finding a blended oil, which is typically 75% vegetable oil 25% olive oil, so it remains liquid in the fridge.
But, if you do use an oil that solidifies in the fridge, just let it sit at room temperature for a while so it will go back to its liquid state. Also, you can place the airtight container with the in some warm water to hurry it along.
Tips for the best Chimichurri
Allow the sauce to sit for 5-10 minutes after mixing it together to let the flavors get to know each other. Ideally, let it sit for more than 2 hours, if time allows.
Use the freshest ingredients you can. Don’t use old wilting herbs, and skip the bottled garlic or dried onion. And be sure to use a good fresh oil.
If chopping by hand, make sure to finely chop the herbs; you don’t want a super chunky sauce.
If using a food processor don’t over-process it.
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Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
- 1/3 cup good-quality oil
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin or ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse, scraping down sides occasionally. Transfer to small serving bowl.
- Cover and let stand at room temperature.