This traditional Argentine herb sauce is great on grilled meat or fish
Chimichurri Sauce mixes minced parsley (and often cilantro) with lively spices and vinegar. It’s a traditional topping for grilled steak in Argentina. But it’s also tasty on any grilled meat, fowl, or fish.
This sauce takes only a few minutes to make. And, conveniently, you can prepare it a couple of hours ahead of time.
The flavor is so enticing, you’ll be tempted to use it as a spread or dip. Ask us how we know.
Recipe: Chimichurri Sauce (or Dip)
The essential ingredient for Chimichurri Sauce is finely minced parsley (we use a food processor because it’s easier). Cilantro makes a frequent appearance, too (but skip that if you don’t like it). Plus vinegar (we like red wine vinegar) and olive oil. And seasonings.
It’s a very flexible recipe – exact quantities and ingredients can be altered to taste. (In fact you'll find different variations in Argentina.)
This recipe takes 10 to 15 minutes to make and yields about 1½ cups.
Chimichurri Sauce is best used the same day it’s made. But leftovers will keep for a couple of days if refrigerated in an airtight container (you’ll lose a bit of the sparkle, but it’ll still be good).
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup leaves and tender stems of parsley (packed moderately tightly)
- ½ to 1 cup leaves and tender stems of cilantro (to taste; again, pack it moderately tightly in the measuring cup)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste; optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin (or more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste; see Notes)
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
- ½ cup olive oil (or to taste)
- Add the garlic to a food processor and whirl until it’s chopped. Then add the parsley, cilantro, oregano, red pepper flakes, ground cumin, and salt. Pulse until the parsley and cilantro are finely chopped, and everything is nicely mixed together.
- Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil to the food processor and pulse to mix. You should have a thickish sauce that has body to it, but that will easily drop from a spoon.
- Taste, add more of any ingredient to balance the flavor (if necessary), then scrape the mixture into a lidded container.
- If using within the next 2 hours or so, let the sauce sit out at room temperature. Otherwise, refrigerate it until you’re ready to use. If you refrigerate, let the sauce come to room temperature before serving.
- You can make this sauce entirely by hand if you wish: Mince the parsley and cilantro, place them in a bowl, then whisk in the other ingredients (add the olive oil last).
- We use a large food processor when we make this. A mini food processor works, but you’ll have to add the parsley and cilantro in batches to get it properly minced.
- Better-quality olive oil will yield a better tasting sauce. Adjust the quantity to taste – use less if you want a thicker sauce, more if you want a thinner one.
- We use kosher salt for cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- We most often use this sauce as a topping on meat. But it’s also good as a sandwich spread. It’s great for a leftover steak sandwich – or even a fried egg sandwich.
- Chimichurri Sauce also makes a nice dip for chips or veggies. If you use it as a dip, try mixing it with some sour cream for added flavor and texture.
- There are many parsley-based sauces around the world. Italian Salsa Verde is probably the best known. There’s no cilantro in that one, and it usually substitutes lemon juice for vinegar. It also adds capers and (typically) an anchovy or two.
- Another of our favorites is Moroccan Chermoula Sauce (aka Charmoula), which always contains parsley and cilantro. It usually adds paprika, ground coriander, and sometimes mint (always, when we make it). Often served on fish, it’s also good on grilled meats.
- The easiest to make might be French Persillade, which typically is just parsley, garlic, and salt chopped together. This sauce is superb with sautéed potatoes, or even french fries. Or rare roast lamb. A more elaborate version might contain olive oil and maybe vinegar. And occasionally anchovy.
“This sauce makes me chimmi with delight,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.
“I beg your parsley,” I said. “Those terrible puns are my job!”
“Thought I’d help you out,” said Mrs K R. “Call it cilantro-py.”
Mrs K R? Who’s she? I’ve never seen herbivore.
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So many dips and sauces using cilantro and parsley! Now to choose which meat to use (or could be vegetarian as well). In the spirit of 'inclusiveness', it might be time to allow Mrs. KR to make some puns! Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Fran, Mrs KR makes pretty good puns. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Great sauce! I use my food processor for this as well. It is so much quicker and easier to make a large batch that way.
Hi Pat and Dahn, the food processor is definitely the way to go -- SO easy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
All that delicious and it is keto friendly too (which I will hop back on when our houseguests are gone, but not one minute before)
I am going to make this as soon as they leave!
Hi Anne, we love this! Terrific on steak in particular, but also good by the spoonful. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I've had that in an Argentine cafe: very nice!
Along with the other herb preps, you could also have mentioned pesto, which uses basil as the herbal flavor -- but some people make it with other herbs as well. Trader Joe makes a pesto with kale. Different --(parmesan and pine nuts, sometimes) but there's still a strong connection.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
I love various dips and sauces, but indeed I've never made authentic Chimichurri, so thank your for such a delicious reminder. I love your photos with those dramatic shadows, and needless to say the steak looks terrific!
I love chimichurri--especially on steak! Looks and sounds tasty.
Oh how I love chimichurri. When we were in Peru, quite a few times I was offered both a green and red chimichurri. I keep forgetting to look at what the red version might have been. It was good, and not like a chile pepper hot sauce.
Hi Mae, pesto is, of course, another classic "green" sauce. So many, and all so good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, I first had chimichurri sauce in an Argentine restaurant in Chicago. On steak, of course. It was a revelation. You can also spoon some into a pot of soup to liven it up. Thanks for the great recipe!
Hi Ben, it's always a pleasure to photograph steak. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, isn't it a great sauce? One of our favorite steak garnishes. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mimi, I don't know red chimichurri -- need to look that up! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Terry, haven't added it to soup! Great idea -- I will. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love chimichurri!! (well, who doesn't?) It's so good with the steak. I love the idea of using it for some egg sandwiches.
Hi Angie, it's really good with eggs. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Like so many other people, I too LOVE chimichurri! I especially like it on beans and in carne tacos. I have an abundance of parsley so what a great idea for using some of it. Thanks for the idea! I'll to try it on eggs now after reading Angie's comment.
Great post and I especially enjoyed the humor.
Hi MJ, we need to try it on beans! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bernadette, glad you enjoyed it. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love in many things including skirt steak.
Hi Denise, we like this a lot with skirt and flank steak. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is one luxurious sauce and those photos... love those moody shots. Chimichurri sauce is delicious on so many proteins and veggies alike. Glad to see we are not the only one to use some of the tender stems of parsley. Waste not want not, right.
Hi Bobbi, we keep finding new things to use this sauce on -- such good stuff! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Chimichurri sauce has become very popular Down Under during barbecue season and certainly adds a ton of flavour for 'stronger' tasting meats, vegetables and even eggs . . . I do not use 'dips' as many do but would certainly use the combo on flatbreads. Loving coriander as much as I do U may prepare it almost half/half with parsley . . . but, with the amount of garlic I use it probably would not marry well with delicate fish or chicken . . .
woow looks delicious
We just had grilled flank steak with chimichurri on Sunday. Always such a treat. Love your photo of the sauce.
SO wonderful with grilled beef! Time to whip up a batch!
Hi Eha, we usually do make this half and half parsley/cilantro. Because it's SO good that way. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Izaa, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lea Ann, it is always a treat, isn't it? Flank steak is our favorite chimichurri "vehicle" too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi LIz, it's always time to whip up a batch! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi John, this is my second attempt to comment. I love chimichurri sauce and will try your recipe.
Hi Gerlinde, sorry you had trouble commenting! Blogger can be a real pain sometimes. Anyway, thanks for your comment.
Hi R, it's good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I think I just learned to delete my cache ( history) from my device . That helps.
Hi Gerlilnde, that's interesting to know! I'll have to suggest that to other people. Thanks for the tip. :-)
Yes to the sauce (dip) and double yes to that perfectly cooked beef. GREG
Hi Greg, hard to resist either the sauce or the beef! Thanks for the comment.
We ate this in Peru and it was incredible. I must make it, yours looks so tantalising. Thanks for a great recipe and the reminder. As always you and Mrs. KR are in fine form.
I've had sauces like this in restaurants, but I've never made one at home. It sounds like a great way to use up extra parsley when I've bought a bunch only because I needed a little.
Hi Pauline, isn't this good stuff? We love the flavor! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Jeff, it IS a great use for that extra parsley we all seem to have. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is one of my favorite sauces. It's good on most any protein or veg. I've heard you can freeze extra sauce, but I haven't tried doing so. I fear it would lose some of its vibrancy that way.
Hi Carolyn, we haven't frozen this either, for exactly that reason. So we just have to find ways to finish it up. :-) Thanks for the comment.
We love chimichurri sauce (both red and green) and use it on meats but also on salmon. Just an amazing flavor booster.
Hi David, I've never made red chimichurri -- need to. Love the flavor of the green! Thanks for the comment.
I've never had this type of sauce, but it sounds really good and worth saving the recipe. Thanks
Hi Judee, it's really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
We haven’t had Chimichurri sauce in a long time, but we do love it. Thanks for the reminder. I have a gorgeous flank steak just screaming for this sauce! Time to update my weekly meal plan!
I love a good chimichurri and clearly this is one! And I agree that it's fabulous on much more than steak. Although, I devour it on steak, and yours looks perfect. :-) ~Valentina
Hey there John, great recipe. We love Chimichurri sauce, it's wonderful on smoked meats, fish and foul as well as a dip. We make a mint version that goes very well with lamb as well. Take care.
Hi Eva, we love this sauce with flank steak. LOVE it! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Valentina, we love this on steak, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ron, we've never tried this on smoked meats! But we will. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I was in Venezuela the first time I had chimichurri years ago and it has been one of my favorites ever since.
Hi Karen, isn't it good? We love it! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hey John loving the new photo style, that shadows are dramatic making that chimichurri sauce stand out. I love that sauce, any grilled steaks cant live without that
Hi Raymund, shadows can be fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.
It's going on 4:00 and I knew opening your blog was going to make me want a cocktail.
Chimichurri Sauce can really put a dish over the top! I dolloped some in Cream of Asparagus soup even!
Hi Inger, we're bad that way. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Inger, great idea to add some to soup! :-) Thanks for the comment.
buonissima questa salsa, ottima per accompagnare ed esaltare il gusto di carne e pesce!
Hi Lea, this is so good with either meat or fish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I absolutely love chimichurri whether I make it at home or order it out (I mean can you even eat steak without chimichurri???), but I have never added cumin. Can't wait to try it!
Hi Laura, I guess it's legal to have steak without chimichurri, but why would you want to? :-) Thanks for the comment.
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