Chimichurri the way and Argentine does it
Everyday Eats & Sweets, Recipes

Chimichurri the Way an Argentine Does It

I can’t get enough of chimichurri. After trying it for the first time in an Argentinian restaurant over a decade ago, I found myself slathering the tangy condiment on nearly everything I ordered, from bread to potatoes, churrasco to empanadas. I started buying my favorite version of it from a local carnicería and for years I ate the bottled stuff, even though it’s silly easy to make.

Now that I have a garden where I grow half the ingredients in this sauce, there’s no excuse not to make my own chimichurri. Every Argentine I’ve met has his own way of making it — whether it’s flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley, hand-chopped or food-processed. Sometimes there’s a fresh chile added. Sometimes a spoonful of shallots.

But however it’s concocted, one thing is for certain: The stars of this sauce are parsley and garlic. Chimichurri has been bastardized a number of ways in American cuisine (even so far as being called “Argentinian pesto” or the “ketchup of Argentina” — which any Argentine will adamantly tell you is not true) but this recipe is pure, authentic Argentina. (Actually, authentic chimichurri uses dried oregano, but fresh herbs are too good for me to pass up.)

The garlicky sauce famous to the Land of Silver is traditionally drizzled over meats in Argentinian asado (barbecue) and is sometimes used as a marinade. I also like to spread it over roasted vegetables, or even mix it into a homemade vinaigrette. And after you make yourself a jar of chimichurri, you’ll find plenty of other uses for it, too.

Chimichurri

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups packed parsley, minced
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 to 1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Method

I like to use my Giant of Italy parsley for making chimichurri. The sprigs are huge and the leaves are so easy to pull off the stems. Whichever parsley you use, make sure it’s the freshest you can find.

Giant of Italy parsley

Main chimichurri ingredients

I chop everything by hand as I like a chunky texture, but you can also add the fresh herbs to a food processor, pulse until fine, then add the red pepper flakes, olive oil, and vinegar.

Chopping parsley for chimichurri

Chimichurri ingredients

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl

Use more or less olive oil as needed, depending on how much parsley you end up with. Stir all the ingredients together until well blended.

Add olive oil and red wine vinegar

Stir together chimichurri until well blended

Decant the sauce into your container of choice. Let the chimichurri do its thing overnight, out on the counter, as the flavor will intensify the longer it sits. Perfectly aged chimichurri is a deep army green and I’ve been known to squirrel away a jar for a week or more before I even open it.

Authentic chimichurri

Homemade chimichurri

My favorite has always been the sauce that sits in a metal tin on the table at an Argentinian restaurant, all brown and murky looking, and you have no idea how long it’s been there or when it was last refilled but it tastes amazing… That’s the look you’re trying to achieve here!

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  • overland.world

    Nice try, but as you yourself pointed out real authentic chimichurri does not use fresh herbs, it needs to be dried, and it does not use olive oil. Basiclaly by using fresh ingredients you are just making a salsa verde (green sause) not chimichurri. A lot of people also use mint – WRONG – and olive oil – WRONG.

  • Lily

    What do you mean by “decant”? Is there a special method of pouring the sauce or can you just mix it in the jar?

    • You can just pour the mixture into a jar. No special method to it! Just stir it up before you use it.

  • Hi, Linda. Thanks for the recipe. So there’s no need to add salt?

    • I’ve never added salt and don’t think the recipe needs it, but salt is a personal preference.

  • Karen

    Just made this! It is delicious! How should I store it? I put it in the fridge overnight and the oil solidified and I don’t really like that. Can it be kept in a jar at room temperature for storage?

    • The solidified oil isn’t a problem if you have time to let the chimichurri sit at room temperature before you serve it. I can’t really recommend keeping it on the counter since it’s not safe practice, but I’ll admit that I’ve left my chimichurri out for a couple of days with no ill effects. (Only a couple of days because I use it all within that time.)

    • DanialThom

      The solution is to not use EVOO. I don’t like the taste of EVOO in Chimichurri anyway, so it works out. If you make it with a light Olive Oil or mix it won’t solidify. I use 1/2 Trader Joes non EV Olive Oil ($5.99) and 1/2 Sunflower oil for best results. My recipe is similar to this but I use dried oregano, mainly because this much fresh oregano would cost $6 in a store. Restaurants aren’t using fresh oregano; I promise you that. Once in a while I’ll add fresh for a treat; it really is much better than dried.

  • DanialThom

    I think olive oil is too strong tasting for chimichurri. I prefer to make it with something lighter, or *some* olive oil and something lighter. It just tastes better with a lighter oil.

    • It depends on the brand and origin of your olive oil. I use an everyday light and fruity olive oil in my chimichurri and like it.

      • TJLeeWilliams

        I’m making my first Chimichurri. I’m going with olive oil. I’m just not going to use the really good stuff. Just use Kirkland brand, and I’m sure it’s going to be great. I’m also using dried oregano. I don’t have any growing right now, and long story short I’m an expatriate in Bangladesh so I can’t find fresh herbs consistently if I don’t grow them. Your site had the best photos, and the was the most succinct. I’ll definitely be looking at your other recipes. Thanks!

    • CRIS

      HI I’M FROM ARGENTINA VERY CRIOLLA AND I SELL CHIMICHURRI AT FARMER’S MARKETS, I MADE MINE ORIGINAL FROM ARGENTINA, AND PEOPLE LOVE IT, I RECOMEND DON’T USE OLIVE OIL.

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  • Adrian Cogliano

    I’m Argentinean and a kitchen fan. I must tell you that this recipe is very well done!
    Congratulations and thanks for this post and the herb/vegetable pasta dough.
    If I can collaborate with anything for things like this, let me know and I will.
    Greetings from the land of infinite asados 🙂

    • Thank you Adrian! Means a lot to hear it from an Argentinean! 🙂

  • ImperatorMachinarum

    This is indeed the standard! Thanks for this recipe. It’s the only thing I call chimichurri.

    I make deviations of this. But then I respectfully don’t call it chimichurri.

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  • Rhonda Roo

    Looks amazing, I just discovered your site today! I am making my first batch of fermented salsa, and I can’t wait to try Chimichurri! Thanks for your hard work, I sure it takes a lot of time to maintain a website.

    • Thanks so much for reading and supporting the blog. 🙂

  • Jackie

    Thank you for posting an authentic recipe for Chimichurri. The ingredients that you listed are the only ones that the original recipe has and the only ones that it needs. There is no cilantro, thyme, basil, onion or anything else in Argentine Chimichurri. Adding cilantro to Argentine chimichurri actually makes Americans look rude and ignorant- not only is there no cilantro used in Argentine cooking but most Argentines consider cilantro, when they taste it to be a yucky herb. Thanks again for respecting another culture’s culinary tradition and showcasing a delicious sauce. 🙂

    • You’re welcome, and thank you for the comment! I’m a big fan of Argentinian food, so I try to do it justice when recreating it. 🙂

    • Zita Lorna Schoonraad

      Why on earth would anyone be considered rude for adding an extra herb!? It may not be part of the original recipe – but it’s most certainly not rude. I am Hungarian, and often see the most amazing recipes pass for Paprikas Csirke – almost an entirely different dish. The same goes for gulyas. However, it would never enter my mind to call those people rude! Uninformed, perhaps, or mistaken – but never rude. That is such a silly comment.

      • Hazell

        I agree, adding cilantro is not being rude, that’s a dumb comment. Perhaps some people prefer cilantro. Everyone can alter a recipe to make it more to their taste. Does that make everyone rude? Lol I like this version of chimichuri. I can’t wait to try it. I’ve made it with cilantro and everyone that has tried mine really enjoys it and they always ask me to make it for parties.

        • EPGirl

          I personally don’t like parsley but mixing it with cilantro made this recipe perfect for my taste. I don’t how original it is! Thanks for sharing.

        • DanialThom

          It’s just not “authentic”. All recipes are valid. Once you improvise that it’s something different.

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  • Maileilani Sueko Kealoha

    Tried this recipe. Very tasty! Thanks!

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  • This looks amazing!!!

  • Eric Bonner

    I have never liked parsley; however, this looks intriguing. I may have to try making some. I wonder if it would be any good made with cilantro 😉

    • It’s great with both herbs!

    • The Italian parsley she recommends is completely different from regular parsley, milder in flavor and texture, and moister. Adding cilantro makes it different, but it’s good that way. Also, since Cilantro is a great chelator, if you’re eating fish from the ocean, you might want to use cilantro.

    • sbvegas

      I’ve been making this same recipe using cilantro instead of parsley (and a bit of lemon). Marinate a flank steak in it… perfect for steak tacos in summer.

  • Wow! That looks great!

  • oukay

    Just got an enormous bunch of parsley in my CSA box. The stems will go to smoothies and I think the tops will go to chimichurri!

  • Jane

    Your chimichurri looks so ono! Mahalo for posting your recipe.

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