Juicy, tender grilled chicken thighs are served with a flavor-packed chimichurri sauce that is used as both a marinade and topping for a perfect quick and easy summer meal!
Grilled chicken thighs are one of my favorite things to serve with this cilantro chimichurri sauce I recently posted. Chimichurri, if you're not familiar is an herby, oil-based, Argentinian condiment typically served alongside grilled meats. Here's a brief history of chimichurri.
The tanginess of the sauce works perfectly with a juicy, slightly fatty cut of meat, like a steak or these chicken thighs.
I should note that it is NOT traditional in Argentina to use chimichurri as a marinade, but I just couldn't resist. It works so well as one, and I'm never one to say no to MORE FLAVOR. Are you?
Other point of possible contention... chimichurri does not traditionally contain cilantro. However I love its flavor here. Do feel free to just use more parsley instead of the cilantro if you prefer the more authentic recipe (or just don't care for cilantro)!
So these thighs are marinated in chimichurri for a few minutes (or a few hours) and then further slathered with it when they come off the grill. Seriously delicious.
Chimichurri is a 5-minute project that can be made in either a food processor or just by chopping everything finely by hand. Either way, you'll find that summer dining does not get much easier.
If you want to make the chimichurri ahead of time, it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, but for the best flavor, I wouldn't make it more than 1 or 2 days ahead.
Can I use bone-in thighs, chicken breasts, or drumsticks instead?
Totally! When I grill chicken breasts, I like to either cut them in half first, and then pound them to about a ½ inch thick, or butterfly them. They will take less time on the grill than thighs, so be sure to check them after about 6 minutes.
Breasts, being leaner than other cuts, dry out faster, so they benefit from less cooking time, which is why thinner is better.
As for drumsticks, or bone-in thighs, they will need a little extra time on the grill to fully cook, but otherwise can be treated the same as boneless, skinless thighs.
Can I cook these indoors?
Absolutely! A grill pan or cast iron skillet is your best bet for the juiciest thighs. Preheat the pan on medium high and cook the chicken for about 5-6 minutes per side.
- Start by making the chimichurri. In a food processor, chop up a ½ cup of cilantro, ½ cup of parsley, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, one small peeled shallot, 2 cloves of peeled garlic, and half a seeded jalapeno pepper.
- Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, half a cup of olive oil, one teaspoon of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper. Pulse just until the herbs are finely chopped, but not perfectly smooth. (You can chop everything by hand if you don't have a food processor!)
- Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs, place them in a baking dish or bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add ¼ cup of the chimichurri to the thighs and turn to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator for 20 minutes or 2 hours, depending how much time you have.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge to let it warm up just a little while you heat up the grill to medium high.
- Place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, until juices run clear.
- Serve with additional chimichurri on the side.
If you end up with some leftover chimichurri, it is absolutely amazing swirled into this fresh summer corn soup.
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Chimichurri
- ½ cup fresh cilantro fresh
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped, fresh
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 small shallot peeled
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- ½ jalapeno pepper seeded
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs*
- In a food processor, combine the cilantro, parsley, oregano, shallot, garlic, and jalapeño.
- Add the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pulse until well combined and finely chopped.
- Place the chicken in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and cover with a ¼ cup of the chimichurri. Turn to coat the chicken completely. Marinate for 20 minutes to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge to warm up slightly while heating the grill to medium high. Cook the chicken about 5-6 minutes per side, until juices run clear.
- Serve with extra chimichurri on the side.