Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri

4.88 from 8 votes
2 hours 45 minutes
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Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri is the perfect flavorful late summer way to change up your grilling routine with Latin flair!

Photo of Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri on white oval platter garnished with orange wedges and fresh basil leaves.

The inspiration behind this recipe:

With fall fast approaching, we’re trying to make the most of all of our garden goodness–especially our basil.  Sure would be wonderful if basil could be hardy like rosemary and make it through our southern winter.  In no time, we’ll be paying $2.99 for a measly sprig.  Kills me!

We normally make pesto–lots and lots of pesto–but we still have some in our freezer from last year.  Because of that, I’m super excited to share my latest and most favorite way to use and preserve all that summer basil.  This Spicy Basil Chimichurri!

Spicy Basil Chimichurri is super easy to make and could possibly kick pesto to the curb as my way to preserve the summer bounty of basil!  It’s perfect with this Grilled Citrus Chicken for a Latin American-inspired light, healthy and super-flavorful way to close out your summer!

What is chimichurri?

Classic chimichurri, the vinegary, garlicky, herbaceous Argentinian condiment is generally made from parsley or parsley and cilantro.  Oregano is often included and it’s served with grilled and barbecued meats.  I think it’s also great with pork, fish, chicken and even vegetables.  I recently pushed the envelope and made a Purslane Chimichurri for my Waste Not feature.

Photo of Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri Sauce on white oval platter.

How to make Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri:

  • First, mix up the marinade.  Combine fresh orange juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, oregano, vinegar, Worcestershire and some ground chipotle for a little kick!
Photo of citrus marinade in glass bowl on white background.
  • Pour the marinade into a zipper-top bag along with boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Chicken Freezer and Meal Prep Tips:

  • Buy chicken breasts in bulk on sale.
  • Trim them up so they’re ready to cook when you need them.
  • Place two chicken breasts halves in the bag so they lie flat and side-by-side in 1-quart freezer zipper-top bags.
  • Date, seal tightly then place in the freezer.  We like to combine three to four 1-quart bags in a gallon-size bag just to keep like dates together.
  • When you need chicken for a recipe, take out just what you need.  Because you packaged the chicken with only two breasts per bag, they’ll thaw faster than a large package would and you can add the marinade directly to the bag!
  • I like to use zipper-top bags to marinate chicken (and most proteins) because the marinade envelopes the protein more fully and you can just toss the bag and all when you’re done.
  • Be sure to place the bag on a plate or in a bowl just in case the bag leaks.
Photo of chicken in marinade in zipper-top bag on plate.

Just before grilling the chicken, make the Spicy Basil Chimichurri:

  • Combine all the chimichurri ingredients in a food processor:  Fresh basil, fresh parsley, a little onion, garlic, a jalapeno pepper or two, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper….
Photo of fresh basil leaves in food processor.
  • And that’s it!
Photo of spicy basil chimichurri in food processor after processing.
Photo of Spicy Basil Chimichurri in glass jar.

This Spicy Basil Chimichurri recipe makes more than you’ll need to accompany the Citrus Grilled Chicken.  Simply freeze the rest in small containers for a taste of summer all winter long!  Because of the parsley, it won’t turn a funky brown color as all-basil pesto does.

Photo of Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri Sauce on white oval platter.

Citrus Grilled Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri for a late summer Latin American celebration!

Photo of Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri Sauce with rice included and serving fork.
Close-up photo of Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri Sauce on white serving platter garnished with orange wedges.

For some great side ideas check out:

For more easy and healthy chicken recipes, try my:

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Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri

4.88 from 8 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Grilled Citrus Chicken with Spicy Basil Chimichurri is the perfect flavorful late summer way to change up your grilling routine!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Latin American
Servings 4
Calories 644 kcal


Marinade and Chicken

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves


  • 3 heaping cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 heaping cup Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers - seeded if desired, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 large lemon - juiced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil leaves and orange wedges - for garnish


Marinade and Chicken

  • Whisk together orange juice, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, oregano, salt, chipotle powder and black pepper.
  • Pour into a zipper-top plastic bag.
  • Add chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  • Preheat a grill over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill. (Reserve some of the marinade. Reduce heat to medium-low. Close the lid and cook 6-8 minutes on the first (top) side.
  • Flip the chicken, brush with some of the marinade and cook another 6-8 minutes on the second side or until chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees. Discard remaining marinade.


  • Just before grilling the chicken, combine all the ingredients for the chimichurri in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  • TO SERVE: Place chicken on a platter. Drizzle with chimichurri and garnish with fresh basil leaves and orange wedges.


This recipe makes more chimichurri than you’ll need for the chicken. Freeze the rest in small containers.
MAKE AHEAD:  The chimichurri can be made 1-2 days ahead of time.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 644kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 40g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 742mg | Potassium: 589mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 303IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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4.88 from 8 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. I love the spicy basil chimichurri idea! I love pesto too, but this border girl loves a little heat. Lol. The marinade is perfect too… I can’t wait to give this healthy recipe a try. BTW, we were on the same wavelength this month?

  2. 5 stars
    The Basil Chimichurri Sauce sounds delicious. Although I don’t grow it myself, I often buy plants from the supermarket to have on my windowsill. I’m often looking for different sauces to add to pasta. This sounds a great alternative.

  3. 5 stars
    Ooh, what a marvelous use of garden basil!!! And there is always chicken in our freezer. Can’t wait to give this yummy recipe a try!!!