Peri Peri Chicken Recipe

Our version of Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken is smothered chicken in a homemade peri peri sauce. Marinated and baked to perfection, this makes a delicious weeknight meal. 

You know, I do love a good copycat recipe. There’s something so satisfying about making a restaurant favourite at home.

Especially when your local Nando’s closed its doors (boo!). So whats a girl to do? Make my own, I guess.

My craving for Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken can still be quenched thanks to this easy recipe.

Some might not be too familiar, so I feel there’s a need for some information and explanation on the ingredients and flavour for this recipe.

I’ll also detail substitutions, how to make, serving ideas and other recipes you could try. As always, the printable recipe card is at the end of the post.

This delicious dish is full of spices and flavor, this citric-spicy chicken comes with a homemade Peri Peri sauce to marinate the chicken and then baked in the oven until juicy and crispy.

  • QUICK AND EASY – Marinade comes together in minutes and bake-time is 40 minutes.
  • INEXPENSIVE – Make this popular nando’s restaurant copycat at home for a fraction of the cost.
  • SO TASTY – A full-flavoured taste of spicy, lemony, garlicky, tangy, sweet.
  • VERSATILE – Substitutions and swaps can be made on preference.

Chicken doesn’t have to be boring, especially when you have robust flavours such as our homemade peri peri sauce.

This easy peri peri chicken recipe is one of our favourite chicken recipes, up there with our One Pot Moroccan Chicken Stew.

What is Peri Peri Chicken?

Peri Peri Chicken (also known as Piri Piri Chicken, or Pili Pili Chicken) is any cut of chicken paired with a Peri Peri Sauce.

It originated Southern Africa (in Angola and Mozambique) when the Portuguese settlers discovered the African Bird’s Eye Chili. Piri Piri is Swahili for ‘pepper pepper’.

Peri Peri Sauce, and thus Peri Peri Chicken became world renowned thanks to the South African Chain Nando’s Restaurant, that now has locations around the world.

What is in Peri Peri Sauce?

Authentic Peri Peri Sauce is a blend of African bird’s eye chili peppers, olive oil, garlic cloves, lemon juice and spices and herbs such as paprika and oregano. 

Yet understandably so, bird’s eye chili peppers might not be accessible to everyone. So for this recipe I use red chili peppers, yet I’ll go into pepper substitutions a little later on.

What does Peri Peri Taste Like?

The flavour of Peri Peri is spicy, lemony, garlicky, tangy, sweet and smoky. Truly, it is a full-flavoured taste that is like no other.

It hits all the notes, that’s for sure.

Is Peri Peri Chicken Spicy?

While Peri Peri Chicken is a must-try recipe for all the spicy food lovers out there, know that the spice level can be adjusted to suit all preferences.

So please don’t let the word spicy scare you off from making this chicken dish. The best part about making your own is that you can make it as hot or as mildly spicy as you want.

PRO TIP: 

Make this sauce and place in a jar and refrigerate. It will keep for months. Then you have peri peri sauce when you need it! Use the sauce on chicken (pieces or even a whole chicken), fish, as a dipping sauce or even on scrambled eggs!

Ingredients Required

Here are the common ingredients needed to make our version of Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken Recipe.

With the exception of the chicken, these are all marinade ingredients (for thepiri piri sauce).

Chicken – We use chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks (chicken legs) for our recipe. I recommend using bone-in chicken. The result will be juicier using dark meat than boneless cuts.

Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves is best for this recipe. This gives the sauce that garlicky flavor.

Lemon Juice –  The sour citrus cuts the heat, and also cuts the bitterness from the chilis.  Fresh lemon juice gives a refreshing scent and taste to the sauce, yet you can use bottled if you need to. 

Orange Juice – This gives the peri peri sauce some natural and subtle sweetness to it. Again, fresh from the fruit of an orange is best, yet you can use bottled if necessary.

Olive oil – Adds moisture, aids in tender juicy chicken – yet also aids in the marinating process. Variety and type is based on preference.

Salt – This is a flavour enhancer, the sauce would taste bland and just spicy without salt.

Smoked Paprika & Sweet Paprika – Smoked paprika gives it that smoky, rustic and rich flavour. Smoked paprika is not spicy at all. Using the sweet paprika along side, brings out the sweetness and balances the spice and garlic.

Black Pepper – For taste

Red Pepper Flakes – For spice, and this the amount can be altered to suit prepferance.

Red Chili Peppers – I use chili pepper instead of African birds eye chilies. Yet you can use any from the nightshade family. Adjust the spice level by using or not using the seeds. Seeds = spicier.

Oregano – I use dried oregano for this recipe.

Red Bell Pepper – The sweetness of bell peppers balances the heat. Roast your bell pepper prior to using, and its a great substitution for the smoked paprika.

How to Make Peri Peri Chicken

To make this nando’s chicken you need to make the peri peri sauce and allow it to marinate in the fridge for 4 hours to overnight. Then it’s a dump and bake meal, ready in 40 minutes.

Here are the steps to make. Remember, you can make extra sauce for dipping! Or, if you are using less chicken pieces, reserve some of the sauce from the processor for later.

  1. Add all the Peri Peri sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth.

  2. Pour sauce into a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat, to bold in the flavors.

  3. Place chicken in a large bowl and cover with the Peri Peri Sauce. Wrap it with cling paper and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 farhenheit. Place chicken and sauce into a large baking tray and place it in the oven.



    Add ½ cup of water to the baking sheet, so the marinated chicken bakes crispy but juicy.

  5. Bake it for 40 minutes or until nicely golden and cooked through according to a meat thermometer.

Can I Make This Ahead of Time?

Since this recipe requires 4 hours to overnight marinating – this is an ideal recipe to make ahead of time. Make this peri-peri sauce the night before or in the morning. Bake later and you have a quick and easy meal in a cooking time of just 40 minutes.

What to Serve with Peri Peri Chicken

The best side dishes to serve with peri peri chicken are coconut lime rice, and naan bread. Even better when you have extra sauce to soak up the carbs.

You can also serve alongside Air Fryer Corn on the Cob, Peas, Roasted Red Potatoes, or Coleslaw.

For a healthier option, try a Cucumber Salad as a side dish.

Storage and Reheating

To Store – Store cooked Peri Peri Chicken leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will be good for up to 5 days.

To Reheat – The best way is to reheat it in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes. Yet you can also use a skillet until warmed through. If using the microwave, cover to prevent drying and make sure not to overcook.

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Yes, you can freeze fresh (not previously frozen) uncooked chicken in the marinade OR cooked chicken in the peri peri marinade.

To do so, place in an airtight container or in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Allow frozen peri peri chicken to thaw in the fridge. This is either the marinating step, or results in a previously cooked dish.

Cook as usual or reheat depending on which was frozen.

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • Adjust the Heat Level – To alter the spiciness of this nando’s peri peri chicken recipe, choose whether to remove the pepper seeds in the sauce. Seeds = spicy.

    You can also alter the amount of red pepper flakes or add in some cayenne pepper, chili powder, or hot sauce if desired.

  • Should I Remove the Skin? This is your choice, and many do remove the skin so that the marinade better soaks into the meat of the chicken.

  • Let the Chicken Rest – After the chicken has cooked, allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing or enjoying. This allows the juices to fully absorb and settle so they don’t run out the second the meat is cut.

  • Garnish Options – Include cilantro and the lemon zest from the lemons used in the recipe. Both offers additional aroma and taste.

More Restaurant Copycat Recipes

food, with Peri Peri Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 55 minutes

This delicious and straightforward dish is a must-have recipe! Full of spices and flavor, this citric-spicy chicken comes with a homemade Peri Peri sauce to marinate the chicken and then baked in the oven until juicy and crispy.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs & 4 drumsticks
  • ½ cup water

Peri Peri Sauce

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 red chilies, seedless and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½-1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional for extra spice

Instructions

  1. Add all the Peri Peri sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth.
  2. Pour sauce into a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes to bold in flavors.
  3. Place chicken in a large bowl and cover with the Peri Peri Sauce. Wrap it with cling paper and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375F. Place chicken into a large baking tray and place it in the oven. Add ½ cup of water to the tray, so the chicken bakes crispy but juicy.
  5. Bake it for 40 minutes or until nicely golden and cooked through.

Notes

  • Make some extra sauce for serving. Or store sauce in a jar in the fridge for months, to make later.
  • Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to seven days. Reheat it in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 545Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 282mgSodium: 615mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 54g

Did you make this recipe?

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Disclosure: I am participating in the Chicken Farmers of Canada campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Created by Tammi Roy

Tammi Roy is the founder of My Organized Chaos, a Canadian food and lifestyle blog. She lives in Alberta, Canada and is the mom of three beautiful teenage girls. Tammi’s passions are her family, creating and sharing delicious recipes, travelling and photography. Learn more about Tammi.

6 Comments

  1. We still use the bbq in the winter and make beer can chicken. Southern fried chicken is a favorite too.

  2. We make a lot of jerk chicken. We really enjoy spicy so we add a bit more peppers than most. Its so good!

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