Peri Peri Chicken

Servings : Serves 4-5

I have been experimenting for a while now, trying to come up with a good and authentic-tasting peri peri sauce from scratch so as to make my home-made version of spicy Peri Peri chicken and FINALLY I believe I have landed on the perfect combination. If you like grilled chicken and love the spice, this is definitely a must-try recipe!!

The word Peri Peri comes from the Swahili word Pili Pili which stands for pepper/spicy chilli. So this dish is normally most enjoyable spicy. But of course you can always adjust the amount of chilli to suit your personal taste.

Ingredients for Peri Peri Sauce

  • 2-6 birds-eye red chillis (adjust spice level to your taste....2 will be mildly spicy whilst 6 will be very spicy)
  • 1 big red capsicum/bell-pepper
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp. paprika powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp. dark vinegar
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red or orange food coloring


  • 1 chicken, skin removed and cut into quarters then make 2-3 slits on each piece (approx 1kg-1.5kg)


For the Peri Peri Sauce

This sauce is used for marinating the chicken and any leftover is normally cooked down and served as a dip. I prefer making the sauce up to a day ahead of using as the flavors tend to develop with a bit of time. So you can go ahead and prepare the sauce up to a day before you need to use it.

Blend all the ingredients of the sauce until smooth, then pour into a container and refrigerate until needed. You can make the sauce in bulk and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks and use as and when required.

Prepare the Chicken

To get the maximum moistness and succulence in your chicken and to infuse flavor into the meat, take a container big enough to hold the chicken quarters. Add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, half cup white vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, throw in some roughly chopped fresh herbs like coriander or parsley. Then add COLD water and swirl/mix everything together. Now add in your cleaned chicken pieces, they should be completely immersed in the water. Cover the container and refrigerate it for 1-4 hours. Then drain out the liquid, rinse out the chicken quarters properly to get rid of any excess salt and proceed with the marination.

Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken pieces, making sure it goes into the slits. Cover and refrigerate. Allow to marinate at least overnight or for up to 2 days.

When ready to cook, shake the excess marinade off the chicken pieces. First grill the chicken on a bbq/charcoal grill (or under the broiler grill of your oven) for about 5 minutes per side, just to seal the chicken pieces so they stay nice and moist inside, and this gives the chicken that awesome bbq flavour especially if done on a charcoal grill.

Then place the chicken quarters on a greased tray, brush some sauce over them and pop it in a pre-heated oven at 170 C and bake for about 20 minutes (turn them over midway through the baking). Next, reduce the temperature to 120 C and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Make sure to brush the chicken with some of the peri peri sauce once more during the baking so they stay moist. Once done, remove and keep the chicken covered to retain moisture.

If you did not bbq the chicken on a proper charcoal grill, you can at this point light a small coal, place it on a piece of foil and put it in the center of the dish holding the cooked chicken. Drop some oil on the lit coal and cover the dish so that the smoke released from the coal gets absorbed into the chicken. This will give your chicken a good bbq aroma.

For the remainder of the marinade/sauce, just pour it into a small saucepan, add about half a cup of water and simmer until the sauce thickens and is cooked. You can use this to serve with the chicken.

Serve your delicious Peri Peri chicken with fries, fresh salad and a cold drink.

Enjoy! 🙂

227 thoughts on “Peri Peri Chicken
227 Replies
  • Hello Fauzia, I’m very
    Hello Fauzia, I’m very anxious to try this peri peri chicken recipe (will be my first attempt) but it seems that I can not find red bird eye chillies, I’ve been to numerous grocery stores and no luck.
    Therefore I bought scotch bonnet pepper! I know they are very hot peppers..did I do a mistake by buying those? Or will they be good enough for this peri peri chicken recipe? If they are good to go, how many bonnets to make it a mild spicy peri peri 1 or 2?
    Pls let me know if I made a mistake by buying them or I’ll be good to go??
    Thank you for your answer!

    • Hi, red bird eye chillies
      Hi, red bird eye chillies look like regular green chillies, just red in colour. You can use ONE of the scotch bonnet peppers but I would recommend that you get some plain old red chillies to add to it, about 2 or more for spicier. 🙂

  • Thank you for your quick
    Thank you for your quick reply Fauzia…I’m a little confused on your reply, sry! What do you mean “get some old red chillies to add to it”
    What kind of red chillies are you talking about? Dry spice chilli flakes? Or a specific chilli?
    Also you said ONE scotch bonnet pepper is sufficient..would 2 scotch bonnet be too spicer?
    Can u also indicate the differences between the scotch bonnet peppers vs red bird eye chilli?
    Thank you so much for educating me and the viewers reading this!
    I’m from Canada and I’ve heard about nandos online therefore I’m very anxious to try your great recipe! 🙂

    • Mimmo, the expression ‘plain
      Mimmo, the expression ‘plain old …. ‘ doesn’t mean literally old lol. It just means regular red chillies. Not dry, not flakes. If you can please google for the image of how the red bird eye chillies look, it would be SO much easier than me having to explain or describe them as that way you will actually SEE how they look. As for the scotch bonnet, I wrote you can use 1 along with a couple of red chillies. Everyone has a different spice level of tolerance. Go with your own taste on this and see if you want it spicier. 🙂

  • Fauzia as I said in my 1st
    Fauzia as I said in my 1st message…I can not find red bird eye chillis
    therefore I bought the scotch bonnet peppers!
    So if I use 2 bonnet peppers will the peri peri sauce come out as good as though I used red bird eye chili?
    That’s why I asked what’s the difference in taste between bonnet vs bird eye?
    I know what bird eye chili look like!
    Sry for the msgs, I just want the peri peri to come out good!
    Thanks again for ur reply, greatly appreciate it

    • I think you misunderstood me.
      I think you misunderstood me. Forget the red bird eye chilli. Get any red chillies that are not dried. There are so very many different kinds available everywhere. The ones that resemble the green chillies, long and slightly slender. The reason I told you to use just ONE bonnet pepper is because it has a very strong flavour that is not required for this dish. Using two may be overwhelming in flavour, not spice content. You can balance by using just one and then adding the red chillies that I have described above. I hope it is now clear.

  • Hi, this recipe sounds
    Hi, this recipe sounds delicious.
    My worry is I’m not sure which vinegar is halal?
    balsamic is really made of wine vinegar, would malt vinegar work.
    I’m not really a fan of vinegar but my husband loves peri peri chicken and i would love to prepare it for him

  • Assalam Aleyikum Fauzia, I
    Assalam Aleyikum Fauzia, I pray that you are in the best of health and happiness. absolutely love you’re site. May Allah continue to fill your beautiful and generous head with many more wonderful recipes. i am from Nairobi, Kenya and I am cooking this for dinner on Friday Inshallah. My question is i put in the moistness mixture of the chicken and i refrigerated it overnight. However you only indicated 1-4 hours, will this make the chicken too tender. As for the marinade i also refrigerated it separately overnight to develop the flavors and mixed everything in together in the morning. Am i right? Thank you Darling. Looking forward to your prompt response.

    • W/Salaam, thank you! Actually
      W/Salaam, thank you! Actually you should never soak the chicken for longer than 4 hours as sometimes the reverse happens, the chicken may become tough and it is also risky health-wise to leave chicken soaked for that long. Hope it turns out well, please let me know how it goes.

  • can u please teell if v can
    can u please teell if v can use white vinegar insted of drk one?? i have checked the super market thre are apple vinegar and grape vinegarr but not specifically dark vineger?? it is ok tou use apple or grape vinegar ??
    and should oreganno be in dried form or grounded???

  • Hi Fauzia. thank you for all
    Hi Fauzia. thank you for all the wonderful recipes always turn out perfect! Ive got all my friends hooked on your website too!..
    but please help on this one a bit of a disaster as the blend was not smoothing out so i added water and its become too thin to marinate with need it to be thicker.what shall I do now??

    • Hi, thank you! You absolutely
      Hi, thank you! You absolutely should not have added water as now the marinade will not stick well to the chicken! Usually if you keep at it the mixture blends together perfectly with just the oil, vinegar and lemon juice used. Am not sure how it can be salvaged, but maybe you can attempt to cook it down and use it as a sauce instead of a marinade. You could try using it to marinate but the flavour will not be as intense due to the excess water. Sorry!

  • As salaamu alaykum wa
    As salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.
    May I know what is dark vinegar? I googled it but didn’t find what exactly it is. It isn’t available in the stores here too. Can vinegar malt be used as a substitute?
    Jazaakillaahu khayra

  • Hello, thank you for sharing
    Hello, thank you for sharing such lovely recipes! I read the previous comments stating balsamic is too strong – is possible to use half balsamic and half white vinegar? I don’t want the vinegar to overpower the flavours. Thank you and look forward to your reply x

  • Salaams Fauzia!
    Salaams Fauzia!
    This recipe is awesome. I made it last night for dinner and it turned out fantastic. I did not put it in the oven rather I fully cooked it on my bbq griller. I tried the ‘tip’ and it really made the chicken tender and moist. The smell was soo good that we had five uninvited cats coming over for a feast. hehe! (not joking)

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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