This Peri Peri Chicken is juicy, spicy and loaded with flavour! I’ll show you how to make Peri Peri sauce that you’ll want to smother on everything, AND how to spatchcock a chicken so it cooks in super quick time!
It took a little bit of time to get the recipe right for my peri peri (piri piri) sauce, but I’ve got to admit, I did kind of pat myself on the back in the end. It’s so amazingly delicious. It’s also pretty darn hot! But that’s the way I like it. You can always reduce the chillies to make it less spicy.
I’m going to admit something else too.
You know I started with the recipe for this sauce?
I totally looked at the ingredients on the back of a bottle of Nando’s Peri Peri sauce. I mean, that’s Peri Peri gold standard isn’t it?
My next step was to cut out all of the weird stuff – you know, the stabilisers and antioxidants. And to swap out the stuff that you can’t buy in the shops like lemon puree (for lemon zest and juice) and rosemary extract (for dried rosemary).
Finally, I wanted to bulk out the recipe (hence the red peppers) and give it a little more depth of flavour (hence the roasting of the peppers, onions, garlic and chillies, and the addition of smoked paprika).
And the result is tongue-tinglingly damn tasty. This recipe ensures you have enough to marinade the chicken, with plenty leftover for dipping.
My recipe below shows lots of photos and info to make this recipe (plus there’s the full recipe card at the bottom of the post), but if you want to really see how it’s done, check out the video here:
📺 Watch how to make it
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
📋 What do we need to make Peri Peri sauce?
So how do we get from this ⬆️ to this ⬇️ ?
How to make the Peri Peri Sauce
- We start by roasting the peppers and red onion with oil, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne and salt. Then add the garlic and chillies and roast for a further 10 minutes.
- We then transfer this smoky-roasted goodness to a blender, along with dried Bird’s eye chillies, white pepper, lemon zest and juice and dried rosemary and blend it all up to form a thick paste.
- Then add oil and some red wine vinegar and blend again to a lovely thick, spoon-able consistency. If you want it thinner, simply thin it out with more oil, or you can stir in some cold water.
How to spatchcock a chicken
Now we need to spatchcock the chicken. Spatch-cocking basically means removing the backbone, opening up the carcass, and flattening it out. Doing this means it cooks so much quicker in the oven.
- Place the chicken breast-side down on a sturdy chopping board, with the legs towards you.
- Using heavy-duty scissors or poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone. It’s a little fiddly, as you have to cut through each of the rib bones as you go. So it’s better to go slowly, rather than trying to cut through multiple ribs at once.
- Once you’ve cut through both sides of the backbone, discard the bone (or save it to make stock). Turn the chicken over and press down with both hands on the breast bone to flatten the chicken.
Now place the chicken on a baking tray and smother with a few tablespoons of Peri Peri sauce. Bake for 45 minutes, then baste the chicken and spoon on a little more sauce. Finish off the chicken in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
It will come out of the oven a deep dark red. Leave it to rest for 10 minutes to ensure it’s extra juicy.
Then serve with the rest of the Peri Peri sauce.
What to serve with peri peri chicken
Piri-piri or peri-peri – which one is it?
I don’t think there’s a definitive answer on this, but both terms, along with the term pili-pili are used to describe the African Bird’s eye chilli. So technically, if you’re using African Bird’s eye chillies, I guess any of these terms are correct.
- Piri-piri is the correct spelling in Portuguese.
- Nando’s calls their sauce Peri Peri.
- Piri Piri (at the time of writing this) is searched for about 4 times more often than peri peri in google.
I’ve used the term peri peri in my recipe because that’s what I’m more used to hearing in the UK.
More Of My Spicy Chicken Recipes
More Copycat and Street-Food Recipes:
Peri Peri Chicken with Homemade Peri Peri Sauce
This Peri Peri Chicken is juicy, spicy and so flavourful! I’ll show you how to make Peri Peri sauce from scratch too (better than Nandos!).
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Place the peppers and red onion on a baking tray. Drizzle on 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil. Sprinkle on the paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and 1 tsp of the salt and toss together.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Add the garlic and serrano chillies and toss together again, then place in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a blender (make sure you pour in all the juices from the tray). Add the dried chillies, white pepper, lemon zest and juice and the dried rosemary. Blend until smooth.
Add the remaining vegetable oil and the red wine vinegar and blend again.
Now it’s time to spatchcock the chicken. Place chicken breast-side down on a sturdy chopping board, with the legs towards you.
Using heavy-duty scissors or poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone. It’s a little fiddly, as you have to cut through each of the rib bones as you go. So it’s better to go slowly, rather than trying to cut through multiple ribs at once.
Once you’ve cut through both sides of the backbone, discard the bone (or save it to make stock). Turn the chicken over and press down with both hands on the breast bone to flatten the chicken.
Place the spatch-cocked chicken on a baking tray and pour over one third of the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp salt and the black pepper.
Place in the oven (still at 180C/350F) for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, baste the chicken and spoon over 2 more tablespoons of the sauce. Place back in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Serve with the remaining sauce.
Can I make it gluten free?
Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten free. However, it’s always best to check your ingredients, as some brands may use wheat/barley in their products (i.e in certain types of vinegar) or packing environments.
How long will peri peri sauce keep?
Covered and refrigerated, this peri-peri sauce should keep for 2 weeks.
Nutritional Information is per serving – including one-quarter of the peri peri sauce per person.
Calories: 713kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 38gFat: 57gSaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 143mgSodium: 1016mgPotassium: 716mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 3580IUVitamin C: 117.5mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 2.8mg
This recipe was first published in July 2019. Updated May 2022 with video and a bit of housekeeping.
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