African Peri Peri Chicken

October 26, 2016
Spicy African grilled chicken, this Peri Peri Chicken is easy to make and PACKED with delicious spicy and tangy flavors!

Spicy African grilled chicken, this Peri Peri Chicken is easy to make and PACKED with delicious spicy and tangy flavors!

I cannot believe how long it has taken me to share this peri peri chicken recipe with you all! This chicken recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken, and is the ultimate comfort food for me. Whenever I need to be reminded of home or feeling a little under the weather; I just make a pan of this chicken and all is right with the world again. Spicy African grilled chicken, this Peri Peri Chicken is easy to make and PACKED with delicious spicy and tangy flavors! I was first introduced to Peri Peri Chicken (aka Piri Piri Chicken) through Nando’s about 10 years ago. The chain Nando’s originally hails from the UK, but I had the chance to try it in D.C. (their first restaurant in the US) and it was love a first bite! Ever since then all I could think about was making my own version of this chicken at home because let’s face it; I’m not rich enough to buy a plane ticket just to get my hands on some Nandos chicken every time I get a hankering for it. Not yet anyway, lol. After doing some research and talking to a friend from South Africa; my recipe for this dish was born and we all haven’t been the same since. Spicy African grilled chicken, this Peri Peri Chicken is easy to make and PACKED with delicious spicy and tangy flavors! So, let’s talk ingredients because I’m sure you’re all dying to know what makes this chicken so special! First, it starts with the chicken. I teamed up with Foster Farms for their New Comfort Food campaign again (remember my One Pot Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice recipe?) because I absolutely LOVE their chicken and it’s my go to whenever I’m cooking a chicken dish. Foster Farms is family owned and the chicken is California grown and free of antibiotics. This is why I continue to purchase their products; because I know I’m getting good quality chicken, and their New Comfort Food campaign aligns with my practice of using local, seasonal ingredients in my recipes that are quick and easy. Want to try Foster Farms for yourself? Here’s a coupon!

Spicy African grilled chicken, this Peri Peri Chicken is easy to make and PACKED with delicious spicy and tangy flavors! For the chicken, you can use any cut, bone-in, or bone-out. I typically will use the wings, breast, and thighs. The chicken goes in a resealable bag, and I make a blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder and season the chicken with that first! Then it’s on the the Peri Peri Sauce!

Disclaimer: if you google the recipe for this sauce or talk with people who are familiar with this sauce, you are almost never going to find identical recipes! I have seen and heard of so many different variations as to what ingredients go in to the sauce, but the one things that stays the same is heat! That’s because the base of this sauce is the African Bird’s Eye Chili. I’m usually not able to get my hands on that chili here in the US, so I substitute it with my beloved habanero peppers and thai chili peppers. From there I blend the chilies with some herbs, bell peppers, and onions. The sauce is then finished with olive oil and lemon juice and is perfect as a marinade for any protein (chicken, fish, shrimp, etc) or as a dipping sauce. I then take the sauce and pour it into the bag with the chicken and leave it to marinate for at least 24 hours. This is key! The chicken needs to marinate to absorb all the flavors. If you don’t have 24 hours the least amount of time I recommend is 2 hours.

As with most of my recipes the heat level is always adjustable! If you’re comfortable with heat and spice add as many peppers as you’d like. If you want it on the milder side just use two Habanero peppers and leave out the Thai Chilies. Enjoy the recipe below!

Spicy African grilled chicken, this Peri Peri Chicken is easy to make and PACKED with delicious spicy and tangy flavors!

African Peri Peri Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: African
Serves: 4-6
For the Peri Peri Sauce:
  • 2 Habanero peppers
  • 8 small red Thai chili peppers
  • 2 large red bell peppers, char grilled
  • 1 large red onion, char grilled
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ apple cider vinegar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
To Finish the Sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the Chicken
  • 2 ½ - 3-pounds Foster Farms Simply Raised fresh chicken, bone-in or boneless, any cut!
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups Peri Peri Sauce
To make the Peri Peri Sauce
  1. Start with roasting or char-grilling the bell peppers and onion. You can do this on an open flame, under the broiler, or in the oven. You want the outside to be charred and black.
  2. Blend the char-grilled bell peppers, onion, habanero peppers, thai chili peppers, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar, paprika, and oregano in a food processor until smooth. This may take a while but you want to make sure the sauce is SMOOTH!
  3. Transfer the sauce to a medium sauce pan, and add the bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat, REMOVE THE BAY LEAVES, and allow to cool completely.
  5. Once the sauce has cooled, transfer back to the blender and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. Blend the sauce for a few minutes while streaming in the olive oil slowly.
  6. Sauce is finished and ready to be used as a marinade. Left over sauce can be refrigerated and used as a condiment for up to one week!
To Make the Peri Peri Chicken
  1. Place chicken pieces in a large resealable bag.
  2. Add the salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to the bag along with 1 to 2 cups of the Peri Peri Sauce.
  3. Seal the bag and toss the chicken so that it is evenly coated with the marinade. Place in the fridge and marinate for 24 hours.
  4. When ready to grill, remove the chicken from the bag, remember to shake off any excess marinade and place on the grill.
  5. Grill over medium heat 10-15 minutes per side, or until fully cooked. Brush on any extra sauce during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  6. Serve immediately with extra dipping sauce at the table and with your choice of sides. (White rice, french fries, corn, etc)

Spicy African grilled chicken, this Peri Peri Chicken is easy to make and PACKED with delicious spicy and tangy flavors!


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  • debi October 26, 2016 at 8:24 am

    This looks delicious! I wonder if I could use these sauces on tofu. I’ve had African food a couple of times and I love the flavors! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Hey Debi! I definitely think you could use them on tofu. I haven’t tried it myself, but if you do let me know how it turned out! xX Evi

  • A Forks Tale October 26, 2016 at 9:27 am

    The flavor combinations in this chicken dish looks incredible! I love a good spicy dish. Can’t wait to try this.

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:17 am

      thank you!

  • Ashley Forking Up October 26, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I’ve never even heard of this but it looks SO GOOD! Especially that sauce!

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:17 am

      Thanks Ashley!

  • Paige October 26, 2016 at 10:19 am

    This chicken looks amazing! I need this in my life!


    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Paige!

  • Veena October 26, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Oh I’ve tasted the Peri Peri Sauce before – I bet it taste delicious over chicken. Thanks for the recipe

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Veena! Yes, the sauce is great over chicken. I also really like it on shrimp too!

  • megiswell October 26, 2016 at 10:32 am

    This looks and sounds amazing! I love how different recipes can be, especially ones that tend to be passed down from family member to family member. That’s a bummer about not being able to find the African Bird’s Eye Chile, but good thing your creative! I usually give up when I can’t find a key ingredient.

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Thanks Meg! I always try to find substitutions even if it kills me! Lol

  • Lauren Vavala October 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I am making this ASAP! We have bags of habanero’s in the freezer from summer and had no idea what to do with them all! This is definitely something my fiance and I will both love!

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Thanks so much Lauren! I freeze my habanero’s too!! Let me know how the recipe turned out!

  • Chelsea Pearl October 26, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Oh my goodness, I’m dying to try this recipe out. The sauce sounds divine!

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Chelsea! Hope you enjoy!

  • Cathy Mini November 1, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Mmmm, this looks so delicious!! Definitely saving this post to Pinterest to come back and make this for sure!

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:10 am

      THanks Cathy!

  • Danielle N. Salmon November 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Nandos in DC only confirms that the east coast gets some of the best ethnic food. I swear, the minute we get a Golden Krust out here I’m gonna lose my mind — NYC is so damn lucky! But that chicken looks finger lickin good – yeah I just made a KFC reference! And that sauce looks even better. Great job, Evi!!!

    • evseats November 12, 2016 at 9:09 am

      LOL!! THanks D!But wait what is this Golden Krust you speak of? I need to try!!

  • Joshua Barnes February 27, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Does it go good with jollof rice? I’m trying to find an easy way to add chicken or other meats to your jollof recipe. I’m trying it next week.

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