Piri Piri Chicken


Piri Piri sauce is a spicy hot East African/Portuguese pepper sauce that features the very hot piri piri pepper. The hot sauce made from these peppers is a popular condiment as well as a marinade for chicken, meat and seafood. Fresh piri piri peppers are difficult to find here in the States but any fresh hot red pepper will do just fine. Select a variety of pepper that has a heat level that suits your palate. Habanero peppers may be used in which case only one or two may be sufficient. If using milder fresh red jalapenos 3 or 4 may be enough. Dried hot red pepper such as cayenne is often also frequently used and is handy when fresh peppers are hard to find. Jars of pickled Piri Piri peppers are available in some specialty stores and mail order catalogs and can also be found dried.

Piri Piri Peppers

There are many variations on the piri piri sauce and all start with this basic recipe. The variations in the recipe can include other herbs or spices such as curry powder, ginger or cumin.

1 whole chicken, cut in pieces or butterflied
½ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, mashed
¼ cup lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup finely minced fresh parsley
Finely minced fresh or dried hot red peppers to taste

Wash and pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place in a zip top bag. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour the sauce over the chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. Grill or roast chicken to proper doneness; 180 degrees internal temperature or when juices run clear. Baste often with remaining sauce during cooking.

    • suzanne miller
    • April 2nd, 2010

    how do I print out something?

      • lvegas
      • April 2nd, 2010

      You can either use “print screen” feature (if you have a printer icon on your browser screen) or cut, copy and paste the area you wish to print into Word or notepad and print from there.

  1. Wow. What perfection!!!!! I love anything with a lil kick!!

  2. I have been looking for a recipe for Piri Piri Chicken! I had it in London & I loved it! Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

  3. Your photo is fantastic and the recipe sounds perfect! We spend every summer on the southern coast of Portugal, where Piri Piri chicken is a staple.

    • TT_Eats
    • March 9th, 2010

    I can’t wait to try this! When I was a kid spending summers in E. Africa, we always called any spicy foods “pilli pilli.” Perhaps we were just imitating the local Nairobi accent of who pronounce “R” like “L”? Looks awesome!

      • lvegas
      • March 9th, 2010

      Pilli Pilli is the same pepper. They are also sometimes called peri peri or African devil peppers. How marvelous that you had the opportunity to taste those flavors from that part of the world. I’d love to see your recipe file, I’m sure you have some fascinating and colorful dishes!

  4. We have finally seen some warm spring days, and thoughts of grilling have already returned. This looks delicious!

  5. Thank you for educating me on what a piri piri pepper is — I’d love to try it someday because I LOVE spicy food. Where did you get your Piri Piri pepper/spice? I’ll keep it in mind if I ever visit Portugal!

      • lvegas
      • March 9th, 2010

      Fresh piri piri peppers (also known as peri peri or pili pili peppers) are very hard to find here in the states. I either use a bottled pir piri hot pepper sauce or use fresh red Thai or cayenne peppers if I find some nice ones .Roland makes a fine version of a bottled piri piri pepper sauce with lemon and many specialty food shops and on-line sources carry other brands of piri piri pepper sauce. I have also seen the sseds available on the internet and you can try to grow your own.

  6. This look delicious….RaeDi

  7. Interesting seasoning. I’m looking forward to the summer and some piri chicken for bbw!

  8. Reminds me of a similar type of Malaysian grilled chicken! This chicken looks so tempting! Drool…..

  9. Thanks for sharing this great recipe! Congratulations on ur Top 9 foodblog!!

  10. perfect for us here, been grilling all week will try soon sounds wonderful~

  11. can’t wait to try this – grilling is upon us and this marinade will be smothering chicken halves for our enjoyment – thanks Kathy

  12. That picture makes me think of summertime. And the chicken looks delicious, too, of course!

  13. This chicken look really delicious…spicy…mmmm. Can’t wait for summer to be here to BBQ outdoors.

    • foododelmundo
    • March 7th, 2010

    Awesome! I can’t wait to share this with my brother – he lived in South Africa for a couple years and his FAVORITE was Nando’s Chicken that uses Piri Piri Sauce – he’ll be so excited! Thanks Kathy! ~Mary

  14. I love spicy food. This chicken looks delicious. I really like the pepper picture!

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