Spice up your palate with this Peri Peri Chicken recipe. Each bite is a medley of flavors that will have you going for seconds. It’s juicy, fiery, and totally addictive!
This peppered chicken features juicy grilled chicken infused with zesty African-inspired spices. Burst of heat and tang, perfectly balanced to tickle your taste buds. It will pair perfectly with this jollof rice accompanied by my hibiscus drink.
💖Reasons to Love this Recipe
- The piri piri sauce elevates the taste of grilled chicken and doubles as a sauce or dip for many dishes like this meat pie.
- It is a must-try if you like bold and adventurous flavors.
- Whether grilled, roasted, or fried, these chicken quarters are incredibly versatile and always delicious.
- It is marinated perfectly, ensuring each bite is moist, tender, and flavorful.
- Just like my honey soy chicken recipe, these peppered chicken quarters will be cooked in the air fryer, yielding a crispy, tender, and juicy chicken.
- Use the sauce as a marinade for veggies, sauce for meats, or alongside dishes like asaro.
- Ideal for gatherings and parties, this dish is sure to impress and satisfy all taste buds.
What is Peri Peri Sauce
The Peri Peri sauce, or Piri Piri sauce, is a hot and spicy chili-based sauce originating in Southern Africa, particularly in Mozambique and Angola. The name "Peri Peri" or "Piri Piri" comes from the Swahili word "pili pili," which means chili pepper.
The sauce is made primarily from a blend of fiery red chilies, garlic, vinegar, oil, and various spices. The level of spiciness can vary depending on the type of chilies used and the overall recipe. Some variations of the sauce may also include additional ingredients like lemon or lime juice, herbs, and other spices to enhance the flavor.
It is widely used as a marinade or condiment for grilled meats, particularly chicken. Still, it can also be used with seafood, vegetables, and other dishes to add a spicy and flavorful punch. I first had this at Nandos in the UK, and I've been hooked ever since.
Here is a breakdown of some of the ingredients you’ll need to make the piri piri sauce:
Red Chilies: The heart of Peri Peri sauce, these fiery red chilies provide its signature heat and spiciness. I used a mix of African bird's eye (affiliate link), scotch bonnet, and bell pepper. See the substitute list below for reference.
Garlic: Adds a pungent and aromatic flavor that complements the chilies, giving the sauce depth and richness.
Oil: Helps to create a smooth and consistent texture in the sauce and carries the flavors throughout. Olive oil or any neutral-tasting oil works for this recipe.
Spices (such as paprika and cayenne pepper): These spices contribute to the sauce's unique taste profile, adding layers of flavor and complexity.
Acid: Some recipes include some sort of acid, like vinegar or citrus juice, which imparts a zesty and refreshing twist to the sauce. My choice is lemon juice and white vinegar. The acid also aids in preserving the sauce, giving it a longer shelf life.
Herbs (optional): Herbs like oregano or thyme are occasionally added to the sauce for an additional flavor profile. I used fresh basil to add a sweet and spicy undertone.
Pepper: Use serrano peppers, red bell peppers, sweet peppers, or an added tablespoon of dried, smoked paprika
Dried red chilies can be substituted for fresh ones. Simply soak it in water for 30 minutes to an hour before blending it.
Tomato: You can add tomato paste for more depth and color.
Acid: red wine vinegar, lime juice, or citric acid can be used instead of the lemon. (Please know that this might alter the final taste of the sauce).
Please refer to the recipe card for the exact measurements.
Here are some easy-to-follow instructions on how to make homemade peri peri chicken:
Step 1: Add all the ingredients for the sauce and a pinch of salt in a blender or food processor.
Divide in half and set aside.
Step 2: Blend until you achieve a smooth and well-combined sauce consistency. You can adjust the quantity of olive oil and vinegar to reach your preferred thickness and taste.
Step 3: Pat dry the chicken quarters, then place in a large, wide bowl. Drizzle over some olive oil and season with a little salt.
Step 4: Pour half the blended mix over the chicken and massage it properly. Gently add the marinade in between the skin and meat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer everything to a resealable plastic bag. Marinate in the refrigerator.
Step 5: Heat oil in a saucepan, add the remainder blended mix, and cook on medium-low heat.
Step 6: The sauce is cooked when oil settles at the top. Remove from heat and set aside to cool or place in an air-tight jar.
Step 7: Heat up the airfryer and sprinkle with an oil spray. Place the chicken thighs in a single layer in the air fryer basket, skin side down, and cook at 400°F (200°C).
Step 8: Flip the chicken thighs, skin side up. Spray with cooking spray, then continue air frying until the chicken is cooked and the skin is crispy and slightly charred. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired, and serve hot.
- Add liquids first before blending for a smooth consistency.
- Let the marinate sip through the chicken quarters for 4 hours plus or overnight for the best flavor.
- Wear gloves while massaging the chicken with the piri piri sauce.
- Simmer the sauce on the stove to balance all the ingredients. About 15 minutes on medium-low heat. The sauce is ready when the oil lingers at the top. Add a pinch of chicken seasoning and curry powder for the ultimate flavor.
- Ensure good ventilation when cooking with hot chilies that are as concentrated as this one.
- You can add about half a teaspoon of Citric acid to prolong shelf life in the refrigerator.
🍽What to Serve with Peri Peri Chicken
When serving this flavorful dish, you'll want some sides that complement the spicy goodness. Here are some tasty options:
- Coleslaw: A cool and creamy coleslaw can provide a refreshing contrast to the heat of peppered chicken. It's like a match made in flavor heaven. Try this coleslaw from downshiftology.
- Garlic Bread: A hunk of warm, garlic-infused bread is always a hit. It's great for mopping up any extra sauce and taming the heat.
- Roasted Vegetables: Roasted veggies, like carrots, bell peppers, and broccoli, add color and nutrition to your plate. They balance out the spice nicely.
- Corn on the Cob: Grilled or boiled corn on the cob with a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of lime can be a simple yet delicious side dish.
- Rice or Fries: If you want something hearty, consider serving this dish with a side of rice or crispy French fries.
- Green Salad: A fresh green salad with a zesty vinaigrette can provide a light and healthy contrast to the richness of the chicken.
- Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are like a cozy blanket for your taste buds. They'll complement the chicken's spiciness with their buttery goodness.
Yes, you can make peri-peri chicken in advance. You can marinate the chicken in the peri peri sauce for up to 24 hours before cooking it. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken ahead of time and reheat it when you're ready to serve. Just be sure to store the cooked chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat it thoroughly before serving (preferably in the air fryer).
Peri peri chicken is known for being spicy due to its marinade made from piri piri pods. The level of spiciness can vary, but it generally has a noticeable kick. You can adjust the heat level to your liking by reducing or increasing the amount of chili pepper or hot sauce used in the marinade.
Peri peri chicken has a distinctive spicy and tangy flavor from its marinade made with peri peri peppers, garlic, lemon juice, and spices. Grilling or roasting the chicken adds a smoky flavor that complements the spiciness. It's a satisfying dish for anyone who loves bold, spicy flavors.
It can be used as a marinade, dipping sauce, sandwich spread, salad dressing, or pizza topping. It adds a spicy and tangy flavor to any dish.
Love Chicken? Here are some Chicken Related Recipes to Try:
If you made this piri piri sauce with chicken recipe, share a bite with us on our social media using the hashtag worldlytreat (#worldlytreat), we'd love to join the soirée. Also, don't forget to pin it for later. Chat soon?
PEACE & LOVE
Peri peri chicken
For the sauce:
- Olive oil ¾ cup (or neutral-tasting oil) plus 2 tbs
- 6 Scotch bonnet stems removed adjust to your preferred spice level
- ¼ cup African bird eye Chilies adjust the quantity based on the desired spiciness
- 1 large red onion
- 7 Garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon Smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons White distilled vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon freeze-dried thyme
- 1 large lemon juiced and zested (about 2 tbs)
- Kosher salt ½ tbs
- ⅓ cup fresh basil with stems
For the chicken
- 2 chicken leg quarters about 2lbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste about 1 tsp
- Blend the Ingredients:
- Add all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor.Olive oil, 6 Scotch bonnet stems removed, ¼ cup African bird eye Chilies, 1 large red onion, 7 Garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon Smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons White distilled vinegar, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon freeze-dried thyme, 1 large lemon, Kosher salt, ⅓ cup fresh basil with stems
- Blend until you achieve a smooth and well-combined sauce consistency (I like mine roughly blended). Divide into two equal parts and set aside in a bowl or jar.
- Marinate the Chicken:
- Pat dry the chicken quarters with a paper towel. Place it in a large bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt and ground black pepper.(please put on gloves for this part.)2 chicken leg quarters, 2 tablespoons olive oil, Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Pour half of the piri piri sauce into the bowl with the chicken and massage it, making sure to add the marinade between the skin and meat.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer everything to a resealable plastic bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours (or overnight for maximum flavor).
- Prepare the Piri Piri Sauce
- Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan, add the remainder of the blended pepper mix, and cook on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.(The sauce is cooked once the oil settles at the top.) remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 8 minutes.
- Prepare the Air Fryer Basket:
- Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 10 minutes. Lightly brush or spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- Lightly tap the chicken quarters on the side of the bowl to release any excess juice.
- Place the chicken thighs in a single layer in the air fryer basket, skin side down.
- Air fry the chicken at 400°F (200°C) for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, flip the chicken thighs, skin side up. Spray with cooking spray, then continue air frying at 400°F (200°C) for 10-14 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the skin is crispy and slightly charred (deep brown). The total cooking time may vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces and the specific air fryer model.
- To ensure the chicken is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should reach 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part of the chicken.
- Once the chicken is cooked and crispy, remove it from the air fryer.
- Let it rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute. Spread the cooked peri peri sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired, and serve hot.
- Store leftover chicken in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in the airfryer.
- There should be at least a cup of sauce left. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for a month.(please see the body of the post for serving options, substitutions, and step photos).
- If you don't have an air fryer, you can roast it in the oven; please check the internal temperature before consuming it.
- Wear disposable gloves when working with chili peppers.
Tuck the marinade in between the skin and meat for all-around flavor.
- If using a blender, add liquids before blending for a smooth consistency.
Let the marinate sip through the chicken quarters for 4 hours or overnight for the best result.
- Add a pinch of chicken seasoning and curry powder for the ultimate flavor while simmering the sauce.
- When cooking with highly concentrated hot chilies like this one, it's essential to have good ventilation.