Perfectly Spicy Piri Piri Chicken – A Delicious Recipe

Ready to embark on a culinary adventure and experience the mouthwatering flavors of Piri Piri Chicken? This scrumptious dish combines the heat of piri piri peppers with a tantalizing medley of herbs, spices, and other ingredients to create an unforgettable meal. Get ready to explore the origins of the piri piri pepper, master the marinade, and learn the secrets to making the perfect homemade piri piri sauce. Let’s dive in and spice up your life!

Short Summary

  • Spice up your life with the fiery Piri Piri Pepper!

  • Get creative and experiment to find the perfect balance of acidity & sweetness in your sauce.

  • Master marinades, cooking techniques, homemade sauces & more for an unforgettable meal!

The Piri Piri Pepper

Did you know that the Piri Piri Pepper, also known as the African Bird’s Eye Chili, originated in African countries and was brought to Portugal by Portuguese settlers? This fiery pepper is a key ingredient in the famous Piri Piri sauce, which is often used to marinate and sauce up delicious Piri Piri Chicken. Piri Piri peppers offer a heat level that ranges from mild to hot, catering to all lovers of spicy food.

If you’re wondering where to find these spicy gems, don’t worry! African bird’s eye chilies, also known as African bird’s eye chili, are available in North America at Asian, Hispanic, and some Indian markets. But if you can’t get your hands on these african bird’s eye chilies, fear not! You can always use chili peppers, like jalapeno peppers, as a fantastic alternative.

Now that you’re familiar with the star of the show, let’s explore other ingredients that can further elevate the flavor of your Piri Piri Chicken!

Flavor Enhancers

To make your Piri Piri Chicken an irresistible delight, you’ll want to add some flavor enhancers to the mix. Garlic and onion are excellent additions that will complement the heat of the piri piri peppers and add depth to the overall taste of the dish.

Another amazing ingredient to include is roasted red bell peppers. These sweet and smoky peppers not only contribute to the vibrant color of the Piri Piri sauce but also enhance the flavor of the chicken, giving it a subtle red pepper taste. For those who enjoy a spicier kick, consider adding serrano peppers to the mix.

By incorporating these flavor enhancers, including lemon zest, you’ll create a symphony of taste that will have everyone asking for seconds!

Balancing Acidity and Sweetness

A perfect Piri Piri sauce is all about striking the right balance between acidity and sweetness. To achieve this harmony, you can use lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar in your sauce. The tangy lemon juice and vinegar not only add acidity but also tenderize the chicken, while the sugar brings a touch of sweetness to counterbalance the heat.

For a unique twist, you can experiment with different ingredients such as red wine vinegar, which is often used in West African versions of Piri Piri sauce, along with cumin and ginger. You can also try adding port or a bit of brown sugar to give your sauce an extra layer of sweetness.

By playing with these ingredients, you’ll create a well-rounded Piri Piri sauce, also known as Peri Peri sauce or simply peri sauce, that will make your taste buds dance with joy!

Choosing the Right Chicken Cuts

To maximize the deliciousness of your Piri Piri Chicken, it’s essential to select the right chicken cuts. Choosing whole legs or chicken wings will provide a fantastic piri piri experience, as these cuts are perfect for absorbing the flavorful marinade.

Spatchcocking a chicken is another fantastic way to prepare your grilled chicken for grilling. This method ensures even cooking and faster preparation, as the heat reaches the entire surface area of the chicken at once.

By selecting the right cuts and preparing your chicken correctly, you’ll be well on your way to creating a mouthwatering Piri Piri Chicken that will become a favorite in your household!

Mastering the Marinade

Marinating your chicken is a crucial step in achieving the ultimate Piri Piri Chicken. Different marinating techniques can impact the final flavor of your dish, so it’s essential to find the method that works best for you. A great tip is to marinate the meat in lemon juice, garlic, and salt before adding the piri piri sauce. This approach gives the meat an incredibly delicious flavor without any risk of burning on the grill. The recommended marinating time for this technique is one hour, but be cautious, as marinating in an acidic bath for too long can result in a mealy texture on the surface of the meat.

By mastering the art of marination, you’ll ensure that your Piri Piri Chicken is packed with flavor in every bite!

Cooking Techniques for Piri Piri Chicken

Once your chicken is marinated and ready to go, it’s time to choose the best cooking method for your Piri Piri Chicken. Grilling, roasting, and using a griddle pan are all fantastic options for achieving the perfect Piri Piri Chicken. The recommended cooking time for your chicken is 35 minutes with the lid on. After that, check the chicken and if it’s almost done, brush it with piri piri sauce and cook for an additional 10 minutes, lid off, until cooked through.

By choosing the right cooking technique and monitoring your cooking time, you’ll be rewarded with a tender and flavorful Piri Piri Chicken that will impress everyone at the table!

Homemade Piri Piri Sauce

Ready to make your own homemade Piri Piri sauce? Simply combine red African or Thai bird’s eye chilies, garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt, sweet smoked paprika, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. For an extra touch of sweetness, you can add port or brown sugar.

Next, simmer your sauce for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. This step will help to meld the flavors and create a smooth, velvety texture.

To store your homemade Piri Piri sauce, transfer it to sterilized jars or bottles, or freeze it in freezer-safe containers. Now you’ll always have a delicious homemade Piri Piri sauce ready to elevate your favorite dishes!

Checkout Home-made Peri-Peri sauce.

Serving Suggestions for Piri Piri Chicken

Now that your Piri Piri Chicken is ready, it’s time to consider some mouthwatering serving suggestions. Traditional Portuguese-style accompaniments include chips and lemon wedges, which complement the flavors of the chicken perfectly. Alternatively, you can serve your Piri Piri Chicken with rice to soak up the extra sauce or freshly fried potato crisps for a delightful crunch.

For a more well-rounded meal, consider pairing your Piri Piri Chicken with homemade coleslaw, fluffy yellow rice flavored with saffron, or sliced potatoes tossed with salt and cornstarch and air-fried until tender. A simple salad can also provide a refreshing contrast to the heat of the Piri Piri sauce.

With these delicious serving suggestions, your Piri Piri Chicken will become a memorable meal that leaves everyone craving more!

Customizing Your Piri Piri Experience

The beauty of Piri Piri Chicken lies in its versatility. Feel free to customize the recipe to suit your personal preferences and make it your own unique creation. For those who prefer milder or spicier flavors, you can adjust the spice level by adding more or fewer piri piri peppers or experimenting with other spices such as cayenne pepper, paprika, or chili powder. Don’t be afraid to play with different herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and parsley to create your signature Piri Piri Chicken. By customizing the dish to your liking, you’ll create a Piri Piri experience that’s truly unforgettable!


In conclusion, Piri Piri Chicken is a flavorful and versatile dish that can be tailored to suit any palate. By exploring the origins of the piri piri pepper, mastering the marinade, and experimenting with various cooking techniques, you’ll create a dish that’s not only delicious but also uniquely yours. So why wait? Grab your apron, fire up the grill, and start your Piri Piri Chicken adventure today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is piri-piri made from?

Piri-piri is traditionally made with sweet peppers, spicy chiles, garlic, onions, herbs, and a splash of lemon, vinegar, or whiskey. It is often used as a condiment or marinade and usually contains chili peppers, lemon, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, oil, citrus peel, paprika, tarragon, oregano, and African Bird’s Eye chiles.

It is a popular condiment in many countries, including Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa. It is also used in many dishes, such as grilled chicken, fish, and vegetables. It can be used as a marinade, a sauce.

How spicy is piri-piri?

Piri-piri is around 20 times hotter than a jalapeno on the Scoville Heat scale, making it very spicy! On the other hand, it’s mild compared to even the mildest Habanero variety.

What does piri-piri taste like?

Piri-piri has an intense, complex flavor with notes of garlic, onion, paprika and lemon, making it salty and spicy with a slight hint of sourness.

It’s definitely not for the faint of heart!

Is piri-piri Portuguese or African?

Piri-piri is definitely African in origin! It originated from Mozambique and its recipe reflects the blend of cultures present there for centuries.

Now it’s popular around the world!

What can I use as a substitute for piri piri peppers?

For a great substitute for piri piri peppers, try using jalapeno or serrano peppers – they’ll give you the same delicious flavour!

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