5 from 2 votes

Peri Peri Chicken (Nandos Chicken Recipe)

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This Peri Peri chicken recipe creates juicy, delicious meat every time! It’s made with a spicy African sauce for a bold flavour in every bite of chicken.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£1.67
Makes: 5
mains
south african
Freezable

Get ready for juicy, delicious Peri Peri chicken! This recipe is the ultimate weeknight dinner or Sunday dinner. It’s made with a spicy sauce that’s crafted from roasted red peppers, chillies and spices. Because the chicken pieces are marinated for hours, they come out super tender and flavourful.

Browned and charred chicken thighs laid out on a blue tray with some green herbs.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Healthy Spice – The fiery marinade for this Peri Peri chicken is made with simple, healthy ingredients like honey, brine, chillies, spices, roasted peppers, and garlic.

Gluten-Free – This Peri Peri chicken recipe is naturally gluten-free, so you can pair it with your favourite gluten-free sides.

Dairy-Free – I love that this recipe is also naturally dairy-free, so it works well for those who can’t or don’t consume dairy.

Flavorful – The fiery marinade/sauce bursts with flavour in each bite of this Nandos chicken recipe.

Love a Nando’s? Try my; Nando’s Fino Pitta, Nando’s Spicy rice or Nando’s Mac and Cheese Recipe (Peri Peri)

What is Peri Peri Chicken?

Peri Peri Chicken originally comes from Mozambique, Africa. It’s a chicken dish made by smothering a spicy chilli sauce onto the meat and cooking it to create a flavourful dish. The fiery Peri Peri sauce is specifically made with Piri Piri peppers, also known as Peri Peri or bird’s eye chili, along with lemon juice, spices, onion puree, garlic powder or puree, and vinegar.

This delicious dish began in Mozambique because of the bird’s eye chili peppers growing there. It then spread to all of South Africa and eventually the rest of the world. Nando’s, a South African restaurant, also helped spread this dish.

When eating homemade Nandos, expect a tangy, spicy, smoky, herby flavour. If you love the spicy peri peri sauce, you’ll need to try my Peri Peri Chicken Wings

Bird’s eye chili, Is it spicy?
Yes, it’s a pretty spicy chilli. It’s about ten times spicier than a jalapeño but not as hot as a habanero pepper.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make peri peri chicken laid out on a pale blue background and labelled.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs – You can also use skin-on meat for this Peri Peri chicken dish. I recommend scoring the skin first before adding it to the marinade. Chicken breasts or drumsticks will also work for this recipe.

Roasted Red Peppers – The roasted red peppers are a key ingredient in this recipe, as they create a smokey, slightly sweet taste. I wouldn’t recommend skipping or swapping this ingredient, as there aren’t many good substitutes that provide a similar flavour.

Honey – Honey adds just a hint of sweetness to the marinade ingredients, balancing out the spicy taste of the Peri chillies. Maple syrup or agave syrup will also work in this recipe.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations/ Adaptations

Here are a few ways to adjust this Peri Peri chicken dish to your preferences. Instead of using chicken thighs, make this recipe with chicken breast, drumsticks, or even a whole chicken. You can also use this marinade for vegetables or plant-based meat alternatives, like tofu or seitan.

Or, make the marinade in a smaller quantity to use as a dipping sauce for chicken strips, potato wedges, and chips. Or serve with my; Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes, Airfryer potatoes or Airfryer Hash Browns

How to make Peri Peri chicken

  1. Start by adding the roasted peppers, one tablespoon of their brine, honey, smashed garlic, chillies, paprika, oregano and salt and pepper to a food processor (Image 1).
  2. Blitz to form a smooth marinade. If you have a blender rather than a food processor, you might need to chop the garlic and chillies a little bit more before adding them to the blender (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with garlic, peppers, chillies and dried herbs in a food processor and the second with these blitzed in the blender.

3. Pour the spicy peri-peri marinade into a large bowl, add the chicken thighs and mix together until the meat is well coated (Image 3).

4. Cover with clingfilm or foil and chill in the fridge for a minimum of one hour. If possible, marinade for 5–12 hours (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with the tomato coloured sauces over the chicken thighs in a bowl with some tongs and the second with the bowl covered in foil.

Preheat the oven to 430°F (220°C).

5. Set a griddle pan over a high heat, add one tablespoon of rapeseed oil and sear half of the chicken thighs on one side for around four minutes until char lines appear (Image 5).

6. Remove and place on a baking dish/tray, seared side up (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with the marinated thighs in a skillet and the second with the charred chicken thighs in a dish next to the skillet.

7. Repeat with the other half of the chicken thighs, adding one tablespoon of rapeseed oil and searing the chicken on one side. Once all the thighs are seared and on the baking tray, brush over any leftover marinade and season with an extra pinch of salt (Image 7).

8. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Depending on the size of the chicken thighs you may need to cook for a further five minutes (slice the largest piece in half to check). Top with parsley if you like and dig in! (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with the charred, marinated chicken thighs in a sdish with extra marunade being brushed over and the second with the charred chicken thighs cooked  in a dish.

Pair these yummy chicken thighs with these tasty sides; Crispy Homemade Oven Chips, Easy Flatbread Recipe and Frozen Cauliflower Rice (Fast)

Browned and charred chicken thighs laid out on a blue tray with some parsley.

Need inspiration for some other tasty main dish recipes? Try my; Mayak Eggs, Fish Risotto or Easy Cajun Dirty Rice

Tips for the best result

Find the spiciness that is right for you
This Peri Peri chicken dish is great, as you can adjust the heat to your liking. Use fewer chillies for less heat or more if you like spicy food. Or, you can increase the heat with cayenne pepper. You can also swap out the chillies for sriracha if you want less heat.

The longer you marinate, the better the flavor
I recommend marinating this Nandos chicken as long as possible (overnight if possible). The longer it sits in the marinade, the more flavour you’ll find in each bite. If you don’t have as much time, the chicken thighs will still be flavourful even if they only marinade for five hours.

Charred chicken thighs in a marinade cooked in a glass oval dish on a white background.

Serving Suggestions

I love serving this Peri Peri chicken over a bed of citrus and cilantro rice. You can also serve it with roasted veg, grilled corn on the cob such as my Easy Mexican Street Corn, a fresh salad, or nearly anything with potatoes (potato salad, mashed potatoes or Sweet Potato wedges ). Sides like rice and potatoes will help cool the heat from the spicy sauce.

Leftover Storage and Reheat Instructions

If you have any leftover Peri Peri chicken, you can easily store it in the fridge or freezer for later use. Let the dish cool fully, then pack it in an airtight container. Keep it in the fridge for up to three days or the freezer for up to 5-6 months.

To reheat the chicken, let it defrost overnight in the fridge (if frozen). Then, heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes until warmed in a preheated oven set to 430°F (220°C). I’d recommend wrapping the chicken in foil to help it stay juicy during reheating.

Can you freeze/refrigerate the sauce?
If you create extra sauce, you can also save it in the fridge or freezer. Pack it into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to six months.

FAQs

Could you use skin on, bone in chicken for peri peri chicken?

Yes, you can use skin on bone in chicken thighs, legs or drumsticks for Peri Peri chicken.

Be sure to sear the chicken with the skin side down in a pan on high (not medium) heat. For this step, I recommend you lightly oil the pan with vegetable oil or olive oil before adding the chicken. Then, bake it for the best results.

Can this chicken be baked?

Absolutely! In fact, my version of Nandos fakeaway chicken is baked in the oven. I would still recommend pan-searing the chicken first, as it helps seal the juices into the meat for a juicier final result.

How do you know when the peri peri chicken is done?

You can check if this Peri Peri dish is done in a few ways. For one, you can cut into the meat to check for doneness. The chicken is ready to eat if there’s no pink in the middle. You can also use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It will be 165°F (75°C) in the center of the chicken when it’s done. Always check the thickest part of the thickest piece of chicken for doneness, as it will give you the most accurate results.

Should I seed the peppers before adding them?

You do not need to deseed the peppers before adding them to the Peri Peri marinade. Deseeding the chillies will help decrease the heat and create a smoother consistency, but you can leave them in if you like a hotter sauce.
 

If you tried this Peri Peri Chicken recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

Peri Peri Chicken (Nando’s Chicken Recipe)

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5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£1.67
mains
south african
Freezable
Servings: 5
This Peri Peri chicken recipe creates juicy, delicious meat every time! It’s made with a spicy African sauce for a bold flavour in every bite of chicken.

Ingredients

  • 200 g jarred roasted red peppers + 1 tbsp brine (£1.80/2)=(£0.90)
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed (£0.39)
  • 4 – 6 bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped, stems removed (£0.45)
  • 900 g boneless, skinless chicken thighs (£6.00)
  • Fresh parsley, to serve (optional) (£0.60)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  • Start by adding the roasted peppers, one tablespoon of their brine, honey, smashed garlic, chillies, paprika, oregano and salt and pepper to a food processor. Blitz to form a smooth marinade. If you have a blender rather than a food processor, you might need to chop the garlic and chillies a little bit more before adding them to the blender.
  • Pour the spicy peri-peri marinade into a large bowl, add the chicken thighs and mix together until the meat is well coated. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for a minimum of one hour. If possible, marinade for 5–12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 430°F (220°C).

  • Set a griddle pan over a high heat, add one tablespoon of rapeseed oil and sear half of the chicken thighs on one side for around four minutes until char lines appear. Remove and place on a baking tray, seared side up. Repeat with the other half of the chicken thighs, adding one tablespoon of rapeseed oil and searing the chicken on one side. Once all the thighs are seared and on the baking tray, brush over any leftover marinade and season with an extra pinch of salt.
  • Cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Depending on the size of the chicken thighs you may need to cook for a further five minutes (slice the largest piece in half to check). Top with parsley if you like and dig in!

Nutrition

Servings: 5 servings
Fat: 23g
Calories: 418kcal
Carbohydrates: 6g
Protein: 51g
5 from 2 votes

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Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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Comments

  1. Anna Jones | 1 month ago

    Fab recipe with that yummy peri peri sauce5 stars

    1. Mimi Harrison | 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much Anna! 🙂

  2. This is now going to be our Friday night takeaway … we really enjoyed the peri peri sauce and juicy chicken!5 stars

    1. Mimi Harrison | 4 weeks ago

      Yay thank you Maria! Gotta love a fakeaway Nandos

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