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Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken

by Adina 18/06/2018 4 comments

piri piri chicken legs


Spicy piri piri chicken, peri peri chicken or homemade Nando’s chicken, Portuguese chicken baked in the oven, soft tender meat and crispy spicy skin.




What is Piri Piri Chicken?

Although I’ve heard of peri peri or piri piri chicken many times before, I never knew, until recently, that this dish is some kind of copycat of a famous restaurant dish: Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken. I have never heard of Nando before, but apparently that is a chain restaurant originating in South Africa.


peri peri chicken 6 Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken


So, piri piri chicken is a Portuguese/ South African dish created by this restaurant, which became really popular not only in Portugal or South Africa, but pretty much everywhere.

Piri piri sauce is of Portuguese origin and is a chili seasoning or marinade that has been around for centuries. Portuguese settlers discovered the bird’s eye chilies – peri peri or pili pili chilies and used those and other ingredients like garlic and lemon to create this really spicy marinade.

Piri piri is the way Portuguese call this dish or sauce and peri peri is the South African way of calling the it.

Regarding the recipe for the peri peri chicken itself, there is a debate if the recipe is actually South African or Portuguese. Probably a bit of both as it originated in South Africa, the chicken is marinated in the peri peri sauce created by the Portuguese and was brought to Portugal from two Portuguese colonies: Angola and Mozambique.


peri peri chicken 4 Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken


So, the Peri Peri Chicken or Piri Piri Chicken or Nando’s Chicken is my recipe representing Portugal during this series on Where Is My Spoon. I decided to make the World Cup a bit more interesting for me this year and cook some well-known dishes from some of the competing countries.

Too bad that South Africa didn’t qualify for this year’s football World Cup, I would have had two countries represented with just one recipe.


peri peri chicken 7 Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken



This chicken recipe is so easy. Blend the ingredients for the marinate together, marinate the chicken for several hours or overnight and bake the chicken.

The result: utterly delicious chicken, crispy and spicy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside.

The chicken:

Usually, you would use a whole chicken to make this recipe for peri peri chicken. The chicken should be cut into pieces, which should be marinated and cooked.

However, I used whole chicken legs, which I divided at the joint, my kids prefer to eat chicken legs and it is easier for me to make them happy, if I buy the legs.


peri peri chicken 3 Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken


The chilies:

I used 4 regular, rather long red chilies, the standard chilies sold here in Germany. They are not that spicy, under medium hot, so to say. In addition to those, I bought some Bird’s eye chilies. They were so hot, I only dared using one… it was hot enough for us.

Do use more bird’s eye chilies according to your taste. If children are not eating and you are used to spicy food, you should definitely try using at least 2.


To make the marinade, chop all the ingredients roughly and give them to a food processor. Process until you obtain a rough paste. Use the paste to massage the chicken parts very well, cover the glass or ceramic dish containing the chicken with cling film and leave to marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.


peri peri chicken 5 Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken



I think the original Peri Peri Chicken from Nando’s is made on the barbecue. However, I am not much into grilling myself, I like it, but grilling is something special that we make 5 times every summer. Tops!

So to make this chicken recipe on the barbecue is not really much of an option when you want to make a quick, family dinner.

So, the oven it is. Oven baked chicken is my favorite kind of chicken anyway, it is so versatile and so easy to make. And always a success in our house, I have a lot of oven baked chicken recipes on the blog to prove that.

Have a look at this basic recipe for oven baked chicken for instance or these baked chicken legs with honey mustard sauce or these oven roasted chicken legs with vegetables.


peri peri chicken 1 Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken


To cook these chicken legs perfectly, all you have to do is to give the marinated chicken pieces to a baking tray and bake them for about 45-50 minutes or until the juices run clear. Don’t forget to baste the chicken with some of the marinade and juices from the tray every 15 minutes or so.

Serve the peri peri or piri piri chicken immediately, with any kind of side dish you like. Rice and cabbage salad/coleslaw would be nice, any kind of potatoes or the way the Portuguese apparently serve it: with fries and lettuce, tomato and onion salad.



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peri peri chicken 2 200x200 Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken – Spicy Baked Chicken

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Spicy piri piri chicken, peri peri chicken or homemade Nando's chicken, Portuguese chicken baked in the oven, soft tender meat and crispy spicy skin.



  1. Remove the seeds of the chilies (or leave them, if you would like the dish to be very hot). Chop them roughly and place them in a food processor.
  2. Roughly chop the garlic and green onions/scallions. Add them to the food processor together with the parsley, torn bay leaves, ground coriander, sweet paprika, sugar, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Process until you obtain a rough paste.
  3. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces or divide the chicken legs at the joint. Place them in a large ceramic or glass casserole dish. Add the piri piri sauce and massage the sauce well into the chicken. Cover the dish with cling film and let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking it.
    In the meantime preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Arrange the chicken pieces on a large and lightly oiled baking tray, skin side up.
    Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, basting the chicken with the pan juices and marinade every 15 minutes or so.
  6. Bake the chicken until the juices run clear. To see if they do, stick a toothpick or a skewer into the thickest part of the chicken leg, the juices that come out should be completely clear, no pink or red allowed.
  7. Serve the chicken with one of the side dishes suggested above.


  1. You can use a whole chicken, which should be cut into 8 parts. Alternatively, use 6-8 whole chicken legs (depending on size), which should be cut at the joint.
  2. The red chilies I used were not particularly hot. The Bird's eye chilies were very hot, so I only used 1. Take more or less chilies, according to taste and how much heat you can manage.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 whole chicken leg
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 541 Total Fat: 28g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 18g Cholesterol: 328mg Sodium: 966mg Carbohydrates: 6g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 63g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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angiesrecipes 19/06/2018 - 05:28

Very very delicious! I need to make this soon!

Sissi 20/06/2018 - 17:40

I’ve never had piri piri chicken either and like you have heard about it so many times… It’s been on my tasting list for my first trip to Portugal (not even planned yet!), but your chicken looks soo good I might try your recipe and make it at home first!

Adina 22/06/2018 - 15:34

It is really a no fuss recipe, Sissi, you should definitely make it yourself.

Foodido 09/11/2018 - 08:09

Its not South African. It was created by Portuguese settlers in Mozambique. Nandos is South African.


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