Hot, homemade peri peri sauce recipe to add heat and flavor to your everyday meals. This easy-to-make spicy sauce is the perfect addition to lots of dishes.
Table of contents
What is peri peri sauce?
Also known as piri piri sauce, this is a super-hot African chili sauce made with bird’s eye chilies, garlic, lemon juice, and vinegar. It was made famous by the South African restaurant chain Nando. They use it for many dishes, including their famous chicken.
You can buy it in a bottle, but unless you live in the UK (probably), the bottles are quite small, and the price is high. Not to mention that the homemade peri peri sauce tastes even better than the bottled version.
For some Nando-inspired dishes, check out the Peri Peri Chicken – Nando’s Chicken Thighs, Spicy Peri Peri Chicken Livers, Nando’s Butterfly Chicken, and Nando’s Spicy Rice. And make some Spicy Peri Peri Seasoning as well.
Recipe ingredients and substitutions
- This easy peri sauce recipe is traditionally made with African bird’s eye chilies. However, the problem with this sort of chili is that it can be very common in some parts of the world and very uncommon in some other parts. Guess in which part I live? Right!
- So, I use long red chilies instead. Super-hot, but not nearly as hot as bird’s eye chilies; that’s why I use more of them. However, I deseed them. I left the seeds in once, and it was just too much for us…
- If getting bird’s eye chilies is not a problem for you, use about 1.7 oz/ 50 g.
- Red bell peppers:
- They make the spicy sauce a bit milder. You can even use a few more red peppers (and fewer chili peppers) for an even milder sauce.
- Onions: I had red ones, but yellow or white onions are also excellent.
- Garlic: 6-7 large cloves.
- Lemon juice and zest. You will only need the juice of half a lemon at first but keep the other half; you might need it to adjust the taste of the hot sauce.
- Apple cider vinegar: I prefer it, but red wine or white vinegar is a good substitute.
- Olive oil: Preferably a milder, fruitier sort.
- Spices: Fine sea salt (or Kosher), ground black pepper, sweet and smoked sweet paprika, oregano.
How to make peri peri sauce?
- Process deseeded and chopped peppers, onions, and garlic in the food processor until chopped but not completely mushy (1).
- Combine chopped vegetables, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, olive oil, sweet and smoked paprika, oregano, pepper, and salt in a large saucepan (2).
- Bring the sauce to a boil (3) and simmer uncovered and occasionally stirring for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the sauce thicker (4).
- Adjust the taste with salt, vinegar, and lemon juice if required. Add the chopped cilantro if using.
- Blend with an immersion blender until the peri peri sauce reaches the desired consistency; it should not be completely smooth (Amazon affiliate link).
- Transfer to jars and let cool completely.
See Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions if you intend to make a milder sauce.
Food processor: If you decide to blend the hot sauce in the food processor, you have to be cautious; blending hot liquids/sauces in the food processor might cause the gadget to explode, and you might hurt yourself.
If you decide to use it anyway, there are a few steps you have to follow:
- Blend the sauce in batches.
- Place a folded thick kitchen cloth on the lid and hold it in place with your hand.
- Increase the speed gradually.
It’s wildly hot. See Recipe Instructions and Substitutions if you want to make it a tad milder.
Tangy, hot, and flavorful. Not at all sweet.
Let it cool completely in the closed jars.
Refrigerate the jars; the sauce will keep for at least 2-3 weeks.
Freeze the sauce; it will keep for at least 6 months. If freezing, don’t fill the jars to the brim, the sauce will expand during freezing, and if the jars are too full, they will crack.
Rub 1 lb (450 g) chicken wings or legs with salt. Place them in a large bowl. Pour about ¼ of the sauce over the chicken parts and stir well to coat. Grill or bake immediately or marinate in the fridge for a few hours before cooking. Serve with more sauce on the side.
Peri Peri sauce uses
- Drizzle it on grilled, baked, or fried chicken, pork, steak, shrimp, sausages or bratwurst, and vegetables; if you like spicy food, the peri peri sauce makes anything better.
- Use the condiment for making marinades for any of the meats mentioned above.
- Stir small amounts of it in sour cream or yogurt dressing for salads.
- Use it to make dips, like our Spicy Peri Peri Dip.
- Make sandwiches, drizzle it on pizza (so good!), and add it to pasta sauces. Try this Cream Cheese Pasta with a few tablespoons of peri peri sauce mixed into it.
- Add some to soup, stews, or chilies; the kick of heat it adds is amazing!
More super spicy recipes
Hot Peri Peri Sauce
- Large saucepan
- Food processor
- 2 red bell peppers large, about 1 lb, Note 1
- 6-7 long red chilies Notes 2, 3
- 2 onions medium, white or red
- 7 garlic cloves
- ½ lemon zest and juice, Note 4
- 60 ml apple cider vinegar ¼ cup
- 60 ml olive oil ¼ cup
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- small bunch of cilantro optional, Note 5
- Process: Deseed and cut the bell peppers and chilies into pieces. Chop onion and garlic roughly. Process them shortly in the food processor until chopped but not completely mushy. Transfer them to a large saucepan.
- Combine: Add lemon zest and juice, vinegar, olive oil, sweet and smoked paprika, oregano, pepper, and salt. Stir well to combine.
- Cook: Bring the sauce to a boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the sauce thicker. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides of the saucepan to prevent the sauce from catching.
- Adjust the taste with salt, vinegar, and lemon juice if required. Add the chopped cilantro.
- Blend the sauce with an immersion blender until it has the desired consistency; it should not be completely smooth. Alternatively, use the food processor but read Note 6 first.
- Transfer to jars and let cool completely. After cooling, keep the sauce refrigerated; it will keep for about 2-3 weeks. You can also freeze it (Note 7).
- If you want the sauce to be milder, add one extra red bell pepper and use only 4-5 red chilies.
- The original sauce is made with bird’s eye chilies, which are unavailable around here. That is why I use long red chilies, which are hot but not as hot as bird’s eye chilies.
- 6-7 long red chilies (depending on size) make a very hot sauce. If you leave the seeds inside, the sauce will be even hotter; remove the seeds fully or partially. Replace some of the chilies with red bell peppers for a milder version.
- Keep the other lemon half; you might need it to adjust the taste of the sauce after cooking.
- Cilantro is not a universally loved herb. Use to your taste, leave it out, or replace it with parsley.
- Caution when blending hot food in the food processor. Do it in batches, place a folded kitchen towel on the lid (hold it with your hand), and increase the speed gradually. Otherwise, you risk the lid actually “exploding” off the food processor. Using an immersion blender for hot liquids/food is probably the best idea.
- If freezing, don’t fill the jars to the brim, the sauce will expand during freezing, and if the jars are too full, they will crack.