Here’s an easy homemade Peri Peri Chicken recipe (with sauce!) that gives the most tender, juicy results. This recipe requires 10 simple ingredients and any cut of bone-in chicken (leg quarters, thighs, or whole chicken pieces). This post is sponsored by Urban Accents, whose flavorful Mozambique Peri Peri Spice blend I’ve used to make the Peri Peri Sauce. If you can’t find it, I’ve included a quick substitute so you don’t miss trying this recipe!
I didn’t consider making it at home until I tried Urban Accent’s Peri Peri seasoning and was blown away by it’s on-point flavor. I suggest using it for this recipe for a restaurant-like taste. But rest assured, if you can’t find it or buy it online, I’ve given an easy substitute of paprika and red chili flakes that’ll still taste delicious
WHAT IS PERI PERI (OR PELI PELI) AND HOW DOES IT TASTE?
Peri peri is an African-grown spice, also known as African Bird’s Eye Chilli. Though the exact origins are debated, the spice is said to have been blended with Portuguese flavors to create the world-famous Peri Peri sauce.
Peri peri sauce is hot and spicy, of course, but not in a flat way. It’s intense but has subtle smoky, tangy, slightly sweet flavor. Once you try it, you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life.
THE SECRET TO RESTAURANT-LEVEL TENDER PERI PERI CHICKEN
I know most recipes would have you grill or simply bake the chicken. (For a great baked chicken recipe, check out my TANDOORI CHICKEN PIZZA You could do that, but to get the restaurant-level tenderness with the pan-seared or chargrilled flavor, try steaming the chicken after grilling or pan-searing.
Sounds fancy, but all you’re doing is covering it with aluminum foil so steam can’t escape and then popping it in the oven. I even spoke to one of the Peri Peri restaurant owners & they shared the same steam + grill tactic, so we are onto something here.
HOMEMADE PERI PERI CHICKEN
- 1 Pan
- 2 ibs (907 g) bone-in, skinless chicken (leg quarters, thighs, or legs), or sub whole chicken, cut up, skinless
Peri Peri Sauce
- 1 small to medium red bell pepper (140-170g), cut in half lengthwise, stemmed, and deseeded
- ¼ cup (59 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp oil, any kind works
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled but leave whole
- 2 tbsp Urban Accents Peri Peri Spice Blend*, or sub 1 1/2 tbsp paprika + 1 tbsp
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp cane sugar
- 4 tbsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp neutral oil, or as needed
- ¼ cup mayonnaise, or sub sour cream, yogurt, heavy cream, coconut cream or any combination of these
- Food Processor
- Stovetop Grill Pan or Skillet
- Optional Step (skip if omitting red bell pepper) – Preheat oven to 450°F/232°C. Place the red bell pepper, cut side down, on an aluminum foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, flipping both pieces over midway. The bell pepper will wilt and blacken.
- Use a knife to cut 3-5 slits into each chicken piece and place in a large bowl.
- Add the roasted bell pepper (if using) along with the rest of the ingredients listed under 'Peri Peri Sauce' to a food processor. Blend until as smooth as possible.
- Reserve 1/3-cup of the sauce, then pour the remaining sauce onto the chicken. Mix well to ensure the chicken is thoroughly coated.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, ideally overnight. (If you're short on time, skip the longer marination and continue with the next step.)
- When ready to cook, take the chicken out of the fridge and allow it come closer to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or stovetop grill pan over medium-high to high heat. Once hot, brush or spray with oil and add the chicken pieces, meat side down. Discard any leftover marinade. Grill the chicken, pressing down on it to increase grill marks, for 4 minutes each side, or until charred or browned on both sides. Discard any leftover marinade.
- Place the chicken pieces side by side in a 9" x 13" oven-safe pan or roaster. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place the baking dish on the center rack of the oven. Roast for 20-25 minutes**, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Meanwhile, mix remaining sauce with mayonnaise or your choice of something creamy to dilute the sauce. Taste and adjust salt, mayo to mellow it out, or sugar for sweetness. Brush the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately with French fries, rice, cole slaw, corn on the cob, or your choice of sides.
**Bake time depends on your cut of chicken. The smaller pieces (cut up whole chicken) will take around 20 minutes, medium size pieces (legs/thighs) will take around 22 minutes, and larger pieces (such as leg quarters) will take 25. Rest assured, it’s hard to overcook chicken with the foil keeping the steam in.