South African Peri Peri Chicken

south african peri peri chicken

One of the places it seems several of my friends have gone but I still have not been is Africa. Yup, I have yet to set foot in one African nation. One of my college roommates is actually there right now and I am inspired. So inspired, I made South African Peri Peri chicken for the family.

My college roommate actually lived in South Africa during college. And loved it so much she’s gone back to volunteer and to work. Of course, I’ve been lucky enough to have friends that have shared their experiences with me while they are there and one they’ve returned.

And one of the best things they’ve returned with are their palates. It’s always fun to work on recipes when I have my friends here. They’ll be like “hmmmm, somethings missing” or “that’s it.” It’s a fun time.

South African Peri Peri Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken is also known as Piri Piri and is made with peri peri chili peppers. These peppers are originally from South America but now grow in southern Africa.  What I didn’t realize was that because of the long history of the Portuguese in southern Africa this dish is a staple not only in southern African but also in Portugal.

So, though I was only introduced to South African Peri Peri Chicken, I now know there’s also Portuguese Piri Piri chicken. South Africa actually has one of the largest Portuguese African populations. And there you go globalization at it’s finest. A dish that spans 3 continents.


When I first made the dish I was hesitant to use cayenne pepper, chili powder and black pepper. I know its about building flavor but I have little palates and every now and then I’m caught off guard and they tell me something is too spicy.

You can make this dish spicy by adding Piri Piri hot chili pepper powder. Since I’m almost always feeding a mixed crowd (people who like spice and people who don’t like spice) I used regular chili powder. If I was making this for a grown up crowd that liked spice, I would use hot chili powder. This recipe has all the flavor without the spice and was loved by the whole family. I started this recipe stove top and then put it in the oven but if you can grill it, do that. It’s delicious.

South African Peri Peri Chicken

Makes 4 -6 Servings

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken (boneless prefered)

Tools: large bowl, whisk, plastic wrap, cast iron pan or grill.

peri peri chicken ingredients


In a large bowl, whisk all the seasonings together.

Add chicken and toss chicken in marinade.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least three hours.

When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a heavy pan over medium high heat brown chicken for two or three minutes on each side.

Pour the reserved marinade into the pan and spoon the sauce over the chicken.

Turn off the stove and place pan in pre-heated oven.

Bake/Roast for 15-20 minutes (boneless chicken breast) or 35 -45 minutes for bone -in chicken thighs until cooked through.

If you try this recipe, I’d love to know. Leave me a comment or take a picture and tag it #elskitchencmfrt on Twitter or @els.kitchencomforts on instagram. I’m excited to see what you cook up.



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