Traditional Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce for Chicken

"I love churrasqueira chicken and have been looking for a recipe to make it myself. I found this on Breakfast Television Toronto's web site. They got the recipe from Roasty Chicken Churrasqueira which is in the town of Maple just north of Toronto. A friend told me that she's used this sauce for fish and shrimp, too. I've tried it on shrimp and it's wonderful. Simply marinate the shrimp for an hour and then drain the shrimp, discard the sauce and grill the shrimp on the barbie."
photo by Chef PotPie photo by Chef PotPie
photo by Chef PotPie
photo by Dr. Jenny photo by Dr. Jenny
photo by mary winecoff photo by mary winecoff
photo by Tinkerbell photo by Tinkerbell
photo by LifeIsGood photo by LifeIsGood
Ready In:
1hr 20mins
1 cup




  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.
  • Brush on chicken before barbecuing (or baking in oven @ 350 °F for 1.25 hours WITHOUT opening the door during during entire cooking process.) It helps the flavour if you marinate the chicken for a few hours prior to cooking!

Questions & Replies

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  1. trevliza
    Your recipe sounds delicious, but the genuinely authentic piri piri sauce has been "bastardized" by every recipe claiming to be the original! I am 70 and was raised in Rhodesia and ate chicken piri piri from a young age because it was "invented" in our neighboring country of Mozambique. Portugal sent chilies to its two African colonies of Angola and Mozambique about 200 years ago because it could not find a commercial use for them, and it was in the town of Beira (Mozambique) in the late 1890s that an elderly lady managed to produce this superlative of all salivating sauces. She only used two ingredients (3 if you include a little water), but ingeniously created a taste that transcends all others. The ingredients? Birds eye chillies and lemon juice. The secret? Simmer the diced up chillies in the lemon juice for at least 8 hours adding just enough water to stop the mixture catching, but not enough to prevent the caramelisation of the mixture. The enzymes of both ingredients dance tenderly together in this slow process and a flavour is born that is neither viciously hot nor too acidic, but instead sweet, in a smokey way, and piquant without the bite. And a smell to entice the most numbed of nostrils! Once cooked to perfection the mixture would then be blended with a mortise and pestle to a juicy paste adding water, if necessary, for consistency . I, too, have bastardized this process, but it has not distracted from the original outcomes and flavour. I use an electric blender (juicer) to combine the chilies and lemon juice and then (barely) simmer the liquid for 8-10 hours instead of grinding it to a paste. My preference is 100 grams of chillies to 14 lemons for a stronger, hotter sauce, but it can be adjusted to half or a quarter of the chilii content to suit other tastes. I also love lots of salt on my meat, but not in the sauce. (I am posting this on other piri piri sites to try and correct misinformation about the "original" recipe).
  2. Mia 3
    Hi greetings from Portugal. Gave this a try as I like things pretty spicy, I just added 3 garlic cloves and grinded them with sea salt, then added too the rest of the ingredients. Its was perfect. You can come and B.Q. at my house anytime, just as long as you brings the sauce, and don't forget the garlic!!! LOL LOL! Thanks for posting this receipe.
  3. S K.5140
    Really great recipe! We eat it 2-3 times a month, in the beginning, every weekend. We prep it early in the day and the result is really juicy and tender breast! Subbed vinegar for balsamic and it made a big difference in the taste. A 15/10 recipe for sure.......even if it isn't the true method described by treliza. Will certainly give yours a try!
  4. rusticgirl
    Excellent. I grew up using piri piri (Portuguese family), so it's nice to have a homemade recipe that rocks. I add tons more garlic, and I use red wine vinegar. Different vinegars give slightly different flavours, so use whatever you've got in the pantry and experiment :)
  5. jennycjosephson
    Since finding this recipe I make it at least 3 times a week! My husband can't get enough of it. I'm originally from Rhodesia, where the Peri Peri chicken was popular. It's delicious served with french fries. I prefer to cook mine in a foil disposable container on the grill rather than the oven. Thank you so much for posting it. Yumm!!!


  1. S K.5140
    Instead of white vinear, subbed balsamic. Even tastier than before!
  2. Joe B.
    Piri Piri and no chilli, ?????



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