Peri Peri (or piri piri) is Swahili for “pepper-pepper” and is the perfect description for this delicious, yet oh-so-hot, Portuguese sauce.
It’s said that this sauce was created by Portuguese explorers in Africa during the 15th century when they discovered the African bird’s eye chili.
They combined these chilis with sweet red peppers, onion, plenty of garlic, and paprika to make a delicious spicy marinade for chicken, meat, and seafood.
Peri Peri sauce packs plenty of heat, but it also has a nice earthiness and sweetness.
The sauce has been made famous worldwide by Nando’s, a popular South African restaurant chain with locations in over 30 countries.
But now you don’t need to travel to Africa, Portugal, or even your neighborhood Nando’s when you’re craving that bold, spicy flavor.
I’ve put together a Nandos Peri Peri Sauce recipe with all the authentic flavor as the world-famous restaurant, while being easy to make at home.
The key is to roast the red peppers and onion before adding them to the sauce to deepen the flavors.
And don’t worry about finding African bird’s eye chilis. I’ve used small red Thai chilis that have a similar taste.
You’ll have a sauce with well-balanced flavors – sweet, spicy, a hint of acid, and a nice kick – that goes great with grilled chicken, meats, pork, and seafood.
And you can make it as hot or mild as you like by simply adjusting the number of chilis.
So if you’re ready to discover the spicy flavors of North Africa, read on for the best Nandos Peri Peri Sauce recipe this side of the Atlantic.
- 1 What Do You Need To Make Nandos Peri Peri Sauce
- 2 How To Make Nandos Peri Peri Sauce
- 3 Other Things To Consider When Making Nandos Peri Peri Sauce
- 4 Nandos Peri Peri Sauce Recipe
What Do You Need To Make Nandos Peri Peri Sauce
Garlic is an essential ingredient in North African and Mediterranean cooking.
It adds an extra dimension of spiciness to your sauce.
Adds a rich, savory flavor to your sauce.
Add a delicious peppery sweetness to your sauce.
Feel free to substitute orange or yellow, but I wouldn’t recommend green as the flavor will overpower and significantly change the taste of your sauce.
Gives your sauce a delicious nutty flavor.
Small Red Thai Chilis
Peri Peri sauce is traditionally made with bird’s eye chilis, a spicy chili found in North Africa.
However, for this recipe, we’re using red Thai chilis as they have a similar taste.
Red Wine Vinegar
Gives your sauce some tang.
You’ll want to use fresh lemons for this recipe as you’ll be using both the juice and zest.
A common spice throughout Mediterranean cooking that has an exotic spicy flavor.
Adds some bitter and earthy flavor.
However, feel free to use dried oregano if you can’t find fresh.
Bay leaf deepens the other flavors in your sauce.
Be sure to remove it before putting your sauce in the blender.
Adds a sweetness that balances out the other flavors.
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
Unlocks the other flavors and brings everything together.
- Cutting board
- Medium saucepan
- Spoon or spatula
- Blender or food processor
- Stovetop or other heat source
How To Make Nandos Peri Peri Sauce
Step One: First, roast the red peppers and onion until they have a nice char. You can do this on your grill, in a cast iron pan on the stove, or using the broiler.
Step Two: Next, peel the garlic and roughly chop the charred peppers and onion. Put them all in a blender and puree until smooth.
Step Three: Then add the remaining ingredients to the blender except for the bay leaf, brown sugar, and olive oil. Puree until the sauce is smooth and all the ingredients are well mixed.
Step Four: Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, add the bay leaf and brown sugar, and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step Five: Remove your sauce from the heat and allow it to cool. Next, remove the bay leaf and return the sauce to the blender.
Step Six: While the blender is running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until all the oil is well combined in the sauce.
Other Things To Consider When Making Nandos Peri Peri Sauce
You Control The Heat
This Nandos Peri Peri Sauce recipe is bold, spicy, and full of Mediterranean flavor.
However, if you don’t like your sauce quite so spicy, you can adjust the heat by adjusting the number of chilis used.
What Can I Eat with Nandos Peri Peri Sauce?
Nandos Peri Peri sauce goes with just about anything. Use it to add flavor and spice to all your favorite dishes.
This Nandos Peri Peri Sauce recipe makes a great chicken marinade. Rub the chicken with the sauce and let sit for a couple of hours in the fridge before grilling. Be sure to add more sauce while cooking to intensify the flavor.
- Use it to make succulent and spicy pork chops.
- Makes a zesty veggie dip.
- Perfect with all kinds of seafood.
- Makes the best North African-inspired burgers!
- A bold sauce calls for a bold wine. Pair this sauce with a strong red, like a cabernet or tempranillo.
Read more: How To Use Nandos Sauce
Make More Than You Need!
This Portuguese sauce has the perfect balance of flavors. You’ll find yourself reaching for it every time you head to the grill.
So go ahead and double the recipe.
Extra sauce will stay fresh in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Or you can freeze it for up to four months.
I pour my extra sauce into ice cube trays.
That way, whenever I’m craving that delicious North African flavor, I pop a couple of cubes in the microwave, and I’m ready to go.
Nandos Peri Peri Sauce Recipe
If you love the Peri Peri sauce down at Nandos and want to make some for yourself at home, you need to follow this Nandos Peri Peri Sauce Recipe. You control the heat, so whether you like it extra spicy or mild - it's really up to you!
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
- 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 large red peppers
- 8 small Thai red chilis
- ½ cup of red wine vinegar
- Juice and zest from two large lemons
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup of olive oil (at the finish)
- First, roast the red peppers and red onion. You want them to get a nice char. You can do this on your grill, in a cast iron pan on the stove, or using the broiler.
- Next, peel the garlic and roughly chop the charred peppers and onion. Put them into a blender and puree until smooth.
- Add the Thai chilis, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and zest, paprika, oregano, salt, and black pepper to the blender and puree until the sauce is smooth and all the ingredients are well-mixed.
- Then, pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, add the bay leaf and brown sugar, and bring to a simmer at low-medium heat.
- Allow your sauce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove your sauce from the heat and allow it to cool. Remove the bay leaf and return the sauce to the blender.
- Taste your sauce and adjust any ingredients.
- With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until all the oil is well combined in the sauce.
- Your sauce is now ready to serve.
- You can add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for more tang.
- Like it hot? You can add more Thai chilis or a couple of pinches of ground cayenne pepper.
- Try other chilis for a different heat profile.
- Substitute smoked paprika for a more intense smokey flavor.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 64Total Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 185mgCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1g
Other Nandos Recipes you may want to try:
Hello. I’m Jeremy – an experienced saucier who has worked in some of the top kitchens over the last few decades. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my knowledge and expertise; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to recommendations for every sauce imaginable.