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5 April 2019

Make your own peri peri, or piri piri, sauce at home with this recipe. A traditional African sauce made from African Bird’s Eye chiles.

If you have not tried peri peri sauce, this is one you need to put on the list. Peri Peri sauce is a traditional African sauce made from spicy African Bird’s Eye chili peppers. It is also known as piri piri, or pili pili. It’s perfect for any spicy food lover.

If you want the TRUEST of the TRUE peri peri sauce experiences, you’ll make this with African Bird’s Eye peppers grown in Africa, as the soil conditions there are completely different than anywhere else in the world, which influences the pepper flavor, and therefore the resulting sauce.

So let’s all go to Africa! 

But of course! It is the same with peppers grown in New Mexico or the Caribbean. Hatch chiles, for example, are so darned good when you get them directly from New Mexico.

I love this sauce. You may have heard of the world’s most famous brand of Peri Peri sauce – Nando’s. This is a homemade version.

Peri Peri Sauce Recipe

Homemade Peri Peri sauce (or should I say Homemade Nando’s?) is simple enough to make. It requires no actual cooking, just some chopping and processing of the ingredients. It’s an oil-based sauce, at least it is with our version, ideal for dipping, and it goes GREAT with chicken and seafood.

Let’s talk about how we make it, shall we?


Ingredients Needed

  • 1 pound red chilies chopped – African Bird’s Eye peppers are traditional, but you can sub with red peppers available to you, including bell peppers
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika you can sub in other chili powders
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon (lemon juice)
  • Salt to taste

Peri Peri Sauce ingredients

Making this Peri Peri Sauce Recipe

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender. Process to form a smooth sauce to your preferred consistency. You can strain out some of the excess liquid if you’d like, or just use it as-is.

Enjoy! Refrigerate until ready to use.

BOOM! That’s it. It’s an incredibly easy recipe to make.

What Goes Great with Peri Peri Sauce

I made some chicken wings and chicken legs with ours and we LOVED them. Peri Peri sauce goes particularly well with grilled chicken of any kind.

However, it’s also wonderful with seafood, such as shrimp or whitefish.

About the Chili Peppers and Recipe Notes

If you can’t source African Bird’s Eye chilies, you can sub in an equivalent amount of red peppers of your choice.

I have made this with long red cayenne peppers, red jalapeno peppers, and fingerling peppers, all to similar results.

Traditional ingredients also call for a variety of herbs, though ours incorporates basil and cilantro. You might try oregano and tarragon.

You’ll find regional differences throughout Africa. Such a great recipe.

Peri Peri Sauce Recipe

Patty’s Perspective

This is a great sauce to have on hand because it can be used to enhance any number of dishes. Make it on the weekend and use it throughout the week for sandwich spreads, quick sauce or rub for chicken, spooned over tacos, whatever you think!

Frequently Asked Hot Sauce Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions I get on other sauces:

How long will this sauce keep?

It should keep a few months easily in the fridge, or even longer. It’s all about the acidity. To be technical, target level ph for shelf stable foods is below 4.6 ph, but should probably be lower for home cooks, around 4.0 or so, to account for errors. If you’re concerned, add more vinegar to lower the ph. Sauces made with fermented chili peppers will last even longer.

Where’d you get that sauce bottle?

I find them locally sometimes, but I also order through Amazon. Here is a link to some bottles I like (affiliate link, my friends!): Swing Top Glass Bottles, 8.5 Ounce – Set of 4. If you like the smaller bottles that most hot sauce makers use, here’s another link: Hot Sauce Bottles, 5 Oz – 24 Pack.

Can I process this hot sauce for longer storage?

Absolutely. Just be sure to use proper canning/jarring safety procedures.

Peri Peri Sauce, ready to serve

What should I do with hot sauce?

Aside from drizzling it over anything you please, here’s a post I did about How to Cook with Hot Sauce. As if you need even MORE reasons to eat hot sauce. LOL. I hope you find it helpful!

Check out more Hot Sauce Recipes.

Check out These Related Recipes:

Try Some of These Peri Peri Sauce Recipes

Peri Peri Sauce in a jar

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Peri Peri Sauce Recipe
Print Recipe
4.96 from 23 votes

Peri Peri Sauce Recipe

Make your own peri peri, or piri piri, sauce at home with this recipe. A traditional African sauce made from African Bird's Eye chiles.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: hot sauce, Main Course, Salsa
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hot sauce
Servings: 20
Calories: 58kcal


  • 1 pound red chilies chopped – African Bird’s Eye peppers are traditional, but you can sub with red peppers available to you
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika you can sub in other chili powders
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste


  • Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender. Process to form a smooth sauce to your preferred consistency.
  • Enjoy! Refrigerate until ready to use.



Makes about 1.5 cups.


Calories: 58kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 79mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 32.9mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.3mg

This sauce is gluten free.

This recipe was updated on 4/5/19 to include new photos and a video. It was originally published on 2/10/16.


You’ll love some of these recipes that incorporate Peri Peri sauce. 

Peri Peri Chicken Wings

Grilled Peri Peri Chicken Wings

A recipe for chicken wings that have been brined, rubbed with chili powder and garlic, then tossed with your own homemade Peri Peri sauce. Then we grill them to perfection and toss them again in Peri Peri sauce. Win!

Peri Peri Chicken Legs

Peri Peri Chicken Legs - Recipe

A recipe for flavorful chicken legs smothered in a homemade peri peri chili sauce then baked and served with extra sauce. A quick and easy weeknight meal. They’re great grilled, too!

Peri Peri Sauce


  1. James Mallon

    5 stars
    An instant favorite!!

    Loved it. Did a three pepper blend: chile de Arbol, sweet shepherd pepper and red bell. A little more lemon juice for me.


    Thank you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I love the pepper blend! GREAT combination there. Super happy you enjoyed it, James.

  2. this was awesome recipe my family loved the chicken test with this sauce.



    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Leticia! Glad your family enjoyed it!

  3. 5 stars
    Hello, your peri peri recipe is superb! Can this be kept for a few days at room temp? I am planning to send this sauce out of town…

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      This is best in the refrigerator, though the citrus will act as a preservative. If you need to keep it out of the fridge, I would add more citrus or vinegar to help preserve it.

  4. Margo Sluman

    5 stars
    Definitely 5 stars but I knew I had to sub sub some red bell pepper. I’m in heaven over here and so is my husband!! Tried two now and both 5*s

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Margo! I love to hear it! Peri peri is SO GOOD. Glad you both enjoyed it.

  5. Lol Nando’s ain’t the world famous Piri Piri sauce never heard of Nando in Portugal or in Spain, lol this is a Portuguese sauce and most likely Afro Portuguese origins. Angola it’s the most likely the ex Portuguese African colony where originates actually they don’t really sell Piri Piri sauce maybe nao as white Portuguese only have Piri-Piri chicken and we don’t even advertise it it’s same as chill sauce or mayo for us, Afro Portuguese Angolan descendants they have them small chillis in a sauce and they take couple and put on their own plate and crush it we don’t really cook food with chillis in it we ad it after. Portuguese cuisine don’t use much chillis.

  6. 4 stars
    For anyone canning a pepper sauce recipe, make sure there is enough vinegar and salt to ensure a low pH. The reason is that peppers by themselves are a low acid food and can support botulism bacteria if there is too little vinegar and salt in the recipe. This is why all commercial hot sauce recipes tend to taste so sour and salty as they need that acid and salt content for food safety reasons.

    My spice preference for Peri Peri sauce tends to wild thymes rather than cilantro or basil and certainly not tarragon. I have made several Peri Peri sauces using salted preserved lemons and the chopped up whole lemons have a great mild lemon tang after fermentation.

  7. James Verster

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe.
    Simple, effective and elegant. I produce many hot sauces professionally and this is a cool recipe for a hot sauce.
    We’ll done!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, James! Definitely one of my favorites. A go-to for sure. I appreciate it!

  8. Piri piri chicken is really popular in portugal. Almost all churrasquira’s sell chicken this way, but sometimes It’s great to make your own sauce. And this recipe is simple and tasty. Thank you

  9. 5 stars
    I love you recipe and I will tag you when I post my vlog on you tube. hehehe
    Thank you♥

  10. I’m so happy to have found your website! I have an abundance of peppers in my garden this year and you have given me all kinds of ideas here. Thanks!
    Your new fan

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Joann! Glad you found us, too!! Welcome!

  11. hi,

    I am trying to replicate the mild and medium NANDOs suace /marination , any help on this?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hafeez, sorry, I have yet to make a duplicate of that sauce, but hope to in the future!

  12. 5 stars
    This sauce rocks!! The only thing I did differently is add some more spices. I’m also not a huge fan of lemon so I used half a lemon and also added some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, black pepper, and some minced onion all to taste. This enhanced the flavor in my opinion and while I didn’t have the traditional African Birds Eye, I used dried chilies instead and it was off the wall.

      1. 5 stars
        thanks for sharing this recipe. i’d made the sauce previous week. the taste a little bit strong because i put 10 clove garlic. it was a good mistake as well.
        my family said it was good. Glad to make it again

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Excellent, Syud. Glad you are happy how it turned out! Enjoy.

  13. 5 stars
    Hello Mike, Love your site. Two Questions:
    1) your pictures show a “chunky” sauce yet your instructions are to blend to a paste. The pictures do not reflect a paste. Where is the difference.

    2) I have a lot of peppers from the garden; Ghost, Jalapeño, Cayenne, Red Chili, etc. I am planning on making a bunch of sauces but I need to have them last at least a year. In the above instructions ( I can jar/can); Do I make the Peri Peri and the other hot sauces, then place them into the hot water bath as part of the canning process? Is this what you mean in how to store them longer? If so, what is the canning time for each of the sauces? 5min, 10min 20min???

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Keith! I would focus on the peppers and add in the liquids in smaller proportions until you achieve the proper consistency. The solids can be mostly ratio’d up, but be careful with the liquids.

  14. One pound of Bird’s Eye??
    I just tried this and it was completely uneatable. WAY TOO HOT
    My wife is from Ghana and she couldn’t take more than a small dap on her tounge before she spit it out, and she can literally drink Nando’s XX sauce.
    I find it hard to believe that this much, one pound, is what is called for.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Trever, yes, 16 ounces is a lot of peppers, but traditional peri peri sauce is highly pepper based, so the measurement is correct. It sounds to me like you’re trying to find a Nando’s Peri Peri Sauce copycat recipe, which this is not. This is more of a traditional sauce. If you’d like to more closely approximate Nando’s, find out their peppers, ingredients and ratios. You can also sub in different peppers, such as the red bell pepper, as discussed in the post, so you can achieve flavors closer to what you are looking for. I’m happy to help you adapt. Best of luck.

  15. I’ll be trying this tonight.
    Any idea on how to make the Nando’s Wild Herb suace?
    thank you!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sorry, Trever. No, I do not know hot to make Nando’s Wild Herb Sauce, though if I knew the ingredients, I could probably duplicate it.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Dave, this recipe yields about 1.5 cups. Let me know how it turns out for you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Lamija, dried pods are a good replacement, or you can use Thai peppers, or cayenne peppers. Let me know if this helps.

  16. Francisco

    5 stars
    Good recipe Michael, but I must say that the sauce is portuguese in origin, the Nando’s grilled chicken franchise was opened by a portuguese emigrant in South Africa. The piri-piri (or peri peri in several African dialects) pepper was brought to Africa by the Portuguese.

  17. Debby Geffre

    5 stars
    YUM-0……we grow reapers, ghost, friars hat, lemon drop … me some HOT and or /sweet peppers!! thanks for sharing….never tried the African birds eye

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Haha, DOUBLE appreciation! Thanks!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Diane. This sauce will last easily a week in the fridge or longer if you include more citrus. Yes, you can freeze it up to 3 months. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  18. 5 stars
    I especially love peri peri however I have only heard Nando’s and not a more authentic taste of this sauce. Looks like I’ll have to follow your recipe and get back to you.

  19. 5 stars
    Yeah, baby. This is basically kick a**. Really digging the flavor with the african birds eye chillies. This is one of my new easy go-to sauces.

  20. Terry Black

    5 stars
    Great recipe – made it with some home grown hot chilli’s – lasted a couple of months in the fridge until it was all eaten up – delicious and simple…

  21. Can I make a version without oil? I do Slimming World and would love syn free version

    REPLY: Joanne, it won’t be the same, but YES, you can omit the oil and use vinegar instead. If you do this, though, you might want to simmer the sauce a bit to mellow it out. Try it fresh and with a simmer and see which youprefer. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  22. How long does this receipe keep. Thanks

    REPLY: Mary, it should easily last a month in the fridge because of the lemon juice content, though if you’d like longer storage, add in some vinegar. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  23. Correct name is Piri-Piri.

    REPLY: George, I mention in the post it is also know by “piri piri” or “pili pili”. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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