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21 September 2018

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!

I had a crazy hankering for peri peri sauce for some reason – does that ever happen to you? – and I ran across a pack of chicken legs at the grocery store that were on sale, so as the story typically goes…

BOOM!

Peri Peri Chicken Legs it is!

What is Peri Peri Chicken?

Peri Peri Chicken is a flavorful meal of any cut of chicken that is marinated in and also served with a homemade peri peri sauce, a hot pepper sauce from south Africa.

If you’ve never enjoyed Peri Peri Chicken, it’s definitely a treat, especially with chicken legs. I love the leg part of the chicken. They’re always tender and juicy, and they’re pretty darned easy to cook.

I like easy. I’m sure you do too!

Peri Peri Chicken Legs - Plated and ready to eat

There isn’t much work involved, just some mixing of the sauce and baking. I’ll often whip together a sauce like this in the morning and marinate the chicken through the day.

When I’m ready to cook, I’ll just toss the chicken into the oven and let it do it’s thing. Easy weeknight meal!

Or hey, good for the weekend, too. They’re also good for game day gatherings. Instead of chicken wings, try these chicken legs instead. Watch them disappear.

Check out some of my other Game Day Recipes.

What Does Peri Peri Chicken Taste Like?

Peri Peri Chicken is highly flavorful and just a bit spicy from the peri peri sauce, though it is not an overpowering heat. You’ll enjoy a blooming warmth along with touches of chilies, garlic and herbs.

About the Peri Peri Sauce

Peri Peri Sauce is a traditional African sauce made from African Bird’s Eye chilies. No worries if you don’t have access to African Bird’s Eye chili peppers. It isn’t like everyone has them laying around, right?

If you haven’t grown them or can’t find them, use any red peppers of your choice. So yes, you CAN make this with bell peppers just as easily as you can make these with the hottest peppers in the world. Carolina Reaper peri peri sauce, anyone?

Ouch! THAT would be crazy spicy. But to each his or her own!

At it’s core, peri peri sauce is a mix of chili peppers and garlic processed with certain seasonings and olive oil. The oil emulsifies the sauce a bit, adding a bit of airiness to the final sauce. Great stuff, truly.

It also goes by the names “Piri Piri”or “Pili Pili”. Just an FYI, so some people might call this recipe “piri piri chicken” or even “pili pili chicken”.

Learn more about Peri Peri Sauce (including a recipe) here.

Let’s talk about how we make this peri peri chicken, shall we? You can use any cut of chicken for this recipe, including chicken breast, chicken thighs or chicken wings. Today, I’m using chicken legs for my peri peri chicken recipe.

Making Peri Peri Chicken Legs – The Recipe Method

First, pat the chicken legs dry and rub them down with the paprika, garlic, and salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F.

For the peri peri sauce, add the peppers, garlic, paprika, cilantro and basil to a food processor. Process until well mixed.

Peri Peri Sauce in a Mixer

Drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to process until the mixture thickens up.

Peri Peri Sauce in a blender, adding olive oil

Stir in the lemon juice and adjust for salt.

Looks good, doesn’t it? I love this sauce.

Peri Peri Sauce in a bowl

Use half of the peri peri sauce to cover the chicken. Toss them together to get the chicken legs nicely coated.

You can cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour at this point if you’d like more developed flavor. You can marinate them for 24 hours for deeper flavor penetration.

Peri Peri Chicken Legs - Marinating

Bake the chicken for 35-40 minutes, or until they are nicely cooked through. They should measure 165 degrees F internally when measured with a meat thermometer. I like to use my ThermoPop meat thermometer from ThermoWorks (I’m an affiliate). Works great! Cooking time can vary, so be sure to check your temperatures. 

Remove from the oven and toss in the remaining peri peri sauce.

Sprinkle with fresh herbs and spicy chili flakes. Serve! So good baked in the oven.

Makes 6 legs, so get eating! That’s it, my friends! Peri Peri Chicken Legs. I hope you enjoy them.

Here are some answers to other questions I’ve received.

What is Peri Peri Used For?

Peri Peri sauce can be used be used as either a marinade or a finishing sauce on any type of protein, from chicken and pork to cuts of beef and seafood. Try it also with vegetables.

What Should I Serve with Peri Peri Chicken?

Serve it up with your favorite vegetable sides, or serve it over rice for a more complete meal. Peri Peri Chicken pairs with a big variety of side dishes.

Try These Other Popular Recipes

Peri Peri Chicken Legs - On a plate with extra peri peri sauce on the side

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.

5 from 1 vote
Peri Peri Chicken Legs - Recipe
Peri Peri Chicken Legs – Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 
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!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken legs, peri peri, spicy
Servings: 6 chicken legs
Calories: 498 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 6 chicken legs
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE PERI PERI SAUCE
  • pound  red chilies chopped – African Bird’s Eye peppers are traditional, but you can sub with red peppers available to you
  • cloves  garlic chopped
  • 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
  • FOR SERVING: Chopped parsley, spicy chili flakes
Instructions
  1. Pat the chicken legs dry and rub them down with the paprika, garlic, and salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
  2. Heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. For the peri peri sauce, add the peppers, garlic, paprika, cilantro and basil to a food processor. Process until well mixed.
  4. Drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to process until the mixture thickens up.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and adjust for salt.
  6. Use half of the peri peri sauce to cover the chicken. Toss them together to get the chicken legs nicely coated. You can cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour at this point if you’d like more developed flavor.
  7. Bake the chicken for 35-40 minutes, or until they are nicely cooked through. They should measure 165 degrees F internally.
  8. Remove from the oven and toss in the remaining peri peri sauce.
  9. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and spicy chili flakes. Serve!
Recipe Notes

NOTES: If you’d like a more developed peri peri flavor, cover the chicken and set it into the fridge once you’ve coated them with the first round of peri peri sauce. You can also marinate it this way overnight.

The peri peri sauce yields about 2 cups.

Heat Factor: Medium, though the heat and spic levels will vary based on the peppers you choose.

Nutrition Facts
Peri Peri Chicken Legs – Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 498 Calories from Fat 369
% Daily Value*
Fat 41g63%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 119mg40%
Sodium 127mg5%
Potassium 697mg20%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 3670IU73%
Vitamin C 116.2mg141%
Calcium 57mg6%
Iron 2.9mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Peri Peri Chicken Legs - 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! #ChickenLegs #Chicken #Dinner #BakedChicken #PeriPeri

2 comments


  1. The peri peri sauce is great stuff. Nice little kick to it. You can add other peppers, right? If you wanted a bit more kick?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Edward, you can definitely try other peppers with this recipe. It’s very versatile. Let me know how it turns out for you.

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