South African Piri-Piri Chicken

A delicious recipe for South African Piri-Piri chicken, featuring tender chicken breasts simmered in a spiced lemon and onion sauce. Easy and different!

So, what is Piri Piri Chicken?

South African Piri Piri Chicken (chicken simmered in a spiced lemon-onion sauce). So easy and different!

Basically, it’s a delicious South African chicken recipe which features chicken simmering in a spiced sauce of onion and lemons.

Looking for chicken recipes south africa? This is a great one! South African Piri Piri Chicken (chicken simmered in a spiced lemon-onion sauce). So easy and different!

It’s actually quite similar to the Poulet Yassa recipe I wrote about here, and even easier to make!

Just whisk together some spices, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, olive oil, and chopped onion in a large bowl. Add the chicken, give it a toss, and put it in the fridge to marinate.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the chicken on both sides, pour in the reserved marinade and then transfer to a hot oven to simmer and bubble until the chicken is done.

So easy, right?

South African Peri Peri Chicken (chicken simmered in a spiced lemon-onion sauce). So easy and different!

You’ll want to use a pan that is safe to put in the oven. I highly recommend using a cast iron skillet for this piri piri chicken recipe, like this one that I use.

The spices are all totally normal things, too – nothing you would have a hard time finding in your own spice cabinet (or at the local grocery store).

This recipe calls for salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and ground ginger. Compared to a lot of the recipes I post, this is a VERY normal ingredient list.

peri peri chicken African (chicken simmered in a spiced lemon-onion sauce). So easy and different!

The chicken piri piri comes out juice and tender, while the marinade cooks into a perfect little pan sauce. Serve with your grain or starch of choice and dig in!

A delicious piri piri chicken African dish (chicken simmered in a spiced lemon-onion sauce). So easy and different!

Look at that delicious South African Piri-Piri Chicken!

peri peri African chicken (chicken simmered in a spiced lemon-onion sauce). So easy and different!

Here’s the Recipe!

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Piri-Piri chicken served on a plate.

Piri-Piri Chicken Recipe

Savor the fiery zest of Piri-Piri Chicken! Juicy breasts marinated in a tangy, spiced lemon-onion blend, promising a delightful twist to your dinner routine.
4.4 from 35 votes
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: African
Diet: Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 437kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe


  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion - roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic cloves - peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 pounds boneless - skinless chicken breasts


  • In a large bowl, whisk together everything except the chicken. Add the chicken and toss with tongs to coat in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least three hours.
  • When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
  • Heat an oven-safe cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Use tongs to transfer the chicken breasts from the bowl to the pan, reserving the marinade. Let cook for two or three minutes per side, until nicely browned.
  • Pour the reserved marinade into the pan and spoon the sauce onto the chicken.
  • Turn off the stove, and use oven mitts to transfer the pan to the preheated oven.


Storage Info:
Store leftover Piri-Piri Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Ensure it’s cooled to room temperature before storing.
To reheat, thaw frozen chicken in the fridge if necessary, then warm it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, which usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Avoid microwaving as it can dry out the chicken and unevenly heat it.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 727mg | Potassium: 940mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 884IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg

Please note that this South African Piri-Piri Chicken recipe is often spelled as: South African Piri Piri Chicken recipe, South African Peri-Peri Chicken recipe, South African Peri Peri Chicken recipe, South African Peli-Peli Chicken recipe and South African Peli Peli Chicken recipe.

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  1. 5 stars
    I found this recipe years ago and thought I should finally leave a comment cause this has been our favourite dish ever since. So easy and it tastes amazing. We usually toss everything in the slow cooker for 4 hours then serve the pulled chicken and sauce over rice. I also skip the chili powder to have less heat and add in some fresh coriander. Not sure how authentically South African, or even Portuguese this is cause it doesn’t taste anything like the peri peri chicken I’ve had in either country, but it’s delicious anyway!

  2. Made this last night and everyone loved it! I decreased both the Salt and Cayenne from 1 tsp to rounded half tsps, still had nice heat, it was perfect for us. Thank you for sharing!