Piri Piri Butterfly Chicken

Piri piri is the Swahili word for ‘pepper pepper’. From Portuguese origin and African descent this hot and fiery homemade piri piri sauce, adds a delicious bite to the butterflied chicken.




Preparation time

20 mins

Cooking time

50 mins


  • 1 butterflied chicken (approximately 1.8kg)
  • for the piri piri sauce
  • 8 fresh long red chillies, deseeded and very roughly chopped (add a few little birds eye chillies if you want it really hot)
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and very roughly chopped
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  •  to serve
  • 1 lime cut in wedges


  1. To make the piri piri sauce, place the chillies in a small pan on a low heat and add ½ of the olive oil, cook gently for about 5-6 minutes until they start to soften.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the garlic becomes transparent but not coloured.
  3. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients to the pan turn up the heat slightly and bring to a gentle simmer for 5-6 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken slightly. 
  4. Use a stick blender to blitz the mixture smooth and allow it to cool thoroughly.
  5. Place the butterflied chicken in a large freezer bag and add the cooled piri piri sauce. 
  6. Seal the bag and massage the sauce all over the chicken. 
  7. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to develop the flavours.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200°C or your BBQ to medium high. 
  9. Take the chicken out of the bag (reserve any of the piri piri sauce left in the bag) tuck back the wings and use 2 soaked bamboo skewers to hold the chicken flat and its legs in place.
  10. Place the chicken on a large ovenproof frying pan or sauté pan.
  11. On a hot heat, seal the chicken in the pan for 3-4 minutes on both sides until it starts to colour.
  12. Once the bird is sealed place it breast side up in the pan, drizzle any piri piri sauce remaining in the freezer bag. 
  13. Transfer to either the oven or BBQ with the lid down and cook for a further 40-45 minutes basting occasionally with the pan juices until the chicken is totally cooked through. 
  14. Serve with lime wedges, and possibly with chips and salad.

Tip: You can make double quantities of the piri piri sauce. It will keep in a sealed plastic container in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake well before you use it. 

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