Nando’s Piri Piri Chicken (Healthy Portuguese Copycat Recipe)

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Welcome to my Nando’s Piri Piri Chicken Healthy Portuguese Copycat Recipe.

I must confess I was many of millions of Brits living an unhealthy lifestyle moving to Portugal. I was the sort that knew the number of the takeaway companies off by heart and didn’t even need a menu to ring up because it was such a regular occurance and I knew exactly what I wanted.

But moving to Portugal the first shock was that there was no takeaway on my street. There was no takeaway on the next street or the one after that for that matter. If we wanted what we would call “takeaway food” then we would either have to travel 30 minutes to get one or we would have to visit the shopping centre (a 25 minute drive) for a McDonalds, KFC or Pizza Hut.

When you looked at the locals they were not fat. They had daily exercise and they enjoyed their food. Their equivalent of the takeaway was the Piri Piri chicken a staple of Portuguese food for many decades. It is often served up with chips and salad and the salad is even out of this world.

It is the closest to a takeaway that the Portuguese ever have and it is delicious.

Plus from a frugal point of view there is always this competition over who can offer the best value Piri Piri Chicken. Our favourite place that we go to when we can, works out at about 6€ each and that included unlimited chicken at an outdoor barbeque in the sunshine.

Though, when I was researching for this I found that Piri Piri chicken in British pubs comes at more than double the price, so I am super glad I am in Portugal and can afford to enjoy it whenever I want!

So when I found out that the inspiration behind Nando’s was the Portuguese food and in particular the Piri Piri chicken I jumped at the chance. When you have Piri Piri chicken in Portugal though it is often very mildly spiced so we have upped the spice here so that it fits in with the hot flavourings of Nando’s.

So expect well spiced Piri Piri Chicken!!!!

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Nando’s Piri Piri Chicken (Healthy Portuguese Copycat Recipe)
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 12 Chicken Drumsticks
  • 1 Medium Onion (peeled and diced)
  • 1Tsp Ginger Puree
  • 1Tsp Garlic Puree
  • 2Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 6Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 125ml White Wine
  • 1 Large Lemon (juice and rind)
  • 1Tsp Piri Piri
  • 1Tsp Paprika
  • 1Tsp Oregano
  • 1Tsp Thyme
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. First of all make the marinade. Put to one side the white wine, lemon, the garlic, ½ the olive oil and the onion. Everything else needs to go in a large mixing bowl. Mix it altogether really well and mix in your chicken. Have it so that your marinade is fully covering each of the chicken pieces. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The longer you leave it the spicier it will get!
  2. In a casserole dish place your onion, the rest of the olive oil, the garlic and your marinated chicken. Pour the wine and the lemon over and mix well with your hands. This will give your chicken a thinner sauce and will help it cook better.
  3. Cook for an hour on a 200c heat and then serve. I recommend serving it with some barbeque sauce for the ultimate takeaway experience.
In Portugal you will probably get a whole chicken chopped up and everyone fighting over the thighs and breasts. But to make this fair I have done this recipe based upon chicken drumsticks, but you can alter it to suit.

To cook it less spicy (like the Portuguese do) instead of a marinade use a cooking brush to brush the marinade over the skin and bake without soaking in seasoning and this will give it a lot less of a spicy hit.

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"nando´s chicken piri piri recipe"

Meet The Milners

Samantha and Dominic

Dominic & Samantha Milner are the founders of They love cooking, blogging and being full time parents to their three food obsessed kids. They cook with their kitchen gadgets everyday and love sharing their homemade recipes. Their favourite foods include chocolate, air fryer burgers and macaroni cheese. You can learn more about them here or you can sign up for their free newsletter here.

2 comments… add one
  • avatar Melissa Jul 13, 2016, 3:21 pm

    I really want to try this!!! We love piri-piri chicken in our house!

    • avatar Samantha and Dominic Jul 15, 2016, 9:48 am

      Hi Melissa,

      If you do give it a try let us know what you think, We love piri piri chicken as well but we can´t get it as good as the little place down the road which does unbelievable piri piri chicken.


      Dom & Sam

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