Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce – Authentic Peri Peri

Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce

Now I live in Portugal, I know the meaning of a true Piri Piri. It feels like a competition between the local restaurants, especially in the more Northern parts of central Portugal though It may be everywhere – I just didn’t know you had to ask.

On the surface, it looks like the Portuguese like things pretty plain, a little bland even until you get to know the really good traditional restaurants and by the way, they are only classed as “good” by the locals if they have a jar of homemade Piri Piri Sauce stashed somewhere behind the bar.

After reading multiple Portuguese recipe books and trying this sauce in many restaurants, and of course a few experiments in my kitchen.

This is my favorite recipe for the true Authentic Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce.

Let me know if you have your own favorite version on the Facebook Page…every new poster has the chance to win these months cook book prize!

Check out some of my other Portuguese Recipes:

Portuguese Fruit Salad

Nando’s Chicken

Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce

Authentic Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce

Nicola Turner
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Condiments
Cuisine Portuguese


  • 1 200ml jar


  • 3-10 piri piri or birdseye chilies
  • 1 tbsp pepper paste you can also use 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic puree or chopped
  • 1/2 Lemon Juice only
  • 2 tbsp whiskey adapt to taste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • olive oil enough to fill the jar
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Add the chili peppers, bell pepper or pepper paste, garlic, vinegar, whiskey, lemon juice and salt to a mini food processor and blend until a paste
  • Transfer the mixture into a clean steralised jar
  • Add olive oil to the top of the jar and combine
  • Use within 2 weeks


There is no need to store it in the fridge, in fact doing so will solidify the oil so it is best left on the table where you can enjoy it every day and used within 2 weeks.
Choose the number of chilies according to your spice tolerance – I prefer to add fewer chilies and just use more sauce.

Commonly asked questions

What does Piri Piri sauce taste like?

It is garlicky, salty, and zingy and of course with some spice from those chilies

Is Peri Peri like Sriracha?

It is not like Sriracha as Sriracha is fermented with a much more sweet taste.

What’s the difference between Peri-Peri and Piri Piri?

Piri Piri is the correct Portuguese spelling. Though, in Africa, they call the birdseye chili Peri-Peri. It is the same thing.

What do you use Piri Piri sauce for?

Piri Piri is traditionally used for coating chicken which they love to eat on the grill in Portugal. But this delicious sauce can be used on anything including soups, roast potatoes, fries, and rice as well as other meats of course.

Is paprika and Peri Peri same?

Parpika is not the same as Piri Piri. Paprika is a smoked chili pepper that is then ground down into a powder therefore only 1 ingredient. Piri Piri is a sauce blended with many ingredients.

Is Peri-Peri sauce the same as hot sauce?

Peri-Peri comes under the hot sauce category but there are lots of different hot sauces including Sriracha, buffalo sauce, Cholula, and literally thousands of others. They all use different chili peppers, ingredients, and cooking methods to create. It is a massive industry.

Is Piri Piri healthy?

Yes, Piri Piri is very healthy with lots of vitamins from the garlic, pepper, and chilies used as well as healthy fats from the olive oil. The chili will also help increase blood flow. Always remember to opt for a homemade version rather than processed for the most healthy option.

Does Peri-Peri have garlic?

Yes, Piri Piri sauce has garlic, and the more the better! It can be fresh garlic but the Portuguese will often use pureed garlic which has been mixed with salt so it keeps well.

Does Piri Piri have MSG?

Piri Piri will never have MSG added. Always make sure you make your own at home to ensure the quality of ingredients. It’s very simple and only takes a few minutes. Of course, if you are buying a processed bottle you should check the label for such ingredients.

Where is Piri Piri from?

The plant of the Piri Piri chili pepper originally comes from America but the sauce originates from Africa with Portugal adopting its own version over the years.

Is Peri-Peri cayenne?

The Peri-Peri Chili is not the same as the Cayenne Chili Pepper however if Cayenne is all you can get, most recipes would not be too different if you decided to use them.

Should Peri-Peri sauce be refrigerated?

If the sauce is homemade it would solidify in the fridge because of the olive oil. if you are using a processed bottled sauce always check the packaging for storage instructions and keep it in the fridge when opened to be on the safe side if there are no directions.

Nicola Turner

Attempting a more self-sufficient life abroad and bringing you the recipes and tips to follow along

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