Back when I was in dental school, we were mainly based at Guy’s Campus (essentially next door to Borough Market!) but a few sessions were scheduled at the King’s College campus in Denmark Hill.  This afforded me and my firm the excuse to use our student discount to go to Nandos for lunch, as it was so close to the hospital.

We did that almost every time we went to Denmark Hill and now that I think back over it, I am reminded of how wonderful it was to have such good friends that even though we spent all week together at university, we still wanted to have lunch together as a group as well as spending a lot of our evenings and weekends together too.  

I miss those guys and those happy days.  But luckily, now I’ve worked out how to make Peri-Peri Sauce myself, I can have Homemade Nandos whenever I like and recall those uni days through my favourite medium – food.

[clickToTweet tweet=”How to make your own Homemade Nandos with this Peri-Peri Sauce!” quote=”How to make your own Homemade Nandos with this Peri-Peri Sauce!”]

If you don’t eat at Nandos, then you need to know this is a grilled chicken restaurant originating in Johannesburg, South Africa although it has heavy Portuguese influences.  It’s incredibly tasty stuff – you can order pieces of or whole chickens cooked over charcoal grills, basted with their addictive Peri-Peri sauce which you can order as hot as you like.

You know I’m practically immune to chilli so I default to Hungry Hubby (also a big Nandos fan) to tell you that my recipe for Peri-Peri Sauce would be rated as their “Hot”.  If you like a mere tickle of the hot stuff, then use only 10 chillies and you’ll be grand.   I love the heat so use 20 and just keep a stack of napkins for The Hungry One to mop his brow with as I don’t even break a sweat πŸ˜‰

Perinaise - stir a little homemade peri-peri sauce into some mayonnaise to make a spicy dip!

Peri-Peri (also called piri-piri) chillies are tiny little bright red chillies which you can find more readily available dried here in the UK than fresh.  They are very hot and spicy and form the essence of this sauce.

You do need to soak them in boiling water overnight to rehydrate them before using but the resulting sauce is worth the wait.  I found mine at Spice Mountain on my last trip to London’s Borough Market but you can order from them online and they ship worldwide.  This isn’t a sponsored post, I just love them!

Portion up your homemade peri-peri sauce and freeze in small bags. Or coat meat or fish with it before freezing.
The chicken is certainly the star of the show at Nandos but me and Hungry Hubby love a good condiment to dip into and Perinaise is something you must try when you make a batch of my Peri-Peri sauce.  Simply stir 1 tbsp of the sauce into about 4 tbsp of mayonnaise and you are in for such a treat!

As it makes quite a lot of sauce, I tend to use some to baste a whole spatchcocked chicken or some drumsticks with then I bag up the rest and freeze it.  What I do is put 4-6 tbsp worth into freezer bags for future whole chickens or I coat some chicken thighs or even salmon fillets in it before freezing them raw.

They will emerge fully tenderised and oh so flavourful when thawed and will make a super fast and delicious midweek meal for you. I grill or roast meat coated in my Peri-Peri Sauce in the colder months but I can’t wait for the summer to get that charcoal smokiness into the mix on the BBQ.

Yield: Approx 1 litre (4 cups)

Peri-Peri Sauce aka Homemade Nandos!

Peri-Peri Sauce aka Homemade Nandos! How to make a marinade just like the original Nandos recipe at home

A hot and spicy sauce to be used as a marinade for meat or fish, or even stirred into mayonnaise to make your own Perinaise! As close as you can get to Nandos without knowing their actual secret recipe!


  • 20 dried peri-peri chillies reduce to 10 for a mild sauce
  • 2 roasted red peppers from a jar in vinegar or oil
  • 2 red onions peeled and thickly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 2 large lemons zest and juice of both
  • 120 ml cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 120 ml olive oil


  1. The day before you want to start, wash the dried red chillies then place in a medium bowl. Cover with just boiled water then cover with clingfilm. Allow to sit for 12-24 hours to rehydrate and soften. 
  2. Start by charring the onion slices and garlic cloves in a grill pan on high heat. Turn them regularly until the onion has softened and has some good char marks on it - the garlic will take less time. Place in a food process with the blades on or in a blender jug. 
  3. Drain the chillies and red peppers then add to the food processor/blender followed by all the remaining ingredients apart from the oil. Blitz to mix until you have a smooth paste, which may take a couple of minutes and some scraping down. 
  4. Add the contents of the food processor/blender into a medium saucepan and over medium heat, reduce the sauce by a third. Stir frequently to prevent catching and stand back so you don't inhale the vinegary chilli fumes! 
  5. Allow the thickened sauce to cool down whilst you clean out the food processor/blender and scrape it back in. With the motor running, trickle the oil in in a thin and steady stream (like when making pesto or mayo). Once emulsified (thick and glossy with no separated oil) and fully cooled, you can use the sauce straight away. 
  6. It will keep for 48 hours in the fridge or you can freeze it in portions. I like to coat some meat or fish with it before freezing so I have a fast to make dinner stored away for another day!


With 20 chillies, you have what would be the "Hot" version of the sauce from Nandos. If you want a mild but full flavoured and warming version, reduce to 10 instead. 

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