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Butterfly Chicken Burger – Copycat Nando’s Peri Peri Recipe

If you love a cheeky Nando’s but don’t want to leave the house, this copycat Nando’s Butterfly Chicken Burger recipe is for you! A butterflied chicken breast with crispy skin that’s marinated in a homemade peri peri sauce, placed in a delicious burger bun and filled with fresh ingredients. The perfect copycat Nando’s recipe that will delight the whole family. 

A vertical image showing the side view of the Nando's burger with all the ingredients inside,

What Makes This Recipe Great!

  • Exquisite Homemade Flavour: With scratch-made Peri Peri seasoning, zesty lemon zest, and other fresh ingredients, this recipe offers an authentic and mouth-watering Nando’s experience right in the comfort of home.
  • Versatile and Convenient: Whether it’s a movie night, party, or treat, these spicy chicken burgers are a perfect fake-away treat that can be made ahead and even frozen for ultimate convenience.
  • Family Option: By making the burger from scratch, you have control over the ingredients, ensuring a meal without excess salt, preservatives, or additives, making it a delicious choice for the entire family.

About This Recipe – In More Detail

A butterfly chicken burger is a spicy burger and popular recipe at Nando’s restaurants. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can make it at home from scratch with this delicious peri peri chicken burger recipe. Made with our very own homemade Portuguese buns, a spicy marinade of Peri Peri seasoning ingredients made from scratch, along with lemon zest, juice, tomato puree and other store cupboard ingredients to flavour the chicken and is packed full of fresh salad leaves, beef tomatoes and a delicious peri peri mayo

We use a whole chicken breast with the skin on, to create crispy chicken burgers that everyone will love with a taste that is as close as you can get to the Nando’s original.

These spicy chicken burgers are perfect takeaway recipe to enjoy at home for movie nights and parties and you can even make-ahead elements of the meal including the marinated chicken and freeze for convenience so you can enjoy a Nando’s chicken burger recipe whenever the craving strikes, perfect for a great midweek meal. And if you love chicken burgers, you can try this Buttermilk Chicken Burger next!

This spicy chicken burger is made from scratch, so you know exactly what goes into each one. There is no excess salt, preservatives or additives, making for healthy burgers that the whole family can enjoy without the worry of any hidden extras in your food.   

And, if you fancy a change from burgers, try making this easy flour tortilla wrap recipe and go for Peri Peri Chicken Wraps instead!

A hand holding the burger sideways to show the fillings.

Equipment Needed

  • Large Bowl or Dish: For mixing the peri peri marinade and marinating the chicken breasts. Make sure it’s spacious enough to accommodate the chicken and the marinade ingredients.
  • Sharp Knife: Essential for butterflying the chicken breasts. A well-sharpened knife makes the process easier and safer.
  • Chopping Board: To provide a stable and clean surface for butterflying the chicken breasts and other chopping tasks.
  • Cling Film: To cover and seal the marinating chicken breasts, allowing the flavours to infuse properly while in the fridge.
  • Large Frying Pan or Griddle Pan: To cook the marinated chicken breasts until they are crispy and fully cooked.
  • Tongs or Spatula: To handle the chicken breasts while frying, ensuring they are cooked evenly without overcooking.
  • Grill (Optional): For gently toasting the Portuguese buns, adding a delightful touch of warmth and texture to the burger.
A close-up of the burger overflowing with fillings.

Ingredients

A labelled photo of the ingredients needed for the peri peri marinade.
  • Peri Peri Seasoning: A blend of spices, including chili flakes, sweet paprika, onion granules, garlic granules, oregano, and cayenne pepper. It adds a fiery kick to the marinade, infusing the chicken with bold and spicy flavours.
  • Lemon Juice: Provides a tangy and citrusy element to the marinade, enhancing the overall taste of the chicken.
  • Lemon Zest: The grated outer peel of the lemon, which adds bright and aromatic notes to the marinade, complementing the spices.
  • Tomato Puree: A concentrated paste made from ripe tomatoes, adding a depth of umami and richness to the marinade.
  • Olive Oil: Acts as a carrier for the marinade ingredients, keeping the chicken moist during cooking and adding a smooth texture to the flavours.
  • White Wine Vinegar: Balances the flavours in the marinade, providing a touch of acidity that enhances the taste of the chicken.
  • Skin-On Chicken Breasts: Tender and juicy chicken breasts with the skin left on, delivering a crispy texture when cooked.
  • Portuguese Bread Buns: Soft and fluffy buns with a slight crust, perfect for holding the chicken and toppings.
  • Large Beef Tomatoes: Fresh and ripe tomatoes that add juiciness and sweetness to the burger.
  • Curly Lettuce: Provides a refreshing and crisp texture to the burger, complementing the spicy chicken.
  • Peri Peri Mayonnaise: A homemade creamy sauce infused with peri peri seasoning, adding an extra layer of spiciness and richness.
  • Ketchup: A classic condiment that adds a hint of sweetness and tanginess to the burger.
A labelled photo of the ingredients needed for the burger filling.

Additions and Substitutions

Substitutions:

  • Sunflower Oil: If you prefer a milder taste, you can replace olive oil with sunflower oil in the marinade. It will still provide the necessary moisture and carry the flavours effectively.
  • Vegetable Oil: You can also replace olive oil for vegetable oil as another alternative.
  • Chicken Thighs: Instead of chicken breasts, you can use boneless, skin-on chicken thighs. Thighs tend to be juicier and have more flavour, making them a delicious alternative.
  • Whole Grain Mustard: Swap out tomato puree with whole grain mustard for a tangy twist in the marinade, adding complexity to the flavours.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: If you don’t have white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar can be used as a substitute, offering a slightly deeper and richer flavour to the marinade.
  • Green Lettuce Varieties: While curly lettuce is being used in this recipe, you can experiment with other green lettuce varieties like romaine or butterhead, little gem lettuce or mixed salad leaves for diverse textures.
  • Brioche Bun: If you fancy a burger bun that’s more buttery and richer in taste, swap out the Portuguese buns for Brioche buns instead.

Additions:

  • Raw Onions: Thinly sliced raw red onion can be added to the burger for a crunchy and zesty element, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Onion Rings: ​Stuff in some onion rings for added texture and flavour. 
  • Avocado Slices: For a creamy and buttery touch, add ripe avocado slices to the burger, balancing out the spiciness of the chicken.
  • Pickles: Tangy and crisp pickles can provide a delightful contrast to the spicy marinade, making the burger more full of flavour.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Melt a slice of cheddar cheese on top of the cooked chicken for a creamy and cheesy layer that complements the peri peri seasoning.
  • Chilli Jam: ​For extra flavour, add in some chilli jam or sweet chilli sauce. 
  • Grilled Pineapple: The sweetness of grilled pineapple slices can counterbalance the spiciness, creating a unique and tropical flavour combination.
  • Bacon: Crispy bacon strips add a smoky and savoury component, elevating the taste of the burger.
  • Fried Egg: Top your burger with a sunny-side-up fried egg for a luscious and gooey addition that pairs wonderfully with the chicken.

Step-By-Step Guide – How To Make Nando’s Butterfly Chicken Burger

Step 1: Preparing the Peri Peri Marinade

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the Peri Peri Seasoning, lemon juice, lemon zest, tomato puree, olive oil, and white wine vinegar. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Step 2: Marinating the Chicken

  • Butterfly the chicken breasts: Lay each chicken breast on a chopping board and make a horizontal cut through the thickest part, about halfway from the top, creating a pocket. Open up the chicken breast like a book to have two even halves connected by a hinge.
  • Score both sides of the chicken pieces with several slits to allow the marinade to penetrate.
  • Place the butterflied chicken into the marinade, ensuring both sides are fully coated. Cover the dish with cling film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
A hand stirring the marinade ingredients together.
A hand holding tongs to move the chicken breast and coat it in the marinade.

Step 3: Preparing the Burger Ingredients

  • Slice the Portuguese buns in half through the middle and set them aside.
  • Wash and slice the tomatoes and lettuce. Thoroughly dry them and set aside.
  • Prepare the Peri Peri mayonnaise (see our homemade recipe) and have the ketchup ready.

Step 4: Cooking the Chicken and Assembling the Burger

  • Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge and uncover it. In a large frying pan over high heat, heat the oil and fry each chicken piece until they are fully cooked and crispy.
  • While the chicken is frying, gently toast each half of the buns under the grill.
  • Assemble the burger: Spread the Peri Peri mayonnaise on one half of the inside of the buns, and spread ketchup on the other half. Add the sliced tomatoes and lettuce.
  • Place the cooked chicken breast on top and arrange the burger with the other half of the bun on top.
  • Serve the delicious and flavourful chicken burger immediately while it’s still hot.
A hand spreading one side of a toasted Portuguese bun with Peri Peri mayonnaise.
A hand holding tongs that is placing the cooked chicken breast onto one side of the burger bun on top of the tomatoes.

FAQ

Can I use store-bought Peri Peri seasoning instead of making it from scratch?

Yes, you can use store-bought Peri Peri seasoning if you prefer a quicker option. However, making it from scratch allows you to customise the spice blend and ensure it’s free from additives.

Can I freeze the marinated chicken for later use?

Yes, you can freeze the marinated chicken for up to 3 months. Place the marinated chicken in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing.

Is the Peri Peri seasoning very spicy?

The spiciness of the Peri Peri seasoning can be adjusted to your preference. If you prefer a milder taste, use less chili flakes and cayenne pepper in the seasoning. Feel free to experiment to find the right level of spiciness for you.

Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?

Absolutely! Boneless chicken thighs can be a great alternative to chicken breasts. They are juicier and have more flavour, making them an excellent choice for this spicy burger.

Can I use the Peri Peri marinade for other meats or vegetables?

Absolutely! The marinade works well with various proteins like shrimp, pork, or even grilled vegetables. It adds a burst of flavour to any dish you choose to marinate.

A Butterfly chicken burger sat on a wooden board with Perinaise sauce spilling out of the side.

Pro Tips and Guidance

  • Even Marinating: When marinating the chicken, make sure to coat it thoroughly with the Peri Peri marinade. You can use your hands to massage the marinade into the meat, ensuring all surfaces are covered. This will result in a more flavourful and evenly seasoned chicken.

  • Butterfly Technique: Master the butterfly technique for the chicken breasts. This helps create a uniform thickness, allowing the chicken to cook more evenly and reducing the risk of overcooking or undercooking certain parts.

  • Resting Time: After cooking the chicken, allow it to rest for a couple of minutes before assembling the burger. Resting helps the juices redistribute within the meat, resulting in juicier and more tender chicken.

  • Grilling Option: If you prefer, you can grill the marinated chicken breasts instead of frying. The grill adds a smoky flavour and lovely grill marks to the chicken, enhancing its taste and presentation.
An angled view of a hand holding the Per Peri burger sideways to show the filling.

Storage

I don’t recommend storing the burger whole once it is made but you can make the chicken ahead and freeze in the marinade. Here’s how:

  • Refrigerate: Place the marinated chicken in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Make sure the chicken is arranged in a single layer to ensure even marinating. Seal the container or bag tightly.
  • Marinate Time: Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. This will give the flavours enough time to penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavourful and tender chicken.
  • Freeze (Optional): If you want to prepare the chicken in advance, you can freeze the marinated chicken instead of refrigerating it. Store it in a freezer-safe container or bag and label it with the date. The marinated chicken can be kept frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw Safely: If you decide to freeze the marinated chicken, ensure to thaw it safely in the refrigerator. Avoid thawing at room temperature, as this can lead to bacterial growth. Allow the chicken to thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.

Check Out These Peri Peri Recipes

Overhead view of the Peri Peri seasoning spilling from a wooden scoop, surrounded by various seasoning ingredients.

Peri Peri Mix

An easy to make homemade seasoning blend that you can use in lots of different recipes.

An overhead view of Peri Peri fries in a black baking tin to the left next to dried chillis and a pot peri peri mayonnaise to the right.

Spicy Copycat Nando’s Fries

The perfect side dish to our chicken burger, these Peri Peri fries are crispy and oven baked.

An overhead view of the Peri Peri Mayonnaise in a white bowl on top of a pile of Peri Peri fries.

Peri Peri Mayonnaise

A quick and simple dip that is perfect for flavouring this chicken burger.

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A Butterfly chicken burger sat on a wooden board with Perinaise sauce spilling out of the side.

Butterfly Chicken Burger – Copycat Nando’s Peri Peri Recipe

5 from 10 votes
If you love Nando's you'll love this Nando's style Butterfly chicken burger flavoured with Peri Peri seasoning. We have made everything, including the seasoning, completely from scratch, for an out of this world chicken burger that is bursting with spicy flavours.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Portuguese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 579kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Peri Peri Marinade

  • 1 tbsp Peri Peri Seasoning, See our homemade recipe.
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar

For The Burger Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large bowl or dish, mix the marinade ingredients until well combined.
  • Prepare the chicken breasts by butterflying them: Lay each chicken breast on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, cut horizontally through the thickest part of the breast, about halfway from the top, creating a pocket. Open up the chicken breast like a book until you have two even halves connected by a hinge.
  • Score the chicken pieces on both sides with several slits to help the marinade penetrate.
  • Place the butterflied chicken into the marinade, ensuring both sides are coated. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Slice the Portuguese buns in half through the middle and set them aside.
  • Wash and slice the tomatoes and lettuce. Dry them thoroughly and set aside.
  • Prepare the Peri Peri mayonnaise and have the ketchup ready.
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge and uncover. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry each chicken breast until cooked through and crispy.
  • While the chicken is frying, gently toast each half of the buns under the grill.
  • Assemble the burger: Spread the Peri Peri mayonnaise on one half of the inside of the buns and ketchup on the other half. Add the sliced tomatoes and lettuce.
  • Place the cooked chicken breast on top and arrange the burger with the other half of the bun on top.
  • Serve the chicken burger immediately while hot and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Ensure even coating of the chicken breast with the marinade for the best flavour. 
  • Spend time practicing the butterfly cutting technique to become a pro. 
  • Allow the cooked chicken breast to rest for a couple of minutes before assembling the burger. 
  • You can also grill the chicken breast if you’d prefer this to frying. 

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 579kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 517mg | Potassium: 721mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1288IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 3mg

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