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Homemade Peri Peri Seasoning Recipe – Spice Mix

A versatile Peri Peri spice rub that can be used for so many spicy food recipes. This homemade Peri-Peri Seasoning Recipe is similar to the signature spice mix that you will find in many Nando’s recipes. Our homemade version is a spicy mix and a great seasoning for chicken and other meat but can also be used to flavour spicy sauces and added to marinades too. 

A wooden scoop sat on a surface upright with the Peri Peri Seasoning in a pile in front and inside it.

What Makes This Recipe Great!

  • Fiery Heat: This blend of Birds Eye Chilli Flakes and Cayenne Pepper adds a spicy kick, elevating any dish with a memorable flavour.
  • Versatile Pairing: The well-balanced mix of sweet paprika, garlic, onion, and oregano makes it ideal for various dishes, from grilled chicken to roasted veggies.
  • Customisable & Healthy: Adjust the spice level to your taste, and enjoy a preservative-free seasoning made with wholesome ingredients.

About This Recipe – In More Detail

Peri peri seasoning, a popular and fiery blend of spices, has its roots in both Portuguese and African culinary traditions. It’s an easy-to-make store cupboard staple that adds a delightful spicy kick to a wide range of dishes.

This unique spice mixture, also known as Piri Piri seasoning, combines dried and ground red chillies like peri peri or bird’s eye chilli peppers and cayenne pepper. It’s further enriched with aromatic herbs and a blend of flavourful spices, including garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and oregano.

For those looking to add an extra burst of flavour, some variations of this spice mix incorporate hints of zesty lemon juice or citrus zest, along with the tangy twist of tomato sauce. You can use it as a marinade for a delicious Nando’s Chicken Breast Burger, or these Peri Peri Chicken Wraps.

The versatility of this Peri Peri dry rub is unmatched, elevating the taste of chicken, seafood, and vegetables alike. It effortlessly infuses your dishes with an exciting and bold flavour that will leave you craving more. And don’t forget to sprinkle it over crispy French fries and add it to a Peri Mayo Dip for an addictive seasoning mix.

Moreover, this homemade seasoning serves as a vital component in peri peri sauce, used often in Portugal, Africa, and South America. You can easily find the ingredients in most grocery stores, so you don’t have to worry about trying hard to obtain the ingredients you need for this easy recipe. 

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

Equipment Needed

  • Small Mixing Bowl: A bowl to combine and mix all the spices and herbs together.
  • Measuring Spoons: Essential for accurately measuring the precise amounts of each ingredient.
  • Spice Grinder or Pestle and Mortar or food processor (optional): To grind the spice mix just before using it, into a finer texture for enhanced flavours and to crush any large spices for a smooth blend.
  • Airtight Container or Small Airtight Jar: To store the peri peri seasoning and keep it fresh for future use.
  • Label or Sticker: Optional but helpful to mark and identify the seasoning’s contents and expiration date.

Ingredients

A labelled photo of all the ingredients needed.
  • Birds Eye Chilli Flakes: These dried and crushed chilli flakes come from the small and fiery Birds Eye chilli pepper. They are responsible for the seasoning’s intense heat, providing a bold and spicy kick to any dish.
  • Sweet Paprika: Sweet paprika is a mild and vibrant red spice made from dried and ground bell peppers. It adds a warm, slightly sweet flavour and a beautiful red colour to the peri peri seasoning.
  • Onion Granules: Onion granules are dehydrated and finely ground onions that bring a savoury and aromatic note to the seasoning. They enhance the overall flavour profile without adding too much moisture.
  • Garlic Granules: Garlic granules are dried and powdered garlic cloves, offering a distinct garlic taste and aroma. They contribute to the seasoning’s robust and flavourful profile.
  • Sugar: The addition of sugar balances out the heat from the chilli flakes and adds a subtle sweetness to the peri peri seasoning, creating a well-rounded flavour.
  • Salt: Salt is an essential seasoning that enhances the taste of all the other ingredients and brings out their flavours, ensuring a harmonious blend in the peri peri seasoning.
  • White Pepper: White pepper adds a milder heat compared to black pepper and complements the other spices in the mix, providing a distinct pungency.
  • Oregano: Oregano is a fragrant herb that brings a delightful earthiness and Mediterranean touch to the peri peri seasoning, adding complexity to the overall taste.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Similar to the Birds Eye chilli flakes, cayenne pepper contributes heat and a touch of smokiness to the seasoning, intensifying the spicy notes.

Additions and Substitutions

Additions:

  • Lemon Zest: Incorporate the zest of a fresh lemon to add a bright citrusy flavour that complements the spiciness of the seasoning.
  • Smoked Paprika: Replace some or all of the sweet paprika with smoked paprika for a smoky twist, perfect for barbecue-style dishes.
  • Dried Herbs: Experiment with dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, or basil to enhance the seasoning’s herbal notes and add complexity.
  • Ground Ginger: For a touch of warmth and earthiness, try adding ground ginger, which pairs well with the spicy elements.
  • Brown Sugar: Swap the white sugar with brown sugar for a richer, caramel-like sweetness that deepens the flavour profile.

Substitutions:

  • Granulated Garlic and Onion: If you don’t have granules, you can use garlic and onion powder as a substitute in equal amounts.
  • Black Pepper: Replace white pepper with black pepper if you prefer a stronger pepper flavour in the seasoning.
  • Dried Thyme: If you don’t have oregano, dried thyme can be used as a replacement to add an herby undertone.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: If you don’t have cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes can be used as an alternative for a similar heat level.

Step-By-Step Guide – How To Make Homemade Peri Peri Seasoning

Step 1: Mix the Spices

  • In a small bowl, combine Birds Eye Chilli Flakes, Sweet Paprika, Onion Granules, and Garlic Granules.
  • Add Sugar, Salt, and White Pepper to the bowl.
  • Sprinkle in Oregano and Cayenne Pepper.

Step 2: Thoroughly Combine

  • Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly until well combined.
A hand tipping the white pepper into a bowl with other ingredients in it for the seasoning.
An overhead view of a white bowl containing all the peri peri seasoning ingredients.

Step 3: Store for Later Use

  • Transfer the homemade spice blend to an airtight container or a small jar with a tight-fitting lid for storage.
  • Keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Step 4: Enhance the Flavour

  • When using the peri peri seasoning in a recipe, consider grinding this seasoning mix into a fine powder just before using it. Grinding will enhance the flavours in this spice mix and provide the best flavour.
A hand stirring all the seasoning ingredients together with a spoon.
A hand spooning the seasoning into a glass storage jar.

Adjusting the Spiciness in Your Homemade Peri Peri Seasoning


Adjusting the spiciness level in the homemade peri peri seasoning is easily achievable and allows you to customise the blend according to your tastes.

The key to adjusting the spiciness lies in controlling the amount of chilli flakes and cayenne pepper used. If you prefer a milder seasoning, simply reduce the quantity of bird’s eye chilli flakes and omit or minimise the cayenne pepper.

You can start by using half the amount of chilli flakes and cayenne pepper stated in the recipe and then gradually increase or decrease as desired.

You can also use a milder chilli as an alternative like Ancho or Guajillo if you wish to have your homemade seasoning a little less spicy.

For those who enjoy a fiery kick, increasing the spiciness is equally simple. Add more bird’s eye chilli flakes and a pinch of extra cayenne pepper to intensify the heat. Keep in mind that chilli heat can vary based on the brand and freshness of the chilli flakes, so taste and adjust accordingly. Additionally, if you are using whole bird’s eye chillies instead of flakes, you can finely crush or grind them before adding to the seasoning mix to control the heat level more precisely.


FAQ

What is peri peri seasoning, and what does it taste like?

Peri peri seasoning is a flavoursome spice blend commonly used in Portuguese and African cuisines. It typically features a combination of chilli flakes, paprika, garlic, and other herbs and spices. The seasoning delivers a spicy, smoky, and slightly tangy taste that enhances the flavour of various dishes.

Where did peri peri seasoning originate?

Peri peri seasoning has its roots in Portuguese cuisine. It takes inspiration from the African bird’s eye chilli, known as peri peri or piri-piri in Swahili. Portuguese explorers brought these chillies to Portugal from Africa, and the seasoning was born from their blending of local spices with the fiery African chillies.

Can I adjust the spiciness level of the peri peri seasoning?

Absolutely! The spiciness of the seasoning can be adjusted to your preference. If you prefer a milder taste, reduce the amount of chilli flakes or omit the cayenne pepper. Conversely, if you like it hotter, you can add more chilli flakes or increase the cayenne pepper.

A wooden scoop standing upright, containing the seasoning which is spilling out onto the surface.

What Is Peri Peri And Where Does It Get Its Name?

Peri peri seasoning gets its name from the fiery African bird’s eye chilli pepper, also known as peri peri or piri piri spice mix.

This tiny piri piri pepper packs a punch and is a central ingredient in the seasoning, providing its distinct heat and flavour. The term “peri peri” is derived from the Swahili phrase “pili pili,” which translates to “pepper.” Originating from the culinary traditions of Mozambique and Angola, this seasoning has gained popularity worldwide, especially in Portuguese-influenced cuisines.

Its bold and spicy profile makes it a favourite choice for marinades, rubs, and sauces to enhance the taste of grilled or roasted meats



Pro Tips and Guidance

  • Quality of Ingredients: Use high-quality and fresh spices for the best flavour. This will ensure that the seasoning delivers the authentic taste you desire.

  • Adjust Spice Level: As mentioned earlier, adjust the amount of chilli flakes and cayenne pepper to control the spiciness. Remember, you can always start with less and gradually add more to achieve the perfect heat level.

  • Grind Fresh: For the best flavour, grind the spice mix, just before using in a recipe. Using a spice grinder, food processor or mortar and pestle, grind them into a fine powder. Freshly ground spices have more vibrant flavours compared to pre-ground ones, giving your peri peri seasoning an extra punch of taste.
A hand sprinkles the Peri Peri seasoning from a wooden scoop onto a kitchen surface.

Storage

  • Airtight Container: Transfer the peri peri seasoning to an airtight container or a small, tightly sealed jar. This will help preserve its freshness and prevent it from absorbing moisture, which can lead to clumping.
  • Cool, Dry Place: Store the container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Exposure to heat and light can degrade the flavour and potency of the spices over time.
  • Labelling: It’s a good idea to label the container with the name of the seasoning and the date it was made. This will make it easier to identify and keep track of its shelf life.
  • Shelf Life: When stored properly, homemade peri peri seasoning can last for several months to a year. However, for the best flavour, I recommend to use it within six months.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Using fresh, high-quality spices and herbs in the recipe will ensure the best taste and aroma in your seasoning.
  • Shake Before Use: Spices may settle over time, so give the container a gentle shake before each use to ensure an even distribution of flavours.

Check Out These Peri Peri Recipes

An overhead view of a hand holding the Peri Peri chicken burger to show the filling.

Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken Burger

If you love a cheeky Nando’s, check out our homemade burger. We make everything from scratch and use our seasoning too.

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

Copycat Perinaise

This spicy mayonnaise goes well with so many dishes and it’s super simple to make.

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.

Baked Peri Peri Chips

Oven baked crispy fries that we season with our homemade peri peri mix and flaked sea salt.

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A wooden scoop standing upright, containing the seasoning which is spilling out onto the surface.

Homemade Peri Peri Seasoning Recipe – Spice Mix

5 from 9 votes
An aromatic blend of herbs and spices that can be used in so many ways. Create your own Nando's style recipes in the comfort of your own home with this Peri Peri seasoning mix, which can be ready to use in less than 5 minutes!
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Course: seasoning
Cuisine: Mozambique, Portuguese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 5 tbsp
Calories: 29kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tbsp Birds Eye Chilli Flakes
  • 2 tbsp Sweet Paprika
  • 1 tsp Onion Granules
  • 1 tsp Garlic Granules
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 0.5 tsp White Pepper
  • 0.5 tsp Oregano
  • 0.5 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine Birds Eye Chilli Flakes, Sweet Paprika, Onion Granules, and Garlic Granules.
  • Add Sugar, Salt, and White Pepper to the bowl.
  • Sprinkle in Oregano and Cayenne Pepper.
  • Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly until well combined.
  • Transfer the peri peri seasoning to an airtight container or a small jar with a tight-fitting lid for storage.
  • Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • When using the seasoning in a recipe: For the best results, consider grinding this seasoning mix into a fine powder just before using it to enhance the flavours in this spice mix.

Recipe Notes

 
  • Quality Ingredients: Use fresh and high-quality spices for authentic and robust flavour.
  • Adjust Spice Level: Control spiciness by varying the amount of chilli flakes and cayenne pepper.
  • Grind Fresh: For vibrant flavours, grind the spice mix just before using. Freshly ground spices pack an extra punch!
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container or jar in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 470mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2249IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

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