Portuguese Peri Peri Chicken with Crispy Potatoes…smoky, spicy, crispy-skinned, tender chicken baked over sliced potatoes that get crispy and flavorful in the oven… my favorite chicken recipe EVER!  Watch the new video!
 Portuguese Chicken with Crispy Potatoes -smokey spicy, crispy skinned tender peri peri chicken baked over sliced potatoes...my favorite chicken recipe! | www.feastingathome.com

This Portuguese Chicken, also known as Peri Peri Chicken is one of those dishes that makes winter a little more bearable. It’s hearty and satisfying and warms the soul with its deep smoky flavors. The prep time is relatively short and the oven does much of the work. During the cold months, I try to utilize the oven as much as possible.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as a simple roast chicken, just pulled from the oven, aromas wafting through house, infusing hearth and home with warmth and comfort. Winter has arrived, dropping snow on the fallen leaves. It seemed to happen so quickly this year, the changing of the seasons. My initial reaction, truthfully, is resistance, to the abrupt ending of fall and the beginning of the long winter to come. And yet, I’m lured into acceptance by little things – the sound of the crackling fire, the snowflakes, the stack of books waiting to be read and warm comforting meals.

Portuguese Chicken (Peri Peri Chicken) | 60-sec video

marinade ingredients in peri peri sauce

What is Peri Peri Chicken?

Traditional Portuguese Chicken, is called Peri Peri Chicken (or sometimes Piri Piri Chicken) and made with Piri Piri peppers which actually originated in South Africa, and were imported to Portugal from two Portuguese colonies, Angola and Mozambique, on spice ships. Today, the peppers are used widespread throughout Portugal to make marinades, basting liquids, condiments and hot sauces.

Unfortunately, peri peri peppers aren’t easily available here, or if they are, I haven’t found them, so for this recipe, I substituted less spicy Ancho Chilies. This is a one-star dish, as far as heat goes. So if you like heat, you may want to add more. The Ancho Chilies also add a nice depth to the marinade. I haven’t tried it yet, but my guess is that if this marinade were rubbed lavishly on tofu and baked in the oven, it would be just as good as the chicken. So vegetarians, try it on tofu and let me know. And you may want to skip the next few pictures.

Smoked paprika, dried ancho chilies and fresh garlic are at the base of this flavorful marinade. This is  a “manly” dish, meaning, in general, men tend to gravitate towards these deep, smoky flavors.  It looks spicy, but don’t be deceived –  this version is not over-the-top spicy, and I’d only call it a “one-star” on the spiciness scale. It really lets the other flavors come through.

How to butterfly a chicken:

You can butterfly a whole chicken for this recipe, or roast it whole, or buy pre-cut bone-in, skin-on pieces. Butterflying the chicken (also called spatchcocking)  allows it to cook fast and evenly, and is a fun technique to learn.
You’ll need a good pair of kitchen shears, to cut the backbone out of the chicken, which I’ll show you below.
peri peri chicken on a cutting board, about to get butterflied
You can also use boneless skinless breast or thighs, to make this a little more healthy, but, I’ll be honest, there is something about the crispy skin that is ohhhh so gratifying! We don’t eat this too often, so when we do, I want the skin!
cutting the backbone out of the chicken

To butterfly, start by placing the chicken (rinsed, patted dry)  breast side down on a cutting board.

Backbone of the chicken removed

Using sharp kitchen scissors, remove the spine, cutting on one side and then the other side of the spine. Open the chicken wide and turn over, so the breast side is now facing up.

press the chicken flat

With the backside open and facing down, press down firmly on the breast bone of the chicken to flatten. You may hear some cracking. Press hard.


brush the chicken with the peri peri marinade

Make the Peri-Peri Marinade:

In a blender or food processor, blend the marinade ingredients into a thick paste.

Brush the marinade all over both sides of the chicken, saving the rest for basting while in the oven.

chicken, slathered with peri peri marinade on a cutting board

If making the crispy potatoes that go with this, ( which I highly suggest) brush marinade on the bottom of your sheet pan. Sweet potatoes would also work well.

Do not use a ceramic or glass pyrex here- use a large, rimmed, metal sheet pan for best results. This enamel pan is deceiving, it is very large.

brush marinade on the bottom of the pan

Layer the Potatoes under the chicken

Layer thinly sliced potatoes, overlapping only slightly,  and sprinkle generously with salt.

potatoes layered over the marinade

Place the chicken, skin side down, tucking the wings under, over top of the potatoes and place in a 425F pre-heated oven.

After 15 minutes, turn the chicken over and roast for another 15 minutes, basting with more marinade after flipping. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, and leg reaches 165F.

Depending on the size of the chicken, this could be 20-50 more minutes.

Portuguese Chicken ( Peri Peri Chicken) ready to go into the oven

Then give a good broil in the oven so skin gets crispy and slightly charred in places. This is important!

The flavorful juices from the Peri-peri Chicken and marinade will seep into the potatoes which will have softened and also become crispy a nice contrast. Place it in the oven.

Make the Green Sauce!

Cilantro and yogurt are combined to make a delicious cooling sauce- a delicious accompaniment to the smoky chicken.

 baked Portuguese Chicken ( Peri Peri Chicken)  right out of the oven

Let the Peri Peri Chicken rest!

Once the Peri Peri Chicken is cooked through, let it rest for 5 minutes, so all the juices don’t run out of the meat too quickly. This will ensure a juicier chicken.
Resting the Portuguese Chicken
Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the Green sauce and the crispy potatoes.
The crispy potatoes are deliciously addicting, and the chicken comes out perfectly crispy and delicious.
Cutting the Portuguese Chicken
The Portuguese Chicken is delicious with cooling cilantro yogurt sauce (this is not imperative if pressed for time) but does really elevate the meal!
The potatoes are crispy and flavorful in the bottom of a pan
Crispy, smoky, deep and flavorful.

Where to source organic, free-range Chicken?

If looking for a good source of organic, free-range chicken, with no antibiotics, I highly recommend Butcher Box!  They offer whole organic chicken, grass-fed meat and also have seafood.  You can customize your box and the delivery timing. Use this Butcher Box link for a free gift -and in full discloser, this is an affiliate link- we are partnered- but know I use them and highly recommend as far as quality and their sourcing.

Finished Portuguese Chicken with Crispy skin cut up on a cutting board.

Hope you enjoy the Portuguese Chicken! Leave your comments, adaptions and rating below.

Cheers and love,


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Portuguese Chicken ( Peri Peri Chicken)  with Crispy Potatoes...

Portuguese Peri Peri Chicken

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine| Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 70 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main, chicken recipe, sheet-pan dinner
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: Portuguese


Portuguese Peri Peri Chicken with Crispy Potatoes – smoky, flavorful and delicious, served over crispy potatoes,  with a flavorful cilantro yogurt sauce.


  • 1 small Whole Chicken (34 lbs)  or sub chicken pieces ( see notes)
  • 1 ½ lbs potatoes (Yukon or reds), thinly sliced ( 1/4 inch thick)


Cilantro Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 bunch Cilantro – finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Rehydrate dried chilies in a small pot of simmering water on the stove for 20 minutes. Remove stem and seeds.
  3. Butterfly the chicken: Rinse inside and out, removing innards. Pat dry. Place on a cutting board, breast down. Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the spine, remove and discard. Turn the chicken over, and placing your hand on the breast bone, press down hard with the palm of your hand, to flatten.
  4. Make the marinade by blending the marinade ingredients into a paste with a blender or food processor. Brush a layer of the marinade on the bottom of your large sheet pan.
  5. Place the thinly sliced potatoes on top of the marinade and sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt,  overlapping slightly but not too much.
  6. Brush all sides and crevasses of the chicken with the marinade, coating fairly heavily. (You will add more marinade during cooking, so be sure to save the remaining.) Place chicken, skin side down on the potatoes and place in the hot oven.
  7. Turn chicken over after 15 minutes, and place back in the oven. After 15 minutes, brush more marinade all over the chicken on the skin side, really lathering it up. Return to the oven and bake until cooked through another 15-30 minutes, or until leg/ thigh reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.  The bigger the chicken, the longer this will take. ( A large, 5-6 pound chicken may take an additional 20 minutes!) To crisp the skin and get it deeply brown, broil for a few minutes. A little char is good here!!! Remove chicken when done and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. You can continue to cook the potatoes or crisp them up ( with broiler) while resting the chicken and cutting it into pieces.
  8. While chicken is roasting, combine Cilantro Sauce ingredients together, either in a bowl- mixing by hand, or in a food processor. Serve cilantro sauce on the side.


For a healthier version, use skinless boneless chicken thighs, or breast. Feel free to marinate overnight in a zip lock bag. Cooking time will shorten significantly, so you may have to remove chicken and let potatoes continue cooking to get them crispy.

For WHOLE CHICKENS! The baking time for the chicken will vary depending on the size (weight) of the chicken. This one in the photos was a small 3.5 pound chicken. Larger 5-6 lb chickens will take longer in the oven ( 70-90 minutes). So plan accordingly.

***Use a large rimmed metal sheet pan, rather than a glass baking dish so air can circulate and potatoes can get crispy! (This enamel baking dish in the photos is much larger than it looks! )


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 485
  • Sugar: 2.2 g
  • Sodium: 1295.2 mg
  • Fat: 15.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30.2 g
  • Fiber: 4.6 g
  • Protein: 54.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 165.5 mg

Keywords: peri peri chicken, peri peri chicken recipe, Portuguese chicken, Portuguese chicken recipe, Portuguese recipes, Piri piri chicken,

Crispy Portuguese Chicken with Potatoes...a delicious one pan meal that is full of smokey spicy flavor! | www.feastingathome.com

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  1. 16-06-2022: I made it tonight and it was delicious!! Will surely make it again!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  2. Another excellent recipe! The piri piri chicken and potatoes were excellent, easy and tasty sauces, too! And I love that the times you list for prep and cooking are accurate and that most of the ingredients are already in the fridge or pantry or are readily available at just about any grocery. My dinners for the nights that I would “cook” before I found your website: take-out, go out or cereal. Now, I’ve cooked for us four times in a week (all using your recipes, too)! And my husband (who works 60+ hours/week and is typically in charge of dinner because I disliked cooking so much) is thrilled! Thank you, Sylvia, your recipes make cooking fun again!

  3. LOVE this! The sauce alone make you do a Pavlovian drool but then when it all comes together … chicken fatty potatoes, spicy crispy chicken, it’s bomb diggity!
    I am in camp eat the chicken skin for sure!

  4. Hi Sylvia,

    Trying this tomorrow 🥰 I’ve just prepped the marinade and the cilantro sauce but both have ended up being quite watery – can you recommend what I should do to sort this out? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Florence. 😉 The cilantro sauce should thicken in the fridge. But the marinade should not be watery? Do you mean oily?

      1. Thanks Sylvia. The cilantro sauce thickened and so did the marinade. I think maybe I just blended them each a bit too much 🙂 Loved this recipe and so did everyone else. I will definitely be making it again.

  5. Sylvia, what salad recipes or green sides of yours would you suggest as good flavor complements to this dish? Also…I have one eater who doesn’t eat white potatoes and I thought I’d do a section of sweet potato slices under the chicken. Thoughts?

    1. Sweet potatoes sound good! Cut them slightly thicker. You could do wilted greens or just a simple green salad?

      1. Thanks for the quick response, wilted greens it is! I love how I never need to “try out” your recipes before I serve them for the first time…. Company coming for dinner? Find a new Sylvia recipe and go for it–guaranteed hits, every time.

  6. I didnt have whole ancho chili’s available…but 1 whole chili converts to 1 heaping Tbls if ancho powder. Recipe called for two chilis..so I used 2 heaping tbls of powder. Worked great! If paste dry, can add a little oil, but didn’t have a need to..great recipe and SO delicious!! THANK YOU!

    1. Hi Sam- I guess It depends on which “camp” you are in. If going for lower fat, perhaps yes healthier without skin- but some folks are on Keto ( high fat) so to them, skin is healthier. “Healthy” is relative to our beliefs. Make the best decision for you. 😉

  7. Have you ever smoked the chicken using this recipe?
    I’m wanting to try but not sure about adding more marinade to it while it’s on the smoker
    I’m planning to marinade overnight

    Also the cilantro sauce should that be made prior to eating or can I make before hand as well overnight

    1. You can make the cilantro sauce a day ahead, not a problem. Haven’t tried smoking this one…so not sure how it would be with the marinade. I guess you could smoke it first, then add marinade and finish it in the oven??

  8. My daughter doesn’t like anything that is even remotely hot (spicy). Would really love to try this recipe but worried about using chillies. Can you recommend anything in place of the chillies to ensure there is no heat at all?

    1. Oh Shoot. This may not be the recipe for her then, because the recipe really is all about the chilies.

  9. I rarely ever comment on recipes (yet I use ones on the internet all the time) and THIS is absolutely MIND BLOWING. It’s straight forward, easy, and totally juicy and delicious. My fiance and I struggle with finding new recipes that we love, or new takes on easy meals. This has really changed our roast chicken game!! I didn’t end up spatchcocking the chicken (just roasted whole for 1 1/2 hrs for a 5lb chicken), but it still turned out perfectly. Additionally, I was really worried about how the potatoes would turn out. I’ve tried potatoes like this in the past and they always end up hard and lacking flavor. But not these potatoes- they were soft, with a crunchy exterior (I did cut them thicker than suggested because I knew the chicken would be in longer since I did not spatchcock it), and bursting with flavor! The flavor of the chicken was so good that it could easily stand on its own, but the sauce throws it over the edge. I honestly would spend $40 for a thigh of this chicken at a restaurant- it’s that good. Braaaavooo!!!

  10. This was amazing! Full disclosure: I found this recipe because I bought a bottle of Nando’s Garlic Peri Peri sauce and wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I used that instead of making my own. The potatoes were incredible and the roast chicken was the juiciest I’ve ever made. It was a 3-4 pounder and altogether took about an hour, doing a temp check every 15 min. Thanks so much for this recipe!

  11. A friend just shared this recipe with me, I can’t wait to try it. But, where did you get that beautiful pan?

      1. It is gorgeous! I cannot seem to find whole dried ancho chili. Could I sub dried ancho powder with some liquid to make a paste?

        1. That should work. Just start with adding the powder, then maybe just add a little more olive oil if it seem dry.

      2. Hi all,

        I don’t have any ancho chili peppers at home. Can someone please recommend a substitute (in powder, ie chili or cayenne) and measurements.

        Thank you

        1. Hi Arkadiusz! Totally guessing here, but perhaps try 3 tablespoons chili powder along with the smoked paprika. If the paste seems really “loose”, add a bit more? If the paste seem to dry and thick, loosen with a bit more oil.

  12. Southern Africa not South Africa specific.

    It is part of many of the Southern African countries. The African birds eye chilli is the chill that was used. Portuguese settlers made the sauce. Peri-peri is a Swahilli word for Pepper-pepper.

  13. This is my 3rd time following your recipe to cook Piri Piri chicken. Always comes perfect. 3rd time because friends demanding more to prepare. Your instructions are very easy to follow and I love your tips particularly about potatoes. My wife loved the potatoes more than the chicken. This is one of my favorite chicken dishes. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  14. Have made this a few times now…..always comes out amazing!
    Just wondering if it would be more flavoursome if I were to marinate the chicken and leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

  15. Super easy and so so so so good. It is now regularly requested by kids. We serve it in a soft taco with fresh colourful slaw, fresh mint as coriander and a drizzzzzzzzzzel of lime. (Pale ale optional 🍻)

  16. Hi! I managed to find dried Piri Piri peppers and would like to use those. Does the recipe work the same way? Do I need to rehydrate them as well? How much should I put in? Thanks in advance! Can’t wait to try this recipe, the cilantro sauce looks amazing!

    1. Hi Philppe- Im not sure how spicy they are, so can’t be sure here. What if you rehydrated one and tasted for spice level? Might give you an idea?

      1. I rehydrated about a tablespoon (they are fairly small), and followed the rest of the recipe. I was very happy with the result, tastes fantastic! Loved the cilantro sauce.

  17. I managed to find some dried Peri-Peri chilis where I live. I would love to try your recipe as the marinade and sauce look amazing! Do you have any idea how much of these peppers I can substitute for the chilis? Same amount by weight? (They are fairly small). Thanks in advance!

    1. Great question, and honestly, I have no idea. I can’t find them where I live. You may have to wing it?

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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