Our air fryer peri peri chicken recipe has all the flavors you adore from the grilled version, but comes together quicker and with less mess. The key to its flavor, without a doubt, is the peri peri sauce. The chicken ends up juicy, tender, and delectable, with just the right kick of spice.
What Is Peri Peri Chicken?
Peri peri chicken is a tasty dish that can be made with any cut of chicken. It’s marinated in and served with a homemade peri peri sauce — a spicy South African mix of flavors.
That special sauce makes peri peri chicken incredibly tasty and slightly spicy, but the heat is not overbearing. You’ll experience a pleasant warmth enhanced by the addition of chiles, garlic, and herbs.
Is This Recipe Healthy?
Yes, our air fryer peri peri chicken recipe is healthy. Not only is it less expensive than restaurant chicken, but the dish is also healthier because you can control exactly what goes into it.
Purely in terms of cooking technique, air frying is far healthier than traditional deep frying. When you use an air fryer, you need only coat the food in a thin layer of cooking oil, so there is less fat and fewer calories in the finished product.
As for ingredients, we used a small amount of salt and oil and assessed the calories per serving to ensure the dish was healthy. Each serving has only 546 mg of sodium, 8.8 g of saturated fat, and approximately 480 calories. These levels are consistent with the USDA’s dietary guidelines.
Furthermore, due to the addition of vegetables, each serving of our air-fried peri peri chicken provides approximately 10% of your daily fiber requirement. Adequate fiber consumption may aid digestion and lower your risk of chronic disease.
Ingredients You'll Need
Chicken Thighs: Though our air fryer peri peri chicken calls for thighs, you can use any cut of chicken. Choose your favorite, be it breast, thighs, or even wings. Alternatively, the sauce is also great with a whole chicken — marinate it all and cook!
Peri Peri Sauce: The peri peri sauce is made by roasting and then processing fresh chilies with seasoning, herbs, and olive oil. It has a tangy, sweet, and salty flavor profile.
Peri peri sauce is versatile and can be used as a marinade or a dipping sauce on a variety of proteins, from chicken to pork to beef to seafood. Variations of the sauce have been developed to fit the tastes of people from different countries, and now it’s available all over the world.
Vegetables: The refreshing lettuce, carrots, onions, and tomatoes we’ve included create a nice contrast in flavor and texture to the peri peri chicken itself.
Store and Reheat
1. To Store
Once completely cooled, the peri peri chicken can be stored in an airtight jar for up to 3 days in the fridge. Or, to maximize shelf life, keep it frozen in sealed freezer bags for up to 3 months.
Additionally, you can freeze the chicken in the marinade prior to cooking. After you’ve added the marinade, place it in a freezer bag, squeeze out any excess air, and then freeze it until you’re ready to thaw and cook.
2. To Reheat
Once completely defrosted, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan before adding the chicken and heating thoroughly. Our favorite way to use leftover peri peri chicken is to remove all of the chicken from the bone, shred it, and add it to salads or over rice for quick and easy meals.
Thanks to the quick cooking time in the air fryer, the chicken thighs stay very juicy and tender. We combined the chicken with a simple salad composed of fresh veggies, offering an easy and healthy meal.
If you’re looking for something other than salad, try peri peri chicken with rice or noodles, or perhaps even our air fryer potato wedges. Though they’ve got a decent calorie count, our potato wedges are packed with nutrients that help fill you up without weighing you down.
We round out the meal with simple orange juice. The best thing about this drink is how easy and quick it is. Plus, the orange juice can be made ahead of time and stored for future meals.
More Air-Fried Chicken We've Tried and Remade
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You can make an authentic Japanese meal in 25 minutes with this Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken. The meat is just as juicy, sticky, and flavorful, and yet you barely have anything to clean in the end.
Put 2 oz red bell pepper, 4 garlic cloves, 1 bird-eye chili, and 1 oz onion into the air fryer basket. Cook at 400℉ for 4 minutes. Set aside.
Make the peri peri sauce. Combine the baked vegetables and spices — 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp brown sugar — in a food processor. Process until well mixed.
Score the skin of the chicken with a point of a sharp knife and place the chicken in a bowl.
Pour the peri peri sauce over 24 oz chicken thighs and turn to coat each piece of chicken with marinade.
Place the chicken pieces skin-side down on the air fryer basket and cook at 375℉ for 17 minutes. Then flip them over and continue to cook at 350℉ for another 8 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a plate. Serve it with a salad made with 4 oz cherry tomatoes, 1 oz red onion, 1 oz carrot, and 4 oz carol lettuce.
Air Fryer Peri Peri Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 477Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 9g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 17g
Vitamin A 2307IU
Vitamin C 30mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
really want to try this, i like spicy food.
This was amazing. I would definitely make this recipe again!