Chicken thighs marinated in peri-peri sauce and grilled until juicy and tender. This Chicken Espetada is the perfect, easy recipe to cook on the grill.
Table of Contents
What is Espetada?
Espetada is a Portuguese dish where food is cooked on skewers. All kinds of meat and fish can be used.
Full recipe + amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Chicken thighs. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs but you could also use skin-on boneless chicken thighs.
- Peri-peri sauce. I used my homemade peri-peri sauce but bottled sauce will also work.
- Olive oil.
- Sugar / Honey. You could use a sugar substitute too if you prefer.
- Salt and pepper.
How to make chicken espetada
- Make the marinade: Combine the peri-peri sauce, olive oil, sugar or honey, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until relatively smooth. You could also do this with an immersion blender.
- Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl and pour over the marinade. Mix to make sure the chicken is coated in the marinade. Cover with plastic and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes but up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- Prepare the Espetada: Soak long bamboo skewers in boiling water for at least 30 minutes. You can also use metal skewers. Thread the marinated chicken onto the skewers.
- Cook the Espetada: Preheat a grill on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes then add the skewers. Cook for 7-10 minutes per side until the chicken is caramelized and starting to char (the sugar in the marinade will cause this to happen) and the chicken is fully cooked. If your grill or braai can close, closing it will allow the chicken to cook much faster and evenly. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Can I make Espetada in advance?
The chicken can be marinated for 24 hours. Skewered Espetada can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before cooking on the grill. The cooked skewers will last for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Chicken skewer recipes
- Chicken souvlaki with zucchini tzatziki
- Hawaiian chicken skewers
- Greek grilled chicken skewers
- Easy herby lemon chicken skewers
Peri-Peri Chicken Espetada
- 750 g (1½lbs) chicken thighs boneless + skinless
- 1 cup peri-peri sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp sugar/honey
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Combine the peri-peri sauce, olive oil, sugar or honey, salt and pepper in a blender or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth and emulsified. This step is only necessary if the peri-peri sauce you are using is quite chunky.
- Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl and pour over the marinade. Mix well to make sure the chicken is covered then cover with plastic and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes but up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- Soak large bamboo skewers in boiling water for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, use metal skewers.
- Thread the marinated chicken onto the soaked skewers.
- Preheat a grill (or braai) on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes.
- Place the chicken espetada on the grill and cook for 7-10 minutes per side until well-browned and cooked through. If your grill has a lid, closing it will allow the chicken to cook faster.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.