South African Peri Peri Chicken

If you love lemon and you love onion then I have the perfect weeknight dinner for you. 

South African Peri Peri Chicken

I made this dish months and months ago when I was trying to break free from my cooking inspiration rut.  

After Octavian was born I struggled to balance motherhood with all other domestic responsibilities.  Cooking, which was once a hobby, suddenly became a chore.  Yes, give me a newborn and some postpartum depression and it takes me about a year to figure out how to live again.  Don't worry, I'll save that subject for another day, but post-partum depression is real and horrible and nothing I will ever be ashamed to speak about openly.  

But, today, I am here to talk about lemon chicken goodness.

I love lemon.  And I love easy dinners that don't require five different pots and pans.  With a toddler around, sometimes dinner needs to be fast and easy.  This dish is full of citrus from the lemons with a little hint of smoke from the paprika and chili powder.  You can easily prepare the marinade the night before and let the chicken soak overnight, leaving you with a simple 30 minute (and 1 pan!) meal for those busy nights. I made this when Octavian was just about a year old, and he loved it!  He even ate the onions.  I served it with rice which was perfect with the extra sauce.

South African Peri-Peri Chicken

Prep Time:  4 hours  /  Cook Time:  30 minutes  /  Total Time:  4 hours 30 minutes  /  Servings: 4


  • Juice of two large lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (this ended up being a lot of onion.  Half would have been sufficient, but we love onion around here.)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (heat heat heat!)
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together everything except for the chopped onion and chicken breasts.  Add the onion and chicken and toss with tongs to coat completely, or, add all ingredients to a large zip-lock bag.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I let mine sit overnight).  Of course, you don't HAVE to marinate for that long, but I am a big advocate of marinating.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  While oven is heating up, heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until the pan is nice and hot.  Use tongs (or, if you're like me, your fingers) and transfer the chicken to the skillet one at a time (if you do use your hands, wash them after!).  Reserve the marinade.  Allow the chicken to cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until browned.
  3. Remove chicken and set aside.  Pour in the reserved marinade with the onion, cover and bring to a low boil.  Turn on low and simmer for 5 minutes (this allows time for the onion to cook).
  4. Return the chicken to the skillet, spoon marinade over the chicken to coat.  Turn off stove and, using oven mitts, transfer your pan to the preheated oven.
  5. Allow the chicken to cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked completely though.


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