Grilled Shrimp with Piri-Piri Sauce

Grilled shrimp with piri-piri sauce is a Portuguese classic. One taste and you'll understand why. Big flavor in mere minutes.

Portuguese Grilled Shrimp with Piri-Piri Sauce Recipe

Hit most any seaside joint in Portugal, and you’ll find these grilled shrimp with piri-piri sauce on the menu. Heck, you’ll even find them in many backyards as well as swank city eateries. But I like them best on the beach, sitting under a huge Sagres umbrella (Sagres is a brand of Portuguese beer), with a hunk of bread and a cool drink to douse the fiery heat. This recipe has been updated. Originally published May 10, 2012.David Leite

What Are Piri-Piri Peppers?

Piri-piri. Just sorta rolls off the tongue, eh? It’s actually Swahili for “pepper pepper” although “piri-piri” is also how it’s pronounced in Portuguese. These hot peppers came to Portugal by way of Africa. Much controversy surrounds the specifics, but suffice it to say, anyone who’s experienced the namesake sauce is grateful the peppers found their way to Portugal, however that happened. We think you will be, too. Although don’t look for the fresh piri-piri peppers stateside as you won’t find them. You can substitute Thai bird, red jalapeƱo, santaka, arbol, cayenne, or Tabasco peppers instead.

Special Equipment: Skewers

Portuguese Grilled Shrimp with Piri-Piri Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 3 H
  • Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp (1.14 kg), shelled and deveined
  • 3/4 cup Piri-Piri Sauce or store-bought hot sauce (177 ml), plus more for serving
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • Kosher salt


  • 1. Combine the shrimp and piri-piri sauce in a large resealable plastic bag and toss to coat. Place the bag in a shallow dish and place it in the fridge to marinate, turning it a few times, for several hours.
  • 2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium arranging for indirect heat. Thread the shrimp and lemon wedges on skewers and season with salt. Grill the shrimp over indirect heat, turning several times, until just opaque, about 6 minutes. For an extra spike of flavor, brush the skewers with fresh piri-piri sauce just before serving.
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