Nando’s Portuguese Spicy Rice

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Today I will teach you how to make the signature Nando’s Portuguese spicy rice. If you are a fan of this well-known food chain you will love this post.

One of the things I enjoy the most about cooking is that I can recreate some of my favorite restaurants, takeaway or food chain recipes, and doing it from the comfort of my home. I just love a good copycat recipe.

This is an easy side dish recipe for those days where a simple plain white rice doesn’t seem enough. I like to make it accompany a good piece of peri-peri chicken or the classic fried chicken.

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What makes Nando’s Portuguese spicy rice so special?

It’s all about the spices. The characteristic flavor of Nando’s rice comes from a particular mix of 4 spices.

  • Turmeric: This is the key to the yellow color of the rice. But turmeric not only adds that appealing color, but it also gives a pungent bitter flavor that gives richness to the rice.
  • Garlic powder: This is used to add more garlicky notes to the rice. The recipe includes fresh garlic but the powder version keeps the flavor strong through the cooking process.
  • Cayenne pepper: The spicy factor. You can control how much heat you want in your plate by adding the right amount of cayenne pepper. In this recipe, I use ½ tsp of cayenne pepper for 1 cup of rice to get a mild spicy result.
  • Paprika: This spice adds that smoky flavor that makes this rice so unique.

These 4 spices will give a punch of flavor to the rice. The rest is some veggies: bell pepper, onion, and peas. Easy peasy!

I hope you like this copycat Nando’s rice as much as I do, and I see you in the next recipe!

More Portuguese Recipes:

4.88 from 8 votes
Nando’s Portuguese Spicy Rice
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
Today I will teach you how to make the signature Nando’s Portuguese spicy rice. If you are a fan of this well-known food chain you will love this post.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Portuguese
Keyword: portuguese spicy rice
Servings: 2 people
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • cup frozen peas
  • ½ bell pepper diced
  • ½ onion diced
  • 1 garlic minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss the bell pepper, the onion, and the garlic.
  2. Add the spices: cayenne pepper, turmeric, paprika, and garlic powder.
  3. Add the rice, the water and salt to taste. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes until the rice is almost done, then add the frozen peas and cook for a couple minutes until you get a fluffy spicy rice.

9 thoughts on “Nando’s Portuguese Spicy Rice”

  1. Delicious! I made 3x the recipe and should have stuck to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. Made this for a work potluck and it just might be a little too spicy for the gang.

    • Hi Kavita! I’m glad you liked it. You can always adjust the spiciness according to your personal taste. When I’m cooking for a large number of people I try to keep the spicy low, so everybody can enjoy 🙂

  2. This is my FAVORITE go-to rice recipe. Make this whenever we host and everyone loves it. Rice varieties I’ve used: white/brown jasmine, short/long-grain in brown or white. Even quinoa! This is arguably BETTER than Nando’s.

  3. This is my favorite rice. Thanks for the recipe. We have 60 guests. How much rice, spices etc do I need? Hope that you can help me.

  4. Fantastic find! I was trying to go through some ideas for what to serve with Swedish meatballs, and I found this recipe via Pinterest which sent me right to this webpage; The Recipe Critic is our culprit with the meatball recipe. Until now, my thoughts always automatically went to spaghetti – even if it did seem a culture clash.

    While slightly spicy for the little ones, this plus the meatballs was a winner with my family. There was plenty of it left-over, and is bound to be great for leftovers. I didn’t have a capsicum, so instead used a reserved packet of sofrito mix from Hello Fresh.

    My only issue with this recipe is whether I classify it as “Portuguese” or “South African” – since Nando’s is a South African-based company, and Portugal needs more love and recognition with its gastronomic influence. All up though, smash hit!


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