You don’t have to look any further than this peri peri cream sauce recipe to find the ultimate steak sauce. It is comforting with heavy cream and shallots, it is filled with tangy flavors such as brined green peppercorns and umami Worcestershire sauce. The heat level is also very easy to adjust from mild to fiery – absolutely delightful and really easy to make!
I know I just shared a chanterelle cream sauce recipe, but I think that sauce is better for pork or chicken. And yes, it is my favorite sauce for pork or chicken. But this peri peri cream sauce is my all-time favorite for a big, juicy steak.
This cream sauce is not to be confused with Nando’s peri peri sauce. Nando’s sauce is more like a spicy hot sauce traditionally made with the African Bird’s eye chilli. It also has a tangy flavour with fresh lemon juice. If that was what you were looking for, I would try Pretty Delicious Eats’s hot sauce recipe.
What is peri peri (or piri piri)?
Peri peri is a bird’s eye chili common in Africa and Portugal, it is also known as piri piri and pili pili. Pilipili in Swahili means “pepper”. I’m used to calling it piri piri, but I think peri peri is more common in English. I would not classify this peri peri cream sauce as either African nor Portuguese, although I’m still using this kind of bird’s eye chili.
The one I’m using is covered in vinegar, which gives it a fantastic tangy flavor. The brand I’m using is Figaro, but any kind will do. If you can’t find any peri peri chili in vinegar, I would advice you to make your own. It is very simple, and so worth it! Try this homemade quick pickled chilis recipe.
If you don’t feel like doing that, you can use fresh bird’s eye chilis, but the slight tang might lack from the sauce and I would add maybe 1 tsp of vinegar as well.
What about the green peppercorns in brine?
Also an element that is crucial to get the right tang in the cream sauce. This ingredient is more common across regular grocery stores and is not to be confused with pickled bell peppers. The brand I’m usually using is Opies, but any kind will do.
Green peppercorns in brine are a chef favorite, so if you want to play restaurant at home, try my recipe. 🙂 The brine makes them salty, zesty and tart and thus makes this cream sauce pop as well! If you however cannot find them at all, try capers instead, but I highly recommend green peppercorns.
What’s the difference between shallots and banana shallots?
Not much, in my opinion! Banana shallots are larger than regular shallots. Banana shallots combine the subtle, sweet taste of shallots with, owing to their size, the ease of using an onion. If you can’t find banana shallots, that doesn’t matter, just use whatever shallots you can find. Small ones don’t even have to be cut (but obviously peeled!).
Is this sauce spicy?
I would say yes and no. You can super easily adjust the spiciness of this sauce by adding or subtracting the amount of peri peri chilis you use. For this amount, I think 3 to 4 whole ones are perfect. Leaving them whole makes the sauce less spicy and perfect for most palates.
Just to be clear, my parents used to make this sauce to my sister and I when we were kids (they still make it though), and we never thought it was too spicy.
If you like it even spicier, make the sauce as stated, take one peri peri chili and finely mince it and mash it into the sauce on your plate. This way you can get a spicy sauce, while the others get a milder sauce! This is what I do, and always have done. That extra heat is so good!
How to serve it?
With juicy steaks, obviously!
My favorite way of serving this is with rosemary garlic steaks and herby cheesy scalloped potatoes. That is the ultimate comfort food. For a fresh element, try searing halved tomatoes in the skillet for a few minutes or serve it with steamed broccoli, garlic parmesan green beans or asparagus. If you love potato mash with steak and cream sauce, why don’t you try a savory sweet potato mash?
The juices that comes out of the steaks when they are resting, are perfect to pour into this peri peri cream sauce. That adds complexity and even more umami and is absolutely delicious.
Peri peri cream sauce recipe
Finally – the recipe! It is quite simple to make if you have all the ingredients. Gather all your ingredients beforehand. If using large shallots, cut them in quarters (like a cross), if they are small, leave them whole – albeit peeled of course.
Cook the shallots in medium high heat with some butter. Once translucent and a little brown around the edges, pour in a little water. Stir to deglaze the pan and once the water has evaporated, add in all the other ingredients. Let it thicken for a few minutes and add in steak juices if you have any!
Remember to taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. The amount of chilis you use is completely optional. I like to mince the peri peri chilis when serving to give it an extra heat (I just take one and mince it on my plate).
Did you like this recipe? Here’s more comfort food I know you will love:
- Rosemary Garlic Butter Steak
- Garlic Butter Wilted Kale
- Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Herby Scalloped Potatoes
- Cheddar Herb Sweet Potato Mash
- Honey Mustard Cream Sauce with Chanterelles
- Korean Beef Bulgogi
- Orange Sichuan Beef and Carrots in Sweet Chili Sauce
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later! To make sure you’re never missing another recipe, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. As a thanks you will receive a free e-cookbook Travels Through the Seasons, with many delicious recipes from around the world that suit different seasons of the year.
In order to keep the blog up and running this post may contain affiliate links, it will be at no extra cost to you, please read the disclosure for more information.
- 1 cup peeled, quartered shallot onions (preferably banana shallots. 250g pre-peeling and 180g after)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp water
- 7/8 cup heavy cream (200ml)
- 2 rounded tsp green peppercorns in brine, drained (13g)
- 3-4 large red piri piri chilis in vinegar, whole and drained (more or less to desired heat level).
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried tarragon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Gather all the ingredients. Peel the shallots and cut them in four (like a cross) if using large banana shallots. Smaller shallots don't have to be cut.
- Melt butter on medium high heat. Add the shallot and cook until translucent and a little browned around the edges. Using a spatula, press the onions a little into the pan so that the inside layers pops out of the onions so you get single onion pieces.
- Add water and once the water has been evaporated, add in the heavy cream. Add all the other ingredients to the saucepan and give it a stir. On medium heat, let this mixture thicken for a couple of minutes.
- Serve with grilled or seared steaks, scalloped potatoes and grilled halved tomatoes. Because I like the sauce extra spicy, I like to mince one piri piri on my plate and mix it into the sauce.
- Pro-tip: Start making this peri peri cream sauce after you have cooked the steaks and they are resting, and use the steak juices in the sauce for extra flavor!
The green peppercorns in brine brand I'm using: Opies
The red piri piri chilis in vinegar brand I'm using: Figaro
Any kind will do, also homemade! Read blog post if you need to find substitutes or links to recipes for homemade.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 171Total Fat: 12.8gSaturated Fat: 7.9gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 136mgCarbohydrates: 13.1gFiber: 0.6gSugar: 3.3gProtein: 2.5g