Matiz Spicy Sardines with Piri Piri Pepper


We reach most often for spicy sardines, then probably smoked, then lemon, then plain. They pretty much all use piri piri peppers, and they rarely have enough heat for people who like heat. But, that’s why hot sauces were invented.  These won’t blow your doors off, heat-wise, but we think you’ll be surprised at how good they are for the price.

120g tin

In stock

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Ingredients: sardines, olive oil, piri piri chili pepper, salt

The terms “spiced” and “spicy” are used pretty much interchangeably in the tinned fish world, to mean two different things: with a hot pepper (or hot pepper flavor), and with cloves/bay/carrot/hot pepper. There are many examples of both terms being used to mean both things.

We are so frustrated by how widespread this confusing inconsistent usage is that we’ve gone through our entire product line to correct the incorrect ones such that our description of “spiced” or “spicy” will always indicate which it really is, regardless of the packaging. “Spicy” = with hot pepper flavor. “Spiced” = with the cloves/bay/carrot/hot pepper flavors.


  1. Jeff (verified owner)

    In general I think that Matiz sardines are both consistent in quality and at a fair price point for that quality. I like a bit of extra spice and heat so I’m happy to see options to buy spicy sardines, particularly from a brand I feel I can trust in Matiz.

    Upon opening a tin of these spicy sardines I’m presented with some shiny, silvery skin, mostly unmarked though not blemish-free, on some plump looking fish. Extracting the sardines is a bit of a trick as they’re packed in there tightly, and once out of the tin I see one small red pepper that was hiding out under the fish. Though a bit tricky to extract, the sardines come out mostly unscathed, as they appear to be pretty stout, and somewhat firm.

    There’s a light, clean aroma and a light sip of the oil presents a hint of extra heat at the back of the throat, though nothing overpowering. Straight from the tin the sardines are great on their own, with a nice moderately firm bite to them, and light hint of extra spice. Given the extra flavoring, if you’re a straight-from-the-tin sardine eater, I think these will be a treat. Served up with a some rice, crackers, bread, or pasta, they could make for a nice meal.

    These are just spicy enough to add a little extra to the flavor profile of the sardines, but not so spicy as to scare away folks who don’t rate their meals on a scoville scale. I’m happy to have these in a regular rotation.

  2. Patrick Hachey (verified owner)

    These are pretty, big dudes! Very clean presentation with beautiful silvery skin and a bright red pepper placed right on top. The flesh is moist and salty. They’re on the softer side but far from being mushy. I was able to easily bisect one and pluck the entire spine out in one piece like some kind of sicko, leaving the very clean filets behind. The spice level kind of blindsided me at first. Not that they’re too spicy, but its a more significant spice level on the spectrum of spiced sardines on first bite. That definitely mellows out as you work your way through the rest of the can. A great standard to hold others to, where this is absolutely a quality, affordable option.

  3. Greg L (verified owner)

    These are great. As usual, Matiz provides a high quality you can rely on. This tin has the distinction of having the largest sardines I’ve had (… probably. I don’t actually keep measurements). The fish had beautifully shimmery skin and there were 3 in the tin with a single pepper. The oil had a very light red tint from the pepper infusion. The skin of the fish was quite fragile due to how moist and tender the sardines are. No scales or grit, other than just a bit of tail that remained on one of them. Flavor of the fish is pretty much identical to a regular Matiz tin (really great), and the oil had a pleasant warmth to it. What’s nice is that, straight out of the tin and drained, they weren’t all that spicy. But if a bit more spice is desired, adding back some oil really made a noticeable difference to the level of hotness. Just like regular Matiz sardines, I’m highly likely to keep coming back to these.

  4. emajkut (verified owner)

    I hesitate to review these because I’m afraid Matiz is going to figure out they could be charging a lot more for these! I’ve had multiple tins and the consistency was spot on, beautiful silvery fish every time in a rich golden oil. The flesh is firm and tasty, though I find they can be a little scaly if that sort of thing bothers you. The oil is nice for dipping bread in and the kick from the piri piri takes these over the top. I only wish they made an extra spicy version like Nuri does!

  5. kstarling224 (verified owner)

    These sardines were FIRM! Very meaty, and broke apart only after some coaxing with a fork. The spines were very noticeable, and I removed some as I felt they were too prominent for my taste. The fish themselves were spectacular, and the subtle heat from the piri-piri built slowly on my tongue as I ate more. The oil was excellent, and I regret not saving the rest of it for a bread dip as a previous reviewer mentioned. I ate these with pita wedges, red onion, pesto butter and lemon. These are absolutely amazing for the price, and especially if bones and spines are your thing, this tin will have you feeling like you’ve hit the jackpot. Matiz’s quality is consistent, and never disappoints!

  6. Lawrence Kalinowski (verified owner)

    so i ate this yesterday with Salsa Espinaller & Saltines as is my wont. Matiz doesn’t really disappoint, do they? 3 robust fish, tightly packed and delightful. firm. slight spice nothing daunting.

  7. emosberger (verified owner)

    What can I say but that these sardines are excellent and hit well above their price point. I’ve had this tin multiple times in my daily driver rotation and the quality has always been consistent. You can actually taste that the chili pepper took the time to infuse in the olive oil. Spine texture is rather pronounced however – I remedy that by placing them on sprouted grain toast so I don’t notice it.
    All in all an excellent offering from Matiz and I’ll always have a tin or two on hand.

  8. Christopher Therrien (verified owner)

    This Matiz tin had three large intact sardines with minimal scales. Altogether, they are nice fish. Not too firm, not too soft, they have nice texture and flavor and are not fishy. The tin included one small piri-piri pepper, I assume to indicate the style of pepper used to flavor the olive oil. But, honestly, there was barely any heat to it whatsoever. On a heat range from 1-5, the content of this tin came in at a mere 0.5%. My guess, after reading other reviews, is that the heat level *may* vary by batch. The olive oil is of a nice quality, however, so I would definitely recommend reserving that for a salad dressing or to make an aioli to put over the fish with a crusty toasted baguette.

    These Matiz sardines remind me of another brand of Portuguese sardine I happen to like—also three fish to a tin and packed in a mild piri-piri oil—but they’re lightly smoked (no actual pepper, however). Anyway, I’m glad to have found a suitable alternative if the need arises.

    4.3333 out of five 🐟🐟🐟🐟 ⅓

  9. marshallprather (verified owner)

    The texture on these were very nice and held up quite when taken out of the tin. They were mild in fish flavor and something that could be used in a lot of different ways. I’m not sure the spices came through much, but could have just been this batch. Will purchase again when we are looking for sardines that are a little on the larger side.

  10. jslaton009 (verified owner)

    The fish were a very nice size and perfectly intact – photo worthy. Very closely packed, and I think due to this have more of chew that some other sardine tins, a very good kind of chew though.

    Flavors were on point, the fish is the primary ingredient but the piri piri created a nice heat in the background. My last fish I made a little Kewpie / Sambal mix and spread it on a small toast… delicious and accented the flavors well.

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