Regional & Diverse
Brazil is a melting pot of different cultural influences and the best Brazilian recipes reflect its rich heritage. Modern Brazilian cuisine is highly regional and diverse, reflecting the country’s complex cultural influences and various climates. When the Portuguese colonized Brazil in the 14th century, they brought their culinary traditions with them. The Portuguese also brought African slaves to Brazil. African and Portuguese culinary traditions mixed with the cuisine of the indigenous population, including the Guarani, Tupi, and Arawak peoples. Later, German, Japanese, Italian, Syrian, and Lebanese immigrants arrived and further influenced Brazilian cuisine.
In addition to a variety of cultural influences, Brazil’s large size and diverse landscape has led to strong regional variance in culinary traditions; in short, Brazilian recipes vary widely depending on what part of the country you are in. However, there are some commonalities. Fruit, root vegetables, beans, rice, meat, and seafood are common ingredients in nearly all Brazilian recipes. Mangos, papayas (paw paws), guavas, granadillas, pineapples, and açaí are popular fruits found in Brazilian cooking. Pork, beef, black beans, shrimp, and manioc root (or cassava flour) are all commonly found in Brazilian recipes as well. If you’re craving a taste of Brazil but are not able to travel to the country just yet, don’t worry. You can still enjoy a taste of this eclectic cuisine from your own kitchen! We’ve rounded up a list of the five best Brazilian recipes to get you started. Ready to travel to Brazil by way of your kitchen? Let's go!
We couldn’t write a list of the best Brazilian recipes without including Feijoada! As one of the few dishes eaten throughout Brazil regardless of region, it is a true Brazilian classic. This hearty stew includes black beans, salted beef, sausages, and various cuts of pork. It’s traditionally served with rice, collard greens, farofa (toasted manioc flour), and orange slices. Considered a celebratory meal in Brazil, it’s perfect for enjoying with friends and family. While this recipe can take a little time and planning to make, the results are well worth it. Ready to cook this classic Brazilian recipe at home?
#2 Pão de Queijo
Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian cheese bread, is soft, gooey, warm, and – of course – super cheesy! The origins of this popular Brazilian snack food are a little unclear, but it’s thought that Pão de Queijo was created during the slavery period in the 18th century, most likely in the “fazendas mineiras” (farms located in Minas Gerais). Over time, the cheesy, gooey snack became popular throughout Brazil. Pão de Queijo tastes great on its own, especially fresh out of the oven. But if you have leftovers, feel free to use these cheesy snacks as a sandwich bread substitute! You can also freeze them for a later occasion. Ready to make your own Pão de Queijo at home?
#3 Moqueca Baiana
Our list of the best Brazilian recipes to try wouldn't be complete without Moqueca Baiana! This shrimp and fish stew is one of Brazil’s most well-known dishes. Moqueca Baiana is popular in the Northern region of Brazil and reflects culinary influences from Indigenous cooking practices as well as African cuisine. (A rival version called Moqueca Capixaba is popular in the Southeast region of Brazil and reflects influences from Portuguese and Spanish cuisine.) For that authentic Brazilian taste, be sure to select the freshest ingredients you can find, and whatever you do, don’t skip the red palm oil. Want to make this classic Brazilian recipe at home?
These Brazilian fudge balls are made of sweet condensed milk, rich chocolate powder, and plenty of butter. Before serving, the bite-sized balls are rolled in chocolate sprinkles for extra flavor and crunch. Trust us – these treats are a chocolate lover's dream! The story goes that Brigadeiros were created in honor of the Brazilian Brigadier Eduardo Gomes back in the 1940s. Today, they are a popular treat all over Brazil and appear alongside the cake at nearly every Brazilian birthday party. Ready to try this sweet Brazilian recipe yourself?
We couldn’t end this list of the best Brazilian recipes without including the national cocktail of Brazil! The Caipirinha is a refreshing, cooling drink made with just four ingredients: limes, sugar, cachaça (a Brazilian distilled liquor), and ice. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a summer afternoon BBQ since it pairs especially well with grilled or spicy food. We recommend enjoying this cool beverage the Brazilian way – surrounded by family and friends. If you’re looking for the perfect way to top off your homemade Brazilian feast, you can’t go wrong with this classic, affordable Brazilian cocktail!