Bolinhos de Bacalhau Brazilian Recipe


Bolinhos de Bacalhau, or codfish fritters, are a time-honored dish in Portugal, celebrated for their crispiness on the outside and a soft, flavorful interior. As we delve into the recipe, let’s uncover the magic behind this culinary gem and explore the traditions that surround it.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau Brazilian Recipe


To embark on the Bolinhos de Bacalhau journey, gather the following ingredients:

  • Fresh codfish
  • Potatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt and pepper

Choosing quality codfish is paramount, as it forms the backbone of this recipe. Opt for fresh, sustainably sourced cod to enhance the dish’s authenticity and flavor.

Step-by-Step Preparation

Soaking and Desalting the Codfish

Start by soaking the codfish to remove excess salt. This crucial step ensures the right balance of flavors in the final dish. Once desalted, flake the cod into fine pieces.

Mixing the Batter

In a bowl, combine the flaked codfish with mashed potatoes, finely chopped onion, garlic, parsley, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Blend the ingredients until you achieve a smooth, thick batter.

Shaping the Bolinhos

With the batter ready, use your hands to shape small, oval fritters. The size is a matter of preference, but smaller bolinhos tend to cook more evenly.

Frying to Perfection

Heat oil in a pan to the right temperature. Carefully place the bolinhos into the hot oil, frying until they turn golden brown on all sides. This ensures a crispy exterior and a tender interior.

Tips and Tricks

Choosing the Right Oil for Frying

Selecting the right oil is crucial for achieving the perfect texture. Opt for oils with a high smoke point, such as vegetable or sunflower oil, to prevent a greasy finish.

Consistency of the Batter

Achieving the right batter consistency is an art. It should be thick enough to hold its shape but not too dense. Adjust the flour and liquid ratio accordingly.

Proper Temperature Control

Maintain the oil temperature between 350°F to 375°F (175°C to 190°C) for ideal frying. This prevents the bolinhos from absorbing excess oil.

Serving Suggestions

Traditionally, Bolinhos de Bacalhau are served with a side of rice and a simple salad. However, feel free to get creative with your presentation. Serve them with aioli or a zesty dipping sauce for an extra flavor kick.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau Variations

Across Portugal, different regions have their own twists on the classic recipe. Some add herbs or spices, while others experiment with alternate batters. Explore these variations to discover new dimensions of this beloved dish.

Health Benefits

While indulging in Bolinhos de Bacalhau, take solace in the nutritional benefits of codfish. Packed with protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, this dish can be part of a balanced and healthy diet.

Cultural Significance

In Portugal, Bolinhos de Bacalhau are not just a dish; they are a symbol of celebration. Often served during festivals and family gatherings, these fritters carry a deep cultural significance that transcends generations.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau and Social Gatherings

The communal aspect of sharing Bolinhos de Bacalhau adds an extra layer of joy to social events. Whether it’s a family reunion or a neighborhood party, these fritters have a way of bringing people together.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau Around the World

The influence of Bolinhos de Bacalhau extends beyond Portugal. In various parts of the world, chefs and home cooks have embraced the recipe, adapting it to local tastes and ingredients.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Over-Soaking the Codfish

While desalting is crucial, avoid over-soaking the codfish, as it may compromise the dish’s flavor. Aim for just enough time to remove excess salt.

Incorrect Batter Consistency

Finding the right balance in batter consistency is key. Experiment with small batches to ensure your bolinhos are perfectly textured.

Frying at the Wrong Temperature

Frying at too high or low a temperature can affect the final result. Use a thermometer to maintain precise control over the oil temperature.

Stories and Anecdotes

Bolinhos de Bacalhau often evoke cherished memories. From family gatherings to festive occasions, many have stories of learning the art of making these fritters from grandparents or sharing them with friends.

Bolinhos de Bacalhau and Traditions

As the holiday season approaches, Bolinhos de Bacalhau take center stage in Portuguese households. Passed down through generations, the recipe becomes a cherished part of family traditions.

Culinary Challenges

Embark on the Bolinhos de Bacalhau journey with enthusiasm. Don’t be afraid to face culinary challenges head-on, and enjoy the learning process. The reward is a plateful of crispy, golden fritters that embody the essence of Portuguese cuisine.


In closing, Bolinhos de Bacalhau offer more than just a delightful taste; they encapsulate the warmth of Portuguese culture and the joy of shared moments. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, try your hand at making these fritters and savor the rich flavors of tradition.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can I use frozen codfish for Bolinhos de Bacalhau?
    • While fresh cod is preferred, you can use frozen codfish, but ensure it is thoroughly desalted before use.
  2. Are Bolinhos de Bacalhau gluten-free?
    • The traditional recipe includes flour, making them not gluten-free. However, you can experiment with gluten-free alternatives.
  3. What’s the best dip for Bolinhos de Bacalhau?
    • Popular choices include aioli, tartar sauce, or a simple garlic and lemon mayonnaise.
  4. Can I make Bolinhos de Bacalhau ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can prepare the batter and shape the fritters in advance, frying them just before serving for the best texture.
  5. How do I store leftover Bolinhos de Bacalhau?
    • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, use an oven or toaster oven for a crisp finish.