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25 Of the Best Traditional Portuguese Recipes

AUTHENTIC PORTUGUESE FOOD with a Local Family

The people of Portugal are known for their traditional Portuguese recipes, and they have an assortment of delicious regional favorites that are unique to their culture. Try some of these out at your next family gathering, and make sure to request the recipe afterward so you can prepare it again later!

Jump to Describing Portuguese Food and Cooking
Jump to 5 Most Popular Portuguese Dishes
Jump to 5 Most Popular Questions About Portuguese Food
Jump to 25 Of the Best Traditional Portuguese Recipes Anywhere

These traditional Portuguese recipes are tried and true, so you know they’ll taste great even if you’re not familiar with the Portuguese food itself. You could even teach some of these traditional Portuguese recipes to your kids; Portuguese food has a rich history that can be taught from one generation to the next.

Describing Portuguese Food and Cooking

Portuguese food is a culinary style that has evolved over several centuries. It is a blend of the different influences that have shaped Portuguese gastronomy, including Spanish, French, Italian, and African. Portuguese food also includes many local dishes with unique characteristics that are not found in other regions of Europe.

Portugal has a rich and diverse culinary tradition. From its capital city of Lisbon to coastal regions like Algarve, you can find many different dishes on every street corner. Fish and seafood are staples in most parts of the country. For those with more time to spend, consider traveling down the coast to visit Albufeira where they have some great seafood restaurants with plenty of options.

The Portuguese people have a long history of gastronomic excellence and are proud of their cooking skills. Their culinary traditions include the production of cheese, wines, and olive oil, which are all widely used by locals as well as visitors from around the world seeking to experience authentic Portuguese food.

The Portuguese are a very eclectic bunch, and the Portuguese food reflects that. The Portuguese are not a homogenous people. There are several ethnic groups in the country, and they each have their own Portuguese food variations.

The most well-known is the Galician cuisine, which is characterized by its use of white fish in stews and soups, as well as its use of onions and garlic. This is a regional Portuguese food that uses ingredients from the local environment such as potatoes, tomatoes, and white fish.

5 Most Popular Portuguese Dishes

1. Peccadillos de Viana

Peccadillos de Viana is a famous dish of fish cooked in the oven with potatoes. It is a typical dish of the city of Viana do Castelo that you should try if you are visiting that area.

2. Dorado & Alentejana

Dorado & Alentejana is a typical dish from Porto (also known as Oporto). Dorado is a type of fish that has to be cooked very carefully so it doesn’t get dry, but it tastes delicious when you eat it. The chef who prepares this dish has to know exactly how much salt to add so that the taste remains just perfect.

3. Pastel de Nata

Pastel de Nata is a pastry filled with custard and eggs, made in Porto (also known as Oporto). You can find different versions of this pastry, but the one we recommend is made with eggs and cream cheese. If you prefer something lighter, there are also other versions available.

4. Caldo Verde

This simple soup is a popular meal throughout Portugal but takes on different names depending on where you go. In Lisbon, it is called Caldo Verde, while in Porto it’s called caldo Verde da terra (green soup from the earth). The base for all these soups is a plentiful vegetable broth made with potatoes and onions. In Rio de Janeiro this dish is considered to be especially healthy because of its high concentration of vitamins.

5. Feijoada

Feijoada is a hearty stew made from black beans, dried and salted codfish, pork, and smoked sausage. This dish is traditionally served on Saturday nights to celebrate the end of the week.

5 Most Popular Questions About Portuguese Food

What is the secret to Portuguese food?

The secret to Portuguese food is simple: it’s the way they make it. The Portuguese are one of the oldest seafaring cultures in Europe, and they have been trading their seafood and wine with other countries for centuries.

What is the Best Portuguese Food?

Portuguese food is known for its freshness and quality. It’s not surprising that many of the world’s most famous chefs have traveled to Portugal to find inspiration for their menus.

Why is Portuguese Food so Good?

Portuguese food is often praised for its simplicity and authenticity. While some dishes may require a bit more effort than others, they are still considered some of the best meals on earth. The fact that they’re so easy to make also makes them accessible to anyone who wants to try them!

Can I Eat Fish in Portugal?

Yes, you can! However, it might be difficult to find raw fish at local markets because people prefer cooked ones; however, it’s quite easy to find grilled or fried fish at restaurants throughout Portugal! Fish can be found in salads or as an ingredient in stews and soups if you want something more substantial than a salad with your meal!

Are there Vegetarian Options in Lisbon?

While vegetarian options aren’t very common in Lisbon, there are some restaurants that offer meatless meals on their menus! You’ll also find many restaurants that offer two different menus: one with meat and one without.

25 Of the Best Traditional Portuguese Recipes Anywhere

5 Traditional Portugese Recipes for Appetizers

1. Conserva de Cenouras à Algarvia

traditional Portuguese recipes - Conserva de Cenouras à Algarvia

Canned carrots are a common starter in many restaurants, even outside the Algarve, where it probably earned the nickname “à algarvia”, but it can also be served as an accompaniment to meat or fish. Being a dish that is served cold, it is ideal for the hot summer.

Though not a traditional Portuguese recipe it is a light meal on a hot day. I do like to have some melted butter served to get a little more flavor.

2. Morcela Com Ananás

traditional Portuguese recipes - Morcela Com Ananás

Black pudding is a Portuguese sausage with a strong flavor that combines surprisingly well with fruit. Black pudding with pineapple is one of the best combinations of sausage and Portuguese cuisine, making it a must-try snack.

To make this traditional Portuguese recipe as a starter, you will only have to fry the sausage for a short time, and grill the pineapple to remove its acidity and make its jam perfectly match the taste of the black pudding.

3. Cacholeira Branca de Portalegre

traditional Portuguese recipes - Cacholeira Branca de Portalegre

The favored recipe for this sausage is Favas Guisadas.

Further south, in the Alentejo, we discover the “star” of traditional Portuguese recipes for sausage. The Cacholeira Branca, a sausage made with the animal’s offal, such as the liver, kidney, pancreas, heart or spleen, together with blood, fat, salt, garlic and cumin. This mixture is marinated for 12 to 24 hours, followed by stuffing, before cooking for 30 to 60 minutes.

4. Peixinhos da Horta

Portuguese food - Peixinhos da Horta

These Portuguese peixinhos da horta (or fish of the garden if translated literally to English) are actually tempura green beans. The traditional Portuguese recipe has the veggies dipped in a mixture of flour and club soda and then deep-fried and served with garlic mayonnaise.

5. Portuguese Clams -Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato

Portuguese food - Portuguese Clams -Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato

Anyway, to this traditional Portuguese recipe itself. It’s a deliciously simple affair of fresh steamed clams, and a dressing of garlic, olive oil, coriander, lemon, and white wine. The white wine is optional and, depending who you ask, you’ll be told whether it’s necessary or not. We like to include it, and its always a good excuse to top your glass up while cooking.

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5 Traditional Portuguese Recipes for Lunch

6. Fish Fillets Portuguese Style – Easy Dinner

Portuguese food - Fish Fillets Portuguese Style – Easy Dinner

Portuguese Portuguese for Fish Fillets is one of our most common preparations of fish for family dinners! Tender seasoned fish coated in light and airy batter and fried until golden brown.

Fried fish fillets are a traditional Portuguese recipe for a quick lunch that you will see served at special occasions, holidays, family gatherings and family dinners! One of my favorite dishes and family favorites that my Mom made growing up is her fried fish fillets. It is such a simple and quick dish.

7. Portuguese Cozido à Portuguesa Recipe

Portuguese Cozido à Portuguesa Recipe

The history and origin of this traditional Portuguese recipe for an iconic traditional dish, Cozido a Portuguesa dates back to the north of Portugal’s capital Lisbon in the region of Beira. Although Cozido a Portugesea originated from the northern central part of Portugal, it is a national Portuguese recipe that is celebrated and enjoyed with regional variations nationwide including the Acores Islands.

8. Portuguese Baked Eggs

Portuguese recipe - Portuguese Baked Eggs

Portuguese  Portuguese Style Baked Eggs might just be the most ultimate traditional Portugese recipe in all of history. My husband’s first intelligible comment while eating it (after a lot of “Guuhhhhhhn. Mmmmmmmmmm. Wow.” and the like) was “If I ever needed to cure a hangover, this would be the best possible cure ever. This has it all, salt, fat, and comfort.”

So there you have it. With endorsements like that, who needs anything else except for maybe a spoon?

9. Portuguese Grilled Mackerel with Garlic Sauce Recipe

Portuguese recipe - Portuguese Grilled Mackerel with Garlic Sauce Recipe

This delicious traditional Portuguese recipe for a grilled mackerel with garlic sauce recipe (cavalinhas grelhadas com molho de alho) makes a great meal for 1 person served with boiled potatoes and a salad.

10. Portuguese Shrimp Patties Recipe

Portuguese recipe - Portuguese Shrimp Patties Recipe

If you visited Portugal, you’ve probably noticed these golden-brown half-moon shaped pastries displayed in supermarkets and traditional cafés. They are a traditional Portuguese recipe called rissóis and they are deep-fried pastries usually filled with shrimp or mincemeat. They are the perfect pairing to an imperial and are usually eaten on their own as a snack, or as main course with tomato rice and salad.

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5 Traditional Portuguese Recipes for Dinner

11. Portuguese Barbecued Seafood Platter Recipe

Portuguese recipes Portuguese Barbecued Seafood Platter Recipe

This Portuguese Portuguese for a fish and seafood cataplana recipe (receita de cataplana de peixe e marisco) originates from the southern region of Portugal, and it’s about as much of a traditional Portuguese recipe as it gets.

12. Seafood Paella

Portuguese recipes - Seafood Paella

This saffron-infused paella Portuguese recipe is loaded with mussels, clams, and shrimp. Grill it in your biggest skillet for best flavor (no special pan required). Portuguese Paella serves a crowd for your next cookout!

A festive occasion calls for a big statement, and this paella is just that: a colorful rice dish bursting with clams, mussels and shrimp along with smoky chorizo and saffron for tons of flavor. You don’t need much else to serve alongside it, but you could make a green salad if you feel inspired.

The whole Paella thing is usually associated with Spain but don’t be fooled Portugal has its on traditional Portuguese seafood paella recipe and it is just as good and maybe better. You be the judge.

13. Portuguese Style Pasta with Clams & Chouriço Recipe

Portuguese Style Pasta with Clams & Chouriço Recipe

Here is a traditional Portuguese recipe for Pasta with Clams and Chouriço. It is a deliciously traditional and hearty Portuguese dish which provides many of the best flavors in Portuguese cooking. Flavorful and a bit spicy Portuguese chouriço in combination with some perfectly cooked clams makes for a very tasty dish which is sure to impress.

You must find Portuguese style chouriço for this dish, Spanish chorizo will not do as many recipes will have you think, it just does not contain the rich flavor and spicy kick you find in Portuguese recipes of chouriço. Try it out and tell us what you think!

14. Portugese Chicken Piri Piri

Portugese Chicken Piri Piri

If you ask the locals what dishes not to miss when visiting the Algarve, you will often hear answers involving fresh seafood, dishes like, Monkfish rice, Fish cataplanas and the famous Grilled Sardines. Some of those dishes can be a bit costly, especially when found in the touristy areas.

For those travelling on a budget, and for those not that into seafood, Chicken Piri Piri is an equally delicious and traditional Portuguese Portuguese to be tried. The Algarve, is widely known as its home.

15. Arroz de Pato – Portuguese Style Duck Rice

Arroz de Pato – Portuguese Style Duck Rice

Rice might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Portugal, but rice and the country actually have a long history. It’s believed it was first brought to the country during the Moorish period, and it’s stuck around ever since. The rice is used in man of the traditional Portuguese recipes like Arroz de Pato Carolino, one of the most common types available here in Portugal recipes. It’s a short grain rice, similar to the famous Italian Arborio. It’s great for absorbing flavors and producing creamy dishes. Its preparation is similar to a risotto.

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5 Traditional Portuguese Recipes for Soups

16. Salt cod soup (Zuppa di baccala)

Salt cod soup (Zuppa di baccala)

Did you know that cod used to be a very highly prized, valuable trading commodity? Wars and battles were won on salt cod because, of course, in the old days ships were sailing for weeks or months and the sailors would have a very unhealthy diet. This is a traditional Portuguese recipe from those times.

Having salt cod on board as a source of protein kept them going, and it meant they could jump off the boat with enough energy for a bit of fighting when it was required! All kinds of cultures began to salt fish – I suppose Iberian and Nordic countries are particularly well known for still doing it today.

17. Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde

Caldo verde is a Portuguese soup recipe that translates to “green soup.” This Portuguese recipe originated from northern Portugal and has become a fan favorite among many. The dark green cabbage traditionally used in this Portuguese soup recipe is not widely available beyond Portugal’s borders, but kale or collard greens make a good substitute.

A crusty corn bread called broa often accompanies this traditional Portuguese recipe for the soup, although a good American corn bread is also nice for sopping up any bits remaining in the bowl. Don’t forget the final flourish of olive oil. It will perfume the soup.

18. Portuguese-Style Bean Soup

Sausage and bean soup

One day I was looking at traditional Portuguese recipes and decided to put together a bean soup that embraced the bright and spicy flavors of Portugal. My family liked it so much, it became a classic Portuguese recipe in our household. To save time and work, the sausage, vegetables and herbs can all be prepped in minutes with a food processor.

19. Kale Soup Portuguese Recipe

Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe

Kale Soup Portuguese Recipe (Caldo Verde Recipe) – A rustic sausage potato and kale soup with bold flavor and chunky texture. This slightly creamy version is so enticing but is a little different than many of the traditional Portuguese recipes due to the potatoes, you’ll want to make it again and again!

20. Portuguese Clam and Sausage Stew

Portuguese Clam and Sausage Stew (1)

Use fresh Mexican (not dried Spanish) chorizo in your Portuguese recipe, or substitute hot Italian sausage. While Asian fish sauce may seem out of place here, it’s a trick to add an indescribable element of flavor to a traditional Portuguese recipe that calls for the dry version.

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5 Traditional Portuguese Recipes for Desserts

21. Molotof (Portugese Meringue Pudding Cake)

Molotof (Portugese Meringue Pudding)

Soft as clouds and delicately sweet! This Molotof Portuguese recipe is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the easiest and simplest baked desserts out there! Make it using only 3 simple ingredients- egg whites, water, and sugar! I bet you can do it right now!

This is a traditional Portuguese recipe for a dessert known as Molotof Flan or Pudding, Egg White Pudding, Cloud Cake, or Egg White Cake. It is a meringue-based dessert lined with caramel syrup baked in a water bath. Cooked the same way as Leche Flan, but instead of a custard mixture, you will use meringue. The texture is the same as Brazo de Mercedes minus the custard filling.

22. Bolo de Bolacha (No Bake Cake)

Bolo de Bolacha (No Bake Cake)

I’m so excited to share a traditional Portuguese recipe with you guys. Bolo de Bolacha  is an easy no-bake cake Portuguese recipe recipe that you’ll find at every Portuguese party. It is layer upon delicious layer of Marie biscuits soaked in coffee and a simple butter cream. You stack everything together and then place the Bolo de Bolacha Portuguese recipe in the refrigerator for a few hours (overnight is better!) and when it comes out you have an amazing cake that slices perfectly and taste sooo good!

23. Portuguese Coconut Cakes (Bolos de Coco)

(Bolos de Coco)

Simple and easy to make, the blender coconut cake. The traditional Portuguese recipes use ingredients you probably have at home: wheat flour, milk, eggs, grated coconut, sugar and oil. Finally, a syrup made with coconut milk, cornstarch and sugar makes the cake fluffy and moist.

The Portuguese recipe blender coconut cake combines with a cup of coffee and can be served for breakfast or an afternoon snack . It is a recipe that is ready in a few minutes. Check out how to do it!

24. Portuguese Egg Tart Recipe

Portuguese Egg Tart Recipe

Calling for just a few ingredients, this traditional Portuguese recipe is all about technique. The puff pastry should be made the night before, so it has time to chill fully before you press it into the molds. If you don’t want to buy molds (though Mendes highly recommends them), you can make these tarts in a muffin tin. Below, you can see the different results yielded by each cooking vessel.

25. Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)

Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)

Portuguese Custard Tarts are a deliciously flaky dessert that migrated to Macau and became a local favorite. These custard tart; from a  traditional Portuguese recipes yield buttery, sweet tarts with an aromatic custard that gets baked until it’s just scorched on top.


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