The holiday season is here, and it wouldn’t be a holiday without great food! This list of Brazilian Christmas food includes some of our must-have favorites for celebrating! These recipes will add some Brazilian flavors to your Christmas table, whether you’re having a summer feast or white Christmas!
Start planning you Brazilian New Year’s Party with these Brazilian New Year Recipes!!
Christmas in Brazil
Christmas in Brazil falls right in the thick of summer, like 90+ degrees… so rather than a white Christmas, we get beachy, sticky, sweaty Christmases.
Our Ceia de Natal, Christmas dinner, typically starts late on Christmas Eve, so we can eat, drink and hangout until (at least) midnight to wish each other Feliz Natal (Merry Christmas) in the early hours of Christmas day.
When it comes to Brazilian Christmas food, they tend to highlight local ingredients as well as the cultural blend that makes up the Brazilian people. And because it’s hot, we tend to make sure we always have salads of all sorts, and desserts are usually cold, like all of our drinks.
However, we don’t shy away from warm dishes, and worldwide holiday classics.
While turkey is definitely a thing, the Brazilian Christmas roast of choice is typically the chester (also known as supersized chicken). The tender (holiday ham) is also a popular option, and my personal favorite! Other baked dishes like loin roasts and bacalhau also make an appearance at the Brazilian Christmas table.
And speaking of bacalhau, bolinhos de bacalhau/salted cod fritters are a Christmas must.
In fact, there’s a huge joke in Brazil about raisins in food during the holidays. People who like it, love it, and those who don’t like it HATE IT! Ha! Families will always have a feud over adding or not adding these to their classic Christmas recipes.
A sweet Christmas classic is the rabanadas, which are a like a deep fried French toasts. They are a beloved holiday item typically served as both dessert on Christmas Eve or breakfast, too!
And we can’t forget, Christmas in Brazil isn’t complete without Panettone! This sweet tradition is a must during this time of the year especially for holiday breakfasts, and afternoon snacks with a good cup of coffee.
How to use these Recipes
With all that said, you can use these recipes as they are or to gather inspiration for how you want to bring in a little bit of Brazil to your Christmas celebration, wherever you are in the world.
These are some of the Brazilian Christmas foods I grew up with, but I’ve also included some that I have adapted to fit my life abroad.
There are also recipes which are a hodgepodge of all my international experiences and travels. But, either way, they’ve all got some Brazilian flair and flavors that you will love.
I hope you love these recipes as much as I do!!
Boas Festas!! Happy Holidays!
When in doubt, pick an easy side!
If you decide you won’t make a complete Brazilian feast for your Christmas gathering, at least make some farofa! That’s a very easy way to bring some Brazilian flair to your holiday table.
The other thing I always do that Brazilianizes any meal is the Brazilian Collard Greens with Bacon – Couve a Mineira. I use that to decorate around the turkey or the ham, and make it in place of other greens.
With that in mind, I still recommend you give a few other Brazilian recipes a chance to shine at your holiday table!
Check out my recommendations below.
Here are some of our favorite Brazil holiday foods!
Cocktails and Drinks
You can pop the champagne like everyone else, or you can celebrate with these delicious tropical drinks!
Leftover Cranberry Sauce Cocktail with Cachaça
Not a classic, but a must-try! This cachaça cocktail is as good as it’s pretty. If you have leftover Cranberry Sauce from your American Thanksgiving celebration, this Leftover Cranberry Sauce Cachaça Cocktail will be a fun cocktail to make! It’s a festive drink with a fun Brazilian twist.
The classic caipirinha is the mother of all Brazilian cocktails. This refreshing 3-ingredient drink, is the perfect treat for spending a great summer afternoon with your amigos and familia. It’s a delicious cocktail that pairs wonderfully with a churrasco, and all things grilled. Your summer bbq festas will never be the same!
Caipirinha de Maracuja – Brazilian Passion Fruit Cocktail
If you love the Brazilian national drink—the classic lime Caipirinha—you'll love this passion fruit version. This 3-ingredient passion fruit cocktail, called a Caipirinha de Maracuja in Portuguese, is sweet, tart and perfect for any time of the year. Like any other flavor of caipirinha, just pair this Passion Fruit Caipirinha with churrasco, grilled dishes, friends and fun, and you're all set for a memorable day full of the best tropical vibes. Recipe makes 2 servings, but is easily doubled.
Batida de Coco – Brazilian Coconut Cocktail
Batida de Coco is a classic Brazilian coconut cocktail that you can make in just a few minutes, with easy to find ingredients. This sweet tropical drink is creamy and full of coconut flavor, bringing a taste of summer to your parties all year round!
Quentão – Brazilian Grog Cocktail
This Brazilian grog cocktail (Quentão de Cachaça) is a fantastic hot drink to have around the fire on a cold night. It’s sweet and dangerously delicious, gets this beautiful color from caramelized sugar, and it can be made with cachaça Brazilian rum or any other rum you like! – Recipe makes 5 cups, easily doubled!
Brazilian Hot Chocolate
This luscious Brazilian hot chocolate recipe is everything you want in a hot chocolate. It’s sweet, creamy, chocolaty, and the texture is so airy, you’ll feel like you’re drinking a chocolate mousse! It’s waaaay better than store bought hot chocolate packets. Spike it with your favorite booze and this kiddie favorite turns into the ultimate grown up cold weather treat.
Start your gathering the right way with these mouthwatering finger foods. These recipes are wonderful for sharing, and they’re great to make ahead!
Tuna Dip Recipe (Pastinha de Atum)
This easy canned Tuna Dip recipe is full of flavor and comes together in minutes! Just measure, mix and you’re done! And the best part? All you need are five easy to find ingredients to make your Pastinha de Atum Tuna dip! Plus, you can serve it as a dip, on a sandwich or in wraps. It’s great as an afternoon snack, too, or as an inexpensive appetizer at a get-together with friends.
Pão de Queijo – Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe
Brazilian cheese bread, or pão de queijo as we call them in Portuguese, are a true gift to the universe! This typical Brazilian snack is easy to make. It’s lightly crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and has a cheese flavor that just hugs your mouth.
Air Fryer Roasted Garlic
Whether you’ll use it to transform a recipe into something even more special or serve it as a simple appetizer, Air Fryer Roasted Garlic is the recipe to keep. Roasted Garlic in the air fryer faster and more efficient than the oven, and results in fragrant, beautifully sweet caramelized garlic goodness.
Cold salads are traditionally served at Brazilian Christmastime because it’s hot outside! These are some of our favorites for sharing with our friends and family:
Salpicão de Frango (Brazilian Chicken Salad)
Brazilian Chicken Salad—Salpicão de Frango—is a super popular dish in Brazil. This chicken salad recipe highlights chicken breasts with a few delicious veggies, tossed in a mayonnaise dressing and topped with potato sticks! Whether you’re looking to make this for lunch or dinner, Brazilian Chicken Salad is a filling, balanced and delicious dish.
Pear Salad Recipe with Port Wine Dressing and Grilled Cheese
This pear salad recipe is just AWESOME!! It’s full of delicious textures from a layer of peppery arugula, sweet pears, crunchy pecans, and chewy grilled coalho cheese, all tossed in a stunning port wine reduction dressing. This pretty salad will take you no time to make, and its beautiful colors and taste will sure impress your família and amigos over the holidays or any day of the week!
Brazilian Potato Salad
This Brazilian Potato salad is a classic side dish in Brazilian gatherings. This cool and creamy dish is perfect for feeding a crowd, and the best part is – you only need about four ingredients to make it. It’s an easy potato dish that pairs with everything all year long, from summer
Vegan Potato Salad
This vegan potato salad is an easy-to-make side dish that highlights gold potatoes tossed in an simple and delicious vinaigrette. This no mayo potato salad bursts with salty tang and is great to make-ahead for the week and perfect for sharing in type of gathering. – Recipe easily doubled!
Brazilian Pasta Salad with Mayo
This Pasta Salad with Mayo is a classic Brazilian side dish. Made with fusili pasta, peas, corn, diced ham and more, this flavor-packed pasta dish is perfect for sharing. No matter what you make Brazilian Pasta Salad for, this easy recipe is sure to add pops of flavor and a familiar, yet slightly different twist to a classic many people already know and love.
These side dishes are some of the easiest ways to bring Brazilian flair to your holiday festa. If you don’t want to overdo the “Brazilian,” these delicious side dishes are a great way to bring a few Brazilian flavors to your table.
Brazilian Christmas Rice
This Brazilian Christmas rice recipe is such a festive side dish to have at your holiday table, or an elegant meal. It’s made with champagne, onions, cashews and raisins. This Christmas rice is super easy to make, and pairs well with just about anything from turkey to meat roasts.
This walnut rice recipe is such a beautiful side dish to have at your holiday table, or an elegant meal. It’s super easy to make, and it pairs well with just about anything from turkey to meat roasts.
Farofa | Toasted Cassava Flour
Brazilian farofa is a quintessential Brazilian side dish! It pairs wonderfully with many dishes, like rice and beans, stews and barbecue! This toasted cassava flour recipe is ready in under 10 minutes and will add a special bacony crunch to your next meal.
Air Fryer Butternut Squash
Simple and flavorful, this Air Fryer Butternut Squash recipe is perfect for a weeknight! All you need are a handful of ingredients and 25 minutes to make this healthy side dish.
Mashed yuca, or purê de mandioca as we call it in Portuguese, is a big deal in Brazilian cuisine, and in other Latin American countries. This instant pot yuca puree recipe is creamy, buttery and easy to make. A great side dish option for any occasion!
Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Rich, smooth, creamy and full of garlic, these Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes are the best side dish. These pressure cooker mashed potatoes with garlic go with everything, whether you’re serving them with midweek meals, Sunday supper or holiday dinner! The recipe easily doubles for a crowd, too.
Brazilian Collard Greens with Bacon Recipe
This Brazilian collard greens with bacon recipe is a crisp, garlicky side dish full of bacon bits.
Looking for a stunning centerpiece for your Brazilian Christmas gathering? We’ve got several ideas that are fabulous to share with a crowd.
Dry Brine Spatchcock Turkey
This dry brine spatchcock turkey recipe will give you a juicy, delicious turkey. It’s an easy recipe that features simple spices and seasonings you probably already have at home, too. It’s so simple and so incredibly flavorful, you’ll never want to prepare a turkey any other way—especially if you combine this brine with this compound butter at the time of baking. Don’t feel like baking your turkey? That’s OK! You can also use this dry brine recipe to prepare your spatchcock turkey for grilling or smoking!
Grilled Turkey Breast
This Grilled Turkey Breast is juicy, bursting with flavor AND has crispy skin. Plus, it's ready so much faster than a whole turkey! Whether you're hosting a small holiday gathering and don't want to make the whole bird or just like white meat, this Grilled Turkey Breast recipe is for you. Keep on reading to learn how to grill a turkey breast packed full of flavor, plus all my secrets for how to make a homemade turkey breast brine.
Rotisserie-Style Brazilian Chicken
This Rotisserie-Style Brazilian Chicken is a flavor-filled weeknight classic. The secret to this juicy recipe is in the rotisserie chicken marinade, which calls for a blend of spices and a few wet ingredients. And one of the best parts is you don't need a rotisserie oven to make this recipe: you can use your regular oven! Plus, come get all the baking tips you need to make the best oven rotisserie chicken ever!
Ham With Pineapple Sauce
This ham with pineapple sauce recipe is a very special, yet super easy holiday dish. Made with naturally sweet tropical flavors that you can make ahead with less than 10 easy to find ingredients. Super simple, stress free, and absolutely delicious, leaving you plenty of time to seriously just enjoy the holidays and your family!
Ham With Pineapple Glaze
Hams are an affordable, yet special centerpiece for any holiday meal. This Pineapple Glazed Ham with a pineapple glaze sauce features salty umami from soy and sweetness from a combination of pineapple and brown sugar.
Brazilian Christmas Desserts
No party is complete without a sweet to share. Check out these delectable desserts that are perfect for the holidays, many of which you can make ahead of time!
Rabanada Recipe – Brazilian Deep Fried French Toast
Rabanadas are a classic Brazilian holiday recipe that we serve as dessert or breakfast. Easy to make and fun to eat, this deep fried French toast recipe is made with sweet condensed milk and topped with a crispy cinnamon-sugar on the outside.
Arroz Doce Cremoso – Brazilian Rice Pudding with Condensed Milk
This deliciously creamy and easy-to-make Rice Pudding recipe is perfectly spiced and sweet, thanks to condensed milk. Known as Arroz Doce Cremoso in Portuguese, this Brazilian Rice Pudding with Condensed Milk is ready in less than 30 minutes. It’s a cozy dessert or snack great for a cold day. Serve it as is or with a generous dusting of ground cinnamon for an extra flavor!
Brazilian Flan Recipe
This Brazilian Flan recipe with condensed milk, also known as pudim de leite condensado in Portuguese, is creamy, sweet and utterly delicious. A stunning and fun jiggly dessert with a decadent caramel sauce, great for special occasions like holidays, or just because. This make-ahead dessert may look fancy but is actually quite easy to make! Check it out!
Passion Fruit Mousse
This creamy, tart Brazilian Passion Fruit Mousse is an incredibly delicious, make-ahead dessert. It’s a classic Brazilian dessert that’s made with just three ingredients! This easy mousse recipe is light and fluffy, simple to make and also wonderfully balanced. Double the recipe for a celebration!
Beijinho de Coco – Brazilian Coconut Balls Recipe with Condensed Milk
Nearly as famous as Brigadeiros, these beijinhos de coco are an easy 4-ingredient Brazilian coconut balls recipe your familia and amigos will LOVE. They’re essentially coconut fudge rolled into bite-sized balls, that are sinfully sweet and delicious, cute as buttons and great for parties and holidays year round. They’re even great to make as a holiday gift.
Brigadeiro Cake Recipe
This Brigadeiro cake recipe makes three layers of moist, tender crumb, super chocolaty cake and a smooth, ooey-gooey fudgy brigadeiro frosting and filling, that you can decorate with ALL. THE. SPRINKLES! Use Christmas color sprinkles to make this delicious cake even more festive!
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