Refogado – Brazilian Sofrito

Oi Gente!!

This easy refogado recipe will change your life and the way you cook. This practical sofrito-like paste made with garlic, onion and olive oil, will come in handy in your kitchen everyday when you’re making anything from salad dressings, to marinades, stews and so much more! Read on through to see how to make, how to store and how just one batch of this 3-ingredient Brazilian sofrito can help you infuse so much flavor into your everyday recipes. recipe makes 2 cups.

About Refogado

Have you noticed that most Brazilian recipes start with sautéing, or “lightly frying” garlic and/or onion in some sort of fat? That’s what we call refogadoAnd the Brazilian refogado is to Brazilian cuisine what sofrito is for Spanish, Italian, and a number of Latin American and Caribbean cuisines (any Puerto Ricans or Cubans out here!!?) – it serves as the foundation of a dish.

The refogado, is pretty much the base of most Brazilian dishes, such as our everyday rice and beans, vegetables like collard greens, other sides like farofa, and more! It’s actually hard to think about a Brazilian dish that doesn’t involve a refogado.

All you need to make a refogado for any dish is your fat of choice, diced onions and minced garlic. And there. Done!

Why I love this recipe

Yes, yes, yes, a typical refogado with diced onions and minced garlic isn’t hard at all to make. But, if you know you’re going to use this combination for pretty much every dish you make, then why not cut the prep and figure out an easier way?

My mom taught me this trick to save time on the dicing and cutting, which is to just prepare a paste with our refogado ingredients, like a sofrito! A little work up front, and a lot of flavor packed up in a jar of magic, ready whenever you need it!

I mean, raise your hand if you sometimes get home and the thought of having to do any prep before you make dinner actually hurts? I get you. This one is for you, amigos!

I hope you find Brazilian sofrito as useful as I do!

Bom Apetite!

Beijinhos xoxo

 What is sofrito? 

Sofrito is a paste, or sauce, largely used in Spanish, Italian, and a number of Latin American and Caribbean cuisines, typically made with aromatic ingredients that are sauteed in fat, and serve as the flavor base of a dish.

But, no sofrito, or refogado, is created equal.

Each culture, region, family has their own combination of ingredients that’s essential to their sofrito recipe. Some people add tomatoes, some add peppers, some add spices, and others add herbs. All are different, but have one thing in common – Lotsa flavor!

Brazilian Sofrito Ingredients

In Brazil, the most common combination for a basic refogado is minced garlic and diced onion, and this form of refogado essentially serves as the base of the Brazilian food flavor profile. It’s our classic aromatic combo.

Brazilian Sofrito

To make this easy sofrito recipe you’ll need:

  • 1 small onion – if your onion is too big, just use half of it.  
  • 1 cup of garlic – I usually just buy these pre-peeled garlic bags, which are air peeled and contain no other ingredient. This is really important! Other pre-peeled garlic may sometimes contain water, or citric acid, or other ingredients that alter the flavor of the garlic. Don’t use those, meus amigos! If you’re planning on using whole heads of garlic, you’ll need about 3 of those, all peeled.
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil – we don’t need a lot of olive oil here. We just need enough to help the garlic and the onion blend together into a paste. 

How to make sofrito

To make your Brazilian sofrito, just add all the ingredients to a food processor, or blender, and pulse, pulse, pulse until you have a chunky paste, of the same texture of minced garlic. 

That’s it!

How to use your Brazilian sofrito

My recipes will always tell you how much Brazilian sofrito you should be using per recipe. But, you can also use Brazilian sofrito in literally every recipe you make from now on! Just keep in mind that 1 clove of garlic should equal about a 1/2 tsp of Brazilian sofrito.

Sauteing and Stir-frying are the most common uses for Brazilian sofrito. Whenever a recipe calls for sauteing garlic and/or onion, you’re all set. Just scoop some Brazilian sofrito into the hot fat and move right along. 

But that’s not all, here are some other things you can make with Brazilian sofrito:

  • Marinades
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces
  • Grilling
  • Roasts
  • and seriously anything!

How to store Brazilian sofrito

Storing Brazilian sofrito is just as easy as making it! Just follow these guidelines and you’ll always have a fresh batch on hand to use. 

  • Mason jars –  When I make a fresh batch of Brazilian sofrito, I use a portion of it to fill an 8oz wide mouth mason jar that I keep in my fridge for about 5 days. 
  • Ice trays – Whatever is left of my batch goes into silicone ice trays with lids like this one, or an easy release kind like this one, also with lid. I fill each compartment with about a tablespoon of sofrito, cover with the lid, and off to the freezer it goes, where it can stay for up to 3 months. If your silicone ice tray doesn’t have a lid, just put it in a ziplock bag. The best part? No need to defrost the little frozen “sofrito bombs”. Just add them frozen to the pan and they will defrost with the heat of the pan!

Enjoy cooking with Brazilian Sofrito!

Bom Apetite!

Beijinhos xoxo

Here are a handful of recipes using Sofrito to get you started. But, remember, you can add it to pretty much every recipe!


5 from 16 votes

Refogado – Brazilian Sofrito

Refogado is the flavor base of most Brazilian dishes. Learn how to make refogado and always have this easy sofrito-like flavor bomb at hand!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Aline Shaw


  • 1 medium onion quarted
  • 3 full large heads of garlic peeled (about a cup)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil


  • Add all the ingredients to a blender, or food processor and pulse a few times, until you reach a chunky paste consistency.
  • Store in mason jars for consumptions within 5 days. You can also fill each little compartment of a silicone ice tray, with about a tablespoon of sofrito each. Then, place it in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. No need to defrost the little frozen "sofrito bombs". Just add them frozen to the pan and they will "melt".

Bom Apetite!!

    Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out! Snap a photo and share with me on Instagram tagging @aline_shaw!


    The Brazilian Sofrito can be stored in mason jars for consumptions within 5 days.
    Brazilian Sofrito can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Just fill each little compartment of a silicone ice tray with about a tablespoon of sofrito in each. Then, place the ice tray in a ziplock bag and freeze. No need to defrost the little frozen “sofrito bombs”. Just add them frozen to the pan and they will “melt” right in there!

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    1. 5 stars
      This is a time saver, in addition to being delicious, of course. Sautéing garlic and/or onion is pretty much part of almost everything I make so this is incredibly helpful. I even used to marinate the meat when making stroganoff, and I gotta say, it made it even tastier.

      1. Oi Angela! Soooo happy you liked the recipe, and looks like you are using it to its full potential too, which is fantastic! You go, girl!! I seriously CANNOT live without this in my life!!

    2. Your mom is a genius! I’m always making a sofrito but Ive never thought about prepping it before hand. This is perfect for weeknights! Thanks so much for this!

    3. I LOVE Brazilian food with a passion. I’m so excited to browse through your website and learn more. I wasn’t aware that Brazilian people cooked with sofrito too. I thought only Spanish people did but they are similar in some respects.

      1. Yay!! Welcome, welcome then!! I’m excited you are here 🙂 Yes, Brazilian people do not actually cook with sofrito… in this recipe, I create a paste, similar to how sofrito is made, but only with garlic and onions, the flavor base of Brazilian food. In Brazilian food, this flavor “base” when sautéed is actually called refogado. Brazilian Sofrito is just the name I gave to that paste that makes a quick and handy way to prepare your refogado ingredients. Beijos!

    4. 5 stars
      I think we should keep this sauce always handy. To spread naan, to make grilled sandwich, for pasta to get extra flavors. Thanks for the recipe.

    5. 5 stars
      I have made this before when cooking and never knew what it was called. I just knew it was a time savor. Thank you for sharing the recipe so I can make it the same each time.

    6. 5 stars
      This looks and sounds delicious. it’s the first I’ve heard of a sofrito but it sounds familiar to the base of a lot of senegalese cuisine. I’ll be experimenting with this for sure!

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