Canjica Recipe – Brazilian White Corn and Coconut Porridge

When it’s chilly outside, a warm, sweet Canjica is the most comforting dish to enjoy! Made with white hominy corn and coconut, this Brazilian White Corn Porridge is creamy, perfectly spiced and feels like a warm hug in a bowl.

Canjica, Brazilian White Corn and Coconut Porridge, shown in two serving containers next to a bottle of milk

Oi Gente!!

Canjica, a Brazilian white corn and coconut porridge, is a very popular dish in Brazil, especially in the wintertime.

It’s a little like rice pudding, but it’s made with white corn instead of rice. It also tends to have a little more liquid.

This sweet tradition is a must-have dish throughout the winter, particularly during Brazilian Festas Juninas, which translates to something like “June parties.” This traditional popular festivity takes place typically in the month of June to honor saint john and Saint Antonio, as well as rural culture — check out this post to learn more about Festa Junina and to see another popular dish.

Canjica is pretty simple to make and can be a hearty breakfast, snack or even a dessert.

Sweet, warm, and coconut-y with subtle notes of cloves, cinnamon and vanilla… seriously, what’s not to love?

It’s so good!

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do.

Bom Apetite!

Beijinhos!! xoxo

Overhead of two serving bowls of canjica next to cloves, vanilla beans and spoons

The origin of Canjica:

There are a few prominent theories related to the origin of this beloved cultural dish.

The first attributes its origin to the arrival of enslaved Africans brought to Brazil during colonial times, because of an African corn porridge called Kanzika (hence the name Canjica). And because corn was widely accessible in Brazil, this porridge was consumed by the diaspora in Brazil, too.

Another theory proposes that canjica might have originated in Brazil because native Brazilians tupinambás were already largely and creatively using corn as part of their main diet.

Finally, it is also possible that canjica might be the result of the marriage of these two cultures’ creative consumption of corn.

As most cultural staples, the classic canjica recipe evolved over time with the addition of peanuts, cinnamon, cloves and coconut milk. And, along the line, transformed into the dish we know today.

Canjica has lots of regional variations, as well as names, across Brazil. In the north and northeast regions, it’s known as munguzá and sometimes curau. While the rest of the country calls it canjica.

What you need to make this recipe:

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  • White hominy corn — the dried kind, not the one from a can. I use this one that you can find online, but you can also find these in local grocery stores depending on where you live. Brazilian or Latin supermarkets are also an option.
  • Granulated sugar — sometimes referred to as white sugar, this sweetens up our porridge.
  • Whole milk — I prefer to use whole milk, but you could use reduced fat milk as well.
  • Sweet condensed milk — this adds a creamy sweetness to the porridge. Because it contributes to the texture of the canjica, you should not skip or replace this ingredient.
  • Spices — we’re using a combination of a cinnamon stick, whole cloves, vanilla bean and nutmeg to add a TON of wonderful warming flavors to this recipe.
  • Dehydrated unsweetened, shredded coconut — unsweetened is a must! We already have plenty of sweetening ingredients in the recipe.
  • Coconut milk — the kind from the can, like this one. Do not use the one from the box.

Necessary equipment:

How to make this Canjica recipe

Wash the hominy well in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear.

(Don’t these look like teeth? Haha.)

Add the washed corn to an instant pot or pressure cooker and cover with water.

Set the timer so that it cooks under pressure for about 40 minutes.

White hominy corn in an Instant Pot basin before cooking

While the corn cooks, we can hydrate the coconut.

In a separate bowl, measure in the milk, the condensed milk, the coconut milk, the sugar.

Add the vanilla bean to this milky mixture and finally the unsweetened dehydrated milk.

Let it sit there hydrating the coconut while the corn finishes cooking.

Once the corn has finished cooking under pressure, safely release the pressure and open up the lid.

This is what the corn looks like once it’s cooked: puffed, firm, and with some water left.

Do a little taste test just to make sure all is well and that the texture is what it needs to be — firm, similar to cooked wheat berries or farro.

Finally, add the milky coconut mixture to the pot, as well as the cinnamon stick, the cloves and nutmeg.

Let the ingredients cook on the sauté mode without the lid on for 10-15 mins.

Give them a stir every so often so that the corn and coconut porridge doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

The final white corn porridge recipe cooks to finish in the pressure cooker with spices

And there you go!

The corn will continue to absorb liquid as it cools. And as it cools, the liquid will thicken significantly, as well.

You can thin it back down by adding a little bit more milk when it’s cooled completely, or when you reheat it to eat the leftovers over the next few days.

I like my canjica on the creamy side, so sometimes, I just leave as is. It’s up to you!

Two containers of hominy corn porridge before serving next to a milk bottle with spoons and spices around it

Quick tips and tricks for making this Brazilian porridge recipe

  • Do not use canned hominy. It will not yield the same luscious texture or results.
  • Make it thicker or thinner. As the corn porridge cools, it will thicken. If you like it thinner, you can drizzle in more milk once it has cooled slightly to reach you desired consistency.
  • Store leftover in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave and thin out with milk, if necessary.
Close up of two serving bowls of corn porridge with vanilla bean pods and cloves in the background

Canjica – Brazilian White Corn and Coconut Porridge

This sweet dish will surely steal your heart! It’s sweet, milky, homey, and a perfect way to stay warm on a chilly day.

It is great as is, or with some cinnamon or toasted coconut sprinkled on top.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Overhead image of two servings of canjica in bowls sprinkled with ground cinnamon next to spoons, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and cloves

Other Classic Brazilian Recipes You’ll Love:

Overhead image of two servings of canjica in bowls sprinkled with ground cinnamon next to spoons, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and cloves
4.98 from 49 votes

Brazilian White Corn and Coconut Porridge

When it's chilly outside, a warm, sweet Canjica is the most comforting recipe to enjoy! Made with white hominy corn and coconut, this Brazilian White Corn Porridge is creamy, perfectly spiced and feels like a warm hug in a bowl.
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 478kcal
Author: Aline Shaw


  • 5 cups of water
  • 500 g package of white hominy corn
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 14 oz can of sweet condensed milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 whole vanilla bean or 1-2 tsp of vanilla bean extract
  • 1 cup of dehydrated unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 13 oz can of coconut milk
  • a pinch of nutmeg


  • Wash the corn using a strainer until the water runs clear, then let it drain for a few minutes.
  • Add the washed corn to an instant pot, or pressure cooker, and add all 5 cups of water. Cover and cook on manual for 40 mins.
  • While the corn is cooking, hydrate the shredded coconut – In a medium bowl add the coconut, the milk, the condensed milk, the sugar, the coconut milk and the spices.
  • When the corn is cooked, safely release the pressure and open the pan.
  • Add the milk-coconut mixture to the cooked corn and cook on sauté mode (open) for 10-15 mins.
  • Serve with some cinnamon or with toasted coconut (optional)

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!



    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 325mg | Potassium: 470mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 243IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 254mg | Iron: 3mg

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      1. Yay, Mary!!! That makes me so sooooo happy!!! Thanks for letting me know you loved it and that you’re interested in other stuff. If you have any questions let me know! Glad to have you here 🙂

    1. If I’m lactose intolerant, can I sub the 2C of milk for more coconut milk? Or do you think that would give it too much of a coconut flavor and I should try a different dairy free option?

      1. Hi Taylor-Rae,

        I haven’t tried or tested a lactose free option, but here’s what I’d suggest:

        If you’re ok with dairy options that are lactose free like Lactaid brand milk for example, I’d try that first because that would be the closest substitution – just make sure that’s something you can consume. If you rather make it dairy free completely, you can totally use refrigerated/boxed coconut milk (the one the recipe already calls for is canned coconut milk, which is the creamy kind. The refrigerated/boxed kind is the type you’d put in your cereal, that type of stuff).

        Please note you’ll also need a lactose free condensed milk for this recipe – Nestle has a lactose free condensed milk (that contains dairy) which should be pretty easy to find these days. For a vegan/dairy free version, there’s coconut milk condensed milk you can try as well.

        Hope this helps,

        Any questions let me know!


    2. 5 stars
      Thick, rich and amazingly good! Made this for a holiday breakfast. My adult son said “if you had made this for me when I was a kid, I would have been a much happier kid.” There were no left overs. planning to make it again for breakfast on Christmas Eve this year, saving a little for the Tomte in the barn!

      1. Oi, Angie!! Thank you so much – that is such a sweet review!! I’m happy to know you and your family loved the recipe and are planning on making it again. Thank you, thank you!!! xx

    3. 4 stars
      I recently discovered your blog and have been so happy to find it. My boyfriend is from Minas and I wanted to learn how to make more Brazilian dishes and desserts not just for him but for me too! I’m a chef and am Peruvian so I tend to lean more into Peruvian flavors but there is some overlap.

      I LOVE THIS DESSERT. I had never heard of it until I found your recipe. I tweaked it just a bit. I added an extra 1/2 cup of water in the Instant Pot because the first time I made it, the corn was still too chewy and, therefore, when I added the milk it became very dry as the corn sucked it all up and I had to add a lot more milk to get it more creamy. By just adding the half cup of water, everything else was perfect! Maybe my corn was very dry/old in the bag. It happens! I also added more cloves because I love cloves. I topped with roasted peanuts and toasted shredded coconut. My boyfriend went crazy for it and said he used to love eating this during Festas Juninas. Obrigada pela receita!

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