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Portuguese recipes comprise richly flavored and filling dishes from the country of Portugal. Portuguese foods are known to be, with pronounced foreign influence of the colonies that once were a part of Portugal. This can be specifically said about the spices like chili pepper, cinnamon, saffron, etc. that are used here, which can be traced to the Indian colonies of Portugal.

Colonial Influences on Portuguese Cuisine

Portugal boasts of the first colonial empire in world history. It was also the most long lasting colonial empire. This empire spread across many geographical regions which are now 49 free states. In 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India from Portugal. This was the beginning for the colonization of Indian territories like Goa. He brought back various kinds of spices from India, the impact of which is notable in Portuguese recipes today. Some examples are black pepper, cinnamon, saffron and garlic.

Ingredients Commonly Used in Portuguese Cuisine

Here is a list of ingredients popularly used in Portuguese recipes:


Piri piri: Fiery chilli peppers

Cinnamon- spice obtained from inner bark of cinnamon trees

Vanilla- Flavoring agent derived from pods of vanilla plant

Saffron: Flavoring agent derived from flower of ‘saffron crocus’

Herbs: Garlic, coriander and parsley are widely used herbs


Olive Oil: Used as a base as well as for flavoring Portuguese foods

Fish and seafood: Having vast coastal regions, fish and seafood are an integral part of Portuguese food. The per capita fish consumption of Portugal is higher than any other European nation. Fish is eaten in various forms like fried, grilled, boiled, stewed or roasted.

Meat and Poultry: Meat and poultry were considered Portuguese food that only the rich and upper class could afford in the past.

Turkey and other meat dishes were prepared only on special occasions and Christmas. However, today they are consumed more widely because of the mass production of these items in animal and poultry farms. Alcatra is a popular dish made of beef.

Vegetables: Cabbage, onions and tomatoes are popularly used in Portuguese recipes. Portuguese foods also consist of different kinds of soups and salads.

Popular Recipes of Portuguese Cuisine

Here are some of the popular Portuguese recipes among a host of delicious dishes eaten in Portugal.

Meat Dishes

Alcatra- Meat which has been marinated in red wine and garlic and then roasted.

Thusbifes de Peru: Portuguese recipes for turkey steaks

Fish & Seafood

Sardinhas assadas- Portuges recipes for grilled fresh sardines

Caldeirada- Stew made of various kinds of fish and shellfish, cooked with potatoes, tomatoes and onion.

Vegetarian Dishes & Soups

Feijoada- a rich bean stew

Açorda- bread-based casserole with garlic and coriander for flavor.


Wine- Wine is a traditional Portuguese drink. White, red as well as green wine is popular here. Green wine is called so not because the color is green but because it is drunk ‘young’.

Ginjinha or Ginja is a beverage made by infusing Ginja berries in alcohol.

Portuguese Cuisine: Trivia

• Portuguese breakfast usually consists of coffee and bread roll with butter, cheese, ham or jam.
• Dinner usually includes a soup before the main course.