Pastéis de Bacalhau (Salted Cod Fritters)

Pastéis de Bacalhau are one of the most popular and traditional foods in Portuguese cuisine. They are famous for good reason, they utilize one of the most signature ingredients in Portuguese gastronomy, bacalhau. There are many ways to cook bacalhau, or salted cod, and this is certainly one of the best. The salted cod deep fried fritter style is absolutely one of my favorite ways of enjoying bacalhau. They can be served as an accompaniment or on their own with some rice as a meal and are always sure to impress.

2 cups milk
4 potatoes, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound salted cod (If you can’t find this locally, you can always buy some easily here on Amazon)
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
2 lemons sliced thinly
1/2 cup black olives for garnish

1) Soak the dried cod in cold water for a day, changing the water 3-4 times.
2) Drain the cod, rinse, and put it in a large pot. Add the milk and enough water to cover an inch.
3) Simmer gently over medium-low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cod is tender.
4) Drain and rinse the cod well, removing any little bits of skin and bone.
5) While the cod is cooking, pour 1-inch of water in a large pot.
6) Add the potatoes and simmer on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes until very tender.
7) Drain the potatoes, peel off the skins, and mash them well with a potato masher.
8) In a bowl, add the cod to the potatoes, along with the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and eggs.
9) Beat the mixture firmly with a spoon until it is a smooth and even consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10) Shape the cod mixture into medium sized cylinder shaped pieces.
11) Pour the oil in a deep heavy skillet or pot and place it on high heat.
12) Add the pieces one by one, turning them over until they are golden brown.
13) Once done remove the pieces and place them on a plate with paper towels to dry.
14) Serve while hot with the sliced lemons for extra flavor.


  1. Hanifa

    Would luv 2 try looks yum

  2. David

    I grew up on these. If I find out my mom is making them I will knock people out of my way so i can get home, and you will find me sitting at my mom’s table with a bib on and a fork before she turns around to put the first batch on the table. On a more serious note you can use this recipe to get rid of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers instead of salted the salted cod too. just make sure you fine chop and crush the meat before adding to the mixture.

Leave a Reply