Brazilian Brigadeiro

Brigadeiro – A Brazilian Treat!

Brigadeiro is a traditional Brazilian treat, similar to fudge. This recipe only requires a couple of simple ingredients and is so easy to make!

Brazilian Brigadeiro
A traditional Brazilian treat similar to fudge and so easy to make!

Making recipes from far away places just makes me happy. Celebrating culture through food is one to appreciate the people who live in places that you visit. And I fell in love with Brigadeiro when I went to Brazil years ago!

What is Brigadeiro?

When a chocolate craving hits, in Brazil they reach for Brigadeiro. This popular sweet treat is a cross between a bonbon and a truffle. Just think of it as a ball of fudge covered in sprinkles. What could be better??

This popular chocolate treat was named after Brazilian hero, Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes. This Brazilian Air Force Brigadier General was famous for stopping to a communist coup attempt in Rio de Janeiro in the 1920s and running for Brazilian president in 1946. He didn’t win the election but he did win the hearts of the people!

Brigadeiro can be found at every birthday party, wedding and potluck in Brazil. It is traditionally rolled in chocolate sprinkles but I have found that there are a million toppings that work well.

What is Brigadeiro made of?

Luckily, you can whip up a batch just about any time since most people have the ingredients on hand. Plus, this Brigadeiro recipe comes together in a snap.

It does take a little babysitting so that it doesn’t burn. But the chocolate pay off is so worth it!

All you need to make Brigadeiro is:

  • A can of sweetened condensed milk
  • Cocoa powder
  • Butter.
  • Toppings (usually chocolate sprinkles but I also use coconut, nuts or other sprinkles.)
  • A pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla round out the flavors but are not absolutely necessary

You’ll see in the photos that I have opted to coat some of my Brigadeiro in coconut flakes and some in the traditional chocolate sprinkles. I have also used chopped pistachios or multi-colored sprinkles in the past and loved the variation.

Making Brigadeiro on the Great American Baking Show

When I first got the challenge for our first Showstopper on the Great American Baking Show, Episode 1, I knew that I had to include Brigadeiro somehow.

It has been a long time favorite in my house. And it’s a favorite for me since it is soooo easy to make!

But the reason that I thought I should include it in the Chocolate Gateau challenge was that I figured that NO ONE would have heard of it and that no one else would make it.

I was right in thinking that the judges had never heard of it. But….

Boy, was I surprised!

On our first day in London, I was exhausted after numerous canceled flights, a trans-Atlantic journey, customs, baggage claim and finding the guy that was picking me up at the airport. I wanted to get to the hotel and take a shower & a nap!

Upon arriving at the hotel – FINALLY! – I walked into the lobby, looking less than human, and met the first couple of bakers that would be competing on the show with me. We all sat in the lobby for a couple of hours, with bakers straggling in one by one until the whole group was there.

Eventually, the conversation turned to what we were making for Cake Week. Since we had all submitted our recipes weeks before, there was no way to make major changes so we figured there was no harm in sharing our baking plans with each other.

Well, Sally was sitting right next to me. I was so excited to meet her and find out that she was from Brazil. I figured that we could talk about the trip I took years ago when I spent a whole summer in Forteleza, Brazil.

Before I even mentioned the trip, Sally mentioned that she was making Brigadeiro as an element for her first showstopper!!

Dang! A native Brazilian making a Brazilian treat! I didn’t stand a chance.

We had some fun during the challenge and the producers even filmed a bunch of banter between Sally and me, both making Brigadeiro at the same time.

She even said that mine was perfect and that I had achieved Native Brazilian status. (She was probably just being nice!)

A traditional Brazilian treat similar to fudge and so easy to make!

It’s all on the cutting room floor!

Unfortunately, none of the footage of Sally and I making this sweet treat ended up in the show. They didn’t even mention that I was making it, probably to increase the awareness of Sally’s Brazilian-ness. That’s a word, trust me.

There are so many bakers and so much footage, they have to sacrifice something so all of the playful banter was cut.

But Sally and I will always remember. We came up with our own hashtag – #brigadeirobabes4ever . Trust me when I say that we will be friends for life!!

How to make Brigadeiro

When I say this is easy to make, I’m not kidding. There is no thermometer needed. Just stir until the mixture moves as one in the pan. That is how you will know it is ready.

I love recipes like this.

And my family curses me every time that I make them because they can’t stop eating them.

To make Traditional Brigadeiro, start off by adding all of your ingredients to a heavy bottomed saucepan (except for your toppings).

Stir all of the ingredients well to incorporate them.

Continue stirring and cooking over low/medium heat until the mixture holds together and moves as one when you tilt the pan.

Most candy recipes will tell you a temperature to look for but with Brigadeiro, it’s all about the mixture moving as one and leaving a film on the bottom of the pan. That’s when you know it’s ready.

Make sure to stir THE ENTIRE TIME to prevent burning.

Trust me, it’s worth it!

As soon as it is ready, spread the mixture on a baking sheet in a thin layer and chill in the refrigerator.

Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, gather enough for a small ball and roll. Your hands will get sticky and messy. Again, it’s worth it!

To finish up, roll each ball in your chosen topping and you’re done!

Store Brigadeiro in the refrigerator but take out a few minutes before serving to take the chill off.

So, what are you waiting for? You probably have the ingredients in your pantry right now! Whip up a batch of this classic Brazilian candy to see what all the fuss is about!

Here is a step by step video on how to make Brigadeiro!

Another Chocolate Treat

If you are looking for another treat to cure a chocolate craving, check out my Flourless Chocolate Cookies.

Brigadeiro – A Brazilian Treat!

Recipe by Tanya OttCourse: DessertCuisine: BrazilianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



A traditional recipe for Brazilian Brigadeiro that is sure to please any chocolate lover!


  • 400 grams sweetened condensed milk (One 14 ounce can)

  • 35 grams dutch-processed cocoa powder

  • 28 grams unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

  • Dash of kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup shredded coconut, finely chopped nuts or chocolate sprinkles (the traditional coating)


  • Grease 8×8 pan and line with cling wrap or parchment paper to make it easier to remove the brigadeiro later.
  • In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except vanilla. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly to melt the butter and incorporate the cocoa powder.
  • When the mixture begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Candy should be like thick brownie batter and slide in a soft mass in one lump when pan is tilted.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate for one hour.
  • Using a teaspoon or a small cookie scoop, scrap out a teaspoon-sized ball of the mixture and roll into a ball in your hands. Roll the ball in your choice of toppings. Repeat to use up all of the mixture. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

Recipe Video

Food and Wine has a huge collection of Latin American Recipes. Check them out HERE!


  1. I love love love that you put measurements in weight! I always struggle with amounts in volume (did you need to sift this before measuring?? I can’t remember!) But most American recipes seem to use volume instead of weight! But now that I found recipes by weight, I’m never going back!!!
    Why do recipes that are heated have you add the vanilla in after removing from the heat? Does it change the flavor?

    • I’m so glad that you use weights instead of volume!! It is so much more accurate. There is a little learning curve at first but so worth it! The reason for adding vanilla at the end is because the flavor will basically cook out if added earlier. Vanilla extract had an alcohol base so it cooks out with the heat. Pure vanilla won’t but its sooo expensive!

  2. Sally is a doll, isn’t she? One of the best bakers and human on earth!

  3. Yum!!!! This does sound so easy. Thanks!

  4. I have no words… just a very warm feeling inside…

    you are A NATURAL at brigadeiros… they look perfect, and having tasted them in the tent, I know they taste perfect too!

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