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Bolinhos de Bacalhau (Fried Salt Cod Cakes)

Raven Higheagle


Bolinhos de Bacalhau are a popular savory appetizer and snack food in Brazil. They are simple to prepare at home for your party of 2 or 200. Made from inexpensive and accessible ingredients, like salt cod, potatoes and onions, you don't need to go further than your local store to get everything you need.
This recipe calls for salt cod but I use fresh to save on days of soaking the salt cod.


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Serves 12 to 16
30 Min
20 Min
Deep Fry


  • 2 lb
    salt cod or fresh cod
  • 4 Tbsp
    extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small
    white onions, finely chopped
  • 6 large
    egg yolks
  • 4 lb
    yellow potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • ·
    kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ·
    finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ·
    vegetable oil, for frying

How to Make Bolinhos de Bacalhau (Fried Salt Cod Cakes)


  1. Cover the salt cod with cool water. Soak for 36 hours, changing the water every 8 hours.

    Note: If using fresh cod skip this step.
  2. Drain cod and pat dry. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

    Note: For fresh cod wash and pat dry.
  3. Add cod and cook until warmed through and softened. Cool and then shred. Set aside.
  4. Heat remaining olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender. Remove from the heat and cool.
  5. Put egg yolks in a bowl and lightly beat. Add cooled onions, shredded cod, potatoes, salt, pepper and parsley. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Mold into bite-sized portions in your preferred shape – typically served as a round orb or football-like with pinched edges on either side.
  7. Heat a pot of vegetable oil to 350F. Fry bolinhos until browned and crispy.
  8. Note:
    Do not stir bolinhos while frying until slightly browned or they can fall apart.

Printable Recipe Card

About Bolinhos de Bacalhau (Fried Salt Cod Cakes)

Course/Dish: Seafood Appetizers
Main Ingredient: Fish
Regional Style: Latin American

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