What is Arroz de Bacalhau?

June 21, 2024


Arroz de Bacalhau, also known as Codfish Rice, is a traditional Portuguese dish that combines two staple ingredients in Portuguese cuisine: bacalhau (codfish) and rice. This dish is popular in Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries, and it is a favorite among seafood lovers. In this glossary, we will explore the origins of Arroz de Bacalhau, its ingredients, preparation methods, and variations.

History of Arroz de Bacalhau

Arroz de Bacalhau has a long history in Portuguese cuisine, dating back to the time when Portugal was a major player in the Age of Exploration. Codfish was a popular food source for Portuguese sailors and explorers, as it could be preserved for long periods of time. Over the years, codfish became a staple ingredient in Portuguese cuisine, and Arroz de Bacalhau emerged as a delicious way to prepare this versatile fish.


The key ingredients in Arroz de Bacalhau include bacalhau (codfish), rice, onions, garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers, olive oil, and parsley. Bacalhau is typically salted and dried before being used in this dish, giving it a unique flavor and texture. The combination of these ingredients creates a flavorful and satisfying dish that is perfect for a hearty meal.


To prepare Arroz de Bacalhau, the salted codfish must be soaked in water for at least 24 hours to remove excess salt. Once the codfish is rehydrated, it is flaked into small pieces and cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and bell peppers in a large pot. Rice is then added to the pot, along with water or fish broth, and the mixture is simmered until the rice is cooked through. The dish is finished with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.


There are many variations of Arroz de Bacalhau, depending on regional preferences and personal tastes. Some variations include adding olives, peas, or chorizo to the dish for added flavor and texture. In some regions, Arroz de Bacalhau is served with a side of boiled eggs or a salad. Each variation adds a unique twist to this classic Portuguese dish, making it a versatile and adaptable recipe.

Serving Suggestions

Arroz de Bacalhau is typically served as a main course, accompanied by a side of salad or vegetables. It can also be served with a glass of Portuguese white wine or a refreshing beer. This dish is perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion, as it is both delicious and satisfying. The flavors of the codfish, rice, and vegetables come together beautifully in this dish, creating a memorable dining experience.

Health Benefits

Arroz de Bacalhau is a nutritious dish that is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Codfish is a lean source of protein that is low in fat and calories, making it a healthy choice for a balanced diet. The vegetables in this dish provide essential nutrients and antioxidants, while the olive oil adds heart-healthy fats. When enjoyed in moderation, Arroz de Bacalhau can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your meal plan.


In conclusion, Arroz de Bacalhau is a delicious and traditional Portuguese dish that is loved by seafood enthusiasts around the world. Its rich history, flavorful ingredients, and versatile variations make it a popular choice for family dinners, special occasions, and everyday meals. Whether you are a fan of codfish or simply looking to try something new, Arroz de Bacalhau is a must-try dish that will delight your taste buds and satisfy your hunger. Enjoy this classic Portuguese recipe with friends and family, and savor the flavors of Portugal in every bite.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.