What is Rabanada?

June 21, 2024

What is Rabanada?

Rabanada is a traditional Brazilian dessert that is typically served during the Christmas season. It is a type of French toast made with bread that is soaked in a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, and spices, then fried until golden brown. The dish is often topped with cinnamon sugar and served with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk or syrup. Rabanada is a popular treat in Brazil and is enjoyed by people of all ages.

History of Rabanada

Rabanada has its origins in Portugal, where it is known as “rabanada de Natal.” The dish was brought to Brazil by Portuguese immigrants and has since become a beloved Christmas tradition in the country. Rabanada is often served as part of a Christmas feast, alongside other traditional Brazilian dishes such as roast turkey, farofa, and panettone. The dish has evolved over the years, with different regions of Brazil adding their own unique twists to the recipe.

Ingredients for Rabanada

The key ingredients for making rabanada include bread, milk, eggs, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The type of bread used can vary, with some recipes calling for French bread or baguette, while others use white sandwich bread or even panettone. The milk and egg mixture is typically flavored with vanilla extract and sugar, giving the dish a sweet and aromatic flavor. Some variations of rabanada also include ingredients such as orange zest, rum, or coconut milk.

How to Make Rabanada

To make rabanada, start by cutting the bread into thick slices and soaking them in a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, and spices. Allow the bread to soak for a few minutes, then fry it in hot oil until golden brown on both sides. Drain the rabanada on paper towels to remove excess oil, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while still warm. Serve the rabanada with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk or syrup for a decadent and delicious dessert.

Variations of Rabanada

There are many variations of rabanada that can be found throughout Brazil. Some recipes call for the addition of ingredients such as chocolate, coconut, or nuts, while others use different types of bread or sweeteners. In some regions, rabanada is served with a side of fruit compote or ice cream, adding a refreshing and fruity element to the dish. Some modern interpretations of rabanada even incorporate savory ingredients such as cheese or ham, creating a unique and unexpected flavor profile.

Health Benefits of Rabanada

While rabanada is a delicious and indulgent dessert, it is not typically considered a healthy option due to its high sugar and fat content. However, there are ways to make rabanada slightly healthier, such as using whole grain bread, reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe, or baking the dish instead of frying it. Additionally, rabanada can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, allowing for the occasional treat without compromising overall health and wellness.

Where to Find Rabanada

Rabanada can be found in many Brazilian bakeries, cafes, and restaurants, especially during the Christmas season. Some establishments may offer rabanada year-round as a popular dessert option, while others may only serve it during the holidays. In addition to traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, rabanada can also be made at home using simple ingredients and basic cooking techniques. Many online recipes and tutorials are available for those who wish to try their hand at making rabanada from scratch.


In conclusion, rabanada is a delicious and festive dessert that is enjoyed by many people in Brazil during the Christmas season. With its rich history, diverse variations, and indulgent flavors, rabanada is a beloved treat that brings joy and warmth to holiday celebrations. Whether enjoyed at a traditional Christmas feast or as a special homemade treat, rabanada is sure to delight the taste buds and create lasting memories for years to come.

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.