The Best Brazilian Desserts You Need To Try

Pamonhas are among the many delicious sweet treats Brazil has to offer
Pamonhas are among the many delicious sweet treats Brazil has to offer | © Kleber Cordeiro Costa / Alamy Stock Photo
Brazil has so many culinary influences – African, Portuguese, even German and Japanese. Add to that a wealth of produce and you get delicious combinations of foods and exciting and original creations. Here Culture Trip explores some of the best desserts the country has to offer.

The cuisine of Brazil varies from region to region, but delicious food is easy to find anywhere. If you have a sweet tooth, you will be spoilt for choice – from beautiful fruity mousses, candies and cakes to crumbly biscuits and elaborate pastries and bakes.

Bolo de rolo

This is a layered and then rolled cake, similar to a Swiss roll, but with more layers – as many as 20 – that are very thin. The sponge is lined with flavoursome guava paste, giving the darker colour contrast between all the layers. Because there are so many layers, bolo de rolo is incredibly time-consuming and technical to make, so you won’t find people making it at home, but as it’s a national dish in Brazil, you can easily find it in stores and bakeries.

There can be as many as 20 layers in a ‘bolo de rolo’ © Alberto Chagas / Alamy Stock Photo

Quindim

This little flan-like cake is hard to miss, like a pop of sunshine in any patisserie window. It’s the colour of an egg yolk, which is one of the main ingredients, along with sugar and ground coconut. A popular dessert, it’s a regular feature at weddings, birthdays and other festivities. Try this easy recipe from BBC Good Food.

Egg yolks give ‘quindim’ its bright yellow colour | © Andrea Potsch / Alamy Stock Photo

Brigadeiro

You will find these much-loved chocolate truffle treats everywhere in Brazil. They are usually made from condensed milk and cocoa powder, then shaped into balls and rolled in chocolate sprinkles. They are easy to make – and even easier to eat. For non-chocolate lovers, they come in other flavours too, including beijinhos (meaning “kisses”), which are made with coconut instead.

Goiabada

The abundance of guavas in Brazil makes this candy treat popular throughout Brazil. Using the whole guava, a paste is made into soft, bite-sized pieces. It is also commonly paired with cheese to create another Brazilian favourite, Romeu e Julieta.

Goiabada, or guava paste, can also be used as a dessert topping | © Iuliia Timofeeva / Alamy Stock Photo

Açaí na tigela

Açaí are Amazonian berries that we now see labelled in the west as a superfood, because they’re so rich in nutrients. They have always been plentiful and popular in Brazil, especially as a beachside snack on the northeast coast. This original smoothie bowl, açaí na tigela, is a sorbet-like dessert, made from frozen and mashed açaí berries. It’s also sometimes mixed with bananas, milk or granola. Head to The Spruce Eats website for a very quick and easy recipe.

Sagu

Tapioca pearls are the foundation of this popular dessert: sagu, or sago, is eaten in many parts of the world. In Brazil it is cooked in wine, giving the pearls a dark red colour. Although it can be eaten cold, it is mostly served warm, topped with custard. Try the recipe here.

Canjica

Also known as mugunzá, this sweet porridge is usually made from white corn kernels, milk and sugar, or alternatively using coconut milk and cinnamon. It’s a simple yet satisfying winter dessert, similar to arroz doce, a rice pudding that is also very popular in Brazil.

Canjica is similar to rice pudding, but made with corn kernels | © Pulsar Imagens / Alamy Stock Photo

Pamonhas

Similar to tamales, pamonhas are a sweet paste made from corn, wrapped in the husk. They are an indigenous food, have been eaten all over Latin America for centuries and are still popular today, especially on Festa Junina, the June festival that celebrates the birth of John the Baptist. They can be served sweet or savoury and are traditionally served with a cup of coffee.

Mousse de maracuja

Another dessert that celebrates the bountiful produce of Brazil, this one uses passionfruit and is one of the easiest to make. Using only the pulp of the fruit, cream and condensed milk, a fruity mousse can be whipped up in no time. It is bright in colour and flavour, perfect for summer. Try the recipe here.