Amber and I have been traveling to Portugal for over a decade. In that time, we’ve eaten our fair share of great Portuguese food including lots of delicious Portuguese snacks. We all define “snacks” differently. For this guide, we are sharing our favorite Portuguese snacks you can enjoy throughout the day. Some are sweet, while others are salty. But they are all delicious.
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Snacks In Portugal
In the decade of traveling the world for food, Portuguese food has been one of our best discoveries. Overshadowed by Spanish food, Portuguese food ranges from simple sandwiches to Michelin Star haute cuisine. Much like their Spanish neighbors, the Portuguese love to eat. And they love to snack.
Having lived in Spain for 3 years, Amber and I were used to snacking during the day. In the mornings as we did our shopping, we’d pop into a cafe for a small sandwich or pastry.
This would be accompanied by a coffee or a small glass of beer or wine, depending on how the day was going. The same is true when we’d visit Portugal.
As we explored Portugal, it became apparent that the Portuguese love to snack. And while the Spanish have tapas and pintxos, the Portuguese have petiscos. Petiscos are simple snack food meant to be eaten in between meals.
Much like tapas, petiscos are found at cafes and bars. They range from a simple plate of olives to cod (bacalhau) or ham croquetas. For us, petiscos are enjoyed best with a small glass of Portuguese wine like Vinho Verde or beer.
Authentic Portuguese Snacks
Building off our many, many trips to Portugal, we’ve put together our list of must try snacks in Portugal. There are certainly plenty more Portuguese snacks to add to this list.
But these are the snacks in Portugal we love to eat. Most of these snacks cost only a couple of Euros. They are easily found thought-out Portugal.
Pastéis de Bacalhau
Cod is King in Portugal. It’s arguably the most popular ingredient in Portuguese cooking. And one of the best ways to enjoy cod is Pastéis de Bacalhau.
Also known to some as “codfish cakes,” these popular Portuguese appetizers can be found in many bars and restaurants all over Portugal.
Pastéis de Bacalhau is a combination of deep-fried potato mixed with cod (Bacalhau). Cook right, Pastéis de Bacalhau can be as light as air, with the most delicious crunch you’ll ever enjoy.
Served in bite-size pieces, Pastéis de Bacalhau is a great snack to eat while exploring Portugal.
If you are in Porto, we highly recommend you try the Pastéis de Bacalhau from A Cozinha do Manel. Recommended to us by a local, these are hands down the best Pastéis de Bacalhau we’ve ever eaten.
Rissóis are stuffed packets of tastiness that we’ve only recently discovered. Similar to a turnover or Italian ravioli, rissóis are the perfect Portuguese snack.
Rissóis are stuffed with a variety of fillings including chicken, prawn, or duck.
If you are vegetarian, fear not, you’ll find vegetarian rissóis stuffed with spinach, mushroom, or cheese. The half-moon-shaped rissóis are breaded and deep-fried.
Rissóis are commonly found in bars and cafes across Portugal. We discovered rissóis in Porto at a restaurant called Oficina dos Rissóis.
Can you guess what they specialize in making? We ordered a half dozen of mixed rissóis. Each rissóis cost between 1.50 and 2.00 Euros. This makes them the perfect Portuguese snack.
Milho Frito is a traditional Portuguese side dish. It’s commonly served alongside rich and heavy main dishes.
However, Milho Frito can also be found as a snacking dish.Milho Frito is a fried bread made by cooking cornmeal in chicken stock and salt.
After cooking in the boiling stock, the Milho Frito stands for two hours to firm up. It’s then sliced into cubes and deep-fried.
After cooking, herbs and seasonings are added for flavor. The result is crunchy and tasty Portuguese snack food.
Deep fried dough covered in cinnamon and sugar? That sounds exactly like my kind of Portuguese snack. While many consider filhós to be more of a dessert, for us their a snack.
Similar in texture to doughnuts, filhós are our favorite late-afternoon snack in Portugal. Originally a Christmas tradition, you can now enjoy filhós all year round.
Bolas de Berlim
If you want to start your day of sightseeing in Portugal off right, find yourself a Bolas de Berlim. One of our all-time favorite things to eat in Portugal, there’s simply nothing like a Bolas de Berlim.
Stuffed with creamy, egg-based custard and sprinkled with sugar, Bolas de Berlim is a light and delicious Portuguese doughnut. You’ll find Bolas de Berlim in bakeries and cafes in Lisbon and across Portugal.
Have it for breakfast in Portugal or have it as a sweet Portuguese snack. Just make sure you have one…or two.
What else can I say about the bifana that we haven’t already said in our How To Find The Best Bifana In Lisbon post? We first learned about the bifana from the late, great Anthony Bourdain and the Lisbon episode of No Reservations.
From this, Amber and I couldn’t wait to get our hands on a bifana and we’ve never looked back. The bifana is a Portuguese pork sandwich. What makes this Portuguese snack unique, is how the bifana is cooked.
The pork is cooked slowly over a low flame with paprika, chili, garlic, bay leaves, and Portuguese white wine.
Served on a fresh roll, it’s typically to add spicy yellow mustard and (or) chili oil. If you eat only one thing in Portugal it has to be a bifana.
The Prego, or Prego no Pão, is a delicious steak sandwich that is near the top of our must-eat Portuguese snacks list.It is most popular in Sintra, which is where it is believed to have originated from.
The Prego is usually served on a soft white roll and is stuffed with fried slices of beefsteak and garlic.It’s a straightforward dish and is recommended to be eaten with a scraping of mustard.
Our all-time favorite place to eat a Prego is at Cervejaria Ramiro in Lisbon. One of the best seafood restaurants in Portugal, it’s tradition to finish your meal with a Prego for dessert.
That’s right, a meaty and delicious beef sandwich for dessert. We were skeptical of this during our first trip to Cervejaria Ramiro but it’s 100% true.
Bolo de Arroz
This traditional Portuguese dessert snack is a staple all over the country.It is a light and airy rice cake that is recognized for its subtle sweetness and zesty lemon flavor.
Bolo de Arroz is similar to a muffin or cupcake. It’s made using wheat and rice flour, milk, butter, and eggs, before sprinkling with sugar and baking.Even better with a great cup of coffee, a Bolo de Arroz is the perfect late morning snack in Portugal.
Tosta Mista is so simple yet so good, they are easily one of our favorite snacks in Portugal. Easily one of Portugal’s most popular sandwiches, tosta mista is commonly called a “toastie” outside of Portugal.
You’ll find tosta mista nearly everywhere in Portugal. Cafes, coffee shops, you name it. Best of all, they are also cheap. A tosta mista only costs €2-3.
Across Portugal, you’ll find different varieties of tosta mista. The main difference with these is the cheese used in the tosta mista. Some versions use mild or creamy cheeses, while others use bitter, strong cheeses.
My personal favorite is the tosta mista made with a softer mild cheese. It melts better and gets nice and gooey.
Tremolos – Lupin Beans
To be fair, these are not my favorite Portuguese snacks. That said, for many, lupin beans are the perfect beer snack and a signature snack in Portugal. They can even pair well with Portuguese cocktails.
Lupin beans are simple and tasty finger food. Across bars and cafes around Portugal, you’ll see people enjoying tremolos with a cold glass of Portuguese beer.
Tremolos are very simple. In terms of preparing tremolos, the cooking method takes some time. They are made by soaking the beans overnight in water. Next, the lupin beans are boiled for around 2-3 hours.
After boiling, they are drained, rinsed, and soaked in hot water repeatedly for about 4-6 hours. This is done over 2 or 3 days.
This process removes the bitter taste from the beans. Once the washing process is complete, they are stored in salt water in jars for another couple of days before serving.
If you are in Porto, you can find these authentic Portuguese appetizers at Baobab – Craft Beer Pub
Pão com Chouriço
This traditional Portuguese snack consists of yeasted dough balls filled with Chouriço (a famous Portuguese sausage similar to Spanish chorizo.)
Pão com Chouriço takes the form of a sausage roll. The dough is prepared before the sausage is enclosed and rolled inside.
They are then baked until golden and crispy.Pão com Chouriço is simple and delicious, especially if you like spicy sausage. They are perfect if you want something to tide you over between meals.
You’ll easily find Pão com Chouriço at many cafes and bakeries across Portugal.
Empadinhas de Galinha
The simple way to describe Empadinhas de Galinha is “chicken pie.” These are a staple in all bakeries around Portugal.
Although they are mainly found with a chicken filling, Empadinhas de Galinha can also be made using tuna or vegetables.
Empadinhas de Galinha is made the same way as a traditional meat pie. You’ll also find Empadinhas de Galinha in various shapes and sizes.
While mainly considered a Portuguese snack, Empadinhas de Galinha can be served as a main meal.
Pastel de Feijão
Pastel de Feijão is a Portuguese bean tart and traditional snack that originated in Torres Vedras. Dating back to the 19th century Pastel de Feijão is a staple in Portuguese snacking cuisine.
Pastel de Feijão is a small pastry filled with cream made using ground almonds and white beans. It’s often topped with powdered sugar.
Rumor has it that the original recipe for Pastel de Feijão remains a secret. However, bakers across Portugal do their best to recreate this tasty sweet treat.
Where To Eat Portuguese Snacks
Now that we know what snacks to eat in Portugal, the next question is where do we find them? This is an easy question to answer; everywhere. Regardless if it is Lisbon or Porto, cities and towns in Portugal are packed with places to eat food.
Cafes, bakeries, and bars are the most common places to eat snacks in Portugal. You’ll easily find a cafe, bakery, or bar on every street corner in Portugal. Inside, you’ll find snacks on display ready for you to order.
If you’re not sure what’s on display don’t be afraid to ask. And don’t be afraid to point. The Portuguese are very friendly and very proud of their amazing snacks.
FAQs – Authentic Portuguese Snacks To Eat In Portugal
What are Portuguese tapas?
If you are traveling in Portugal and want a snack, don’t ask for tapas or pintxos. These are Spanish snacks. Instead, ask for petisco. Petisco is the Portuguese word for snacks. Similar to Spanish tapas, petisco are little bites of food usually enjoyed with a small glass of beer or wine.
What are salty Portuguese snacks?
If you are in Portugal and crave salty snacks, ask where you can eat salgados. Salgados are deep-fried Portuguese snacks. Similar to a Spanish empanada, salgados are pastries stuffed with either a meat or cheese filling. They are then deep-fried and served. You can find salgados in cafes and bakeries around Portugal.