The Pretend Chef

Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

Crispy and elegant Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters is a popular street snack in Brazil and also an appetiser at parties. It is a fritter shaped like a chicken drumstick, the name coxinha means little chicken thigh. There are 3 layers to the coxinha, an outer crispy exterior, a middle layer of soft dough and a moist seasoned chicken filling. 

Crispy and elegant Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters sliced open

One day at a thanksgiving party somewhere in Nigeria, I ate an adapted version of coxinha as part of the small chops (hors d’oeuvre). The dough was a cross between puff-puff and buns, the filling, a tiny bit of ground meat. It actually tasted good and people were asking for more, but if you have eaten the real thing, authentic Brazilian coxinha, you can’t settle for good, you will long for awesome.

Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters is cheap to make, with a small quantity of ingredient you will make tray loads of the snacks. Moulding it is time-consuming though. For me, it is an excellent way to bond with family or friends, sit around the table moulding coxinha or a repetitive therapeutic session to enjoy your own company in peace and solitude. The reward? ….coxinhas.

Crispy and elegant Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters


There can never be an excess of coxinhas because it stores well. It can be made in large sizes for a meal, or tiny cocktail or party sizes, I like the cute little ones. You can use chicken breasts which are meatier, chicken thigh more flavoursome or a combination of the two.

Other possible filling ingredients include tomato sauce, cheese, peas, mushrooms etc.

In place of Brazilian catupiry cheese, you can use either mayonnaise or cream cheese, to bind the filling together and give it a creamy mouth feel. I always use mayo because it is readily available. 

The bread crumbs can be either be very fine or coarse.

The dipping sauce includes any hot pepper dipping sauce eg tabasco, sriracha or spicy ketchup. 

Crispy and elegant Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

To make coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups finely minced or shredded cooked chicken (320g chicken on bone)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced onions
1 garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry chili
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 cup chicken stock* (1 chicken seasoning cube or powder)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon tumeric 
1 cup + 1 tablespoon flour 

1 egg white, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs

*In case there is no chicken stock, use plain water.

Place chicken breasts in a pot over medium-high heat, cover with water, season with salt and seasoning cube or 1 teaspoons seasoning powder.

Cook until chicken is fully cooked. 

Strain the chicken stock and put 1 cup back into the pot. Set aside.



Put vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat, when the oil is hot add onion, fry until translucent, add garlic and stir until fragrant, take off the heat and set aside.

onions frying for Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

Remove the skin and bones of the chicken and chop the chicken meat very finely. 

minced chicken for Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

Add the onions and garlic, turmeric, chopped parsley, chopped spring onions, black pepper, chili pepper, salt and mayonnaise.

If you are using a food processor, remove skin and bones from chicken, dump into the food processor, add all the other filling ingredients and mince. Set aside.

Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters filling in food processor

Stir very well to combine.

Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters filling


Into the 1 cup of chicken broth in the pot, add vegetable oil, salt and turmeric, stir and bring to a boil.

chicken stock for Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

Once mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and dump the whole flour into it, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. 

Put the pot back on the heat and keep stirring and turning until dough is uniform but not very smooth, about 5 minutes. 

dough for Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters in a pot

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few minutes, until very soft and smooth. 

dough for Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters on table

Or put the dough into an electric mixer on low speed. Using the dough hook mix till soft and smooth. 

dough for Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters in food processor

Take it out, knead a little, shape into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Leave to rest for about 5-8 minutes.

dough for Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters wrapped



Meanwhile, place your breadcrumbs into a bowl, put egg white into another bowl and cover a tray with parchment paper. Set aside.

Grease your hands with a little oil, pinch out some dough about the size of an egg (depending on the size you want). 

Spread it open on the palm of your hand making it thin about 1/4-1/8 inch thick. 

Place 1 tablespoon of chicken filling on the centre.

dough for Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters rolled and filled

Press filling lightly down and gently pinch and close. Roll between your palms until it is smooth. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth because the bread crumbs will cover any imperfections. 

There should be no crack, if there is, use a little dough and cover it, then roll in your oiled hand to smoothen. 

Place on your tray. 

moulded Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

When you are through forming the coxinhas, dip each into the beaten egg then into the breadcrumb, making sure it is well coated and well covered in bread crumbs, set aside on the tray. 

moulded and coated Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

When you have finished coating the coxinhas, fry them in batches without overcrowding the oil until golden brown.

Drain onto a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve with ketchup or hot sauce on the side.



  • Coxinha filling should not be moist because moisture upon heating turns into vapour which will cause the coxinha to break open in the oil.
  • Be patient when moulding your coxinha, if you start tiring, you can roll them into balls and get it done with.
  • The filling should not touch the edges of the dough disc.
  • Make sure the dough seals well. If there is a crack, rub to seal it or else it will crack open in the oil when frying.
  • There should not be too much filling in each coxinha or else it will crack open in the oil.
  • The oil should not be too cold. To test if the temperature of the oil is right, throw in a small ball of dough into the hot oil it should start sizzling immediately and rise to the top.
  • It doesn’t take long to fry remember, everything is already cooked.
  • Normally, when you slice coxinha open there is a layer of soft dough inside, it is part of the layers of texture that make up Coxinha Brazilian chicken fritters.
  • Potato and milk are sometimes added to the dough.
  • Freeze moulded raw coxinha for up to 3 months. When you want to eat, roll each in egg white and bread crumbs and fry from frozen.
  • Store already fried and cooled coxinha in the freezer, in a freezer bag. When ready to eat, place on a baking tray frozen and place in an oven at 180 deg. C for 8-10 minutes.


You will also enjoy my hush puppies, Nigerian egg rollNigerian Puff puff, Ojojo (water yam fritters) and Nigerian fish roll. Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

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Crispy and elegant Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

Crispy and elegant Coxinha, Brazilian chicken fritters

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