Brazilian Style Beans

Brazilian BeansFeijão, or in english, beans, are an important part of the Brazilian diet. Paired together with rice, beans are eaten at lunch and dinner throughout the whole of Brazil. Walk into any house, at anytime, and there will either be a new batch of beans cooking on the stove or leftover beans waiting to be reheated in the fridge. Beans are so important to the Brazilian diet that there is even a popular expression for when you bring unexpected guests for lunch or dinner: ‘Bota água no feijão!’ This expression literally means: ‘Time to water down the beans’ meaning that the beans need to be watered down so that they will stretch a little bit further.

Brazilians eat beans for lunch and dinner. Lunch in Brazil is the big meal of the day and most people have a light dinner or eat leftovers from lunch. Beans are eaten together with rice, vegetables, and protein. My favorite simple Brazilian meal is: rice, beans, collards, and beef.

There are many different types of beans in Brazil. The most popular type of bean is called feijão cariocinha, a bean that is similar to the pinto bean. Most parts of the country use feijão carioquinha in their everyday cooking. In Rio de Janeiro though, the everyday bean is the black bean; the rest of the country only uses the black bean for Brazil’s national dish called feijoada, a bean stew with beef and pork (recipe will come soon). The other types of beans that are used and can be found in Brazil are “jalo”, “fradinho”, “rosinha”, “bolinha”, “branco”, “verde”, “azuki” and “roxinho” (I love all these names and just had to share them!).

Although beans are so popular in Brazil, I was not immediately sold on the idea of eating beans when I first traveled to Brazil in 2005. Not having been raised on a bean diet I did not like eating them at all. Something in the flavor and consistency of beans didn’t appeal to me. On my first trip to Brazil I didn’t go close to beans: I didn’t buy beans, I didn’t cook beans, and I didn’t eat beans (I think that my aversion to beans must have caused my husband some withdrawal symptoms as he absolutely loves beans!). Sitting at the table with friends I was always the odd person with my beanless (yes, I just made that a word) plate. And, I was often met with strange looks when I told people that I did not eat beans.

But, luckily for my husband, I now eat beans and really enjoy them. Full of wonderful flavors, a good side of beans can add extra taste and nutrition to a meal. Also, having beans and rice ready in the fridge (I always make batches that will last for several days) makes cooking lunch or dinner much easier as half of the meal is already cooked.

Beans in Brazil are commonly cooked using a pressure cooker and are only seasoned after they are cooked. Beans take a long time to cook and using a pressure cooker cuts a lengthy process down to about 45 minutes. Brazilians use pressure cookers for a lot of their cooking and every house has one. Although a little scary to use at first I have come to love my pressure cooker and wouldn’t know what to do without it. If you don’t have one GO GET ONE you will be grateful you did!!!!!

To make the perfect rice to go with your beans take a look at my Brazilian Rice Recipe!

Brazilian Beans RecipeBrazilian Beans

2 cups dried beans
12 cups water
Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 – 5 slices of bacon, finely chopped
handful of chopped parsley
handful of chopped scallions or spring onions
salt to taste

Place beans and water in a pressure cooker. Cook over medium heat, when pressure has built up leave for 40 minutes. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, put the beans in a large bowl, cover with water (at least 1 inch above the level of the beans) and leave them overnight to soak. Boil in a pan of water with the lid on until cooked through.) Remove beans from stove, release all pressure from the pressure cooker and let sit with the lid off. Meanwhile, drizzle olive oil in a deep pan so that it covers the bottom. Place over low heat and add onions when oil is warm. Sauté onions for 3-4 minutes. Add the bacon and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. At this point you can add the beans together with all of the liquid. Increase the heat to medium and stir well. While stirring crush beans on the bottom and side of the pan with your spoon, this helps to make a thicker bean sauce. Add the parsley, spring onions, and salt. Boil for an additional 15-20 minutes. Serve together with rice (for recipe click here).

For PDF of this Recipe CLICK HERE!

Other  BRAZILIAN BEAN articles:
The “rice-and-beans” of Brazilian food
Feijão – Brazilian Black Beans


20 thoughts on “Brazilian Style Beans

  1. Best of luck for you in your new life in my home country! I left Brazil 20 years ago, but travel back every year (or almost every year) to see my family and friends.

    Nice to “meet” you through the blogosphere, came here thanks to the link to my blog on your post… I will be following your adventures!



    • Thank you. I am slowly adjusting to the Brazilian life and am enjoying my adventure through Brazilian cuisine. I’m excited to learn all of the delicious foods Brazil has to offer. I hope I do it justice through my blog!


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  6. Hi! I traveled in Brazil a few years ago and was thrilled to find your blog last month! I’ve been missing some of the wonderful tastes of my trip, and I’ve been wanting to show my husband the lovely foods. I’m wondering, though, do you have a recipe for beans that’s fairly dry and tossed in manioc flour? I don’t remember what it’s called :/


    • It’s called tutu. Make beans the usual way and just add manioc flour at the end until it becomes a thick consistency! Pretty easy!


  7. My father in law lives with us in the UK and makes this nearly daily. I’m not a fan. just like you its not what I grew up with and the whole daily ‘beans and rice’ I just cant get used to it. I’m half italian and a variety of food is very important to me.
    Anyway, back to my father in law. He’s in hospital at the moment and I thought as a surprise I’ll make feijao. I’ve seen and smelled it many times before and I enjoy cooking, but I’ve never made it.
    I pretty much did what you said, only i first browned bacon/onions/garlic and added the beans and its liquid to that. its on the fire now and i’ll let it cook for a few hours. i hope it will turn out ok.
    Next challenge – the brasilian rice. I will check your other blog tomorrow 🙂

    Thank you. I’ll be following your blog closely. I might learn more about my husbands culture, even though living far away from Brasil.


  8. Question: Is the bacon already cooked before you add it to the pan? My husband is going to be so excited! He has been pining for Brazilian rice and beans and now that I own a pressure cooker and feel comfortable with it I have plans to make this. (I also used to hate beans but something changed and now I enjoy them.) Thank you!


  9. Hello! Congratulations on your blog. I have recently moved to the US and having someone of the recipes translated is very, very useful. There are some words that just don’t translate right on Google Translate. Thank you for that.
    I decided to comment because I found the part of “agua no feijao” funny. In my household we always said “Bota mais agua no feijao”, but not in a soaking way, mainly in a “add more water to the pan so we can have more caldo and everyone can eat”, you know? hahaha!
    Just as a curiosity: I read in a comment that you said it isn’t good to soak it for a lot of time so it won’t lose its flavor, but we do it differently. When you dont let the beans soak, throw the water away and soak it again for several hours, two results are expected: The beans won’t be as soft (creating more caldo, consequently) and you’ll end up eating some sort of substance that beans release and make you gassy >< Just thought I'd share that 😀


    • Hello Marcella,
      I prefer not to soak my beans as I find that a lot of the flavor is lost. But, I heard a lot of people say that if you soak them and dispose of the water you get rid of some substance that makes you gassy. I think this comes down to preference. Again, I like my beans very mushy, others like more caldo!


  10. I just returned from Brasil after spending 5 weeks traveling around down there. I’m a bit depressed that I don’t have rice and beans at my disposal. (I can’t go down to the corner and buy a marmita for 12 reais.)
    So… I’m here to find a recipe that will tide me over until I can return to the country I love so much. 🙂


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