Portuguese Language Blog

10 spices you will find in every Brazilian household Posted by on Oct 12, 2020 in Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Culture, Customs, Vocabulary

[10 Temperos que você vai encontrar em uma cozinha brasileira] Olá, pessoal! Hello, everyone! Como vocês têm passado? How is it going for you? Much of the gastronomic culture and uniqueness of a place is generally the outcome of the variety of temperos (spices) and also the way they are used during the preparation. For example, o feijão (beans) prepared in Mexico or o arroz (rice) from India taste drastically different from the Brazilian ones, which is largely due to how we season it. To better understand o sabor (the taste) of our comida (food), we have made a list with 10 essential spices that you will find in all Brazilian lares (households). Ready to open the spice cabinet?


From the staple rice and beans, to various molhos (sauces), soups, creams and caldos (broths), garlic is an ingredient that has multiple purposes in gastronomy in general and yet is a basic and indispensable ingredient anywhere in Brazil. No prato salgado (savory dish) escapes at least a touch of this tasty and aromatic product!


Much like garlic, onions are a pervasive element in Brazilian cuisine, and together they lay the foundation that adds a sharp flavor to any sauté. Just try any dish in Brazil to feel how this powerful duo is ever-present (and always in large quantities!).


The many varieties throughout the national territory mean that the chillies used in our kitchens also differ. The most common, however, are the pimenta do reino (black pepper) and the malagueta (red and spice one). It is worth noting that, although Brazilian cuisine is not typically known for being apimentada (spicy), you can find a pepper sauce container (homemade or industrialized) sitting at the counter or table of nearly every restaurant or snack bar you go so you can add it to your taste.


Among the countless fresh herbs used in our cuisine, three stand out: salsinha, cebolinha e coentro (parsley, chives and cilantro). The first two make up what Brazilians like to call cheiro-verde (literally translated as green-scent), a very widespread and versatile seasoning that is added to salads, stews, meat, farofas and many other dishes. Cilantro, in turn, is far more common in Northeastern cuisine and used less frequently in other regions of the country.


It is important not to mistake this spice with the regular saffron from the flower, which has a high market value and we rarely get to use it! This one is actually a bulb of the ginger family, with a bright cor amarela (yellow color) and um sabor suave (a mild flavor). It is usually sold em pó (in powder form), and can be used to season frango (chicken), peixe (fish), massas (pasta), doces (sweets), broths and even for natural coloring of laticínios (dairy products), drinks and sauces, such as mustard and mayonnaise.

And that’s it for part one! Tune in next time to learn more about Brazilian spices and get your belly rumbling with us! Tenham uma ótima semana. Have a great week.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Keep learning Brazilian Portuguese with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. John Napper:

    Açafrão de Terra is Turmeric, not Saffron.

    • carol:

      @John Napper Hey there, John!
      Yes, you’re right. It’s just that in Portuguese we tend to say “açafrão” for both saffron and turmeric! Thanks for pointing that out and for reading our blog.

  2. Ed:

    I’m afraid you’ve mistaken turmeric for saffron.

    • carol:

      @Ed Hey there, Ed!
      Yes, you’re right. It’s just that in Portuguese we tend to say “açafrão” for both saffron and turmeric! Thanks for pointing that out and for reading our blog.