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Brazilian Farofa: Easy Toasted Cassava Flour Recipe

Farofa is a toasted cassava flour recipe that is among the most traditional dishes in Brazil. Its smoky taste, together with the crunchy texture, will make you want more!

Farofa Pinterest graphic

Rice, beans, and farofa – these are by far the most popular side dishes in Brazil.

While we serve rice and beans nearly every day for lunch and dinner, farofa has no right time to fill our plates with extra joy – it’s (almost) always the right time for farofa!

Essentially, farofa is toasted cassava flour with bacon, onions, and some other herbs and condiments to add a rich taste.

You might think farofa is bland or tasteless, but dear reader, you couldn’t be more wrong!

Pssst: I recommend you read the whole recipe because I answer essential questions regarding Brazilian farofa and how to make it. 

Brazilian farofa recipe
My easy Brazilian farofa recipe for you!

Brazilian farofa recipe

Cassava is an essential ingredient in many Brazilian recipes. We use it for a bunch of traditional dishes, from main meals to side dishes and desserts.

Beyond that, farofa has cassava flour as the main ingredient and is the most popular way to use it in modern times, at least in my country.

I would be presumptuous to say this is the most authentic farofa recipe out there as there are numerous recipes in each region of Brazil.

Still, this recipe is authentic – for me. I mean, what qualifies the authenticity of a local recipe, anyway?

To be created in the country where it claims to be from? Check. To use local ingredients? Check. To be savored by locals? Check.

Serving farofa, a toasted cassava flour

What is farofa made of?

Put simply, farofa is made of cassava flour, bacon, onions, garlic, parsley, and chives nicely toasted in butter.

This combination of ingredients delivers a punch of rich flavor to any dish.

What does farofa taste like?

Cassava flour is a dry ingredient that calls for fat, in this case, the rendered fat of bacon and butter, soaking up the flavor of the other ingredients.

As a result, farofa has a smoky, buttery, and quite savory taste. It’s delicious and adds a flavorsome touch to any bland dish or stews.

The garlic and herbs give it a nutty, mild aromatic smell.

Overall, farofa has a slightly crunchy texture resembling bread crumbs, but with much more flavor!

Serving farofa

Where do I buy cassava flour?

Good question! It isn’t that easy to find cassava flour. In fact, the grocery store near you won’t probably have it.

If there is a Brazilian or Portuguese store near you, that’s where you should look for it.

How do you eat farofa?

In Brazil, we serve it together with rice and beans and some meat, for example, and mix all ingredients on the plate.

We also serve it in barbecues together with our all-time favorite Brazilian vinaigrette salsa and with feijoada (black bean stew).

It tastes exceptionally delicious when mixing farofa with the flavored broth of feijoada! Yummy!

Also, you can simply sprinkle farofa on top of your meal. It pairs meaty dishes and stews quite well.

Serving farofa, a toasted cassava flour

Is tapioca and cassava the same thing?

Absolutely not!

Although many recipes and packages use these names interchangeably, tapioca and cassava are two different things.

So you might ask, “What’s the difference between cassava flour and tapioca flour?”

The difference between them is that tapioca is a starch extracted from cassava roots. In contrast, cassava is the entire root with all its nutrients and dietary fiber still intact.

In essence, cassava flour is the real whole food.

Is cassava the same as yuca?

Yes, you got that right.

As mentioned above, the cassava flour is made from the cassava root, which is also known as yuca (Pronounced: YOO-kah) or manioc root.

Serving farofa, a toasted cassava flour

What is yoki farofa tradicional?

Yoki farofa traditional, also known as farofa pronta in Brazil (English: ready to eat), is basically seasoned farofa that is ready to serve.

This “instant” farofa is sold in most Brazilian grocery stores.  

Is farofa gluten-free?

Absolutely! Farofa is made of cassava flour, which is naturally gluten-free.

Cassava flour in Brazilian cuisine

Cassava is a staple in Brazilian cuisine and is used in numerous ways from north to south.

In fact, it was used long before the Portuguese colonized the country.

The Indigenous Brazilian would produce their own flour and use it in many meals.

Brazilian farofa recipe

When the Portuguese colonized Brazil, they had no idea what that flour was.

Still, it became an essential ingredient for the Portuguese and slaves in the country during colonial times.

Back to the present times, cassava is still widely used in plenty of dishes, such as pirão and farofa, and as a side dish with picanha and shrimp stew.

Oh, and farofa is also a delicious side dish for roast turkey and honey baked ham, two typical Christmas dishes in Brazil.

Literally, every part of the plant is used, from the leaves to the roots – proof that cassava is a flexible plant.

Tips for a delicious farofa

  • Store your farofa in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • If you can’t find manioc flour in a grocery near you, you can also use farinha de milho (cornmeal) for your farofa. The authentic Brazilian farofa is made with cassava flour, though.
  • If you’re vegan/vegetarian, you can simply leave the bacon out or substitute it with vegan sausage.
Farofa recipe

How to make farofa

Here’s how to make farofa in just a few easy steps!

In a cold skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown. The reason for that is because you need to render the bacon fat before frying it.

Once the fat is rendered, add the butter and cook the bacon until golden brown.

Add the finely chopped onions and sauté them until transparent. The onions need to be finely chopped so that they flavor the farofa rather than competing in texture with it.

Farofa Pinterest graphic

Next, add the garlic and sauté it for a minute.

Add the cassava flour and stir continuously to avoid letting it burn.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and once the farofa is nicely and evenly toasted, remove it from the heat. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes after adding the cassava flour.

Now, add the parsley and chives and mix well the ingredients. Transfer your farofa to a serving plate and serve it at room temperature.

I hope you will love farofa as much as we do! Enjoy your meal! Or as we say in Portuguese, bom apetite!

Serving farofa, a toasted cassava flour

Brazilian Farofa Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Farofa is a toasted cassava flour recipe that is among the most traditional dishes in Brazil. Its smoky taste, together with the crunchy texture, will make you want more!

Ingredients

  • 3 strips smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups (250 grams) cassava flour
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. In a cold skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden brown. The reason for that is because you need to render the bacon fat before frying it.
    2. Once the fat is rendered, add the butter and cook the bacon until golden brown.
    3. Add the finely chopped onions and sauté them until transparent.
    4. Add the garlic and sauté it for a minute.
    5. Add the cassava flour and stir continuously to avoid letting it burn.
    6. Add salt and pepper to taste, and once the farofa is nicely and evenly toasted, remove it from the heat. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes after adding the cassava flour.
    7. Now, add the parsley and chives and mix well the ingredients.
    8. Transfer your farofa to a serving plate and serve it at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 340mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g

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