Brazilian Fried Chicken Recipe (Frango a Passarinho): Crazy Good Fried Chicken From Brazil by Donna John

Brazilian Fried Chicken Recipe (Frango a Passarinho): Crazy Good Fried Chicken From Brazil

Who knew there was a Brazilian fried chicken recipe out there? Not me, but I am sure glad I discovered it. Brazilian fried chicken, or Frango a Passarinho, is marinated chicken pieces that are breaded and fried in a garlic-infused oil. Frango a Passarinho translates to "little birdie chicken," and that's exactly what this recipe is! The chicken is cut into large chunks, bone and all. It's like lime-infused crispy chicken nuggets with the bone still intact. This fried chicken is a popular street food in Brazil and found in bars served with salad greens or french fries.

Some people now use whole chicken pieces instead of chopping the chicken into chunks. Either way, this is a delicious chicken dinner or appetizer that's not hard at all to make. To make the crispy chicken you'll need one whole chicken (or your favorite chicken pieces), limes, garlic, an onion, buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, salt, peanut oil or canola oil and fresh chopped parsley for serving.

If you are cutting the pieces into bone-in chunks, put the chicken onto a cutting board and use a heavy knife to cut through the bone and create the chicken pieces. Think about the size of a large chicken nugget. The chicken is marinated in lime juice, crushed garlic, onion and buttermilk. After being lightly dredged in flour and cornstarch, it's deep fried in a large skillet until golden brown and cooked through in a garlic-infused oil. The chicken is juicy, crispy and hard to resist.

This would be an incredible way to cook chicken wings. Serve this crispy deep-fried Brazilian chicken for dinner with your favorite side dishes or as an appetizer.

Cuisine: Brazilian
Prep Time: 20 minutes plus time to marinate
Cook Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 to 50 minutes plus time to marinate
Servings: 4 


  • 1 whole chicken, cut into large chunks (bone and all)
  • 2 limes (1 for marinade and 1 for garnish), divided
  • 5 garlic cloves (3 crushed and 2 sliced or chopped) 
  • 1 small onion, sliced 
  • 2 - 3 cups buttermilk (enough to cover)
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 quart peanut oil or canola oil
  • chopped parsley, for garnish

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Put the chicken into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the chicken. Add the crushed garlic and onion. Toss to coat. Cover the chicken with buttermilk, cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes minimum and up to overnight. 
  2. When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the buttermilk and pat dry with paper towels. Combine the flour, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and lightly dust with the flour. Remove to a plate. 
  3. To a large deep pan, heat 2 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Add the garlic and cook until they just turn golden brown (do not burn the garlic!). Remove to a paper towel. 
  4. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat to 350 degrees F.  Fry the chicken in batches until cooked through and golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes per batch. Remove to the paper towel. 
  5. Serve the chicken with the fried garlic and fresh lime wedges. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper, if desired. 

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Deep Skillets
Deep Skillets $10 & Up
Peanut Oil
Peanut Oil $5 & Up
Flour $2 & Up
Cornstarch $2 & Up

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Donna John
This had me at "fried chicken."
All that garlic and buttermilk. How can you go wrong, nice chicken recipe.

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