Pataniscas de Bacalhau


These cod fish fritters will transport you right to a port town in Portugal without leaving your kitchen



In my “How the World Eats Fried Foods” episode, a certain fried fish dish was calling my name! This cod fritters meal called pataniscas de bacalhau is easy to make and severely underrated. If you’re apprehensive about fishy flavors, don’t fret! Pataniscas de bacalhau uses a subtle, flaky codfish paired with excellent light flavors. This dish was simply joyful to make.

This pataniscas de bacalhau recipe comes from Daniela, who hails from Porto, Portugal. Made from cod, flour, onion, egg, garlic, cilantro, bay leaf, and allspice, this codfish dish is just one of many enjoyed by the Portuguese. According to Daniela, codfish is “like a religion for the people there!” Each codfish lover has a favorite shape for these fritters, too. Daniela’s favorite shape was her grandmother’s pancake-style formation. These thick pancakes of fried cod held notable amounts of onion and parsley, and her grandmother also added extra egg batter around them as they fried to add extra crunch.

Pataniscas de bacalhau can be served for lunch, dinner, or as an appetizer. Some people place the fritters between pieces of white bread and enjoy them at picnics. Daniela’s favorite way to eat them is with runny tomato and beans rice; she also adds a drizzle of vinegar on top.

The presentation of this dish is simple, merely pairing the cod fritters with herbs and lemon. My pataniscas de bacalhau were much denser than the Tanzanian fried dish we did recently, as the cod, flour, and egg combine to make quite a thick fritter! It is not spongy and light, so you really get that signature cod taste. Speaking of cod, I used salted codfish; I recommend this because it lasts a long time. Just be careful not to resalt it too much when you use it again!

The ultimate result had a demure fish flavor, with the delicate, flaky fish having soaked in the fried, lemony goodness surrounding it. Although it stinks up your kitchen while you cook it, we must sometimes pay small prices for happiness. So, pay up and enjoy!

Watch the Video

Pataniscas de Bacalhau


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • shredded (cooked) cod to taste
  • 1 cup flour
  • water
  • parsley to taste, chopped
  • oil for frying


  • In a bowl, place the onion, eggs, flour and mix well.
  • Add the cod and enough water until you have consistent but loose dough, then add the parsley and mix.
  • Create small dough balls with a spoon and deep fry until golden brown. Serve with lemon!
Course: Lunch, Snack
Region: Europe
Keyword: Crowd-pleaser


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