Coxinha (Brazilian Chicken Croquettes)

Golden brown drumstick-shaped Brazilian chicken croquettes on a serving platter

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 70 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chill Time: 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 24 pieces
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
472 Calories
23g Fat
52g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 472
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 703mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 91mg 7%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 225mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Coxinha is a popular street food snack in Brazil and is fun and economical to make. Think of it as savory dough shaped into a drumstick with a creamy chicken salad filling. It's then battered and fried to golden, crispy perfection.

They're easy to eat on the go, they're a meal unto themselves, they have a unique appearance (simulated drumstick or teardrop), and most importantly, they are deep-fried and delicious!​


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"The instructions for the coxinhas were very good, and the recipe worked well. I recommend tasting the chicken filling for seasoning. The steps are not difficult, but it does take some time. I made the filling and dough one day and shaped and fried it the next day." —Diana Rattray

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 halves)

  • 4 to 5 cups chicken broth

  • 1 carrot, halved

  • 2 medium onions

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 to 3 cups fine breadcrumbs

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Brazilian chicken croquettes recipe gathered

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  2. Place the chicken breasts in a large shallow pot. Cover them with the chicken broth, adding water if necessary to cover by at least 1/2 inch of liquid.

    Boneless skinless chicken breasts covered with chicken broth in a shallow pot

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  3. Add the carrot and one of the onions (peeled and halved) as well as the bay leaves. Bring liquid to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through (barely pink in the middle of the thickest part). If some of the breasts cook more quickly, you can remove them earlier.

    Carrots, onions, and bay leaves added to chicken breasts in broth

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  4. Set chicken aside to cool, and strain and reserve the broth.

    Cooked chicken breasts on a plate, vegetables in a colander, and strained broth in a bowl

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  5. Shred the chicken into very small pieces using a food processor fitted with the plastic blade or with forks.

    Finely shredded cooked chicken breasts in a large bowl next to a small bowl of cream cheese

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  6. Stir the softened cream cheese and lime juice into the shredded chicken.

    Lime being juiced with a wooden reamer onto chicken breast and cream cheese mixture

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  7. Finely chop the second onion and the garlic. Sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter until golden and soft.

    Onion and garlic frying golden in butter in a skillet

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  8. Add the hot onion and garlic to the chicken mixture and stir until everything is mixed well. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    Shredded chicken tossed with onion and garlic in a large bowl

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  9. Measure the chicken broth (you will probably have about 3 1/2 cups). If you have less than three cups, add more chicken broth to make 3 cups. Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan, and gradually stir in the same amount of flour as you have broth (so if you have 3 1/2 cups broth, add 3 1/2 cups flour).

    Chicken broth and flour being stirred with a wooden spoon in a saucepan

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  10. Stir vigorously and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture will become a stiff dough. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

    Stiff flour and chicken broth dough holding together in a saucepan

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  11. At this point, you can chill the chicken mixture and the dough for several hours or overnight.

    Dough being shaped into a large ball on a wooden board

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  12. Using floured hands, shape the coxinhas by rolling them into the size of golf balls, then hollow out the middle for the filling.

  13. Press a golfball-sized (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) piece of the chicken filling inside the ball of dough, and press the dough closed around the filling.

    Chicken filling placed in the center of a small circle of dough

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  14. Pull up the sides of the dough to approximate a drumstick shape, flouring hands as necessary.

    Dough being pulled up the sides and joined to form a pointy top

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  15. Stand the coxinhas on a baking sheet with the pointed end sticking up. Continue until you run out of dough or filling.

    Chicken croquettes arranged pointy ends up on a baking sheet

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  16. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow pan and season with salt and pepper.

    Beaten eggs in one bowl, breadcrumbs in another bowl

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  17. Dip the coxinhas in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs to coat. Chill the breaded coxinhas for an hour.

    Chicken croquettes coated with breadcrumbs on a baking sheet

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  18. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot with enough oil to cover the coxinhas. Heat the oil to 360 F. Fry them in batches until deep golden brown.

    Golden brown chicken croquettes being fried in bubbling oil

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  19. Serve warm and enjoy!

    Golden brown chicken croquettes on a serving plate, one croquette cut open to show filling

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How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate cooked coxinhas in an airtight container. Reheat leftovers in a 350 F oven for about 6 to 9 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F..
  • To freeze, transfer cooled, cooked coxinhas to a zip-close freezer bag. Reheat from frozen in a 350 F oven for about 9 to 12 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
  • To freeze uncooked, unbreaded coxinhas, arrange them on a baking sheet and freeze. Ttransfer the frozen coxinhas to zip-close bags and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to fry, coat the frozen coxinhas with the egg and breadcrumbs and fry as directed until golden brown, adding an extra minute or two.


  • This dish is best if you start them the day before you fry them.
  • After the dough has cooled but is still warm, knead it with your hands for about 8 to 10 minutes, until it is smooth.
  • Before breading with the eggs and breadcrumbs, inspect the coxinhas for cracks, which can cause the coxinha to split while frying. Rub any cracks or openings with your finger to seal.
  • To season the breadcrumbs, add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper for each cup of breadcrumbs.
  • The oil should be deep enough to cover the coxinhas.
  • When frying, keep batches small—no more than 4 to 5 coxinhas at a time. Each batch will take roughly 2 minutes to fry.
  • If you're lucky enough to find catupiry, a Brazilian cream cheese, use it in place of the cream cheese.

Recipe Variations

  • Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of parsley to the filling for extra flavor and color.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of paprika to the filling mixture for color.
  • Add some heat with a pinch of red pepper flakes or a few teaspoons of minced Fresno or jalapeño pepper.
  • Sauté a finely minced scallion along with the onion and garlic.

What Does the Word "Coxinha" Mean"

The Portuguese word "coxinha" literally means chicken's "little thigh." This delicious snack is molded to resemble a drumstick.

What Can You Do With Leftover Coxinha Filling?

 If you have a bit of filling leftover, use it to make sandwiches or spread it on celery sticks for a quick snack. It makes a tasty spread for sturdy crackers or toasted baguette slices.

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