published Mar 7, 2022
Brigadeiro Recipe

Made with cocoa powder and rolled in chocolate sprinkles, Brigadeiros are irresistibly chocolatey.

Makes15 to 18 brigadeiros

Prep25 minutes

Cook8 minutes

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Brigadeiro, made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, and chocolate sprinkles covering the outside layer
Credit: Laura Manzano

Brigadeiros were born at the end of wartime: a surefire way to result in a unique origin story. The year is 1946, and the very handsome and popular Brigadier Eduardo Gomes is running for President of Brazil. In support of his candidacy, a woman named Heloisa Nabuco de Oliveira created this confection to sell at political rallies. It was a significant election for women, as it was the first national election in which they were permitted to vote. Originally named “doce do brigadeiro” (“Brigadier’s sweet”), it was eventually shortened to brigadeiro, and the rest is history. Brigadeiros are now unconsidered the unofficial treat of Brazil, and are ubiquitous at every child’s birthday party across the country.

What Are Brigadeiros Made Of?

Brigadeiros were originally made with just cocoa powder and sweetened condensed milk: just two ingredients to make an impact. At the time, milk and sugar were harder to come by, so sweetened condensed milk does the job of two in one. Cocoa powder provides rich chocolate flavor without requiring actual chocolate, which was also scarce and expensive. 

What’s the Difference Between a Truffle and a Brigadeiro?

  • Brigadeiros are uniquely Brazilian, and truffles have different styles of preparation across Europe and the United States.
  • Truffles typically contain a mixture of cream and chocolate, while brigadeiros consist of cocoa powder instead of chocolate. 
Credit: Laura Manzano

How to Decorate a Brigadeiro

Brigadeiros, in their most traditional form, are rolled in chocolate sprinkles. In the modern age of brigadeiros, upscale brigadeiras (candy shops that specialize in brigaderos) sell the famous sweet rolled in things like shredded coconut or chopped pistachios, and ones sporting a variety of different flavors like paçoca (a Brazilian peanut candy), ninho (a popular powdered milk), lime, Oreo, and even Nutella!

Brigadeiro Recipe

Made with cocoa powder and rolled in chocolate sprinkles, Brigadeiros are irresistibly chocolatey.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 8 minutes

Makes 15 to 18 brigadeiros

Nutritional Info


  • 1 (14-ounce) can

    sweetened condensed milk

  • 1/3 cup

    Dutch-process or natural unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup

    chocolate sprinkles


  1. Place 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring slowly with a heatproof spatula and breaking up any large lumps by gently pressing on them with the spatula. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom and sides, until thickened significantly and pulling away from the sides of the pan to create a fudgy mass in the middle, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until completely chilled, about 30 minutes.

  3. Spread 1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles out on a plate. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the chocolate mixture and roll into balls (about 1 1/4-inch wide). Roll in the chocolate sprinkles until completely coated, dampening your hands lightly if the chocolate mixture starts to stick to them. Place on a plate or platter.

Recipe Notes

Chocolate sprinkles substitutes: While chocolate sprinkles are the most traditional, brigadeiros can be also rolled in shredded coconut or chopped pistachio.

Storage: Brigadeiros are best enjoyed the same day they’re made while the sprinkles still have their crunch but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.