Brazilian Carreteiro

brazilian carreteiro recipe

If you’ve ever had Brazilian BBQ (we call it churrasco) at a Brazilian family’s house, you’ve probably noticed that there’s always a lot of food. And that’s the whole point, it’s usually a time to spend with family and enjoy the day. While my parents were visiting this last September, we had some friends over for a churrasco made by my dad. By the end, I learned the English expression food coma, which describes that sleepy state one gets after eating too much food. That said, we still had a lot – A LOT – of leftovers, which did not surprise me at all. So what do we, Brazilians, do with the leftovers of churrasco? We make carreteiro.

brazilian carreteiro recipe

If you’ve never heard of carreteiro, I think the best way to describe it is by thinking of it as a leftover risotto. The difference would be that it isn’t as moist as a risotto. Everyone has their own way of making it, their own choice of spices and their own extras. My way of doing it is usually based on what I have in the fridge, I don’t think anyone actually plans a carreteiro unless they are expecting to have leftovers. If you’re one of those people that like following a recipe step-by-step, this is probably not for you, since the amounts will depend on how much meat you have leftover. That said, there are some basic principles that need to be followed, and I’d like to share them with you.

brazilian churrasco
What churrasco leftovers usually looks like.


  • Leftover meat (usually beef)
  • Rice
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Favorite spices.
  • Extras:
    • Mushrooms
    • Cheese
    • Olives
    • Canned tomatoes
    • Parsley and Green Onions

As I said before, the amounts are going to vary depending on how much meat you have. Use your cooking instincts to judge the amount of the ingredients should be used. I promise you it will work.


  1. Finely chop onions and garlic. Cut the meat into even sized pieces.
  2. Saute the onions and garlic. Once soft, add the meat and let it in the pan for a while.
    • If you’re adding mushrooms, add it now.
  3. Add rice. The amount of rice should be proportionate to the amount of meat, almost equal parts. Add salt and pepper to season it.
    • If you’re adding canned tomatos and/or olives, add it now.
    • I usually use paprika as a seasoning. Oregano works well too.
  4. Cover the mixture with water. Taste the water to check the seasoning. Add more if needed.
    1. You can use beef broth instead of water.
  5. Let the rice cook and Voila! If you are like me and like it more cheeses, you can add some shreaded mozzarella to the carreteiro. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top if desired.

brazilian carreteiro recipe

Yes! It’s that simple! As I said before, everyone has a their own version of it, so feel free to change something in the process. I’ve done carreteiro with leftover sausages, turkey and prok. So it would be a good twist on the upcoming Thanksgiving turekey leftovers.

What do you usually do with the leftovers?

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2 thoughts on “Brazilian Carreteiro

  1. Que gostosura! I will have to try it sometime. In all the time I spent in Brasil I never heard of carreteiro.

    What do I do with leftovers? I might heat them up for lunch or even dinner. Sometimes I try to make something different with them, such as chicken salad, or throw salmon bits into a salad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe carreteiro is a southern Brazilian thing and I assumed it’s done everywhere. I know I’ve asked before, but where in Brazil were you?
      I usually heat them up too, but isn’t it better when we get to reinvent our dinner?


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