This delicious Bacalao recipe serves up a flaked salt cod stew, married up with a whole host of colorful veggies. Give this traditional Portugese dish a try, you won’t regret it!

bacalao recipe

Why This Bacalao Recipe Is So Good

  • An easy take on the classic Portuguese dish. 
  • Gluten free adaptable.
  • Perfect with pasta, rice, quinoa or just a crusty loaf of bread.


  • Olive oil
  • Russet potato
  • Bell pepper, onion, celery, tomatoes, 
  • Rice
  • Salt cod
  • Tomato paste

How To Make This Bacalao Recipe – Step Buy Step

Step 1: soak the bacalao overnight in cool water. This is a step you cannot skip….the fish will be way to salty.

Salt Cod (Bacalao) with Potatoes over Rice

The fresh ingredients – bell pepper, garlic, onion, tomatoes, salt cod (bacalao), celery and potatoes. All the veg are diced small – quicker cooking!

ingredients for bacalao recipe

First, brown the potatoes in the saute pan.

diced potatoes

Then saute the aromatics – garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery.

veg and potatoes

and add the rest of the ingredients in:


Including the de-salted (and drained) bacalao.

bacalao recipe in pot

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

covered pot with bacalao recipe in it

Serve over rice, pasta, quinoa…or enjoy with a loaf of bread.

dish of stew

What Is Bacalao

Bacalao, pronounced [bah-kah-LAH-oh] is Portuguese dried, salted cod fish. Before refrigeration, fish was dried and preserved in salt to keep in the cellar. There are hundreds of variations of bacalao recipes, but my favorite has always been Bacalao con Patatas (bacalao with potatoes) – however I don’t make it much at home because traditional recipes require too many steps and forethought for my bad habits (impatience and spontaneity).

An Easy Fish Dish

After spying a bag of bacalao at my local market, I decided to create a recipe that that would cut out a major tedious step. Unfortunately, I couldn’t nix the “forethought” part – as bacalao needs to be soaked overnight in water to get rid of some of its salt. It’s a step that can’t be skipped (boo) and there really isn’t a good shortcut.

The “major tedious step” I’m talking about is boiling the potatoes first before adding it to the dish. Okay, so I’m being dramatic, but bringing a large pot of water to boil (and of course, staring at the darn thing waiting for the first bubbles) and then cooking the potatoes until tender is crazy boring and requires another pot on the stove.

Instead, dice the potatoes into 1/2″ dice, briefly brown them in the saute pan along with the rest of the vegetables. Then add the bacalao, a cup of water, cover and let ’em all simmer quietly and harmoniously for 15 minutes, just enough time to cook the potatoes through.

What To Serve With This Bacalao Recipe

 It’s also great served with salad greens, white rice, or with crispy arepas de coco (coconut fry bread).  Or serve over pasta, rice, quinoa….or enjoy with a loaf of bread.

Top Tips For This Bacalao Recipe

  • Make sure your cod is soaked overnight.
  • Rinse the cod with water, before cooking.
  • Top with Parsley
  • Serve with rice.

Check Out These Other Delicious Fish Dishes

Have you tried this Bacalao recipe? Feel free to leave a star rating and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Salt Cod (Bacalao) with Potatoes over Rice Recipe

Jaden Hair
Servings: 4Prep Time:15 minutes + overnight soakingCook Time:20 minutes
4.50 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
soak 8 hours
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine portuguese
Servings 4 servings
Calories 771 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large russet potato peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 to matoes diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups rice grains + water to cook
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound salt cod bacalao, soaked overnight (see note below)


  • The night before, cover the bacalao with cool water and refrigerate.
  • Drain the bacalao, rinse with fresh water. Cut into 1" pieces.
  • Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil. When hot, add the potatoes and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add in the bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and stir. Bring to a simmer and add in the bacalao. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir in the parsley.
  • In the meantime, cook the rice according to package instructions. Serve the stew over rice.


Calories: 771kcalCarbohydrates: 90gProtein: 80gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 172mgSodium: 8017mgPotassium: 2251mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1748IUVitamin C: 57mgCalcium: 226mgIron: 5mg
Keyword bacalao recipe, fish and rice, salt cod recipe
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