Microwave Brigadeiro

Brigadeiro is a very popular sweet in Brazil. It is not a candy, not a truffle , not a bonbon. It's a brigadeiro. Do you want to know how good brigadeiros are? Let's put it this way. Had brigadeiros been in the Garden of Eden, Adam would have never gone near that apple.
Brigadeiros are part of the Brazilian culture. They are a very naughty food because they have an incredible amount of sugar and honestly nobody needs that in life, however, your life without brigadeiros is an empty life. Brigadeiros make you feel soooo happy. Brigadeiros are soft, delicious, scrumptious. So, the brigadeiro motto is: indulge today, diet tomorrow. 

Now, you might be wondering if this recipe ir the recipe for the real brigadeiro? Well, this is a complex questions. The ingredients in this recipe are the tradicional, grandma's old recipe for brigadeiros. But brigadeiros, like culinary, have evolved, and the brigadeiros of today are a whole different story. Nowadays, you have the 'Gourmet Brigadeiro' and the ingredients and techniques used to make them are very different. I know it because I am a brigadeiro aficionada (feminine form of aficionado). 

Well the good news are Microwave Brigadeiros can be delicious. You might need to try the recipe a few times until you get the settings and consistency rights. If you have never eaten a brigadeiro this can be a challenge, because you don't really know what to expect. 

Important considerations when making microwave brigadeiros:

Make sure your microwave is set to the maximum power, usually level 10. 

Use a sifter to sift the chocolate powder on the condensed milk to make they blend easily. You can use any sifter you have, it does not need to be a small one like on the picture below. Whisk the chocolate and condensed milk until they blend uniformly.

Butter: butter gives the brigadeiro a smoother consistency. 
The salt in the butter helps break the sweetness of the brigadeiro. You can also use unsalted butter and add a pinch of salt.
You can add solid butter to the chocolate and condensed milk as the butter will melt and you will whisk it after the first 3 minutes in the microwave.

Quality and consistency of the condensed milk: Those two variables will influence the end result. I recommend using the brand Nestle but I have used others and they also worked well. The consistency of the condensed milk varies from brand to brand and sometimes within the same brand. This will interfere with microwave time. This variation in condensed milk consistency of the same brand might happen, because the cans might stay in a warehouse for a long time, so if it's hot in the warehouse the condensed milk starts cooking in the can (gosh what a long sentence) But this is just an assumption.

Why a three inch high container is necessary? Because the brigadeiro will boil and 'rise'. Never leave the brigadeiro unattended in the microwave as it might overflow. If within the three minutes you notice that the mix will overflow, turn off the microwave immediately. Let the mix settle and turn on the microwave to finish cooking.

How long does the brigadeiro need to be in the microwave? First you leave it for three minutes. Remove it from the microwave and whisk it well. Then set the microwave for 3 more minutes. Keep one eye on the  brigadeiro. The mix will rise again but if it goes down then wait a few seconds and remove it from the microwave. If you leave it longer, it will get too hard. Make a note of how long it stayed in the microwave for the second time.

What if the final consistency is too soft to make the brigadeiro balls?  Write down the condensed milk brand you used and the time in the microwave. Next time leave it 30 seconds longer in the microwave.

What to do with the soft brigadeiro you could not roll? Put it in little serving containers like the ones you get at Pier1 or Bed Bath & Beyond for party tasters. My favorite is the Mini Flare glass desert dishes, which come with little spoons.


  • 1 can condensed milk (I recommend Nestle) 
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened chocolate powder 
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter OR unsalted butter + pinch salt
Coating: To coat the brigadeiros you can use regular jimmies/sprinkles but I highly recomend you use either shaved chocolate or real chocolate jimmies. Read about other options below.

What To Do:

Put the condensed milk in a glass or ceramic container at least 3 inches high. 
Sift the chocolate powder over the condensed milk. Sifting make it very easy to mix.
Add the butter.

Mix it well. Don't worry if the butter is still hard and does not mix with the rest.

Put in the microwave on high power for 3 minutes. 

The mix will bubble and rise and that's why you need to use a tall container.

Remove the container from the microwave and stir.

Set the microwave for 3 more minutes. Keep watching. The mix will rise again. When it goes down then wait a few seconds and turn off the microwave. 
You might need only 2 minutes or the whole 3 minutes.

When you remove from the microwave the mix will go down completely and it will look like in the picture.

Stir with a whisk.

Put in a buttered flat bottom container to cool off for about 4 hours at room temperature. You can use a plate.

Using a spatula spread the brigadeiro mix until it's uniform on the surface with a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
This will allow it to cool uniformly.

Note: Cover the plate with a cling film so the surface does not create a hard shell. I did not put a picture of this step.

Now it's time to roll the brigadeiros.
Butter your hands lightly. Using a spoon slightly butered, scoop about 1 1/2 teaspoon of the mix and place it in your hands to roll. 

I recomend you roll the brigadeirs first before coating them. Place them on a buttered surface like a plate or cooking sheet.

Drop each brigaderio ball in a bowl with sprinkles and roll it so the brigadeiro gets all covered with the sprinkles.

Place the brigadeiro in a candy paper cup or just place them in a plate.

Other options to coat brigadeiros:

You can coat the brigadeiros with chocolate powder, the same you used in this recipe.
It reminds me of truffles. Some people do not like the bitterness of the chocolate powder so you can use hot chocolate powder mix instead (Nesquick for example)

Actually this is one of my favorite ways to coat microwave brigadeiros. 

Using colored nonpareil is another option. Those are from Betty Crocker and I got them in a regular market. I don't like them much because they taste like flour, they are hard, and have lots of food coloring.

Kids love them because they are very colorful.

An easy and popular way to coat brigadeiros is by simply using refined sugar.This is the coating my grandma used all the time.

Updated July, 2015

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