The Empress and The Brazilian Coxinha

July 26, 2018

Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil

The coxinha is one of Brazil’s most popular chicken recipes, and good sources ascribe its origins to that country’s Imperial Family.

Due to illness, Prince Antonio, one of the sons of Crown Princess Isabel and her husband, the Count d’Eu, lived removed from the court at the Fazenda Morro Azul, a plantation owned by the Imperial Couple in Limeira, in the state of São Paulo.

Fazenda Morro Azul

The young prince loved chicken, but especially the drumsticks, so one day the cook decided to transform the entire bird into drumsticks. She deboned the chicken, then having mixed the shredded meat with flour, potato, and other ingredients, formed it into pastries which were then fried.

The prince was delighted, as were his parents and everyone else who tasted them. One day the boy was visited by his grandparents, Emperor Pedro II and Empress Tereza Cristina. They too were thrilled. The Empress brought the recipe back with her to the Imperial Court, where its popularity soon spread to the entire country.

Imperial Family of Brazil (from left: Imperial Princess Dona Isabel (1846-1921), Emperor Dom Pedro II (1825-1891), Prince Dom Luis Felipe de Orléans, Count of Eu (1842-1922), Empress Dona Teresa Cristina (1822-1889), Princess Dona Leopoldina (1847-1871), Prince Louis Augustus of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary, Duke of Saxe (1845-1907)).

In Brazilian history, Empress Tereza Cristina is known as “the Mother of all Brazilians,” and her loving role at the origins of the Brazilian coxinha proves how well she merited this noble title.


Celnart, Choix d’anecdotes (Paris: Roret, 1828), Vol. 5, p. 15.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 636

Recipe for coxinha



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