Get ready to indulge with our fudgy vegan Brigadeiro- a dairy-free twist on the traditional Brazilian chocolate balls. With just a few basic ingredients and a little time, you can create a decadent, allergy-friendly treat that's perfect for sharing with family and friends.
Imagine the rich, velvety texture of Brigadeiros melting in your mouth, their chocolatey goodness enveloped in a sweet, luscious coating that dances on your taste buds. This vegan version captures all the nostalgia and joy of the traditional Brazilian treat, with a creamy, dreamy twist that's both indulgent and guilt-free!
As a Brazilian-born home chef and mother of three, I've spent years perfecting my favorite Brazilian recipes, including this vegan Brigadeiro recipe. But my journey with Brigadeiros began much earlier, in the warm, welcoming kitchen of my grandmother's house in Brazil. I remember those days with a fondness that fills my heart – my sister and I, eagerly awaiting our turn to use Vovo's kitchen, making Brigadeiros almost every day we were visiting her in Sao Paulo!
Sitting on her high porch wall, we would savor each bite of the gooey chocolatey sweet treat, still warm from our impatience! Our laughter mingled with the chirps of birds and barks of stray dogs. Sometimes, in our hast (and youthful laziness), we wouldn't even roll them into balls. We'd simply plop the warm, gooey mixture onto a plate, generously sprinkle chocolate over the top, and dive in with spoons, our faces lit up with joy.
These memories are not just about the sweets; they're about the bonds, the simplicity of joy, and the traditions passed down. When I adopted a dairy-free lifestyle, one of my biggest fears was losing this cherished part of my heritage. But fear not! Our Brigadeiro vegan version is not just a testament to my love for these treats but also a celebration of being able to continue this tradition in a new, inclusive way.
🏝️Bringing Brazil to Your Kitchen
Inspired by my dairy-free version of the Brazilian cheese bread (Pao de Queijo), this Brigadeiro vegan version uses cocoa powder, maple syrup, and chickpea liquid (aquafaba) for a delicious, allergy-friendly chocolate dessert. It's like bringing a piece of Brazil to your kitchen!
Creating a vegan Brigadeiro, a dessert deeply embedded in Brazilian culture, was a challenge. The hardest part was finding a substitute for the condensed milk. After many trials, I discovered the magic ingredient - the liquid from a chickpea can! However, it didn't thicken well when cooked, so I experimented with different starches and found that potato starch worked best.
I'm thrilled to share this vegan dessert recipe with you. It's been a journey of discovery and innovation, and I hope your family loves these Brazilian truffles as much as mine does!
👪Why Your Family Will Love Vegan Brigadeiro
Our vegan Brigadeiro has a sweet, creamy texture and irresistible chocolatey flavor that make it one of our family's favorite treats! Plus, as a naturally nut-free treat, it's perfect for parties. Here's why your family will love it too:
- It's gooey and creamy
- It's bite-size
- Perfect finger food
- Naturally nut-free, gluten-free, and now dairy-free!
- A decadent and fun treat
🌿Brigadeiro and Women's Right to Vote?
Brigadeiro is one of Brazil's most iconic desserts. This dense sticky confection first became popular in the 1940s in Rio de Janeiro. First made by confectioner Heloisa Nabuco de Oliveira using condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter then rolled in chocolate sprinkles. However, the popularity of this delicious and fun dessert has a political and unique origin story.
The dessert became popular during food rations in Brazil during the First and Second Wars when condensed milk was a common substitute in dessert-making. The dessert's unique name and political connection come from the presidential candidacy of Eduardo Gomes, Brigadier of the Air Force. During the first national election where women could vote (with restrictions), women were instrumental in Gomes' campaign and sold the dessert at rallies and fundraisers, naming it 'Brigadeiro' in his honor. Though Gomes ultimately lost the election, changes to women's voting rights were eventually made, and his name lives on in this beloved Brazilian sweet.
⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- Make Ahead: If you're pressed for time, prepare the brigadeiro vegan mixture in advance. Store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you're ready to enjoy this sweet treat, let your vegan brigadeiro mixture come to room temperature, roll in the sprinkles, and serve!
- Easy Serving Option: For the ultimate easy homemade brigadeiros, serve your fuge batter unrolled. After cooking, let it cool in a heat-safe dish, sprinkle the top, and enjoy with a spoon!
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this delicious vegan truffle treat and satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, so make sure you use high quality ingredients:
- Chickpea Liquid: Chickpea liquid or aquafaba is simply the liquid that comes out of a can of chickpeas. It is liquid gold for vegans because it can be used in so many recipes. We make a killer Gluten-Free, Vegan Waffle Recipe with it and many people use it for vegan meringue.
- Oat milk: I used Earth's Own unsweetened oat milk for this recipe. But you can use any other oat milk brand. Oat milk is the preferred plant-based milk because of its thickness and subtle flavor.
- Cacao powder: To help achieve that rich traditional Brazilian chocolate truffles flavor!
- Maple Syrup: I am using amber maple syrup as it provides the best flavor and thickness.
- Potato starch: If you are gluten-free make sure to get a certified gluten-free brand, I don't recommend using a substitute for this ingredient (more on that in the substitutions section below)
- Chocolate sprinkles: I use dark or semisweet sprinkles for this recipe because it is already sweet enough with maple syrup! If you are looking for a vegan version I like Yupik. Most sprinkles use milk chocolate or belgian chocolate, so just watch the ingredients list when choosing.
- Salt: just a pinch to help bring out the deep chocolate flavor.
See the recipe card below for exact measurements.
Each ingredient plays a symphony of flavors - the chickpea liquid, a surprising vegan marvel, whips into a silky, smooth base. The oat milk adds a gentle, creamy caress, while the cacao powder brings a deep, robust chocolate hug. The amber maple syrup weaves in a rich, caramel-like sweetness, creating a harmonious blend that's simply divine
💡 Tips When Making Brigadeiro Vegan
My grandma always had the best tips for making Brigadeiro, here is some of her wisdom: (and check out the video in the recipe card)
- Grease Your Hands: Lightly grease your hands with vegan butter or oil before scooping out the batter. This creates a barrier between the Brigadeiro and your skin, making it easier to roll into little balls.
- Refrigerate Before Rolling: Cool the vegan brigadeiro batter in the fridge for a few minutes before rolling. The cooler temperature reduces stickiness.
- Roll in Sprinkles Immediately: Roll the brigadeiro balls in chocolate sprinkles right after shaping them. This absorbs any excess moisture on the surface and reduces stickiness.
- Achieving the Right Texture: The texture of your vegan brigadeiro mixture is crucial. It should be thick enough to hold its shape when rolled into balls. If it's too runny, cook it a little longer. If it's too thick and hard to work with, add a splash of oat milk and stir well.
- Test for Doneness: A good test for knowing when your brigadeiro mixture is done is when it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan as you stir. This indicates that it has reached the right consistency
Check out the video on the recipe card!
Creating this vegan Brigadeiros recipe is a piece of cake, even if you're new to the kitchen! The trickiest part is getting the chocolate vegan fudge mixture to the right texture, but don't worry, I've got you covered. Follow these simple steps, and you'll be savoring these delightful Brazilian truffles in no time.
Step 1: In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, mix the maple syrup and chickpea liquid (aquafaba). Stir until well combined.
Then gradually whisk in the cacao powder, then the oat milk. When brigadeiro starts to bubble, reduce to low heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning.
Step 2: After 10 minutes, slowly whisk in the potato starch into the vegan brigadeiro mixture. This will help it thicken as it continues to cook. It's a waiting game now – another 5-10 minutes should get you to the desired thickness.
Step 2b: Continue cooking until your vegan brigadeiro until it starts to stick to the sides of the pan, forming a thick consistency. Once it's there, turn off the heat and transfer the batter to a greased plate or bowl. Let it cool completely before rolling.
Step 3: Once the brigadeiro mixture has cooled, grease your hands with a little bit of vegan butter or coconut oil. Then, scoop a tablespoon amount of your vegan brigadeiro and roll it into little balls using your palms.
Next, roll each ball in the chocolate sprinkles until evenly coated. Place the finished vegan fudge in candy cups or paper liners to prevent them from sticking together while they cool.
Pro tip: If you're having trouble forming this brigadeiro vegan recipe into balls, return the fudge batter to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. This should help your vegan fudge reach the perfect consistency for rolling!
🍩Variations and Substitutions
Let's look at some vegan brigadeiro recipe variations:
- Cocoa Powder Substitute: If you don't have cocoa powder, you can use chocolate chips or carob powder. For the chocolate chips, blend them in a food processor until they become a fine powder.
- No Potato Starch? No Problem!: If you don't have potato starch, you can omit it. However, be prepared to cook the batter a bit longer to achieve the desired consistency. Remember, don't substitute potato starch with tapioca starch or arrowroot, as this will result in a very clumpy texture.
- Lazy Brigadeiro: As kids, my sister and I would make a lazy version of these Brazilian truffles. We'd skip the rolling step, pour the cooked mixture onto a plate, sprinkle some dark chocolate sprinkles on top, and dig in with spoons!
- Traditional Recipe: If you're not dairy-free or vegan, you can substitute the chickpea liquid, oat milk, and starch for traditional condensed milk and butter. Here's what you'll need:
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
- 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Chocolate sprinkles for rolling
Our vegan Brigadeiro Recipe makes delicious Brazilian-inspired chocolates. However, many toppings have been used to make these a little more fun or festive for special occasions. Each topping gives your gourmet brigadeiros different flavors.
The different Brigadeiro flavors we love most are:
- Coconut sprinkles - the coconut works so well with the chocolate flavors. IT provides a nice crunch and nutty contrast. Just roll your vegan truffles in coconut flakes instead of the chocolate sprinkles (step 3B).
- Rainbow sprinkles - these colorful sprinkles are so fun for birthdays. They add a pop of color and make your vegan brigadeiro recipe super fun!
- Crushes candy canes - such a great variation to make vegan brigadeiro gormet, especially for the holidays. The minty flavor pairs well with the rich chocolate fudgy texture.
- Cinnamon sugar- roll your vegan truffles in cinnamon powder instead of the chocolate chips for a savory twist. Cinnamon will add a kick of flavor without the sweetness. This is a perfect variation if you are looking for a more decadent vegan dessert.
🥡Storing Vegan Brigadeiros
This vegan Brigadeiro Recipe is best enjoyed fresh, but it's good to know some storage options to keep your Brazilian Brigadeiros tasting great. Here are some guidelines for storing:
- Countertop: Store your chocolate Brigadeiro at room temperature for 2-3 days. Place them in an airtight container, making sure to leave some room between each little ball to prevent sticking.
- Refrigerator: If you want to extend the life of your homemade brigadeiro, you can store them in the fridge. Simply place them in a small bowl and cover them with plastic wrap, then put them in the fridge. They will last up to 5 days but will harden a bit. To enjoy their soft, gooey, traditional texture, let them come to room temperature before indulging.
- Freezer: another storage method is to freeze your vegan brigadeiro. Wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, and then place them in a freezer-safe airtight container or a ziplock bag. They can last up to a month in the freezer.
- Re-warming: If you prefer your brigadeiro slightly warm, you can re-warm them in the microwave for a few seconds or in a preheated oven at the lowest temperature for a couple of minutes. Be careful not to overheat them, as this can affect their texture.
Remember always to let your brigadeiro vegan batter come to room temperature before enjoying to experience their true, delightful consistency. Happy snacking!
Add cocoa powder to the Brigadeiro mixture a bit at a time. If your cocoa powder is clumpy or hard, check for any wetness or mold. Discard any old or expired powder.
Brigadeiro usually takes 20-25 minutes to cook to the perfect texture. However, the exact time can vary depending on the type of plant milk and maple syrup grade you use. You'll know it's done when the brigadeiro starts to pull away from the bottom of the pan as you stir. If you cook it too long, it will harden like fudge.
Wait until the Brigadeiro mixture is completely cooled before rolling. If the brigadeiro batter is too sticky, microwave it at 20-second intervals, let it cool, and test it again. Repeat this process until it no longer sticks to your buttered hands.
The right texture for Brigadeiro is thick enough to hold its shape when rolled into balls. If the brigadeiro is too runny, cook it a little longer. If it's too thick, add a splash of oat milk and stir well.
If your Brigadeiro is too hard, it means it was cooked for too long. Next time, reduce the cooking time. If it's too soft and doesn't hold its shape, it needs to be cooked a little longer. Remember, it will thicken up a bit more as it cools.
🥣Pairing and More Fun Recipes
I hope your family enjoys our homemade vegan Brigadeiro as much as we do. It is one of our favorite recipes to make. If you are looking for more be sure to check out these: and don't forget to try our Vegan Pao De Quiejo, Brazilian Cheese Bread or our bolinho de arroz (vegan rice balls) :0)
Vegan Brigadeiro: Fun Easy Chocolate Truffles
- ¾ cups aquafaba (liquid in canned chickpeas)
- ¾ cups maple syrup amber
- 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoon oat milk (or soy)
- ½ teaspoon potato starch (do not use tapioca starch)
- 1 cup chocolate sprinkles
- Pinch salt
- In a medium saucepan, combine the maple syrup and chickpea liquid (aquafaba) over medium heat. Grab your trusty wooden spoon and stir until well combined.
- Next, slowly whisk in the cacao powder, followed by the oat milk. When the chocolate mixture starts to bubble and boil, turn the heat down to low and let it cook for 10 minutes. Remember to keep stirring to prevent burning.
- After 10 minutes, slowly whisk in the potato starch. This will help it thicken as it continues to cook. Patience is key – it'll take another 5-10 minutes to reach the desired thickness.
- Keep cooking the brigadeiro until it starts to stick to itself and pulls away from the sides of the pan, forming a very thick consistency. Once it's reached this stage, turn off the heat and transfer the vegan brigadeiro to a greased plate or bowl. Let it cool completely before rolling.
- Let it cook completely before rolling.
How to roll Brigadeiro
- Onto a plate, add all your chocolate sprinkles.
- Once the brigadeiro bater has cooled enough to handle safely, grease your hands with a little butter. Then, take a teaspoon amount of the mixture and roll it into 1-inch balls using the palms of your hands.** if the Brigadeiro is not sticking or forming into a ball return it to the pan and cook it for another 5 minutes.
- Gently roll each ball in the chocolate sprinkles until evenly coated. Place the finished brigadeiros in candy cups to prevent them from sticking together while they cool.
- Countertop: Store your chocolate Brigadeiro for 2-3 days in an air-tight container.
- Refrigerator: Place them in a small bowl and cover them with plastic wrap, then put them in the fridge. They will last up to 5 days but will harden a bit so let them come to room temperature before indulging.
- Freezer: Wrap each one individually in plastic wrap, and then place them in a freezer-safe airtight container or a ziplock bag. They can last up to a month in the freezer. Thaw them in the refrigerator.
- Re-warming: re-warm them in the microwave for a few seconds at a time. Be careful not to overheat them, as this can affect their texture.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. (n.d.). FoodData Central. Retrieved [April, 3, 2023], from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/719016/nutrients
- Barrell, A. (2021). The benefits of a plant-based diet. Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/link-to-specific-article
- Klingbeil, E.A., Cawthon, C., Kirkland, R., & de La Serre, C.B. (2019). Potato-Resistant Starch Supplementation Improves Microbiota Dysbiosis, Inflammation, and Gut–Brain Signaling in High Fat-Fed Rats. Nutrients, 11(11), 2710. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112710. PMID: 31717368; PMCID: PMC6893629.