Acorda Recipe: How To Make Alentejana Portuguese Bread Soup

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This Portuguese acorda recipe combines the classic Portuguese bread soup with shrimp, making a version of acorda, called açorda de camarão. A traditional soup from Alentejo, its hearty, full of flavor and comes together easily in under 30 minutes.

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What is Acorda Alentejana?

Acorda De Gamba Açorda recipe by Authentic Food Quest
This version of Açorda Alentejana includes shrimps

Açorda Alentejana is a typical soup from Alentejo, a region in southeastern Portugal. The name means bread soup. And it is a traditional soup that made us of left over stale bread.

What’s interesting about this Portuguese bread soup is that it is not cooked. Instead, the flavors come together when different ingredients are mingled together,

Açorda à Alentejana is widely enjoyed throughout Portugal. Recipes vary across the region and from family to family.

The key ingredients of acorda are stale bread, water, Portuguese olive oil from Alentenjo and cilantro or coriander. 

Garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper are the main seasonings. And, a poached egg is added right at the end.

This acorda recipe adds shrimp to the dish for a açorda de camarão version.

History of Acorda Alentejana Recipe

History Acorda Alentejana by Authentic Food Quest.
Rural farmers created this dish

Açorda à Alentejana is a very popular Portuguese bread soup from the Alentejo region. 

Considered the “breadbasket” of Portugal, the region covers about 30% of the country.

This traditional dish with a humble beginning was developed from the creativity of poor rural farmers. 

The basic available ingredients traditionally used were olive oil, garlic, salt, boiling water and cut up pieces of ​​old bread. 

Aromatic herbs like cilantro or coriander were added alongside poached eggs or pork pieces.

The origins of the açorda are said to go back to the times of the Moorish occupation of the Portuguese territory. 

Portuguese culinary researchers believe the açorda is an evolution of Moorish bread soups.

Over time, new varieties of have emerged with the addition of ingredients like shrimp, bacalhau for açorda de bacalhau and others.

For this acorda recipe, we are adding shrimp for an açorda de camarão version or acorda with shrimp.

Discovering Açorda à Alentejana in Portugal

Acorda with Shrimp for Portuguese food and Portuguese Dinner while Eating with Portuguese family by Authentic Food Quest. This acorda was made in a Cooking class in Lisbon with Cristina
Delightful açorda with coriander and shrimp

In a home cooking class in Lisbon, we had the fortunate opportunity to have Cristina as our host.

Originally, from the Alentejo region of Portugal, she was excited to teach us how to make a traditional dish from her hometown.

Together, in her beautifully tiled Portuguese kitchen, we learned to make açorda à alentejana.

As we cooked we learned about the history of the dish. 

Cristina added shrimp to the dish, though she told us “ it was traditionally eaten with pork or nothing at all.” 

Olive oil and especially olive oil from Alentejo, we learned was one of the most important ingredients. 

This was followed closely by cilantro or coriander, which she added “gives it a very distinct flavor.”

The açorda, with a risotto-like texture, was hearty and full of flavor. The shrimp added a nice contrast to the texture and taste.

Each spoonful into the stunning dense soup was a  bite into a much loved traditional Portuguese soup. 

RELATED: 6 of The Best Cooking Classes In Lisbon – 2022 Review

Acorda Recipe – How To Make Portuguese Bread Soup at home

Ingredients Acorda Alentejana Recipe by Authentic Food Quest
Simple ingredients for Acorda Alentejana

We’ll use the main ingredients of the original Alentejo açorda recipe, which are rustic bread, olive oil, garlic, eggs, salt, pepper and chili flakes. 

We’ll add shrimp to make the shrimp acorda or  açorda de camarão version

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: This acorda recipe comes to life with delicious and quality shrimp. Use these all-natural sourced large shrimp that are peeled, deveined with the tail removed. Containing no chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, or preservatives, enjoy flavorful firm shrimp.

Acorda Recipe Tips

Prepare More like Porridge than Soup

Acorda De Camarao Portuguese Bread Soup by Authentic Food Quest
Add water little by little

This açorda à alentejana recipe is prepared thick like a porridge and less like a broth based soup. To make this meal thick, you want to first cut bread into small pieces to make to make it easier to absorb the water.

One tip we learned in our cooking class in Libson, is to use only the inside of the bread. In general, the hard crust is not used for the recipe.

The soft interior of the bread offers a smooth soup-like consistency. 

Be sure to soak all the small pieces of bread in water. Stir the mixture while it is still wet and leave it for a few minutes to absorb all the water.

If you need more water, add it a little at a time to avoid your dish from becoming too runny.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Check our other Portuguese recipe Bacalhau a Lagareiro Recipe: How to Make Cod Fish Lagareiro-Style

Use Portuguese Olive Oil

Portuguese Olive Oil Herdadedo Esporao by Authentic Food Quest
Olive oil is a common ingredient in Portuguese dishes

Olive oil is an indispensable ingredient in Portuguese cuisine. It is used as a dip for bread, splashed over grilled fish, basted over pork chops, used to season potatoes, vegetables and more. It’s difficult to find a dish on a Portuguese menu that hasn’t seen olive oil. 

Considered the “Queen of Condiments”, olive oil has long occupied a prominent place in Portuguese culture. 

And in this acorda recipe, you want to use Portuguese olive oil in generous amounts, like the Portuguese do.

In this recipe, we use olive oil to cook the shrimp, sautee the garlic and prepare the dish for serving by stirring in olive oil at the end. 

Cilantro or Coriander – An Acorda Recipe Key Ingredient

Mix In Herbs Acorda Alentejana by Authentic Food Quest
Herbs are essential, don’t forget to include them

Herbs and specifically, cilantro or coriander, we learned in our cooking class is key for this acorda recipe.

The cilantro leaves offer refreshing flavors and add a nice contrast to the savory garlic and shrimp flavors.

So important to this acorda recipe, that Cristina told us, “if you don’t have coriander, don’t make açorda”. It’s the cilantro or coriander that gives açorda, its distinctive taste.

Bread for Acorda –  Pão Alentejano

Alentejo bread for Alentejo Food in Evora by Authentic Food Quest, Traditional Portuguese bread, Alentejo bread is always part of Portuguese dinner and part of a typical Portuguese meal
Freshly baked Alentejo bread – Photo credit: @paodaterra.oficial

The Alentejo region, a major grain producer, is famous for Alentejano bread or Pão Alentejano. 

This traditional bread, with a large lump that pops out of the top of the bread when baked. It  is an important ingredient in several Alentejo dishes and appreciated throughout the country for its quality.

The dough contains wheat flour, water, salt and yeast, and is traditionally baked in a wood burning oven.

The crust is thick, lightly toasted and dusted with flour. The crumb or inside is  dense, white, fluffy and moist. The bread can weigh from 2 to 3 lbs or 1 to 1.5 kg.

Getting access to Alentejo bread outside of Portugal is difficult. Use a rustic bread for this recipe instead.

Different Acorda Styles or Recipe Variations

Sopa de Acorda Evora Food by Authentic Food Quest
A Portuguese bread soup we ate in Evora, Portugal

Today in Portugal, you’ll find many versions or variations of the açorda recipe. 

  • Açorda de bacalhau – one of the most popular variations is acorda with codfish or açorda de bacalhau. Codfish is an important part of Portuguese gastronomy and the acorda uses boneless cod into the soup.
  • Açorda de camarão – the acorda de camarao or shrimp acorda, is another popular version found throughout the country. This açorda de camarão or sometimes referred to as açorda de gambas recipe is easy to make at home.
  • Acorda de mariscos – around the coastal regions of Portugal, people add seafood to their meals. When it comes to acorda, the popular seafood acorda version is acorda de mariscos. It usually includes clams, mussels, cockles and other seafood.

RELATED: 7 Authentic Ways You Want to Eat Bacalhau in Portugal (With Recipes)

Acorda Recipe Step by Step Instructions

Prepare Bread And Shrimps

Cut the bread into pieces and add them to a large bowl. Add water and stir so that bread absorbs all the water.

Cook shrimp in skillet with olive oil. Add freshly ground pepper, salt for seasoning and set aside.

Cook Bread In Olive Oil

Heat the remaining oil in another pan. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Add bread mixture and cook on low heat until it soaks olive oil. Add more olive oil as you cook and more water if necessary. Cook for about 10 minutes until you have a cohesive porridge. 

Mix Shrimp

Add salt, pepper and chili flakes, stirring well to evenly distribute the seasonings. Then add chopped cilantro leaves and cook for a few more minutes

Reserve some shrimp for garnish. Add the remaining shrimp to the mixture and stir well,Add a raw egg yolk over the hot soup and mix

Pour Egg Yolk Acorda Alentejana by Authentic Food Quest

Acorda Recipe

This Portuguese acorda recipe combines the classic Portuguese bread soup with shrimp, making a version of acorda, called açorda de camarão. A traditional soup from Alentejo, its hearty, full of flavor and comes together easily in under 30 minutes.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Recipes
Cuisine: Portuguese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 1260kcal
Author: Authentic Food Quest


  • 1.3 lbs old rustic bread if possible use pão alentejano
  • 14 oz shrimp medium size, 30 to 35
  • cup Portuguese olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • cilantro or coriander fresh, handful
  • water enough to soak and cover stale bread
  • salt
  • Chili flakes
  • black pepper freshly ground


  • Cut the inside of the rustic bread into pieces and place in a large bowl. Pour in just enough water and soak the bread. Mix with a spoon until all pieces of bread have water . Let the mixture stand for a few minutes for the bread to absorb the water.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat with 3 tablespoons of Portuguese olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes on each sides until the shrimp turns from translucent to opaque. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • In another pan, pour in the remaining olive oil oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the drained bread and mix until all the olive oil is soaked up. You may need to add a little more. Turn down the heat to low and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes until you have a dense porridge-like soup. Add more water if necessary.
  • Add some  salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste. Toss in some chopped coriander or cilantro and mix. Cook for a few more minutes.
  • Set aside some shrimp to use as garnish before serving. Add the rest of the shrimp to the mixture, stirring continiously. Crack an egg and pour the egg yolk over the hot Portuguese bread soup.  The egg yolk will cook slightly but not all the way through.
  •  Serve the açorda alentejana in bowls and garnish with the left over shrimp.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy while still hot


  • Be sure not to overcook the shrimp as they will become tough and shrink. You will start to notice a pinkish color when they are cooked. Cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side in oil over medium heat.
  • If you prefer, you can also cook the  shrimp in water instead of olive oil. In this case, cook the shrimp in a pot of boiling water for about  2 to 2 ½ minutes.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 1260kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 91g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 40g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 242mg | Sodium: 697mg | Potassium: 622mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 4mg
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