Bifana: How to Make Traditional Portuguese Sandwich

Bifanas are traditional Portuguese pork sandwiches, and they’re so popular that everywhere in the country you can find them. Such Portuguese sandwiches are made of tasty marinated pork served in crunchy white bread.

The marinade is made of paprika, garlic, and white wine. The bread on the outside has a crunchy crust, while on the inside, it is fluffy.

Bifanas can be eaten at lunch or dinner with a bowl of soup and fries. Or, they can be eaten with wine as a traditional Portuguese snack in the late evening. There are several types of sandwiches from Portugal. You can add more ingredients like eggs, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and stick to the usual one in your lunch.

Bifana: Portuguese Sandwich

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Snacks
  • Cuisine: Portuguese

It is believed that the original Bifana Portugal recipe comes from Vendas Novas, a small town in the area of Alentejo, halfway between Lisbon and Evora. The whole preparation and cooking time is around 45 minutes. This recipe is suitable for at least four people. 

Portugese Bifana Sandwich

The bifana sandwich is perfect for breakfast or lunch meals. Photo credits to:

Bifana: Portuguese Sandwich Ingredients

  • 4 sandwich bread rolls (Portuguese papo seco)
  • 2 ½ pork cutlets, sliced very thin
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 oz. of lard
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper, freshly ground

Bifana: Portuguese Sandwich Instructions

Step 1: Season with salt, pepper, bay leaf, paprika, lemon juice, and garlic in a dish. Make multiple layers with all the cutlets if required, seasoning them on each layer the same way.

Step 2: Pour over the cutlets the white wine and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Heat the lard at medium heat in a large frying pan.

Step 3: Drain the cutlets and marinade reserve. In high heat, fry them in lard, turning them regularly.

Step 4: Remove the reserved marinade once the cutlets are fried and cook over medium heat until half of the liquid has evaporated. Toast the loaves of bread.

Step 5: Use the remaining sauce to fill each bread piece with cutlets and drizzle.

Bifana: Portuguese Sandwich Additional Information

  • Per serving has 650 calories, 35 g of total fat, 7 g of saturated fat, 46 mg of cholesterol. 
  • In this mixture in Portugal, most meats are marinated, and this marinate definitely gives a taste that is unique to Portuguese recipes.
  • Paprika is commonly used in Portuguese gastronomy, and its taste can vary: dried, salty, spicy.
  • This recipe serves four and takes about 45 minutes to prepare.

About Bifana: Portuguese Sandwich Recipe

The Bifana Sandwich is a Portuguese sandwich consisting of light yet crusty rolls of bread filled with sprinkled strips of pork, seasoned with garlic, spices, and white wine. The pork is juicy, and sometimes slightly greasy, making it a typical late-night snack for those who need something to drink their beer with.

It’s one of the best dishes from Portugal and an absolute must-try during your visit, or you can make it on your own.

As far as the pork goes, it is a food that is highly appreciated in Portugal and is currently the most eaten. It is also the star of one of the flagship recipes of the country: pork and Alentejana clams, as well as many charcuterie specialities. In reality, the Alentejo region’s black pigs, “Porco de raça Alentejo,” and the suckling pig meat of Mealhada are very common.


The Bifana Sandwich is a cheap snack food, a traditional Portuguese fast food even, and you’ll find Portuguese people eating them throughout the day. Often, people will add a bowl of soup to make it a little more substantial and have them at lunch instead of a big meal.

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