Introduction: Filhoses

About: Polymath and idiot. Mostly idiot.

If you ever visited a beach in Portugal in the eighties, there was probably nearby a shack with chipped off plaster on the brick walls and inside you got snacks made in a cooking pot on a camp stove. A single lightbulb without a shade, the cable in a single knot to shorten it, fado music coming out of a black radio sitting on the ledge of a walled-up window. You paid the amount of escudos written with chalk on the wooden plank door and the coins and bills were stored in a jar. Then you walked off to the beach with a big smile because of the big snack in your hands, Filhoses.

Step 1:

Filhos means children in English, I guess Filhoses is a minimisation. What you need:


  • 500 grams flour (17.6 oz)
  • 200 ml water (0.8 cups)
  • 1 orange (or 100ml orange juice)
  • 40 grams baker's yeast (1.4 oz)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • Zest of a lime (optional)


  • Vegetable oil
  • Cinnamon and sugar


  • Deep fryer or cooking pot
  • Kitchen machine or bowl
  • Knife or pastry wheel

Step 2: Preparing the Dough:

We need 500 grams (17.6 oz) of flour and a block of baker's yeast (1.4 oz). It's for a snack, we don't need to prepare a mother dough, crumble the yeast right into the flour.

Step 3: Preparing the Water:

To ensure the salt and sugar are equally distributed in the dough like the water and orange juice, we mix it all together in a measuring jug. We need 200 millilitres (0.8 cup) of water and a freshly squeezed orange usually gives 100 millilitres (0.4 cup) of juice.

Step 4:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and let your kitchen machine knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes until you have a firm dough.

Step 5:

The dough needs to be covered with a dish cloth and rest for 30 minutes at a warm place. Meanwhile you can mix the cinnamon coating. Mix 4 tablespoons of sugar with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and fill them into a sugar sprinkler for easy access.

Step 6: Dividing the Dough:

Take the dough out of the bowl and bring it into an oblong rectangle shape. Measure the length. We need 7 parts, in this case it is 21 cm, thence we make cuts every 3 secounds.

Step 7: Shaping:

Roll out each of the doughs to a flat rectangle. Maybe adjust to the size of your cooking pot like in picture 3. Then use the pastry wheel and make 2 parallel cuts inside of the Filhose. Prepare a plate with some paper towels to catch excessive oil from the fried Filhoses.

Step 8: Frying:

If you don't have a fryer, fill a cooking pot 2 fingers high with vegetable oil. Increase the heat until you see spurs like in picture 2. If you then stick a wooden spoon into the oil, bubbles should appear. This is the temperature if you want to fry them safely. If you want to fry them faster you risk splattering hot oil on your skin or even burning oil. Use your exhaust hood on highest setting, even if you use a fryer.

Grab one of the Filhoses with a fork within one of the cuts and place it in the oil.



Step 9:

This one was fried too shortly.

Step 10:

This one was fried too much.

Step 11:

This one is fried exactly how you want them. While we have let the dough rest, the yeast produced CO2. The gas expands very fast within the hot oil, creating the bubbles inside of the Filhoses. After some tries you can figure out how to maximise the bubbles.

Step 12: Ready!

Take them out with your fork again and lay them on the plate with paper towels. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and serve right away!

Step 13: Easter Theme:

Filhoses are similar to a typical Christmas tradition, called Filhós or Filhoses de Abóbora ( Abóbora = pumpkin). They are ball shaped and the dough contains eggs. Let's try pagan bunny shapes for Easter. The small shapes puff up easily and therefor need more sugar. Unless you make a rectangle shape that is famous in my home area during carnival, the so called Mutzen. They have a better size-sugar ratio and taste than the animal shapes.

Step 14: Optimising:

By looking at the patterns how the Filhoses were puffing up, I thought about optimising their shape. I analysed the size of the bubbles on the regular Filhoses and came up with the size of a playing card, a diagonal cut inside. Perfect!

Step 15: Degustation:

They don't taste too much like fat, but if you don't sprinkle them with sugar they are bland. I like them better than churros because there are no eggs and less sugar. With their design they can be easily shared and children run around with them in their hand, full of joy. We had them with a session of Munchkin.

Enjoy your tasty snack!

Snacks Contest 2017

Participated in the
Snacks Contest 2017

Be the First to Share


    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge
    • Make it Glow Contest

      Make it Glow Contest
    • Block Code Contest

      Block Code Contest


    Joerg Engels
    Joerg Engels

    Tip 4 years ago

    This is for children at a beach! But thank you for improving the recipe to make it more authentic ..


    Tip 4 years ago

    Hello. You need to add a small portion of "aguardente" (white brandy) to make perfect filhoses (or "coscorões", as we call them in my region). Best regards, Libanio, from Portugal.


    5 years ago

    The word "filhoses", is derived from the Latin foliola (small leaf), maybe...

    What I know is ... they're delicious.

    Joerg Engels
    Joerg Engels

    Reply 5 years ago

    Oh yes they are. I asked 1 friend from Portugal and 2 from Brazil about the minimisation, their answer was they just call it that way.


    5 years ago

    Do you taste the Orange juice or does the yeast change it some how? I have never put citrus in bread dough.

    Joerg Engels
    Joerg Engels

    Reply 5 years ago

    This is why I add the zest of a lime and made it optional. In the original recipe it is not there, but I was missing the fruity flavour in the result and added the zest.