Portuguese Francesinha Sandwich: The Ultimate Portuguese Comfort Food

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The Portuguese Francesinha sandwich comes from the northern part of Portugal, specifically the city of Porto. Don’t assume that francesinha is a simple and light sandwich you eat when you have a little void space in your tummy. This dish is HEAVY. I mean, eat it when you are starving and have plenty of room for this monstrosity.

Bread, sausages, meat, ham, cheese, egg, and a rich and meaty sauce. All this is accompanied by a bunch of french fries. That’s what I call a complete meal!

You can eat francesinhas in almost any local restaurant in Portugal. They are the star dish in any cold winter night in Lisbon.

The key ingredient is the sauce. Every Portuguese restaurant claims to have “O melhor molho de francesinhas” (the best francesinha’s sauce), but the truth is that … I have the best sauce recipe 🙂

The principal ingredients of this sauce are the beef broth, the beer, and the port wine. The port wine is what makes the sauce shine. This sweet wine is the pride of Portugal. It’s one of the finest wines that you can taste. It’s a dessert wine and it has a fruity and sweet taste. Just Delicious.

You can use any sliced bread, although you should try to pick bread with wide slices. The sausage has to be a Linguiça if you want a 100% Portuguese flavor. If you cannot find this kind of Portuguese sausage in your supermarket’s international section, you can use any kind of smokey and slightly spicy sausage.

I hope that you enjoy this hearty Portuguese comfort food.

Be aware that I didn’t include the egg in this recipe because I felt like it was too much for me. If you want the complete experience, you should simply fry an egg and put it on top of the francesinha. You should leave the yolk soft.

And as dessert a Portuguese custard tart (Pasteis de nata). 100% Portuguese culinary experience!

4.75 from 8 votes
Portuguese Francesinha Sandwich
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Portuguese
Servings: 2 people
  • 8 slices of bread
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 8 slices of cheese
  • 150 gr beef meat
  • 4-6 linguiças (Portuguese sausage)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
For the sauce
  • 1 large blonde beer
  • 1 cup fried tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp piripiri (Portuguese chili)
For the sauce:
  1. In a big saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and the onions. Cook them until golden.

  2. Pour the beer and simmer until the alcohol evaporates ( 5 minutes)
  3. Pour the beef broth, the fried tomato sauce, the port wine, the Piri Piri (chili) and the butter to give shine to the sauce. Add the cornstarch slowly avoiding lumps. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce is thick like in the pictures.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F)
  2. Cook the beef chopped in small strings. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Cook the linguiças sliced in half lengthwise.
  4. Take 4 slices of bread for each Francesinha. Cut the center of two slices to make room for the filling. The other two will be the bottom and top of the francesinhas.
  5. Fill the bread with the sausages, the beef and the ham roughly chopped. Cover the francesinhas with the cheese and melt in the oven for 5 minutes.
  6. Cover with the sauce and serve with french fries.
Luna in a Francesinha!!!




2 thoughts on “Portuguese Francesinha Sandwich: The Ultimate Portuguese Comfort Food”

  1. Bom dia!
    Just a hunch, but could it be that you forgot to list the tomato juice shown in one of the pictures above?
    I cooked this recipe the other day and – as someone already pointed out – the sauce had a slight bitter note.

    Obrigado and keep up the good work!

    • Hi Florian!

      SO sorry for the mistake. Yes, it actually needs 1 cup of fried tomato sauce (like in the pictures). I already made the changes. Obrigada pelo


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