Bacalao Navideno


Bacalao Navideño

Christmas Salted Cod

Bacalao Navideño

Recipe Yield

6 servings

Cooking time

2 days 45 minutes

Rate this recipe

3.58 from 7 votes


  • 1 pound dried salted cod
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 white onion peeled, halved, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped or pressed
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes chopped, or a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 red bell peppers roasted, sweated, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound baby potatoes peeled, halved if larger than 1-inch
  • 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup manzanilla olives stuffed with pimientos thinly sliced
  • 8 to 10 pickled pepperoncini peppers or chiles güeros plus more for serving
  • French baguette to slice and toast

To Prepare

  • 48 hours before you wish to make the dish, begin preparing your salt cod for cooking. Place in a bowl, cover with water and place in the refrigerator. The next day drain, rinse and cover with water again. Place it back in the refrigerator for 10 to 12 hours. Drain, rinse and cover with water again. Refrigerate for another 10 to 12 hours, drain and rinse. Shred the fish and it is ready to use.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until softened and beginning to brown around the edges. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in the tomatoes and roasted red bell peppers, cover partially and cook, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and darkened in color. It should look somewhat chunky.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate, medium saucepan, boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes, until just tender; when you insert the tip of a knife it should go all the way in, but the potatoes should not fall apart. Drain and set aside.
  • Stir the shredded cod into the tomato mixture. Add the vinegar, parsley, almonds and olives, stir together and continue to cook, partially covered for another 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the ingredients are well amalgamated and the sauce has thickened even more.
  • Reduce heat to low, stir in the cooked potatoes and the pickled pepperoncini peppers, cover the casserole and simmer for 5 more minutes. The mixture should be very moist and juicy, but not soupy. No need to add salt. Serve with additional pickled pepperoncini, and if you’d like, white rice on the side.


29comments inBacalao Navideño

  1. Elena Anaya

    Dec 21

    Así es como lo comemos en La Hermosa Ciudad De México solo que creo que se le ponen alcaparras

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 13

      Que bueno que te gusto la receta Elena!

  2. Anonymous

    Dec 20

    My grandmother used to make it every Christmas. Now my mom and my sister make it all the time. Roasted tomatoes, cinnamon, red bell peppers, olives, chinese parsley,pepper, chile mulato and white onions. And of course take off the salt from the cod fish. But now is harder to find it in the wooden box. We only get it from Canada. And we also eat it as Tortas in bolillo.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 14

      Good memories and delicious food, right?

  3. Olga Carrillo

    Sep 02

    You inspire me to cook something different am puertorican living in NYC all my life and all I know is PR MEALS,
    and American food and a few Italian dishes. I live in hells kitchen so there is a lot of restaurants of different races.
    My email is and my name is Olga Carrillo

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 04

      So happy to hear you like my recipes Olga, gracias!

  4. Carmen

    Dec 22

    This is one of our favourite dishes to enjoy on Christmas Eve along with an Italian Bacalao recipe that my Mom used to prepare for the same day. I love to mix the two cultures especially on special occasions to please both sides.
    Thank you for your enthusiasm and love of preparing flavourful food but especially for teaching and showing everyone the richness of the Mexican culture and cuisine.
    Always looking forward to your new adventures.

    Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 26

      Happy Holidays to you as well Carmen, so glad you like my Bacalao 🙂

  5. Anonymous

    Dec 25

    Patti thank you so much for the recipes
    Mami me enseñó cómo hacerlo tenía un poco de miedo con el bacalao y lo hice con atún quedo delicioso Gracias!!
    Feliz 🎄

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 06

      Super, que buena idea! Ahora el siguiente paso es el bacalao, you got this!

  6. Mireya

    Dec 25

    Pati thanks for sharing this recipe. This is my favor dish. It brings memories when I was a child.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 06

      So glad you liked it Mireya, un abrazo!

  7. Conny Kütter

    Dec 25

    Yo lo preparo casi igual, pero sin el vinagre y uso chiles (pimiento morron de lata/frasco.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jan 06

      Que rico Connie, gracias por compartir!

  8. Anne Sanders

    Apr 03

    Pati, This was my first bacalao, and it was absolutely delicious! No surprise, of course. Although I followed the directions about prepping the fish to the letter, I could not flake the fish at the end of the rinsing process. I ended up cutting the fish into chunks, but even that was difficult. Any idea as to what I did wrong?

    1. Pati

      Apr 04

      There are so many different kinds of salted bacalao, maybe the one that you got needed a bit more soaking. Happy to hear it was tasty!

  9. Gay Lastiri

    Jun 30

    Right after I was first married to my son’s father his mother came from Mexico and she made a cod fish dish more kind of casserole I’ve never been able to find the recipe anything similar to that you my dear lady have done it now I will play around with this recipe so I can get the one she made but man doesn’t look so good thank you I love your show you are just adorable thank you thank you so much

    1. Pati

      Jul 03

      Thank you so much Gay! I hope you make the recipe your own and are able to replicate your mother-in-law’s recipe.

  10. DAMON A Runyon

    Jan 18


    1. Pati

      Jan 23

      Hi Damon, This recipe traditionally uses the salted cod… it has such a smoky, salty and rustic taste. You could use the fresh cod, but then what I recommend is that you prepare the sauce along with the cooked potatoes, and just spoon it over baked, broiled or seared fresh cod.

      1. DAMON A Runyon

        Jan 24


  11. Lawrence Kevin

    Jan 11

    My wife has had a difficult time finding the dried salted cod in the US. Do you have any suggestions? It is one of her families favorites for Christmas meals.

  12. Lawrence Kevin

    Jan 11

    My wife has had a difficult time finding the dried salted cod in the US. Do you have any suggestions? It is one of her families favorites for Christmas meals.

    1. Pati

      Jan 13

      Oh, you know where I have found it? Either in seafood/fish specialty shops -tell your wife to ask the fishmonger to source it for her- or Italian grocery stores.

  13. Lawrence Kevin

    Jan 08

    Where to find the salted cod fish in San Francisco Bay Area?

    1. Pati

      Jan 13

      You should ask your fishmonger, or a seafood specialty store. Also, some Italian stores tend to have it too!

      1. Charles Bloomer

        Feb 04

        In the Bay Area, try any 99 Ranch Market. Or, try Googling portuguese grocery. Bacalao’s the national dish there!

  14. Lawrence Kevin

    Jan 08

    Where to find the salted cod fish in San Francisco Bay Area?

    1. Marianne Pacheco

      Jan 12

      Try any portuguese store or even brazilian store. Goya makes bacalhau tambien, I found it in the refrigerated section of H Mart or any large asian/international supermarket. Portuguese don’t refrigerate it – so don’t be scared if it’s in a wooden box on a shelf!

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