Brazilian Cheese Bread

Pão de queijo, also known as Brazilian cheese bread, is a savory pastry from Brazil. It is soft and delicious and best served straight from the oven. 

They’re a great alternative to rolls and are especially great for those who are on a gluten-free diet. If you can resist eating them all in one day, they make excellent ham sandwiches the following day, but… you may never find out 🙂 For more tasty bread, try Cheesy Garlic Bread and Garlic Parmesan Artisan Bread

Brazilian cheese bread stacked on a white plate

Authentic Pao De Queijo!

Years ago we had the opportunity to go to Brazil and spend the summer in the state of São Paulo. Stephen did an internship for his major and I got to tag along. It was such an amazing trip and we’ll never forget all of the wonderful people we met and all of the incredible experiences we had. Brazil is such a beautiful country!

On our first day there, our “hosts” took us to a supermarket to buy a few things and inside was a little cafe. There we sipped on fresh coconut water straight from the coconut and ate a warm little ball of cheese bread known as pão de queijo.

It was love at first bite. Tender yet crusty exteriors, with dense and gooey interiors loaded with cheese. These are what dreams are made of friends. Ever since that trip I’ve been dying to recreate them and today I’m finally sharing them with you. Don’t mind the bird, he’s along for the ride too.

Pao De Queijo on a plate

How to Make Brazilian Cheese Bread

The recipe for pão de queijo is very similar to making cream puffs (or gougères) only instead of using all-purpose flour you use tapioca flour. This is a key ingredient and cannot be substituted!!!

You’ll be able to find tapioca flour (or starch) at most well-stocked grocery stores with a natural foods section, a specialty store like Whole Foods, or an Asian market. I was easily able to find the Bob’s Red Mill brand (pictured below) so I used that.

Tapioca flour is essential for the texture and flavor of these cheese puffs. It’s naturally gluten-free and creates a gum-like texture when combined with liquids.

PREP. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment and set aside.

BOIL. In a large saucepan placed over medium-high heat, boil the milk, oil, and salt, whisking occasionally. Remove when you start to see large bubbles forming.

STIR. Working quickly, stir in the tapioca flour. The dough will become VERY tacky and gummy. It will almost become gelatinous.

BEAT. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn mixing speed on low and gradually increase to medium. Beat the mixture for 2-3 minutes until it begins to become smooth.

ADD. Add the grated cheeses and incorporate. Turn the mixing speed down to low and add the eggs one at a time, beat on medium for 2-3 minutes until a sticky, stretchy dough forms.

SCOOP. Using an ice cream scoop, create portions by dipping the scoop in water, scooping the batter and placing onto the prepared baking sheet.

BAKE. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops and sides are lightly golden in color and the outsides are crisp (they may look a little greasy but that’s just from the cheese, they won’t be greasy when they cool).

Note: While in the oven, the pão de queijo will rise and puff over time, you’ll start to see it double in size around the 20 minute mark.

COOL. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet for a few minutes before serving.

Two balls of Brazilian cheese bread stacked on each other

Tips, Tricks, & Storing

Can you use muffin tins? Some recipes use muffin tins instead of just a baking sheet. This is an option if you want a puffy roll shape instead of just an indistinct shape. Keep an eye on the color of the rolls so that you don’t burn the tops of them.

Serve your cheese bread with:

Storing: Store the leftover cheese balls at room temperature in an airtight container for about 2 days.

Freezing: When freezing the dough balls,  place the balls on a plate/baking sheet for 2-3 hours until solidified and then place them in an airtight ziploc bag. They can stay frozen for up to 3 months. Then bake like normal but add an extra 5-10 minutes.

Reheating:  If you want to quickly reheat them without worrying about the texture then microwave it for 15-20 minutes. If you want to retain some of the crispiness, then you need to place them in the oven at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

For more bread recipes, check out:

Pao De Queijo

Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe

Pão de queijo, also known as Brazilian cheese bread, is a savory pastry from Brazil. It is soft and delicious and best served straight from the oven.
5 from 2 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 12 rolls
Calories: 208kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cup tapioca flour*
  • 1 cup part skim mozzarella - finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup cotija - OR queso fresco OR parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • 2 eggs - room temperature(see notes)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan placed over medium-high heat, boil the milk, oil, and salt, whisking occasionally. Remove when you start to see large bubbles forming. Working quickly, stir in the tapioca flour. The dough will become VERY tacky and gummy. It will almost become gelatinous.
  • Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn mixing speed on low and gradually increase to medium. Beat the mixture for 2-3 minutes until it begins to become smooth. Add the grated cheeses and incorporate. Turn the mixing speed down to low and add the eggs one at a time, beat on medium for 2-3 minutes until a sticky, stretchy dough forms.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, create portions by dipping the scoop in water, scooping the batter and placing onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops and sides are lightly golden in color and the outsides are crisp (they may look a little greasy but that's just from the cheese, they won't be greasy when they cool).
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Tapioca flour can be found in the baking aisle at most grocery stores with a natural foods section or a specialty store like Whole Foods. Bob's Red Mill was the brand I used.
  • To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, place in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes, remove and use.

Nutrition

Serving: 12g | Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 53mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 144IU | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 1mg