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.

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.

Pao De Queijo on a plate

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.

Two balls of Brazilian cheese bread stacked on each other

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.
4.82 from 16 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.

Video

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

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About the Author

Natalie

Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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Comments:

  1. This looks absolutely delicious! My husband would go bananas for this as it has two of his top three most favorite things to eat–bread and cheese (3rd is beef). I’ll have to add this to my must try list!

  2. Natalie,
    I love pão de queijo, and for me it was quite difficult to say “-No!” to a bunch of them served with freshly brewed coffee in the morning.
    Since I recently discovered some food allergies, I must avoid them, because of the eggs and lactose. =(
    As an alternative, I bake “chia breads”, that have tapioca flour as a main ingredient and is incredibly delicious! I posted the recipe – the english version is at the end, in case you want to give it a try. =)
    http://cozinhologoexisto.blogspot.com.br/2014/03/como-fazer-pao-de-chia-sem-gluten-sem.html
    Beijos!

    1. Oooh! Those sound great too, I’ll definitely give the recipe a try… I have quite a bit of tapioca flour left!

  3. Hi! Ive tried making this recipe and I’m not sure if I’m doing it right! On the outside it looks super delicious just like your pictures but on the inside they are super gooey still. The first batch I cooked for 28 min and then the second batch 35 minutes. Any tips? I haven’t had really any good bread since I found out i can’t eat gluten and I was hoping this bread would change that for me!

    1. Hi Erin! Pão De Queijo is generally crunchy on the outside and really squishy inside, it’s kind of like eating a soft cheese like mozzarella. It definitely isn’t going to be anything like a roll you are probably use to eating. If you’re looking to make a gluten free bread recipe, I’d highly suggest using Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 flour and just use that in place of all-purpose flour in a regular recipe. It’s a fantastic blend!!

  4. I tried to make these, but something (user error) went wrong…
    My dough never really made it to the “dough” stage. It stayed more like a batter. Added more tapioca flour and it helped a bit, but the finished product was a bit too tough. They looked more like golden flying saucers than round little rolls.
    Suggestions?
    BTW my family loved them all the same!

    1. Mine spread out and only rose a tiny bit. As soon add they cooled, they deflated. This is the second cooked version of this bread that I’ve attempted, and the same happened with it. The versions I’ve tried that don’t require a pre-boil all came out fine. I don’t know what the problem is. 🙁

    2. Hi Dayna,
      It is the case that a few recipes are extra soft. I’m from Minas Gerais (pão de queijo’s birth place) and the recipe I use is like batter. I’d say add extra cheese (so much cheese you start smiling frantically – that’s me) and you can also form the balls with yor hands, just use a bowl of water to make your hands damp first, this way the dough does no stick too much to them.

      I hope it works!

  5. I’ve made these several times now and they are so delicious. I’ve tried the Brazilian cheese bread from the frozen food section of the grocery store but didn’t care for them nearly as much as these. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  6. i have made cheese bread a few times now and its always turned out great. I made this recipe just the other day and had no issues with it, this time however I am finding that the batter seem quite a bit more loose than before which is baffling to me as I followed (or so I thought) the recipe. maybe the eggs were bigger or something but I’m wondering if I let this chill in the fridge if it might help firm things up a bit before I try to bake them so I can have the desired shape of a roll??? If I can remember I will update with the results.

    1. I don’t see why you couldn’t refrigerate it. Sometimes humidity can change the consistency of dough, but bigger eggs could be it too. You could always try adding a bit more tapioca flour to see if that helps.

  7. Thanks, these were really lovely. I made one in a pan and after it cooked covered it with pizza toppings and cheese and it was like a stuffed crust pizza. Such a treat.

  8. In Botucatu, SP I had this cooked in a waffle iron — it was at the Minas Gerais store. So delicious! 
    I usually bake mine in mini muffin pans. Lots more nibbles that way. 

  9. 5 stars
    This bread is delicious and delicate. 
    The recipe is easy to follow. The only thing I added to the recipe so that the cheese bread would be a little fluffy, was 1/2 tsp of baking power. It definitely makes a difference. 
    Wish I could add a picture to this comment so you could see the difference between a almost flat bread to a round one with a little height. 

  10. 5 stars
    These are a family favorite from our time living in Brazil! Thanks for this awesome recipe so we can make it back here in the USA.

  11. 5 stars
    YUMMM, My family is from Brazil and this is a legit recipe! We use it all the time and love it. Thanks for sharing it. Searching for soccer supplies and ended up with a recipe page, lol. love it.

  12. 5 stars
    I am a Brazilian pão de queijo fanatic living in New Zealand.
    Fair to say I have tried several recipes over the years trying to find The One. 
    So far this is the best I came across.
    Like other comments here I have baked this recipes a few times and had different results.
    However they were all delicious and family approved.
    Maybe it was the type of cheese or tapioca flour brand … or even humidity?!! Auckland can be very wet at times. 
    Either way, I will keep using this recipe. Thank you for sharing! 
    🙂