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Aug 13, 2019

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

Brazilian cheese bread, or Pão de Queijo, are airy puffs of cheesy deliciousness.

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Pão de queijo, little cheese puffs that resemble French gougères (pâte à choux cheese puffs), are eaten as a breakfast snack with coffee in Brazil. I think they would also make an excellent savory cocktail party snack.

The difference between Brazilian cheese bread and French gougères is that the pão de queijo is made with tapioca starch/flour, making them crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside.

The base of this Brazilian cheese bread is tapioca starch or flour. It's a super fine and powdery ingredient, and kind of feels like glutinous rice starch. Evidently, it gelatinizes when baking to give these cheese puff structure and chewiness.

Traditional Pão de Queijo recipes call for a stiff dough where the milk and starch are cooked before adding the egg, and then shaped into balls and baked on a baking sheet.

This dough is more batter-like, and doesn't involve cooking the ingredients before mixing. You bake the batter in a nonstick mini muffin pan. I found this method on my friend Sally's blog (Sally is from Brazil), Bewitching Kitchen. It's a quick and easy method. I wish I had photos of the dough rising in the oven. It was so miraculous.

Brazilian cheese puffs

How to make this Brazilian cheese bread

First, mix tapioca starch, milk, oil, an egg, salt, and finely grated cheese in a blender until the mixture is smooth. 

Next, pour the batter into a nonstick mini muffin pan. I sprayed mine with spray oil to play it safe. The batter should come up to about the 1/4 inch mark. 

Finally, place the pan into a 400 degree F oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The Pão de Queijo will puff up to create puffs about twice the size of the muffin cavities. 

Gruyere and chive Pão de Queijo

Brazilian cheese bread recipe variations:

Traditional Pão de Queijo recipes call for meia cura cheese, which is a farmers-type cheese. I've also seen lots of recipes calling for Parmesan cheese.

For my Brazilian cheese bread, I went to Switzerland, and used my favorite baking cheese, Gruyére, and added a couple of tablespoons of chives to the mixture. Other great cheeses for this bread include Asiago or blue cheese.

What to do with leftovers:

Individually wrap and freeze leftovers. Reheat the frozen cheese puffs in a 350 degree F oven for 5 to 10 minutes. 

This month, the Bread Bakers' theme is gluten free. When this was announced, I have to admit I rolled my eyes. Gluten free bread? I'm normally not a fan of gluten free baked goods (although these Japanese crackers were pretty darn tasty), but this cheese bread is definitely the exception.

Check out everyone's gluten free breads:

Gruyere and chive Brazilian cheese bread

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

Yield: 24 rolls

Brazilian cheese bread, or Pão de Queijo, are airy puffs of cheesy deliciousness.


  • 170 grams (1 1/2 cups) tapioca starch
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil (I used grape seed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 70 grams finely grated Gruyère cheese, plus more for sprinkling


How to make Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Spray a 24 cavity nonstick mini muffin pan with spray oil. 
  3. In a blender, mix all of the ingredients except the reserved cheese, and blend until smooth. 
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tin cavities. The batter should come up to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch below the rim of the muffin cavities. 
  5. Sprinkle the tops with a little extra grated cheese (optional).
  6. Bake the breads for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. 
  7. Turn the puffs out onto a wire rack immediately to cool for five minutes. 
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature the same day. 
gluten free, pao de queijo, cheese bread
bread, appetizer, gluten free
Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe was adapted from the November/December 2017 edition of Milk Street Magazine, Simply Recipes, and Bewitching Kitchen

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board. Links are also updated after each event on the BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Would you like to comment?

  1. So cute and tasty looking! I have heard of this but never tasted it. Almost looks like choux. We have lots of tapioca starch, I should have my daughter try making it!

  2. You are speaking right into my heart... ;-)

    1. Awwww! Thanks for all of the tips!

    2. These are on my to do list for a long time, yours looks so amazing, must try these soon.

  3. When I made these it was so hard to stop myself from eating the entire batch. Your little balls of goodness look so good, I am going to have to try this recipe as it is slightly different from mine, and makes more, which is always a good thing. :)


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