At-Home Pão De Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) Recipe

There are a wealth of incredible recipes that originate from Brazil, from rich feijoada to juicy picanha. One in particular that is seeing a recent rise in popularity in the U.S. is pão de queijo. This gluten-free snack has its roots dating back to the 18th century and originated in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, the country's primary dairy region. Thought of as Brazil's answer to the French gougeres, this bread uses cassava starch mixed with local cheese to make a tasty, salty bun.

Over the centuries, pão de queijo has become a beloved national favorite, traditionally enjoyed with coffee for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. While some of the traditional cheeses can be tricky to come by in North America, we worked with recipe developer Taylor Murray to discover a simple way to recreate this recipe with ingredients commonly found stateside using a muffin tin to speed things along.

Gather ingredients for pão de queijo

The main ingredient in pão de queijo is tapioca starch. This starch also known as cassava starch and is made from cassava, also called manioc, Brazilian arrowroot, or yuca. With the rise of gluten-free baking in America, tapioca starch has become increasingly widely available and can be found online or in a health food store, if not your local supermarket. Truly authentic pão de queijo uses a sour tapioca starch so keep in mind that this version will be lacking that flavor.

In addition to the starch is some sort of cheese which gives the bread its signature flavor. Traditionally, this recipe calls for Minas cheese, a salty cow's milk cheese not unlike Parmesan or cheddar. To recreate this dish, a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan can create a reasonably close flavor and texture. If you are able to source Minas cheese, feel free to use it for a more authentic flavor.

In addition to these, this recipe also calls for some whole milk, coconut oil, and eggs. These ingredients help bind the dough and provide moisture.

Blend the liquid ingredients

Blend the milk, eggs, and coconut oil in a blender until smooth. Add 1 ½ cups tapioca starch and blend once more until completely smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter at this point. "While other recipes don't typically call for a blender, I find that this trick can make it easier to incorporate the tapioca, which can have a tendency to get clumpy," says Murray.

Fold in the cheese

Transfer the dough or batter to a bowl and fold in the remaining tapioca starch. Fold in the cheese and salt and let the dough sit for 20 minutes. This step lets the starch absorb some liquid and it should get stiffer during this time. "If the dough is still a bit runny, you can add more tapioca starch a few tablespoons at a time," says Murray. Be careful not to overmix the dough as that could make it tough.

Bake the buns

Ready a muffin tin by spraying it with nonstick spray. Add 2 tablespoons of the dough to each cup and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Remove from tin and repeat with remaining dough. Let the buns cool slightly before enjoying. 

Pão de queijo is best eaten fresh but they should last for a day or so covered at room temperature. It's most commonly consumed as a snack in the afternoon or eaten with coffee. As a snack, pão de queijo pairs wonderfully with a range of dips, from sweet to savory. Try them with a spicy salsa or a smooth guacamole for an enticing flavor contrast. They're also excellent with cream cheese or a sweet fruit jam, which highlights the bread's subtly savory cheese undertones.

In a full meal context, pão de queijo makes an excellent side dish. The cheesy, soft interior and crispy exterior make them an ideal complement to soups or stews, as they can soak up flavors without losing their texture. They're also a popular accompaniment to barbecued meats in a traditional Brazilian churrasco, offering a cheese-infused respite from the rich, smoky meats.

At-Home Pão De Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) Recipe
5 from 35 ratings
Learn how to make pão de queijo, a cheesy Brazilian bread, with easy-to-find ingredients using this recipe in your home kitchen.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Homemade pão de queijo
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups tapioca starch, divided
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare a muffin tin by spraying it with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a blender, add milk, coconut oil, and eggs. Blend until combined.
  3. Add 2 ½ cups tapioca starch and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Fold in the remaining starch, then fold in the cheeses. Add a pinch of salt and let stand for 20 minutes.
  5. Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough into each cup of muffin tin. Bake until cheese begins to brown and buns are set, about 20 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Let cool completely before eating.
Calories per Serving 148
Total Fat 7.7 g
Saturated Fat 5.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 29.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 15.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 0.6 g
Sodium 119.5 mg
Protein 4.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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