Brazilian Cheese Bread {Pao de Queijo}

I couldn’t believe how many of you guessed correctly when I posted a picture of these babies on Facebook last week and asked if you knew what they were. I’m so proud, you little foodies, you. A million dollars to all of you (except for those that guessed yorkshire puddings and cream puffs, no offense).

Long live pao de queijo! Or for all you other non-Portuguese speakers like me, Brazilian cheese bread. Easy Brazilian cheese bread. Gluten-free, easy Brazilian cheese bread. Delicious gluten-free, easy Brazilian cheese bread.

I wasn’t kidding in my Facebook post that Brian could polish off this entire batch if left alone. He spent a couple years living in Brazil and doesn’t want to brag, but would like me to state, for the record, that he still considers himself (15 years later) a pao de queijo expert. Of course Brazilians don’t necessarily make these in mini muffin tins and there are a few other differences to the authentic street food of Brian’s memories, but this quick knockoff recipe definitely fulfills the cravings and our entire family has been converted to the power and tastiness of pao de queijo.

Brazilian Cheese Bread {Pao de Queijo}

The texture of pao de queijo is chewy. Chewy, cheesy and delicious. This is due in part to the cheese used in the very thin batter, but it is also helped along by the tapioca flour (same thing as tapioca starch). I’m afraid there aren’t any substitutions for this ingredient but the good news is that because tapioca flour is used widely in gluten-free cooking and baking, I’ve seen it in most grocery stores these days (we’ve come so far!). I buy mine on Amazon (the Bob’s Red Mill brand) which works great for us since we make these easy cheesy little puffs all the time.

If you’ve never had pao de queijo, methinks now is the time! Get yourself some tapioca flour, a bit of Parmesan cheese (see the note in the recipe for other cheese options) and a mini muffin tin and you will be set. I promise you’ll want to make these over and over again. Just remember the Official Pao De Queijo Rules: 1) they must be eaten warm. must. 2) don’t let them get too brown on the bottom – they’ll lose their chewiness. 3) you might as well just bite the bullet and double the batch.

Brazilian Cheese Bread {Pao de Queijo}

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Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread {Pao de Queijo}

Yield: Makes 16-24 mini breads

Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread {Pao de Queijo}

You can experiment with many different cheeses in this recipe. My favorite combo is Parmesan and queso fresco (a widely available Mexican cheese). The texture will change if you use softer cheeses like cheddar or Monterey Jack. My recommendation if it's your first time making is to use all Parmesan cheese and then experiment after that. Don't substitute pregrated Parmesan in the green can or even the preshredded Parmesan in the bags or tubs (I tried that and the flavor was artificial and plasticky tasting). Freshly grated from a block is the way to go.

Also, in case you are wondering, there isn't a good substitution for the tapioca flour (same thing as tapioca starch). We make these often enough that I go through bags and bags of the stuff (I buy it on Amazon - the Bob's Red Mill brand - or it is usually widely available in most grocery stores these days).

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable or olive oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour (fluff the flour before measuring)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed shredded cheese, like Parmesan or Asiago (see note)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin (this makes about 16-24 little breads so if you don't have a muffin tin large enough, you can just make separate batches after the first ones come out).
  2. In a blender, combine the egg, oil, milk, flour and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender once or twice. Add the cheese and process for just a short bit, 5-10 seconds or a few short pulses, until the cheese is in small bits all throughout the batter.
  3. Give the batter a good stir to get any solids off the bottom and pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tin filling the cups nearly to the top.
  4. Bake the pao de queijo until very lightly golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Don't let them get too brown on the bottom or they will be too crusty and not as chewy.
  5. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for just a minute or two. They are best eaten warm! Don't worry if the cute little puffs fall a bit in the middle - that's completely normal.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/easy-brazilian-cheese-bread-pao-de-queijo/

Recipe Source:
tweaked this recipe thanks to Brian’s experience devouring these babies when he lived in Brazil

86 Responses to Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread {Pao de Queijo}

  1. Sheila says:

    Oh, yum . . .bring on the carbs! I can’t wait to make and impress my family with this recipe. Of course, not telling them how easy they are to make. :-) Finally, after many days, many miles, and many stores, I found garlic chili sauce. I am excited to make your Asian Grilled Chicken with Peanut Sauce this weekend. Although it has been a great excuse to go shopping, I’m going to have to break down and buy an Amazon prime membership. :-(

  2. Jenn A says:

    What do you eat these with? Soup? Or are they more like a snack or appetizer? They look great and I’m sure my family will gobble them up!

    • Karina says:

      No, we Braziians eat it as a snack, or in our breakfast, with some jelly, our cream cheese (“requeijão”) and a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee

  3. heather says:

    Do you add the flour in with the cheese?

  4. Barb says:

    I have never ever heard of this. It looks like something fun to try.

  5. Amy Nuding says:

    Do you add the flour in with the cheese?

    • Mel says:

      Heather and Amy – yes you do! Sorry for the confusion. I put that in the directions. Everything goes in the blender at first except the cheese. The cheese is added last and pulsed just a few times. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Chelsea says:

    I love those things. I have been trying to find a recipe I like and recently discovered that in Brazil they use a certain kind of tapioca flour which is called sour starch. Apparently there are sweet and sour versions of tapioca starch. The sour starch is sold on Amazon, but it’s spendy so I haven’t tried it yet.

  7. Debbie A says:

    On another note, so HAPPY to see you back in my email! Thanks for addressing the problem Mel, I simply LOVE and use a great majority of your recipes, ALL.THE.TIME! I wish the other bloggers I subscribe to would address this issue as well. Make the best of your busy day.

  8. Katie says:

    We are having a World Cup party in June and I will be making these!

  9. Jennifer Roth says:

    My husband will be so thrilled when I show him this recipe!! He lived in Brazil until he was 16 & misses it there, especially the food.

  10. Michelle says:

    If you (or anyone who makes these) could measure the flour and cheese in ounces, that would be great! I love going by weight so I get consistent results. (Plus measuring fluffy grated Parmesan cheese doesn’t sound so fun.) Thanks! They look great and I look forward to making them!

  11. Anna says:

    Our Brazilian friends made us these a few months ago and now I am so excited to make them. Delicious!

  12. Karen says:

    Can you make this with all purpose flour?

  13. OK, I am SO making these… how cool!

  14. Ela says:

    Mel, you must have read my mind. My sister has been bugging me to bake this since she tasted it in Brazil. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  15. Ela says:

    this is very similar to what in Argentina and Paraguay we call chipa, I´m gonna try this recipe and see the differences :)

  16. Adriana Evangelista says:

    I’m from Brazil and you make it completely different from the way i make it…. the way i make it makes a soft dough that you can take chunks and roll it up in little balls and bake it in a cookie sheet…. i like to use the Mexican Melting Cheese…. so, so good.. yum!!!!!

  17. Kathryn says:

    Can you make these in a regular sized muffin tin instead of the mini muffin tins?

    • Mel says:

      Kathryn (and Amy) – I suppose you could. I haven’t tried it so I’m not exactly sure how well they puff/bake through – but worth a try if you don’t have a mini muffin tin. Add a few minutes to the time and then just watch closely so they don’t get too brown on the bottom. Good luck if you either of you try it!

      • Amanda O says:

        Kathryn or Amy, did you try making it in regular sized muffin tins? I have had these before, I love them, but I don’t have my own mini muffin tin. I’d love to learn from your experience. Thanks!

  18. Noelle says:

    They look wonderful! Can I use soy milk instead of milk? Or, perhaps heavy cream as a substitute for the milk?

    • Mel says:

      Noelle – I’m not sure since I haven’t tried either of those subs. I definitely think they are worth a try, though. Good luck if you do!

  19. Amy Nuding says:

    Can you make these in a regular sized muffin tin instead of the mini muffin tins?

  20. Melissa says:

    I have successfully substituted arrowroot starch/flour for the one time I couldn’t find tapioca starch, but it isn’t any cheaper.

  21. Jodi says:

    Are these similar to Empadinha de queijo which are Portuguese….they look similar from the photos. I need to make a portuguese appetizer for a dinner party this Saturday and I’m really hoping these will do the trick :) as all the recipes for Empadinha de queijo are in portuguese :) Thanks!

    • Isabelle says:

      As Brazil’s language is Portuguese due to a large amount of settlers from Portugal, I’d bet they would be very similar, but not quite the same.

    • Mel says:

      Jodi – I really don’t know since I’m not familiar with Empadinha de queijo. You might try looking around online to see if they are similar. Sorry I am not more help!

      • Jodi says:

        No worries…from what I can tell they are close enough for me to bring to this meal where no one has lived in Portugal….but one daughter is about to head there on her mission. So I’m going for it…plus I’ve never had a recipe of yours fail unlike others I’ve randomly tried form the web. Thanks!

  22. Holly W says:

    Love these! I know one commenter from Brazil said they are eaten as a breakfast item or as a snack. At our house, I serve these with soups. You can buy tapioca flour in bulk from Winco for a very reasonable price.

  23. Amy D. says:

    I made these tonight. I was thrilled when you posted this recipe, because I’ve tried about every pao de queijo recipe on the interwebs, and they never turn out just right. I also have a hubby who spent two years in Brazil, so standards are high around here. I’m pleased to say they were fantastic! I cooked them a bit too long, so I’ll definitely take your advice next time and make sure they’re not too crusty. They tasted just like the ones you get at a Brazilian restaurant, and didn’t last longer than 5 minutes in my house. Mel, you’re turning me into a fantastic cook. Thank you!

  24. Susan says:

    I am a rockstar in the kitchen! I’ve swooned over these in restaurants, but never dreamed I would be pulling them out of my oven. My pao ended up with a big dent in the bottom not the top. They are begging to be filled with meat or beans and rice. I tried putting about 1/4 cup batter in a regular muffin tin and they did well. They browned faster than the mini muffins. Thanks Mel!

  25. Alicia says:

    Can you use coconut oil instead of canola or Olive?

  26. Anita Coyle says:

    Great minds think alike!
    No lie, I just posted these last week! My husband lived in Brazil and he can’t get enough of these either!
    http://www.eatthinkbemerry.com/2014/05/pao-de-queijo/

  27. Marina Darnell says:

    Are these the same as the ones served at Tucanos?

  28. Cecilia says:

    Look this easy recipe with your bread machine, step by step here: http://mimaquinadepan.com.ar/chipa/

  29. Unless it’s quick bread, I just associate ‘easy’ with bread. BUT this recipe proves me wrong. It reminds me of a the lightest bread in the entire universe that I had recently at a restaurant featuring Trinadad food. I have tagged this recipe!!!!! That bread was beyond describing it to anyone. I am suspecting this is of the same ilk.

  30. brita says:

    I love pao de queijo and have been making a version ever since I returned from Brazil over a dozen years ago. tapioca starch has always been difficult to find and I have had to get it at health food stores which was quite expensive. last year, I went to an Asian food store and found it there for only 75¢ a box! thought I would pass that along :) looking forward to trying your version!

  31. sujoo says:

    Made a modified version of these using my sister’s recipe and yours. ..they were yummy!!!! But, are they supposed to have a hole in the bottoms? Just wondering…

    • Mel says:

      Sujoo – Nope, the ones I make never have a hole on the bottom. Maybe it’s due to combining the two recipes, not sure. I am glad they were yummy!

    • Hillary says:

      I tried these tonight and mine also had holes in the bottom instead of the top. They were still delicious.

      • Mel says:

        Hillary (and others) – that’s so interesting about the holes in the bottom! I’ve never had that happen before. But the funny thing is Brian made these this last Sunday for Mother’s Day and what do you know…holes in the bottom!! After pressing him for details (because I wasn’t in the kitchen when he made them), he said he’s pretty sure he blended the mixture quite a bit longer than I normally do. So maybe the little holes in the bottom appear if the mixture is overprocessed??

  32. Holly says:

    Woohoo! These were awesome! And for the person who asked if they are like the ones a Tucanos, the answer is YES. Some of mine also had holes in the bottom, but it might be an altitude thing messing with how they raise/pop in the oven. I used a mini-muffin pan that is on the large side of that variety, and I got 12. If I use my shallower, smaller diameter pans I think I’d get 18-24. We could not stop eating them!

  33. Oooh I love bread and have just started experimenting with making dough based recipes at home. I love the look of these cheesy bread cups!

  34. Holly says:

    I think maybe you have some fans in my neck of the woods, because my local grocery store is completely sold out of Tapioca flour…it was the only specialty flour that was depleted. I’ll have to check out some others when next I run errands.

    • Mel says:

      Holly – that’s kind of funny! If you can’t find any, I’ll send you some. :) I have a whole pantry full.

      • Holly says:

        They had restocked by Saturday. Just to be safe, I bought 2 bags. Made them again with my smaller muffin tins (smaller cavity) which made them about 2-bites-sized. This is a dangerous size then they are sitting on the counter cooling and I’m putzing around in the kitchen. :-)

  35. Sara says:

    I love so many of your recipes Mel! I can’t wait to try these.
    What type of milk do you use? Skim? 1%? 2%?

  36. sujoo says:

    The only thing different I did, that I noticed, was I refrigerated it after I blended it, just to have it ready and pop them in the oven. (The variety came afterwards..will send you an email about that.) Anyhow, holes or no holes, they are delicious!!!! Thanks Mel! !!

  37. Erika says:

    These were simply Ah-Ma-Zing! Super simple to whip up & oh so chewy, crispy & cheesy tasting, all at the same time. My family of 4 wolfed down the whole batch of 24 puffs w soup for dinner tonight. Really, really loved them! Oh & some of mine had holes in the bottom too – I think it’s just the way some of them puffed up. Tasted the exact same as the ones without the hole. Followed your recipe exactly other than put them in the fridge right after blending so they could be ready to pop into the oven as soon as we got home & then dinner was ready in 15 mins.

    Thanks for such a different & delicious recipe Mel!

  38. I have a mini-muffin tin! I need to make these!!

  39. Denise says:

    Hi, I was wondering what the consistency of the dough was, being that its in a blender? Thanks, this sounds and looks like an awesome recipe! :D

  40. Tami says:

    Just made these last night and my family LOVED them! Nice change from regular rolls. Thanx!

  41. Teresa says:

    These were just great–they remind me a little bit of popovers. I used all freshly grated parmesan. I did have a non-stick 24 cup mini muffin pan, and was afraid to overcook them, so I baked them at 375 and just watched them for the perfect brown color. We ate them all up. A deliciously different bread. On the menu tomorrow–crispy chicken wraps, another winner!

  42. Bri H. says:

    Made these today and they were a success! Part of the trick for me was not relying on color but actually prodding them to feel if they were too done. Thanks for sharing!

    When you do the Parmesan and queso fresco, how much of each do you use?

    • Mel says:

      Bri H. – I use the same amount of cheese in the recipe no matter what kind – so often I’ll just do half Parmesan, half queso fresco (or all queso fresco). It’s really adaptable!

  43. Jenny says:

    These are great! They turned out just like you said they would. I took them to work(always a good test) and everyone approved.

  44. Paul Oosten says:

    Hi,
    I’ve made your recipe for my (Dutch) blog. It was a great succes!
    http://www.maillard.nl/2014/06/26/fhl-pao-de-queijo/

    Thanks.

  45. Sara Schlesinger says:

    I baked them as long as I could, but I still felt like the insides were a little too chewy instead of just right chewy. I did not fluff the tapioca flour first, could that be why?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sara…it could be due to over flouring but since these are definitely chewy little breads, it’s hard to know how chewy (or not chewy) you wanted them without eating one. Could be you made them just right! :)

  46. nipponnin says:

    Looks cute and delicious! I have to get some tapioca flour right now! Can’t wait to try it!

  47. Camille says:

    OH MY! So glad I finally tried these! DELISH! I made a batch that got eaten so fast that I had to hurry and make another for Patrick!

  48. Caroline Thomas says:

    Hi Mel, I made these tonight and they were great! Never had them before so I have no idea if they came out “authentic” but we loved them. My husband sneaked out to the kitchen to eat more before I had even finished my main course!
    P.S. I’ve been reading your blog and using your recipes for months now – thanks so much for all your fantastic recipes!

  49. Shandi says:

    I just made these and they were totally hollow… No bottom or anything. Any thoughts? They were absolutely delicious, just looked a bit strange.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Shandi – a friend of mine had that same thing happen and when we talked about it I think we figured out she blended the batter for too long. Do you think there’s any chance your batter was processed a bit too long? Sometimes I’ll get little holes in the bottom of mine and when I think about it, those are the times my kids have helped and ran the blender too long.

  50. Christy B. says:

    Hopefully you moved near a Winco where you can buy tapioca flour in the bulk section for around $1.50 a lb! I’ve also seen a 25 lb bag of it with other food storage type foods.

  51. donna says:

    Wondering if these can be prepared ahead and frozen for future use.

    • Mel says:

      donna – I’ve only ever made them fresh but you could certainly try freezing after baking – I think if they were reheated gently, they’d probably work out well.

  52. Emily Marie says:

    I’m so sad! These look so amazing and I’ve ordered the tapioca flour from amazon and it was supposed to get here today and it’s still not here. *Insert pouty face* Ok, sorry about the rant, I’m just so excited to try these! I’ve been looking forward to it all day and I knew you would sympathize. Hopefully it will come soon and I’ll be able to enjoy a midnight snack! :) Thanks for all your amazing recipes, you are an inspiration to me!

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