Pão de Queijo – Brazilian Cheese Bread, yum!!!!!!

Brazilian Cheese BreadIf you have visited Brazil you are likely to have tried these tasty morsels known as pão de queijo, or literally translated, cheese bread. Pão de queijo is a popular snack all over Brazil, but especially in the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Espirito Santo. Found in any coffee shop, lanchonete, or padaria, these are the perfect treat with coffee, for when you are feeling peckish, just want a little something to keep you going, or in my case can’t get enough of them.

On my first trip to Brazil in 2005 I, of course, ate my fair share of pão de queijo, and I have been addicted to them ever since. Not being in Brazil can be a big challenge when you crave these tasty morsels on a daily basis. Every time I visited Brazil I would bring packets of quick and simple pão de queijo mix back to the the USA. Brazilian Cheese BreadUnfortunately these never lasted long enough and I didn’t make the effort to learn how to make them from scratch myself (everyone had told me that they were very difficult, and silly-me, I believed them). So, I was usually without them for many months and had to manage my cravings!

Most Brazilians do not make pão de queijo from scratch. Instead, they either get them from their local padaria (bakery), or buy it frozen from the supermarket. Although buying them frozen is the quick and easy solution to making pão de queijo at home, I knew that I could make these scrumptious treats from scratch and meet the padaria quality.

Now, making pão de queijo in Brazil is easy because all of the ingredients are easy to find. Unfortunately, it is much more of a challenge in the USA. First, the recipe calls for polvilho azedo, which is a sour manioc starch, that is almost impossible to find. The best substitute that I have found for this in the USA is tapioca flour, or you can try searching for it in latin markets where it is sold as almidón agrio. The other ingredient problem you have out of Brazil is the cheese. The cheese that is used for pão de queijo is a half-cured cheese that is tangy and flavorful. Finding a substitute for the cheese is a challenge and I have usually resorted to a mix of parmesan and mozzarella.

Brazilian Cheese BreadNevertheless, you can make these tasty morsels in your own home. And, I can guarantee that once you have tried these you will want to run back to the kitchen, make a huge batch, and store them in the freezer so you never run out!!!!

Anyway, I won’t keep you from these goodies anymore. Here is the recipe for the pão de queijo that I made this weekend. They turned out amazing as you can see from the pictures. Hopefully they work out for you as well as they did for me. If they don’t work the first time don’t give up! Remember, if the mixture is too runny just add some more flour until you can roll the mixture into small balls that will keep their shape on the tray.

I look forward to hearing and seeing pictures from your pão de queijo!


makes approx. 30

320g (or slightly more than 2 cups) polvilho azedo or tapioca flour
1/2 cup vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil
1 cup milk
2 tsp salt
2 cups finely grate queijo minas (or you can try a mix of 1 part mozzarella and 2 parts parmesan cheese)

Brazilian Cheese BreadHeat the oil and milk together in the microwave or stove. Do not bring to a boil. Mix the oil and milk with the polvilho azedo and salt until fully combined. Put in the fridge to cool to room temperature. Finely grate the cheese. When the mixture has cooled mix a little and then add the cheese. Make sure mixture is combined well. If mixture is too runny add more polvilho azedo until mixture is slightly firm and when rolled into a small ball it holds. Preheat oven to 375F or 180C. Cover hands with oil and roll balls approximately 2.5cm or 1inch (make sure not to make the balls too big, otherwise they will not rise). Place on a baking tray or cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden.

If freezing, place rolled balls onto wax paper and put in the freezer for approximately 8 hours, or until well frozen. Transfer to ziploc bag. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F or 180C, when oven is hot retrieve pão de queijo from the freezer, place on baking tray or cookie sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until tops are slightly golden. It is important to remember to bake when still frozen.

Serve immediately. Pão de Queijo is best eaten straight out of the oven.

For a PDF of this Recipe CLICK HERE!

Brazilian Cheese Bread


33 thoughts on “Pão de Queijo – Brazilian Cheese Bread, yum!!!!!!

  1. That turned out decent, although a bit salty, and I overheated the liquids at first and it congealed the tapioca flour and I started over. Also, I think I could make them even a little smaller next time, and maybe put them on a higher rack of my very simple gas oven so that the bottom won’t cook quite so fast… Next time will come out perfect, no doubt! Thanks for this recipe!


    • Glad to hear that it worked. Yes, the saltiness depends largely on the cheeses you use. With the heating of the milk and oil I heat them to a point where I can still put my finger in without burning it. I am sure that next time they will be great. It took me a few tries to get it close to perfect!


  2. Yes, I used unsweetened almond milk (I know, funny given that I am using cheese, but it’s all I had) and it did not seem to be a problem. I used less salt than it called for because I was using parmesan and mozarella (and parmesan is salty). Fun experimenting with tapioca too… Had never dealt with it in such quantities 🙂 These little balls remind me a bit of mochi. (I think they will be less chewy the next time around- the bottom part cooked too fast so it was extra chewy there). Thanks 🙂


  3. Yes they are not unlike mochi. These are bangin’, I made them twice today. I needed something to bring to a class lunch. We cut them open and put pesto inside. They only lasted a few minutes. Since I had everything out already, I just made them again for friends and my family, celebrating the last day of school. Everyone loves stuff like this, classics professors and 5 year-olds equally. The world needs more savory pastries. Muito obrigado!


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  9. Oh, I should have come here first! I have tried to make them from scratch twice here at home, but the recipe in the back of the polvilho package is not working. First time they didn’t taste cheesy enough, second time were too dense… This week I’ll try yours to see. 🙂


        • I don’t make mine with egg’s as I don’t feel they need them. I know that most recipes ask for egg’s, but I leave them out. Maybe in the future I will adapt my recipe to include eggs.


          • Thank you for the recipe!!! I ran out of oil, but hubby really wanted his pão de queijo 😉 (yes, I know, I should really check my ingredients before making any promises! ha ha), so I replaced the oil by 2 eggs and it was great!!! Yeepee 😀


            • Glad to hear that it worked out. Great idea switching the eggs for the oil. I am definitely going to get working on a recipe that includes eggs. I am curious to see what the taste difference might be.


  10. My brother has lived in Brazil for over 40 years; every time he comes back to the States to visit he brings me several bags of polvilho azeda – lucky me! His ravenous sons and I spent a glorious day in my kitchen a few years trying all the different semi-dry, flavorful white cheeses we could find. They quickly settled on manchego as the best substitute, now eager to try your parmesan/mozarella mix as well.With the onslaught of gluten-free, I also hope to find other reasonably healthy (for me, that means not fried) bread substitutes using both kinds of tapioca flour. Can you put this high on your blog agenda, please? Thanks for helping spread the word about yummy Brazilian food!


  11. I tried making them and they don’t seem quite right. The dough is soft and barely holds the ball shape, and when I baked them, they didn’t puff up and burnt on the bottom before they were cooked through. Oven is accurate and I measured the balls to ensure they were 1″. Any advice?


  12. Saskia I’m from Brazil and in this moment I’m living in Canada and I was trying to find a good website in english with recipes from my country and I found your blog and I have to say how amazing is your blog it’s so nice to see people from other countries interest in our food from Brazil is even more nice to find a blog like yours, amazing blog really good explanations, and I love how you talk about our food and our country, I hope youur blog become more and more famous you are really talented, I recommend your blog to all the people I meet here in Canada! Xoxo, Ana Júlia…


    • Thank you Ana. I have been pretty absent for a while, but am hoping to pick up my blog and continue sharing delicious brazilian recipes.


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  15. Hi, these look great. I wish mine looked like this. My nice little balls, that held there own very easily, flattened like pancakes once they hit the oven heat. Standing them on a tray at room temp is no problems tho. Anybody else have same problem?


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  18. Thank you for this recipe.I have been making the brazilian cheese bread for years but with eggs.Did not know that one without exists.
    My son loves these but he’s allergic to eggs,so now he can enjoy them.


  19. I have been making these using eggs, and my kids loved them.Unfortunately about 3 years ago we found out my son has an egg allergy.I am happy to find this recipe.Mine came out perfect after weighing the flour on a electronic scale,but after drying they were really oily.My hands were very oily when mixing the flour with the milk/oil mixture.What can I do about this?I am afraid to use less as I believe it replaces the eggs.Can I use butter instead,as in my other recipes?
    Thank you.


  20. I started using olive oil instead and they come out great (so round and puffy,I wish I could post a pic).I keep on making them because my kids LOVE them.Thank you.


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