Brazilian Cheesy Bread

September  1, 2015
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 12 large cheesy breads
Author Notes

I've been making this recipe since high school, when my friend introduced me to these gooey cheese balls with cavernous interiors and a crunchy skin. I love using sharp cheddar cheese but you can also use Parmesan, Asiago, mild cheddar, Swiss, or whatever hard cheese you are loving right now. These are also amazing with a sprinkle of blue cheese added to the tops right before baking. —Hannah Petertil

What You'll Need
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup (about 4 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F and lightly grease a 12 count muffin pan.
  2. In a food processor with blade attachment, add egg, oil, milk, and salt. Blend for 5 seconds.
  3. Add tapioca flour and blend on low for 10 seconds, or until combined.
  4. Add your cheese and blend for 5 more seconds, allowing the cheese to incorporate.
  5. Using a tablespoon measure, fill each muffin tin with 2 tablespoons of the batter. Evenly distribute any batter that remains.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes—the tops of your cheesy balls should be golden and puffy. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before removing from pan. These are best enjoyed the same day but will keep in an airtight container. However, they will lose some of their signature crunch on day two.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Karen Brooks
    Karen Brooks
  • Georgia Rotini
    Georgia Rotini
  • Diari
  • byb
  • Lisa Langs
    Lisa Langs

25 Reviews

brushjl February 3, 2023
This was very good, I tried to use cupcake papers rather than grease the pan, bit that was a mistake. It just stuck to the paper. Oh well, next time will grease.
Karen B. August 25, 2022
Really wonderful gluten-free bread! We love our cheese, so I increased the grated cheddar to 6oz. Also added 1/2 tsp. dry mustard. I've made this with Asiago cheese instead of cheddar with good results.
Donna November 13, 2020
i am brazilian and happy that you're spreading our beloved cheesy bread around the world
Donna November 13, 2020
oh, and usually we make it with boiling milk and oil. you can try in this way, too (:
jenncc March 8, 2020
Easy and delicious! Served with pot roast, chili, bacon and eggs or spicy jam - always a hit!
sophie W. September 25, 2019
Made these and they're so delicious, however didn't keep the roundness/rise. did I keep them in for a smidge too long?
Donna H. July 16, 2019
I just made these and they did not disappoint. This is a very thin batter, definitely not a dough as some reviewer/commenters tried to say. Tapioca flour has the feel of corn starch and I assume it puffs up so beautifully because of this, since there is no baking powder or soda in it. The recipe comes together quickly and is so simple - reminds me of gougere but is so much easier to make. Because I had it on hand, I used gruyere instead of cheddar, but I think any good hard cheese will work. This is very much like the “Pan de Bono” we get in Cuban bakeries here in Miami. I’m going to make them in mini muffin tins next time and also will try to freeze them. This is definitely 5 stars. (BTW, Bob’s Red Mill makes tapioca flour and this recipe is on the bag, using olive oil instead of canola)
lsm August 1, 2018
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Almost like the popovers I make, but very much easier. I see endless possibilities. Again thank you.
DanaERT February 26, 2018
I made two dozen this weekend exactly as written (using sharp cheddar for both batches but sprinkling blue cheese on top of one dozen) and all I can say is WOW. They taste EXACTLY like the ones at Texas de Brazil, and the texture is just the same too. We had friends over and these things were gone in a heartbeat, with someone asking for the recipe. I'm ready to make another batch right now! It came together VERY easily in the food processor, and we didn't have any trouble finding tapioca flour.

I agree that there's no way this could be rolled into balls; the texture is definitely batter and not dough. It's like a thicker pancake batter. I dumped mine from the food processor bowl into a batter bowl, but instead of trying to pour (I know my weaknesses - haha) I used a big ice cream scoop as a guideline.

Bottom line? Absolutely delicious, very simple, and man, I wish I had leftovers!! :)
Maria A. June 27, 2016
I have only made Pão de queijo vith boiling milk and oil, mix with flour and salt. After that whipping in the egg and at last the cheese. That makes it like a Petit choux dough.
Georgia R. March 10, 2016
I have never seen Tapioca Flour, but then I have never looked for it. I live in Los Angeles so I should probably be able to find it somewhere!
Julie O. January 10, 2016
The Brazilian women who have taught me to make these have never used any type of mixer other than spoon and hand.
Rick October 30, 2015
I made these as instructed, although I had no milk so used dried skim milk powder rather than whole milk (with no apparent problems in the final product, though I'll certainly make them with whole milk next time). I also used sunflower oil as canola is less common in my country.

The batter is very thin, and after spooning out the first you can judge the rest by eye and pour out from a jug. Ignore the purist in the comments, there is no way this batter could be rolled into balls (it is a similar recipe to Yorkshire puddings). I'm sure there are other ways to approach this bread, of course, but I doubt anything rolleable could be as light and airy as these.

Final product was delicious - crisp shell, cheesy but light centre. I used a standard cheap English cheddar, but will try some of the other recommendations from the comments - parmesan might help make them a little lighter I think, as it is a dryer cheese, but of course you'd need to add in some cheddar or similar to melt into the bread.
Sapinho October 2, 2015
Pão de queijo is never made in muffin tins. They are rolled as balls; usually small like the size of a donut hole, but sometimes big. For a more authentic taste, use a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan or asiago. The cheese used in Brazil is called Queijo Minas which is difficult to duplicate here in the states. If you have a Brazilian market nearby, however, it's possible you can find this cheese. I always use my hands to mix the ingredients. This allows me to kneed the dough and feel whether or not I have used to much polvilho (tapioca flour). There are two types of polvilho: azedo (sour) and Doce (sweet). Both can be found in Brazilian markets and really comes down to personal preference when choosing which to use. Each mixes differently, however. Some Asian Markets carry tapioca flour that is akin to polvilho doce, but azedo is more difficult to find.
Lisa L. December 22, 2015
Sapinho, the Mexican queijo "Panela" is very similar to the queijo branco do Brazil or queijo de Minas :)
Sapinho December 22, 2015
Obrigada Lisa! Legal...não sabia! I will look for this :-).
petalpusher August 7, 2016
Saphino, What should the proper texture feel like to have just the right amount of tapioca flour? I want to get this right. Obrigado!
Mm April 22, 2019
Sapinho, do you know of an authentic recipe? Thanks!
FJT October 1, 2015
I love making Brazilian cheese breads and make a very similar recipe and bake them in a mini muffin tin. Play around with the cheeses you use - I always use parmesan and then add gruyere or cheddar or any other sharp cheese I have on hand
Diari October 1, 2015
With Brazil's love for cassava, I wouldn't expect anything less than tapioca flour for this recipe. However, can all-purpose flour be substituted?
FJT October 1, 2015
No - only tapioca flour works for Brazilian cheese breads.
Jan W. October 3, 2015
Would be difficult, but you might try sweet rice "mochi" flour or cornstarch if you absolutely couldn't use cassava/tapioca flour.
byb October 1, 2015
Yay! I love these little breads. I've always used a similar recipe (and a blender) but don't make them very often because I'm one of those people that for some reason dreads the idea of cleaning out the blender. I know it's easy. I know the warm water and soap into the blender trick. But I hate it. So I wanted to ask, has anyone made them by hand just with a bowl + whisk/wooden spoon?
FJT October 1, 2015
I'd never make them if I had to whisk it all by hand but of course it would work if you have the patience! I'd rather use the blender and do the clean up!!
Gal November 17, 2015
It's best to transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Alternatively, you can do it by hand, but be prepared for a work-out.