Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

This recipe is slightly modified from one of my favorite cook books: The Gluten Free Bible. If you are gluten free for whatever reason and you don’t have this book you are missing out. Just saying.

I love cheese. One of my Celiac symptoms was lactose intolerance, which meant for a while I thought my love affair with all things cheesy would have to end (except cheesy jokes… sorry friends and family, I’m not sorry. Hehe). Fortunately that wasn’t the case, and after 6 months of gluten freedom I could go back to my regular cheese-indulgent habits! Thank god.

My Sunday afternoons in a nutshell. With a side of smoked Gouda.

Pão de queijo is a traditional Brazilian cheese roll that makes me want to book a flight to Rio de Janiero right now. After sampling one at the CDF National Expo this summer, I decided making them for myself shouldn’t be too hard and embarked on yet another cooking adventure.

These are pretty simple to make, and have few ingredients. While the name might sound exotic to a non-Portuguese-speaker the most “exotic” ingredient is tapioca flour which is pretty easy to find. And if you can’t find some, here it is on Amazon. See, now you have no excuse not to make these. You’re welcome.

When they come out of the oven they have a crunchy, cheesy outside and a soft, fluffy pillow-y inside. It’s kind of the best mixture of textures. They re-heat okay, but really you’ll want to eat these all at once, right out of the oven. It’s hard not to anyway.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter at room temp. cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup veggie oil
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp tapioca flour, combined
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (or any firm cheese. I’ve used a hard sharp cheddar with great success)

Channel your inner Brazilian

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a bowl blend the tapioca flour and salt.
  3. In a large sauce pan combine the milk, oil and butter over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter melts and then the mixture comes to a boil.
  4. Once the mixture is boiling, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tapioca flour mixture all at once. You’ll want to use a really strong spoon and mixing arm for this one as the mixture gets pretty thick. So I suggest either getting a stand mixer or finding a friendly body builder. Or consider it a workout for when you eat all of these delicious cheese rolls once they’re done. Your call.
  5. Stir in eggs one at a time, and then the cheese. This will make the mixture even more stiff. Flex.
  6. Cover your hands in tapioca flour and then roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough. Place them at least an inch apart on a baking sheet. They aren’t likely to stick to the sheet, but I use a Silpat anyway.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffy and golden. Cool on a rack until just warm and then devour with friends!


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