Quick Brazilian Cheese Rolls {Pao de Queijo}

CATEGORIES: Brazilian, Gluten Free, Rolls, Sara

Of all the foods I fell in love with in Brazil, Pao de Queijo (literally
translated to ‘bread of cheese’, how can that not be delicious?) is right up there at the top.  And it’s been tormenting my soul for the past 10 years as I’ve tried recipe after recipe trying to duplicate the taste and texture I love.  You can buy pre-packaged mixes, but they’re not quite the same as homemade.  The problem is that there are several different methods to making these little balls of heaven.  A lot of them involve lots of hard to find ingredients, and methods like heating a mixture on the stove, kneading a big messy dough, etc.  When I was in Brazil, I learned how to make the most quick and easy version- an ultra fast liquid batter that you just poured into a muffin tin.  It’s been driving me crazy that I couldn’t find my recipe or one that was like it.  And then a few weeks ago something magical happened.  My husband walked in after organizing some junk in the garage and asked me if I wanted a little pink notebook.  I knew immediately what it was. It was bursting with little scraps of papers.  Scraps of papers with recipe notes on them.  I heard the hallelujah chorus.  We ate Pao de Queijo about 25 minutes later.  And it was heavenly.

If you’ve never had this type of Brazilian cheese bread, it’s tricky to explain.  It’s actually not “bread” at all- at least not like we’re used to here in the US.  It’s almost more like the texture of a cream puff shell or popover, but with more substance on the inside. The outside is slightly crisp and browned and the inside is airy and chewy.  If you’re not familiar with them at all then I want you to be fully informed so you don’t expect an actual yeast bread “roll”.  If you do, then you’ll probably think these are super weird and gooey.  They’re served at popular Brazilian restaurants, but honestly, while I adore those restaurants, I’ve yet to have a really good Pao de Queijo at any of them.  So trust me when I tell you that if you like those (or any of the pre-packaged mixes), you will probably love these homemade ones.  And if you know anyone who has ties to Brazil like I do, you are sure to melt their heart with these.  Once you see how quick and easy they are you’ll be making them all the time!

The best part is that I have 99% of the ingredients in my house pretty much at all times.

The only semi-strange ingredient in there is Tapioca Flour, and it’s actually easier to find than you might think.  It’s a really smooth, soft flour that feels much like cornstarch.  It’s made from the ground roots of the cassava plant and it’s gluten free for those of you that care about that 🙂

You can grab it off Amazon and have it delivered to you, but a lot of normal grocery stores carry a good selection of Bobs Red Mill products which is the brand I use.  Here in Idaho I can always find them at Fred Meyer, near the health food/specialty foods isle.  You can also find tapioca flour at Asian markets as it’s used in a lot of Asian cooking, and also at health food stores and places like Whole Foods where you can find a good selection of wheat flour alternatives.  Definitely check the gluten free isle of well stocked store.  If you live in an area with WINCO grocery stores, people are telling me you can find it in the bulk section (how did not know this??  Thank you readers!) You can’t substitute any other type of flour– the tapioca flour is key, so when you find a good place to buy it, stock up!

Okay, ready for easy?  You can prep these in about 60 seconds.  Seriously.  Put everything but the cheese in the blender (I adore my Blendtec) and blend until smooth.

Then add in your cheese and pulse the blender one or two times.  I like to break it up a bit and mix it in, but not pulverize it. And you can be creative here.  I like a mixture of Parmesan and sharp cheddar.  It’s important to use cheese that has a stronger flavor because it’s really  the only flavor you’re putting in there and if it’s too mild I’ve found the rolls turn out pretty bland.   But play around with it and find your perfect mix.  You can also add more or less cheese, it’s pretty flexible.

Now just take your blender and pour the batter into little mini-muffin tins.  It’s a very thin batter so pour slowly!

I like to sprinkle a little more parmesan on top.  Because I like to sprinkle a little parmesan on top of just about everything.  I inherited that from my father, who puts parmesan on just about everything he makes. A little sprinkle of kosher salt is also yummy.

Recently I was browsing food blogs and was excited to see a nearly identical recipe on Bewitching Kitchen.  She mentioned putting rosemary in there, which at first I thought sounded a little strange.  Not because I don’t think it would taste good, but because I’d never had pao de queijo with any type of herb before.  I tried it just for kicks and man was it good!  You can either sprinkle a little dried or fresh rosemary on top, or blend it right in the batter.  Loved that addition.

Then you pop these babies in a hot oven and watch them do their magic.  They puff up into perfectly little bubbly golden balls of cheesy goodness.  How’s that for a descriptive sentence?

You want to cook them just until they’re set on top and barely golden.  If you over cook them, the tops actually look pretty similar, but you can tell by the bottoms.  Case in point:

And don’t be concerned if the rolls sink in the middle.  These photos are actually a bit misleading because I photographed them literally seconds after coming out of the oven. It’s perfectly normal for them to sink down in the centers and they taste exactly the same!

Eating Pao De Queijo warm is a definite must.   I’ll just say that right now.  As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, bust one open and eat it.

They’ll be a little crispy on the outside and soft, airy, and tender on the inside.  Almost a little chewy.  Some of them are even kind of hollow.  This version is definitely less dense than the kneaded dough variety. The yield is anywhere from 16-24 rolls, depending on how full you fill your muffin pan. I fill  mine pretty full (a good 3/4 full) and I generally get about 16-18.

I dare you to just eat one.  This recipe is a little dangerous.

Quick Brazilian Cheese Rolls {Pao de Queijo}

Serves 16     adjust servings

Literally translates to "bread of cheese"...how can that not be delicious? Quick, easy, and fantastic every time.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup tapioca flour (sometimes labeled tapioca starch) no substitutions
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 C grated cheddar cheese* (preferably medium or sharp)
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: extra cheese to sprinkle on top and any herbs/flavorings you'd like to add. Try rosemary and or garlic powder, my favorites!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place egg, milk, oil, tapioca flour, and salt in blender and blend until smooth. Add cheeses and pulse 2 times. Immediately pour batter into a mini muffin tin (if your muffin tin isn't non-stick, spray lightly with non-stick spray first), filling each well about 3/4 full, or just slightly less. If desired (and I recommend), sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese on top and/or a tiny sprinkle of kosher salt.
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before removing rolls from pan. Serve warm. {Que Gostoso!}

by

6 reviews
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318 comments

  1. Hi there, first off, I’m a Brazilian living in NY and when I saw how easy this recipe is I was blown away. I love pão de queijo so I decided to try it to see if it compares to the traditional Brazilian pao de queijo… and the results were mixed and maybe this is why: I started preparing the dough before the oven had reached 400 (it was only 315 when the dough was ready to go in the oven) so I filled the mini muffin pans and popped them in the oven at 315 degrees. I greased the pans with canola oil and they stuck horribly, but that’s not the problem. After about 15 minutes the tops were puffed up and almost brown so I took them out. They “deflated” within a couple of minutes and when I took them out of the pan (pried them out in fact!) it was doughy and the top had caved in. I tried one and it was so tasty but all the dough was on the bottom and it was veeery heavy, not airy and light at all. Then I had a bit of dough left in the blender so I used a Madeleine cookie sheet as my pan (the little ones that look like seashells) and popped those in the oven and by then the oven was about 350 degrees. These came out SOOO GOOD, super fluffy and light but cheesy at the same time. Do you think the first batch in the muffin pan “deflated” like that and became so heavy and doughy because of the wrong temperature I baked them? I also felt like they were way undercooked too. The little ones were so amazing and crispy and light… I’ll try to make them again and will report my efforts. Let me know if you think the temp. could be a factor (pardon my ignorance, not big on baking!) Maybe if the temp. was correct, baking for 15 min would be sufficient, no? Obrigada!!!

    1. Always fun to hear from Brazilians! I would definitely make sure your oven was pre-heated before you cook these, that is most likely why they stuck to the pan too. The high heat is necessary to immediately start the cooking process and ensure a good texture. I’m glad the second batch turned out well!

  2. I can’t thank you enough for this delicious recipe! My husband served his mission in Brazil and has me hooked on the food and these are my favorite. So easy and so yummy!

  3. Just made a batch. Two things:
    -This is HANDS DOWN THEEEEE BEST thing to come out of my oven
    -I have a new rule that I am not allowed to make these unless I have people to share with. I just ate the whole thing. Shaaaaaaame on me! 🙂

  4. Hey People, it is really amazing!!! Try to add cream cheese while it is hot, and taste it, you’ll love it. If you want a recipe of ‘Pastel’ or ‘Coxinha’ as someone said, I can translate and give it to you!

    Kisses from Brazil!

  5. I lived in Brazil, and pao de queijo is my favorite… The recipe looks correct but the bread should look more like this http://brasilcheesebread.com/original. Here in Dallas, lucky me, we have Brasil Cheese Bread, owners from Brasil and their pao de queijo tastes incredible!

  6. One comment — put the liquid ingredients in the blender *before* the tapioca flour. The tapioca flour can get very cement-like and it’s easiest to blend it when the flour is above the wet ingredients. I’ve had bad luck with putting the tapioca in first.

  7. I was just having a sandwich made of bread, queijo minas frescal and requeijão, and I started wondering how my brother (who lives in the US) could ever live without them. they are brazilian cheeses, and I could never ever leave them behind. haha so I searched for cheeses that could substitute them, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything so similar. bummer.
    however, I found this recipe! and I LOVE pão de queijo!! hahaha so many calories, though!
    well, anyway, just giving some love I guess, love the website and I’ll sure come back soon! :))
    any vegetarian (I do eat cheese) recipes? haha

  8. I made these yesterday for my family, one of my daughters is coeliac so I’m always on the look out for gluten free recipes, and the recipe was very easy, worked very well and the breads were gorgeous, light and very tasty. My four kids and my husband all loved them, and believe me it’s no easy job pleasing all of them! Will definitely make this again!

  9. Our daughter requested I try this recipe after trying them at the Texas de Brazil in Denver. I tried 3 different kinds of mini muffin pans — one scalloped, one regular mini muffin and another one that was just a little larger than the regular muffin pan. All three sunk in the middle. I don’t know what I did wrong except that I did not use a blender. The taste is great though. Can you help me make the next batch as good as the picture? Thank you and I’m glad I found your site with help from our grandaughter.

    1. Toni, no worries- it’s actually completely normal for them to sink down in the centers- mine were just photographed seconds after coming out of the oven. They taste exactly the same!

  10. I don’t know what went wrong but my pao de queijo didn’t look like rolls at all. They went flat even when they’re still in the oven. I tried to do it exactly as your recipe said. But they’re still delicious though, my daughter loved it!

  11. How far in advance can this batter be prepared? I made these last night and they are beyond delicious! I would really like to be able to make the batter and put it in the pan and set them aside until time to bake, but don’t know if they would still rise as beautifully if they sat out for 30 minutes or so. Also, have you ever doubled the recipe? Sometimes doubling doesn’t work with baking, but would definitely need more for a dinner party. I have two growing boys and a husband, and not a crumb was left!

  12. I have made these before, thanks to your great (and easy) recipe and a husband who LOVES them, but I am wondering if I can make the batter ahead of time and keep it in the fridge(?). We are having a big Brazilian potluck tomorrow and I would love to be able to just show up ready to pour and bake!

    1. Sorry I didn’t answer your question in time! I would think that would work just fine, as long as you mixed it all up well again before baking. Did you try it?

  13. I have made these delicious cheese breads and they are irresistible. however I also found when I ran out of tapioca flower that if you substitute a half mixture of self rising flour and mashed potato mix a little more about 2 tablespoons more to make up the balance of the flour mixture you get a very different but similar product. the outside is crisp and the inside is chewy just like the Pao de Queijo you taste a little of the potato. almost like a cheese and potato pirogi filling but with fuller body and taste you also cant eat just one.

  14. Love these! And so did a Brazilian friend. She was stunned….”Where did you get this recipe?!” She had been buying the frozen stuff from the Brazilian market, which was pricey and not nearly as good, because she didn’t have a recipe!

  15. I just made this recipe for my son who has celiac and he loved it. We put a long side Chicken Marsala and it was perfect to sop up all the gravy. Yum! Thank you…will definitely make again very soon.

  16. Your Pao de Queijo recipe was a life-saver! I always buy the Yoki mix at our local Asian grocery store. My 6th grader did a project on Brazil and I went to go buy some mixes to prepare pao de queijo for her class and they were out, and don’t expect more for 2 weeks. I will never buy the mix again after finding your recipe. It is so awesome, feels like being in Brazil. Wish I could actually go! Thank you for this delicious recipe!

  17. Whole foods only had Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca pearls. Would it be okay to grind them up with my blender into a fine flour and use that?

  18. This is a great and quick recipe for pao de queijo. I have made pao de queijo from mixes, from frozen packages, from scratch using the stove method prior to baking, etc and this is by far the easiest method with great results! Thank you for posting this.
    An alternative to Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca flour is just tapioca flour from the Asian stores/markets, for those that live in areas that have these. They only cost around $0.79-$1.00 per package and these packages have enough for at least 1.5 of the recipe above.

  19. Asiago and sharp cheddar are delicious together and create such a nice flavour.
    Also I had some left over the next day and I cut them in half heated them up in a pan, spread on some goat cheese and sandwiched them back together and they were quite yummy!
    Thank you for sharing such a delicious and simply recipe.

  20. Great! Thank you for posting the recipe. I’d made these once or twice before with my sister after eating at Fogo de Chao, then lost the recipe. Whipped up a batch tonight and had cleaned up the kitchen before the came out of the oven. Oh so tasty, and with my mother in law visiting who eats gluten free, a perfect snack to share.

  21. As a Brazilian, I’ve got to say this recipe is the best for a quick pao de queijo! It’s so good I translated the recipe to Portuguese and shared it with my friends on my blog (I’m giving you guys credit).

  22. Nevermind I see it, didnt see the first time I read it, this recipe looks awesome cant wait to try it!!

  23. And pour this batter into 2 pie pans lined with parchment paper and you have 9″ gluten free pizza crusts! And they’re fabulous!

  24. I am about to try this recipe to send to Brazil day with my 2nd grader. They said to send in candy wrapped in white tissue paper. Huh? I didn’t even know it was for Brazil, but when I found out, i asked if I could send something a little more authentic!
    Anyway, I ground tapioca pearls in a wheat grinder and tried a recipe that boiled the milk and it turned into rubbery chunks. And then my friend told me (and since you said you’re in Idaho, I thought I’d pass this along) that WinCo has tapioca flour in their bulk bins.

    HELLO! All that trouble and I coulda just gone to Winco.

  25. One thing I would also add is that if you are using a dark non-stick pan you might consider lowering the temp to 375F. I found when I got new dark pans my bottoms became too brown and the insides weren’t done.

  26. I just tried to make these after having them at a local brazilian restaurant and they came out oily, flat and extremely gooey. I only had 1% milk in the house – could this explain it? Please help! I am craving these golden bites of heaven!

  27. I just made these, and they are in the oven right now. These are one of my weaknesses! Unfortunately, I’m worried they aren’t going to turn out 🙁 The dough was a solid mass, not thin and liquidy like described. I had to add twice the milk just to be able to scoop it out with a spoon. I did use homemade tapioca flour (where I ground up tapioca pearls super fine with my blendtec) so that could be the problem…..

  28. I’m curious how these will hold up the next day? They sound fantastic and I’d love to make them for a World Cup party here at my office this summer, but I’d have to make them the night before and reheat the day. Would they still be good the next day?

  29. Super, super delicious. I made them in a regular muffin pan and while I loved them, I definitely need to pick up a mini muffin pan because they came out a lot more gooey than yours did.

  30. Loves this recipe! QUESTION: Can we make the dough and keep it in the fridge over night? So we can make the pão de queijo in the morning? Thanks!

  31. Oh, YUM! My 6 year old has Celiac Disease and I never make breads from scratch, but this was easy enough – with all ingredients on hand – that I HAD to try it! I panicked the first time and added extra tapioca – my mistake! Second time, I stuck with the recipe and it was GREAT!! (even the first time my older son and I ate the tough, chewy puffs anyway, LOL) I’ve seen alternative versions that are harder to make and also ones that are stuffed with ham or other ingredients. I like the simplicity of this, but I may add to it if I’m feeling daring. THANK YOU for a FABULOUS and EASY recipe! It’s harder to say this than to make it! 🙂

  32. I’m a professional chef and I looked at this recipe and said to myself “No way will these turn out right.” Tonight, I ate my words. (And 5 pao de queijo)

  33. Love this recipe. I’ll add chopped jalapeños to the batter to add some spice. Very tasty. My coworkers at work cannot get enough when I make them.

  34. Delicious! Thank you SO much for posting this heavenly recipe! I love how quick and easy this is and yet still so yummy! Takes me right back to Argentina! I found the tapioca flour in bulk at Good Earth in Utah for only a little over a $1/lb.

  35. I have made these rolls many times and I love them. I have to eat gluten free along with two of my daughters. These rolls are so easy to make and they only take one flour. Many other recipes take several flours. Thank you for this recipe and all the other recipes you post.

  36. How wonderful Brazilian cheese bread can expand without yeast or baking soda,this is magic or perhaps someone can tell me the eason why,regards

  37. How wonderful Brazilian cheese bread can expand without yeast or baking soda,this is magic otherwise someone can explain the reason why and how,regards.

  38. ok… just finished eating the first batch and we are waiting for the ones in the oven. Crazy good!I have played a bit with the recipe but not too much: I replaced canola with rice bran oil and I have added dried basil, dill and sesame seeds…. I think the seeds were in fact, the cherry on top!…
    My hubby is very picky, but he decided: you should only make these from now on!
    Thank you!

  39. I tried this recipe tonight and the breads didn’t rise, they just kind of sunk in the middle. Have you ever had that problem?

  40. Hello,

    I am going to make these little bites of goodness for my daughter’s ‘Around The World’ school event that they are having. She’s representing Brazil this year. I bought Queso Fresco today to use as my cheese, as my sister, who was just in Brazil, said that is the cheese they always use in these bread balls. BUT, I can’t find a recipe that actually uses it!! Any opinion you have on this would be helpful! Just want to make sure I make them as authentically as I can!

    Thanks!

    Sarah

  41. So I’ve attempted this three times! The first time was with the boiled milk and cooked dough and made them by hand. They didnt come out too bad, a little large. The other two times i tried the wet batter. The biggest issues I have is that they come out too oily and then they flatten out immediately and they look like flat gummie cakes. ive seen recipes with baking powder, not sure if that makes a difference. I’m going to try less oil this time too. The oil starts dripping off the pan.

  42. I made these today and they are so delicious. Thanks for the recipe. Has anyone substitute the canola oil with butter?

  43. I know you said NO subs on the flour 🙈 But I gave it a try with potato starch because I have it on hand…they taste like they should but are just a little heavier, but still maintains the right taste IMO. If I were somewhere that I couldn’t find tapioca starch I would make them like this again…love all of your recipes!

  44. Hi one of my favorite restaurants in the world is Brazilian all because of the cheese bread! I was never able to find out how to make it. I found your recipe on facebook and I was so excited!! I got the ingredients and followed the recipe to a T. So amazing!!! So light and just like I had at forgo de chao!! Thankyou!! I found that some of your people that commented had trouble with the batter rising try bringing all the cold ingredients to room temperature that seems to help. Also spray tin with Pam and put flour in blender last. Thankyou!!!!

  45. So I just made these, and the flavor is just fantastic!!! These are totally on point but I’m afraid I’m going to eat them ALL!!! LOVE THIS RECIPE!!!!!

  46. I made these for a Brazilian Carnaval celebration. I’ve never had them before, but I was told by several native Brazilians the recipe is spot on! Thank you for sharing a delightful new tradition!

  47. I am going to try this recipe, but the one I got from my Daughter-in-Law (born and raised in Brazil) is delicious and easy. It is a thicker dough, and I can roll it in my hand and bake on a cookie sheet or freeze them to bake later. They are just as good frozen, then baked, but like you said, are best warm out of the oven.
    The recipe is:
    1 cup of Tapioka flour
    1 egg (beaten)
    12-18 oz of Queso Fresco (white Mexican cheese) shredded or broken into sm pieces
    Mix all together, knead, roll into balls (size of quarter)
    Bake @ 350, 10-15 minutes,
    or freeze for baking later.

  48. I don’t usually comment on these threads, but just had to say thank you for this recipe! I had tried the Brazi Bites brand and thought they were just ok but way overpriced, and I searched for a easy homemade version and found this. I have since made it over 10 times at least. And no matter how accurate my measuring has been or (more likely) not been, the end result turns out pretty great. I haven’t tried adding the herbs yet, but have tried all sorts of cheese combinations, using whatever I have on hand. Today’s version featured a bagged shredded Mexican blend…tastes great as usual. I love that you can experiment with all sorts of flavor combinations with this easy recipe! I should add I’m not much of a cook, but this one turns out great for me. I have never been to Brazil, so I have no idea how “authentic” these are, but I don’t care about that. I will say not everyone in my family cares for these, might be more from the texture than taste (I describe these as having a mochi-like consistency/chew…but they are also really airy too), but that just means more for me! 🙂 It’s embarrassing to admit it, but I can easily eat half a batch of these all by myself! Anyways, long story short, thanks for a great, yummy, easy recipe!!!

  49. I’ve had the frozen version of this dozens of times. I masde this tonight and will never buy them frozen again. I freaked out a bit because it was liquidy from the blender, but puffed up beautifully! My boyfriend who prefers food “with gluten” as he says, LOVED these! I’ll defiantly make again! Thanks!

  50. I am so mad that I found this recipe, and that it was so easy and delicious!

    Now I’ll probably be making this weekly…damnit!

    1. And I already made them again… They were eaten within seconds…I think I’m going to attempt to make them in a full sized cupcake pan next to see if I can make bigger ones, maybe like popovers for Thanksgiving! I only have one mini pan with 12 muffins, and this recipe makes 2 1/2 trays. I just don’t have the patience to wait for all to be made before eating them…

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