Chef John's Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)


Brazilian cheese bread is very easy to make and features a chewy, cheesy, bready center encased in a beautiful, thin pastry crust. It is gluten-free, thanks to tapioca flour, which is also responsible for its unique texture. Happily, the ingredients are relatively inexpensive, so you can play around with a few batches and see for yourself.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
24 pão de queijo


  • 2 ¼ cups tapioca flour, or more as needed

  • cup milk

  • ½ cup mild olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 2 ounces freshly grated mozzarella cheese

  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.

  2. Place tapioca flour in a mixing bowl; set aside.

  3. Combine milk, olive oil, and salt in a pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Immediately remove from heat and pour into tapioca in the bowl. Mix until a shaggy dough starts to form. Let rest for 5 minutes.

  4. Add eggs, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and cayenne to the bowl; stir with a fork until thoroughly combined. Use a medium ice cream scoop to portion dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Poke down any jagged bits using a wet finger if desired.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until rolls are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.

    close up view of a pile of Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) in a basket lined with a red kitchen towel
    Chef John

Chef's Notes:

Substitute vegetable oil for olive oil, if desired.

Instead of using an ice cream scoop, you can add more flour to the dough and roll it into balls or add more liquid, pour it into muffin cups, and bake these like popovers. The taste will be the same, but the texture will change.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

109 Calories
6g Fat
11g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 109
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 140mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 24mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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