Gluten Free Pão de Queijo Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe

Posted June 3, 2018 by Stephanie

Pão de Queijo: Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe |

Pão de Queijo: Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe |

Pão de Queijo: Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe |

Pão de Queijo: Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe |

Pão de queijo, chipá, pan de queso, Brazilian cheese buns, or whatever you might know them as, are addictive little chewy buns, popular for breakfast or a quick snack in much of South America. They have the most delightful chewy mochi-mochi texture and I am absolutely in love with them. I can demolish a batch of these guys in a day and a half, tops.

I have never been to Brazil (one day!), but a few years ago, Mike and I took a trip down to South America: we only visited two countries, Colombia and Argentina. Colombia was a tag-along destination – a couple of friends were doing a long backpacking trip and wanted to end on beach vacation and invited a few friends to hang out with them in Cartagena. From there, it was just a quick hop over to Argentina, which I basically knew nothing about, aside from their love of football, steaks, and dreams of gorgeous, bustling Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires did not disappoint. It was bright and bustling, intensely busy and strangely quiet all at the same time. Mike and I spent our time wandering the streets, stuffing ourselves on empanadas (best empanadas I’ve had in my life), medialuna, steak, and chipa!

Chipa, I was delighted to discover, were diminutive baby-fist sized buns that were slightly pale in color, flecked with dots of cheese. They were sold everywhere and every time we came across one, I couldn’t resist. People usually buy them in bulk and to be honest, I should have too because they were so good. But, I did get to sample many, many different varieties.

I was so obsessed that when we went to the grocery store, I went to go look at the flour, which is typically cassava or tapioca. I love going to grocery stores on vacation and the Bueno Aires ones did not disappoint. They even had dedicated chipa flour packages – essentially tapioca flour rebranded. I bought one, of course.

Anyway, these guys are easy to make and even easier to eat. What’s a little more difficult is stopping. Tapioca does not act like your typical flour, so don’t be alarmed when everything looks like a goopy mess. A stand mixer (or a very strong arm) is your friend here. But, if you don’t want to take the time to mix everything together super smoothly, I’ve seen some buns that are chunkier – one of my friends make these on the regular and she does a rough style which has lots of fun crispy craggily bits. You can use whatever cheese you like – traditionally they use Parmesan – but have fun! Cheesy bread is the best bread!

PS – they’re gluten free too! Which, is a side benefit I think. I love the texture of mochi so these guys are absolutely perfection.

Pão de Queijo: Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Bread Recipe
makes 18-20 small buns

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ounces (about 1 cup) tapioca flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups grated cheese of choice (I used a habanero cheddar mix)

Heat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, oil, and salt over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat when large bubbles start to form.

Add the tapioca flour and stir to incorporate completely. The dough with be grainy and gelatinous.

Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment and beat for several minutes to cool down the dough. It should be cool to the touch.

Beat in the egg until fully incorporated, scraping the bowl if needed. Beat in the cheese. The dough will be sticky, soft, stretchy, and not completely smooth.

Use a cookie scoop, dipped in water, to portion out the buns onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Place in the oven and lower the heat to 350°F. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until puffed and dry to the touch, with the bottoms just starting to turn golden brown. Let cool slightly and enjoy warm.

Most people like to eat these warm, so if you have extra, you can recrisp them in a warm toaster oven or oven. Personally I love them at room temperature :)


  1. Anna says:

    Have to bake.

  2. Monica says:

    Lovely to see these. We discovered pao de queijo in Aruba recently…my husband was particularly hooked and it was really fun re-creating them at home. My first bake deflated after coming out of the oven but subsequently, baking leftover dough from freezer turned out puffy little rolls that did not deflate by any means. Always interesting in the kitchen! : )

  3. Jennifer says:

    They sell these frozen under the brand Brazi Bites. They are the best but I love the idea of making my own at home.

  4. cynthia says:

    My mom and brother loooove love pao de queijo! These look so perfectly dreamy and puffy, and the story behind them is so vivid. Love these, Steph :)

  5. Carswell says:

    I have made them several times for my gluten free friend. They are one of the few gluten free breads that have that incomparable stretchy yeast texture. Oh, and they taste great.

  6. Katie says:

    i’m not sure if any of the other commenters actually tried this recipe, but i have. i had my doubts but they turned out pretty well. a touch too oily, and with my oven at least when baked as directed the outside formed a pretty well done crust but the inside was still not fully cooked. so if i do this again i’ll probably turn the oven down to 325 and let them bake longer to try to dry out the inside without overdoing the outside.

  7. CK says:

    My batter was very runny. What did I do wrong?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi ck,
      at which point was it runny? was it right when you added the tapioca flour to the oil/milk mixture or was it after you added the egg?

      1. CK says:

        The batter was smooth and shiny after adding the tapioca flour and putting in the mixer then got runnier with the egg

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