Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

My love for Brazilian food came about when I was living in Wellington. I had a group of Brazilian friends who would often throw parties and host get-togethers - everyone would come round to one of their homes and spend the day catching up, eating and drinking, even busting a few samba moves to the music playing in the background. I've been introduced to many delicious Brazilian fare, including some of my favourites, the feijoada (stew of beans with beef and pork) and churrasco (barbecue), both of which require hours of preparation and cooking. 

Whilst the main courses were being prepared, guests were treated with appetizers, and one that was often served was pão de queijo, chewy mini cheese bread balls made from cassava/tapioca flour, a staple from the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. Pre-mix cheese bread from brands such as Yoki are easily found in Brazil and commonly used to make this savoury snack at home; I've not had much luck finding them in the international food aisle at my local supermarket and have resolved to make the bread from scratch. A quick Google search took me to SimplyRecipes who had a super easy recipe for pão de queijo which I tried out today. The results were delicious - little cheese puffs that were crusty on the outside but chewy and moist on the inside. Definitely one to add to my recipe collection!

Pão de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Bread

Pão de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Bread (recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes)

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 20 min

Makes about 30 small balls

1 egg, at room temperature

⅓ cup olive oil
⅔ cup milk
Scant 1 ½ cups tapioca flour
-¾ cup packed grated cheese of your preference
1 heap teaspoon of salt
olive oil spray

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180
°C fan-forced). Use the olive oil spray to grease a mini-muffin tray. 
2. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender so that everything gets blended well. At this point, you can store the batter in the refrigerator for up to a week.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared tray with cups 
⅔ filled and bake in oven for 15 minutes until all puffy and just lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.

Crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside

Traditionally, the pão de queijo is made with Minas cheese though it may not be easily sourced outside of Brazil. You can use a single type of cheese or a combination of cheeses - I used a mix of parmesan and mozzarella. Can't get enough of your favourite cheese? Sprinkle some extra grated cheese on the greased muffin tray before pouring in the batter. You can also add in some herbs or spices to this basic recipe to jazz it up. The cheese bread is best consumed freshly baked and warm; alternatively, reheat cooked ones by zapping them in the microwave on medium power for 10-15 seconds (still chewy and delicious minus the freshly baked crust). 

These little cheese balls are pretty addictive - I could so finish a whole tray of them on my own!


  1. Pão de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Bread is an interesting food... Hope to taste it soon . Hope restaurants in Kiama serves food like this anyway kiama accommodation is very hospitable so nothing to regret.


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