Brazilian Cheese Bread: Traditional Pão de Queijo


I just realized I post this ALL the time on my instagram and never really posted this recipe I make ALL the time here on the blog. And here it is my loves. Make this away! it is my go-to when I get invited to someone’s home – I love to share a little of my delicious heritage and culture, and I feel like this is well received and a great place for introduction.

A little background:

Brazil is the largest country in South America – also the only country that speaks Portuguese rather than Spanish.

This actual “cheese bread” hails from the state I came from in Brazil, called Minas Gerais. It has since exploded and the whole world knows about pão de queijo, but I wanted YOU to know there is a specific location where this comes from.

Minas Gerais is the state where I’m from.

We typically enjoy this with coffee and Minas, either during breakfast or afternoon coffee. “Coffee” in Minas Gerais is NEVER just coffee. It typically consists of cake, bread, cheese, all kinds of amazing fattening delicious things.

This is such an amazing country…. I invite you to learn more about it and it’s culinary treats particular to each region!

Just a little synopsis of what it looks like when I go to Brazil…my granmother’s “coffee table” set up.

My grandmama is Arguably my favorite human in the world.

Alexandra is so lucky to have her great grandmother around!

What the rest of Brazil did with pão de queijo, is make it a snack on the go, enjoyed at any given time of the day, with juice, soda, stuffed it with other things to make it a sandwich or panini like in nature.

As you can imagine, such a large country will apply different recipes differently!

You may even have seen it as an appetizer in Brazilian or South American Restaurant. This is perfectly fine, but I wanted to let you know it isn’t really how we enjoy it in Brazil, specifically in Minas. So that’s a little background for you! Now for the recipe…..

BraZilian Cheese Bread: Traditional Pão de queijo


    1/2 cup of fat: olive oil, butter (my grandma likes to use bacon fat)
    1/3 cup water
    1/3 cup milk of choice
    1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
    2 cups tapioca flour
    2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
    2 beaten eggs


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  1. Pour olive oil, water, milk, and salt into a large saucepan, and place over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat immediately, and stir in tapioca flour and garlic until smooth. Set aside to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir the cheese and egg into the tapioca mixture until well combined, the mixture will be chunky like cottage cheese mixture but that has give. My grandma does this with her hands, but I’ve occasionally used the wooden spoon or even the stand mixer. Works like a charm!
  3. Use a spoon to scoop a rounded glob if the mixture and roll into 1/4 cup-sized balls with your hands, placing them onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until the tops are lightly browned, around 20 minutes. Leave it in a hot longer until it looks like it was sun kissed, lightly brown.

PS: Other countries also claim this recipe, so I can only speak for my country and my understanding of growing up with this. I know our neighbors from Colombia also have something similar, which is awesome. I’d love to know from you, if you have anything like this in your country! What do you make differently?

For now, I think you’ll enjoy this one!


Xo, Ana

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  1. Kelly says:

    Your article is great! I don’t actually know the differences as I’ve only had the Colombian, But I googled it:

    Brazilian pao de queijo (which translates into “cheese bread”) and the Colombian pandebono (which translates into “good bread”). The two breads share some core ingredients (cassava starch, cheese, eggs), with a few differences. Pao de queijo is made with cassava starch, milk, cheese, eggs and butter or oil, and pandebono is made with corn flour, cassava starch, cheese, eggs, and a little sugar. We’ve found that pandebono also tastes a little sweeter than pao de queijo, thanks to the sugar. Pao de queijo is a bit savorier than the pandebono, but not by much. It may taste a bit cheesier, too.

  2. Sean says:

    WOW! I just made a batch (with bacon grease) – thanks so much to you and your grandmother for sharing this recipe. They were perfect and transported me back to the first time I tried them in São Paulo.

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