Kirbie's Cravings

Brazilian Cheese Bread Balls

These cheese bread balls, called Pão de Queijo in Brazil, are made with tapioca flour which gives them a chewy texture. 

Brazilian Cheese Bread Balls photo
A few weeks ago I made some Brazilian cheese puffs, also known as Pão de Queijo. I commented that while they tasted great, they didn’t seem to follow the recipes of the ones I’ve eaten because the recipe I used was a liquid batter that required the balls to be made in mini muffin cups, whereas the ones I’ve seen are usually round balls.

I got quite a few responses, suggestions and recipes for the type of bread balls I was looking for. Horray for the internet.

Armed with more knowledge, I wanted to try these again. I found two great recipes. I decided to first use the recipe provided by Ellen, who left the recipe as a comment on my original post.

I got several comments that I should use gruyere cheese or Parmesan cheese. Since I love both, I thought this would be a great idea. They really tasted better with these cheeses, but they also didn’t photograph as nice because the cheeses are yellow making these balls quite pale when I tried to photograph them.

So I made them again, and did a blend with some sharp cheddar for a better color. These balls are quite chewy when hot. They are more dense than the puffs I previously made. The puffs I made were almost hollow inside and only the crust was chewy. These balls have a chewy interior, almost like eating mochi, except that it’s the tapioca starch giving it the chewy texture. I’m not sure which taste is the more authentic one because my experience with the Pao De Qeuijo is quite limited.

I’ve heard that these breads can come in many different flavors. I’m definitely going to have to explore more recipes and flavor combinations.
close up photo of Brazilian Cheese Bread Balls

Brazilian Cheese Bread Balls (Pão de Queijo)

Servings: 24 bread balls
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Brazilian
These cheese bread balls, called Pão de Queijo in Brazil, are made with tapioca flour which gives them a chewy texture. 


  • 1 cup of nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 3 cups of tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (see note)


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a saucepan, combine the milk, water, and oil together and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine the tapioca flour, salt, egg and grated cheese.
  • Transfer the milk mixture from the saucepan to the bowl with the flour mixture and stir until the batter is smooth. Using your hands, form balls from the dough about 1" big. If needed, add additional flour, a small amount at a time, if the dough is too sticky.
  • Place the dough balls on the baking sheet and bake them for about 20 minutes or until they turn golden. Serve warm.


  • I like to use a sharp cheddar cheese blend, which gives the bread balls a nice color, but you can also switch out the cheddar for parmesan or gruyere.


Serving: 1bread ball, Calories: 116kcal, Carbohydrates: 13.7g, Protein: 1.7g, Fat: 6.3g, Saturated Fat: 1.6g, Sodium: 135.1mg, Sugar: 0.5g, NET CARBS: 14g

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!


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36 comments on “Brazilian Cheese Bread Balls”

  1. Just a correction ,it’s Pão de Queijo ,not Pao de qeuijo, 😉 , very interesting this post, I don’t live in the region that is common to make this delicious things but I do really love it

  2. It’s been fun to see these recipes and comments. I made these for my grandson’s wedding where our family was responsible for serving a Brazilian breakfast to 60 people. I made these bit by bit ahead of time and froze the balls in zip-lock bags and kept them frozen right up till baking time – put them on cookie sheets that morning – they were perfect and a real hit! I’ve also made them (or the simple “bolo de sal” which is the same recipe as most above, without cheese, (tastes a lot like the bolo frito (fried bread) we had in northeast Brazil)).. in muffin tins – can also be frozen this way and baked at the time desired. These are wonderful too!

  3. Can I make the dough today and bake them tomorrow?

  4. I was searching for some Korean sesame seed bread balls and landed here. I wonder if this will bake well in one of those cake pop makers? Gotta try this, and the sesame seed bread balls recipe too (w/ my cake pop maker, if this method fails, then conventional oven it be). Love your site and all the love in comment. Mouth watering photos ^ , ^ so thanks.

  5. I’ve resisted the urge to make pão de queijo for years now, since I knew it’d be dangerous. 😉 I finally gave in when I saw this recipe. It is phenomenal!! Thank you so much for posting it! I didn’t want to deal with the sticky dough, so I just used my small cookie dough scooper and it worked perfectly!

  6. Hi!

    I’ve been trying to perfect my recipe for this!! When it comes to adding the hot liquid to the eggs, should I let the milk/oil cool off a little first before adding to the flour/egg dough? I’m concerned I might cook the eggs since the other recipes I’ve tried said to wait and let the mixture cool before adding the eggs.

    • Hi Grace! It’s been a little while since I made these. I don’t recall having to wait, but I can definitely understand your concern. I think I followed the recipe as is and there weren’t issues. So give it a try. it does say to mix the egg with the flour rather than on their own so I think with the egg mixed into the flour already and if you start stirring immediately it should prevent the egg from cooking.

  7. If you use a mini rounded muffin pan you can make them round with a more liquid recipe.
    Easiest recipe for Brazillian cheese puffs.

    1 whole package sour cream
    5 eggs
    2 cans of arrowroot flour
    1/2 cup of mozzarella
    1 cup parmesan

    Chuck everything in the blender and blend till smooth

    Pour into mini rounded muffin tin and cook for 11 minutes on 200 degrees celsius or until lightly golden and puffed up.

    Serve with Philadelphia cream cheese to make it really special.

    • You know I’ve never come across mini rounded muffin pans here. Your recipe looks quite different from ones I’ve tried before. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

  8. Just made this recipe for dinner tonight and thought it was great. I used just a mexican cheese blend that I had in the fridge. I would probably change it next time to sharper, more flavorful cheeses. But I thought the texture was pretty fantastic.

  9. My husband grew up in Brazil so these are a family favorite. I just discovered you can find tapioca (mantioch/cassava) flour/starch at our local grocery store under the label Bob’s Red Mill.
    The Brazilian recipe I have calls for:
    3C flour
    1 1/4 C water
    1 C oil
    2 tsp salt
    5 eggs
    3C grated cheese (cheddar)
    Boil water, oil and salt together. Pour over flour. Mix and let cool completely. Once cool then add one egg at a time, beating well. Add cheese and mix. Grease hands and roll into balls. Bake.

  10. I am going to try to make these for Thanksgiving. Heather, I got my tapioca flour in the health food section at the grocery store. Since gluten free is making such a big splash I find it easier to find different kids of flours these says.

  11. Where did you find tapioca flour? Can I substitute regular flour?

    • No, you definitely have to use tapioca flour and not regular flour. They are very different. Tapioca flour is what makes the balls chewy. You can find it at any Asian grocery store.

  12. This is my favorite thing to eat at the brazillian barbeque restaurants. I was so excited to come across your recipe! I made it tonight but my batter came out VERY runny. I added almost 1 cup more of tapioca flour, but I’m not sure if that’s what I needed to do. Should I have just let it sit on the counter or refrigerate it to thicken it up instead? Help!

    • Oh no. I’m sorry to hear your batter was so runny. I’m not quite sure why. You may want to double check your ingredients and make sure you didn’t add too much oil or water. And make sure you added the egg. I used 3 cups of tapioca flour plus a little bit more to keep it not sticky. Not nearly close to another full cup. And I did not have to refrigerate it or anything. It should be like a dough right away. You shouldn’t have to let it sit around or anything. Good luck!

  13. I love these–they’re my favorite dish at Brazilian steakhouses. In your ingredients list, is there something missing from the line for 1/2 cup of oil? I see the “together” hanging off the end.

  14. Wonderful recipe! I saw these somewhere online last year, and wanted to make them, but then I lost the recipe and since I did not remember the Portugese name, I could not find it again. Now I am bookmarking this :-). Will definitely give them a try. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Your photos look mouthwatering 🙂

    • Thanks! I’ve seen quite a few recipes on the web. they are all pretty much variations of this one. Not sure which one is best. I’m going to keep trying them all until I decide on a best one.

  15. Your pão de queijo looks yummy. Parabens! (Congratulations!)

  16. The liquid batter of pao de queijo they call blender Pao de queijo. I think is tastiest as than other, but fades soon .
    The cheese they use is the Minas cheese, but you can also use Parmesan.
    There are many variations, you can add ham or bacon or any other ingredient that you like. From what you describes seems that the taste is quite authentic

  17. I am glad you tested the recipe! And your cheese breads look so yummy, they make me want to bake some right now!
    If you want to try another flavors, you can add bits of smoked sausage or salami, and also bits of black olives to the batter. You can add pretty much anything your imagination tells you to 🙂 Pão de queijo goes well with everything, including jam and honey, maybe some PB too (I’ve never tried that though it sounds good).
    Regards from Brazil

    • Thanks for providing the recipe and also for the suggestions of flavors! I love how easy these are to make. After I made these I immediately went out to buy more tapioca starch so I experiment some more!

  18. hi kirbie, i think this is the same kind of bread i had at this bakery in queens, ny. my friend told me it was brazilian cheese bread. i loved it. now if i could only get over my fear/reluctance to touch dough, i’d make this!

    your cheese bread looks lovely too!

    • That’s funny about your reluctance to touch dough. Maybe you can have someone else do that part? It’s really easy to make these.

  19. Yummmm! My first experience with these was a little different. They were Columbian Pan de Yuca. Same basic recipe (dough – you roll them not batter) but with Queso Fresco. Try mozzarella cheese – that’s my favorite. Warm from the oven and dunked in hot chocolate!!! Just try it….

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