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Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)

Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)

Have you ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse? If you haven’t, you are missing out on the most amazing (and naturally gluten-free) bread ever.  It’s called pão de queijo, and it’s made with lots of cheese. If that hasn’t got you dying to try it yet, I should also say that it’s chewy, soft, and so deliciously flavorful.  It’s happens to be really easy, as well.

I am not a huge meat-eater.  I like it, but I never get my money’s worth at Brazilian steakhouses. We have been to a few over the years for BC’s birthday in New York, DC, and here in CA.  He loves meat.  When you sit down at the steakhouse (at least the ones we have been here in the US), they give you a coaster that is green on one side and red on the other.  When you set your coaster to green, the roving servers bring by different platters of meat and you can get as much as you want. I like this part because I am a total sampler.  I can’t eat a ton of meat, but I can taste a little sliver of each kind! When you set your coaster to red, they take mercy on you and stop tempting you with all the meat. They usually have about six or more different kinds of meat, so it’s wise to pace yourself. 

I, however, have a hard time pacing myself when it comes to this delicious bread they start you off with at the table.  When BC discovered he had to be gluten-free a few years ago and we then discovered this bread was naturally gluten-free, it was like he hit the lotto. He was never usually a big bread person, but I swear I saw him eat five of these little rolls before the meat guys even came by our table.

The bread is traditionally made with sour cassava flour (also called sour tapicoa flour).  It’s hard to find in stores here in the US, but easy to find on Amazon.  However, I decided to use regular tapioca flour, which is readily available at every supermarket near me (Bob’s Red Mill is the brand I found).  I knew the bread would lack a little bit of that sour flavor, but I didn’t miss it. 

The star here is lots of cheese. I used a combination of queso fresco (a mild, crumbly farmers cheese) and parmesan.  Have you tried queso fresco? It was tough to find when I lived on the east coast, but readily available in southern CA. I love it on tacos or this cheese enchilada salad.

Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)

The dough is very thick, so I found it easiest to use my stand mixer.

Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)

The aforementioned stickiness also makes the dough a little bit annoying to handle, so I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the rolls.

Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)

After 25-30 minutes in the oven, the balls of dough come out all puffed up, light, and with just the slightest bit of crunch on the outside.

Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)

The inside is hollow, so it’s really easy to eat a bunch of these at once. Whoops.

Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)

I will be making these a lot more from now on.  There are endless options. Pepperjack-jalapeño? Maybe cheddar with crumbled bacon?

Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)
Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)


Pão de Queijo (gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread)
Yields 12
Chewy, soft, and naturally gluten-free Brazilian bread- pão de queijo- made with parmesan and queso fresco cheeses.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1/3 cup canola/vegetable oil
  2. 2/3 cup milk
  3. 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour (180 g)
  4. 1 tsp kosher salt
  5. 1 large egg
  6. 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (20 g)
  7. 1/3 cup queso fresco, shredded (45 g)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, stir together oil, milk, and salt. Over medium heat, whisk and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat immediately.
  3. Add tapioca flour to the liquid and stir until thoroughly combined and no dry flour remains.
  4. Add the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix the dough at medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes. Dough should be just lukewarm at this point. If not, let cool for a few minutes more.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low beat the egg into the dough. Scrape down the sides and add in cheese. Continue beating on medium-low until fully-combined.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, placed rounded mounds of the dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Wet the ice cream scoop if dough starts to stick.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until rolls start to brown slightly. Remove from oven and eat while rolls are still warm.
  1. Use whole or 2% milk.
My California Kitchen http://mycaliforniakitchen.com/

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  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    Bread and cheese make the best combo! This looks delicious and I have a feeling I wouldn’t be able to stop eating it!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…30 Minute Thursday: Easy Cream of Mushroom SoupMy Profile

  2. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    What a cool bread! I’ve been dying to go to a Brazilian steakhouse- I just can’t get over how expensive they are! Well, for now I can get a small taste of one with these rolls =)
    Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat recently posted…Crockpot Pork Tenderloin with ApplesMy Profile

  3. Kristi @ My SF Kitchen says:

    Love that this is GF, and cheese plus bread is always amazing 😀
    Kristi @ My SF Kitchen recently posted…Make-Ahead Herb Dinner RollsMy Profile

  4. Kristi @ My SF Kitchen says:

    I haven’t tried this before, but it looks so good I know I would love it!
    Kristi @ My SF Kitchen recently posted…Yohann iPad Stand Review + Giveaway!My Profile

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