Hi, I’m Renata and I blog at “Testado, Provado & Aprovado!”. I’ve been a member of The Daring Kitchen since April 2010. I have learned so much and I enjoy it immensely, so I’m honored to host this month’s challenge! Hope you all enjoy it, too.
I’m Brazilian, so I decided to bring to you a recipe that is very popular in my country and is adored by almost everyone who tries it. I am personally addicted to it Wink It is not sweet as most DB’s challenges, but turning it into a sweet treat is a cinch! Please welcome Brazilians’ beloved “PÃO DE QUEIJO”!


Pão de Queijo ( Pão = Bread; Queijo = Cheese) is a non-yeasted bread, the main ingredient is not wheat flour instead it uses tapioca starch, but it is referred to as “bread”. It dates back to the eighteenth century (I had to research that!) it became popular in the 1950’s in Minas Gerais (a state of Brazil). You can find Pão de Queijo everywhere now in Brazil, from specialized snack bars that sell them hot out of the oven, to packages of frozen dough balls, sold in supermarkets, ready to bake at any minute in the comfort of your home. However, most Brazilians who like baking have a favorite recipe to make from scratch. I have tried a few dozen different recipes. Even if you stick to the same recipe, your Pão de Queijo may turn out slightly different each time, but always delicious! This is due to the quality of ingredients (tapioca starch varies from brand to brand) and type of cheese you use, don’t be too concerned ’cause most cheeses will work fine.

Recipe Source:

Traditional Brazilian “Pão de Queijo”
People from the state of Minas Gerais (Brazil) are known as the best Pão de Queijo makers. Since I’m not from Minas Gerais, I adapted a recipe from a blogger friend of mine, who is! She is also called Renata, and she blogs at “Eternos Prazeres”. Her recipe is the “authentic” recipe from Minas and I loved the results.

Quick “Pão de Queijo”
The “quick” version is a recipe from an old recipe notebook of mine. It’s an easier version, similar to a pancake batter and can be baked in muffin pans or cooked in waffle makers with very interesting results.

“Fake Pão de Queijo”
The “fake” version was adapted from “Pecado da Gula”. I chose to include this recipe just in case you can’t find the main ingredient (tapioca starch) in your area. Instead, potato starch is used, which is easier to find in other countries. The result is not exactly the same as the original, but a great substitute for me when I was half a world away from home!

Blog-checking lines: This month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of “Testado, Provado & Aprovado!” taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!

Posting Date: May 27, 2014




TAPIOCA STARCH (also known as CASSAVA STARCH) is the main ingredient of Pão de Queijo. Here in Brazil there are two types: REGULAR and SOUR. The regular type is easier to find in other countries, but if you are lucky enough to find the sour type in your area, I highly recommend you try it (quantities will be provided when applicable). It looks pretty much like any other starch, powdery and white, sometimes it has little granules.
You can find tapioca starch at
Regular Tapioca starch (tapioca flour)
Sour Tapioca Starch (this is a Brazilian brand, quite overpriced. Here in Brazil it costs around US$ 2!)
When I was living in South Korea, I could find Tapioca Starch at Foreigners’ Markets.

CHEESE: The second most important ingredient. The authentic recipe calls for “Queijo Minas Curado” which is typical from Minas Gerais. It looks like this:


However, the recipes are usually very flexible. You can use almost any kind of cheese and it will still work and be delicious. You can be adventurous and use strong flavored cheeses if you want, but I recommend you start with a mild one so you get to know the original taste. When I was abroad I used Monterey Jack Cheese with excellent results; it is somewhat similar to the Brazilian cheese, taste and texture-wise.

Monterey Jack Cheese

If you are already familiar with Pão de Queijo, you can play around with your favorite cheeses and tell us about your results ;o)


  • Pão de Queijo is gluten-free.
  • Traditional Pão de Queijo should not brown too much in the oven. As it gets lightly golden, remove and serve hot/warm. The “quick” versions can get a little more tanned, specially the waffle.
  • They should have a thin dry crust with a soft, slightly chewy, cheesy interior, full of air pockets.
  • Pão de queijo should be served hot or warm. After they cool down, they lose their special texture, so bake only what you need. This is where frozen made ahead shaped dough comes in handy. If you still have left-overs, keep them in an air-tight container (max. 24 hours) and try making “Panini”, you will not regret it!!

Mandatory Items:

I challenge you to make Brazilian “Pão de Queijo” using either one of the recipes provided or any other of your choice. If you want to be extra daring, feel free to create new flavors using different types of cheese and/or fill them with whatever suits your fancy, sweet or savory, or both! I’m sure by the end of the month I will have added many ideas to my “Pão de Queijo” addiction!

Variations allowed:

Pão de Queijo is not traditionally filled. As it became more and more popular, new recipes and their variations started to arise and, of course, people started having great ideas. One of them was to fill the raw dough with more cheese! Alternatively, if you have a sweet tooth, you can fill the baked dough with jam or dulce de leche, for example. They are easy to fill because they puff up while baking and usually have pockets of air begging to be filled with something delicious!
There is a famous snack bar specializing in Pão de queijo here in Brazil, which created the “Panini” made with Pão de Queijo. The original Italian Panini is a grilled sandwich that is made with other kinds of bread other than sliced bread, filled with cheese, ham, salami, etc. If you use leftover Pão de Queijo for that, the result will be fantastic!

grilled sandwich
grilled sandwich 1

I’m sure you will come up with something delicious!

Preparation time:

Varies by recipe but it won’t take much longer than 30 minutes to prepare the dough, maybe 10 to 15 minutes for shaping and 20 to 25 minutes baking.

Equipment required:

Large Bowl
Sauce pan
Baking sheets/pans
Sandwich maker (if you want to try Panini)

Yields about 80 small balls


500 gm (4 cups) tapioca starch (If you have access to sour tapioca, you can use 250gm (2 cups) of each)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2-3/4 tablespoons (40 ml) (1½ oz) (40 gm) butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) salt (or to taste depending on how salty your cheese is)
3 cups (750 ml) (9 oz) (250gm) Monterey Jack Cheese (or another cheese of your liking, or a mix of cheeses), coarsely grated
1 to 3 large eggs


  • Heat milk, butter, and salt in a small sauce pan until it comes to a boil. Watch closely as it may boil over. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Sift tapioca starch into a large bowl.
  • Pour the boiled (hot) mixture over the tapioca and start stirring with a fork. The milk mixture will not be enough to form a dough yet. You will have a lumpy mixture, that’s what it is supposed to be.
  • Keep stirring with the fork, breaking down the lumps as much as you can, until the mixture cools down to warm.
  • At this point, preheat your oven to moderately hot 400° F/200° C/gs mark 6
  • Add the grated cheese to the tapioca mixture and mix well, now using your hands.
  • Add one egg at a time, mix with your hands until dough comes together. I suggest you lightly beat the egg with a fork and add little bits until the dough comes together into a soft but pliable dough. You only have to knead it a bit, not as much as you knead a yeasted bread. It’s OK if it is slightly sticky.
  • You can find a link to a video of the process in “Additional Information” below.
  • Form balls with the dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat or lightly greased with vegetable oil. If necessary, you can oil your hands to make shaping easier. The size of the balls may vary from small bite-sized balls to the size of ping pong balls. They will puff up quite a bit after baking. I personally prefer the smaller ones.
baking sheet
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until they just start to brown on the bottom. You may have golden spots of cheese on the crust. Don’t over-bake as they will get hard and bitter.
golden spots

NOTE: If your dough gets too soft and sticky to shape balls, you can always add a bit more tapioca starch or pop the dough into a piping bag and pipe the dough on a baking sheet.

soft and sticky
pipe the dough
  • Serve hot or warm. Brazilians love them with a cup of coffee! Yum…
Serve hot

Yields about 30 if made in small (2 tablespoons) 30 ml muffin cups


2 large eggs
10 tablespoons (150 ml) whole milk
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) butter, melted OR 60 ml vegetable oil (neutral tasting such as canola, grapeseed, etc)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) salt (or to taste, depending on the saltiness of your cheese)
1/2 cup (125 ml) (1-2/3 oz) (50 gm) good quality parmesan cheese such as parmigiano-reggiano, grated
2 cups (500 ml) (9 oz) (250 gm) tapioca starch (or 150 gm regular, 100 gm sour tapioca starch)


  • Preheat the oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6
  • Prepare a muffin pan by lightly greasing it with vegetable oil. Alternatively, you may use silicone muffin cups which don’t need any greasing.
  • Place all ingredients, except tapioca starch, in the jar of your blender. Blend for a minute or so.
  • With the blender still running, remove the little cap from the lid and add the tapioca flour by the spoonfuls.
  • Once you have added all the starch and your batter is smooth, turn off the blender.

NOTE: Because tapioca starch may vary from brand to brand, you may need to add some extra milk if your batter starts to get too thick and difficult to blend. Alternatively, you can stop adding the starch when you get a somewhat thick, but still pourable batter, similar to waffle batter.

  • Pour the batter into prepared muffin pans or silicone cups that have been arranged on a baking sheet.
muffin pans
  • Place baking sheet in the pre-heated oven and bake at moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 for about 30 minutes or until puffed up and lightly browned.
lightly browned
  • Serve warm.

I have tried two different size muffin cups. The larger one is 1/4 cup (60 ml) capacity (above) and the smaller, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) capacity (below). The smaller one was a much better result. If your muffin cups are too big, it would be a good idea to fill them only halfway.

muffin cups
  • The same recipe can be used for making “Pão de Queijo Waffles”… delicious!
  • Pour the same batter onto a pre-heated waffle iron….
batter onto a pre-heated waffle iron
  • ….and cook until lightly golden.
lightly golden
  • Place the on a wire rack while you cook the others.
Place the on a wire rack
  • Serve warm.

Yields about 15 small balls


3 tablespoons PLUS 1 teaspoon (50ml) milk
3 tablespoons (45ml) water
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (1/2 oz) (15 gm) butter
2/3 cup (160 ml) (3-1/2 oz) (100 gm) potato starch
1/2 tsp (3 gm) baking powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup (125 ml) (1-2/3 oz) (50 gm) grated Parmesan (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
1 large egg


  • The method for these is the same as for Traditional Pão de Queijo.
  • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4
  • Boil the milk, water and butter together.
  • In a bowl, sieve the starch, salt and baking powder.
  • Pour the hot milk mixture over the starch and stir. It will be lumpy.
  • Add the egg and cheese, stir until well combined.
  • Make little balls with lightly oiled hands and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in a preheated moderate oven (350°F/180°C/gas mark 4) until lightly golden, for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve warm.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

Pão de Queijo dough should be baked right away. If not baked right after making the dough, it can be frozen (raw) with excellent results. All you have to do is shape the balls of dough to the desired size and place them side by side, but not touching, on a plate or baking sheet lined with a food-safe plastic bag (you can use this same bag to pack them after frozen).

Storage & Freezing

Place it in the freezer for a few hours until hard. Remove from the freezer and place them in a food-safe plastic bag or ziplock bag and return to the freezer for later use. When you want to bake them, just pull out as many as you wish and arrange them on a very lightly greased baking sheet (or lined with parchment paper or silicone mat), about a couple inches apart and bake as directed. The dough balls can go straight from the freezer to the oven with perfect results!
I have never tried freezing the “quick” version, raw. I don’t think there will be any problems doing so, but I also think it wouldn’t be practical. They do freeze well after cooked though. To reheat, just place them in a moderate oven for a few minutes.
The “waffle” kind can be frozen after cooked and stored in plastic bags right after they cool down. When you want to serve, they can go straight from the freezer to a toaster, just be careful so that they don’t brown too much.

Additional Information:

This recipe doesn’t require a stand mixer and, traditionally, it is made by hand. However, it is indeed sort of a “heavy” dough. Though I have never tried using a stand mixer here, I found someone who has. Her name is Raiza Costa and she blogs at Dulce Delight. She’s a Brazilian living in the US and she makes lovely videos in English. I thought I’d share her “Pão de Queijo” post (with video) with you:

Another link to a video showing the process by hand. It’s in Portuguese but the method is clearly shown:

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