Cheesiness: Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian Cheese Rolls

Cheesiness:  Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian Cheese Rolls


As my friends and I have gotten older, and grown into our current selves, we have all seemingly embraced those hidden artistic talents that tended to lie dormant all those years that we were plowing through books and earning degrees, memorizing chemical formulas or finance equations.  The years go by and all that information once-so-important-but-now-deemed-pretty-useless is forgotten.  I mean, the only time I write down chemical symbols is as ingredient abbreviations in recipes- can’t take the scientist out of the girl, I guess. 

The plus side of this is that all that extra room in our brains and time in our schedules have allowed us to each became proficient at what it turns out are some pretty useful talents.  None of us have let “the man” or the pressures of being a grown up or a parent stifle our creativity. Go us!


I cook, apparently.

Apple Crisp crafts paper like a magician. 

Licorice is a pro seamstress.

Lettuce, the next Picasso.

Tomato, the creator of the wonderful plate you see today.

Pretty cute, right? She made it (and burned it? Sealed it? Baked it? I don’t know the word) herself.

The point of all the above is that Tomato helped me eat up these rolls, and in return, I promised to tout her plate. It’s worth touting, don’t’ you agree?

(Side question from her- would you buy this plate? And for how much?  I hear the wheels turning inside her head).

Okay, enough about this plate. Let’s talk about the things on it.


Pão de Queijo are Brazilian cheese buns.  Sounds good right? They are.

As I was reading recipe after recipe, I had sort of a déjà vu moment and realized I (and possibly you, depending on when you jumped on this crazy train) have seen them before under the guise of Portuguese sweet rolls.

AHH. Portugal. Brazil. They’re foodie friends.

With that I ended my search and changed the original beignet-like recipe enough that they came out drastically different. Butter instead of oil. Cheese instead of sugar. Stand mixer rather than wooden spoon.


About the cheese- most recipes call for Parmesan.  If you’re aiming for authentic, go with quiejo minas. I was feeling French-y so, in a left field move, I used mimolette.  Cheese as you will.

The result this time was a roll definitely more light and airy than that original heavy and gooey recipe. The tapioca flour still makes them gluten-free and gives them an almost choux-like texture. Tomato was IN LOVE with them, and said they reminded her of her favorite Japanese black sesame bread. When I find out how to make those from this, I’ll let you know. Until then, you have two very different way to enjoy a most excellent treat.

My favorite? Ahhhh…sweet. I just have such a sweet tooth, and that wins my heart and soul. And I liked the more rustic look and texture of the other ones.  Still, this ain’t bad and an easy way to mix up your boring dinner roll.  Down with boring rolls!


Sorry for being so cheesy.

Pão de Queijo
Serves 9
Easy, gluten-free Brazilian cheese rolls
Write a review
Total Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  2. 1/3 cup milk (I used whole)
  3. 1/3 cup water
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 2 cups tapioca flour
  6. 2 eggs, beaten
  7. ½ cup shredded cheese, your choice
  8. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  9. 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), add the tapioca flour and salt.
  3. Heat the butter, water, milk and salt in a saucepan. Once it comes to a boil, add to the tapioca flour.
  4. Start beating the mixture on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated.
  5. Fold in the shredded cheese, rosemary and pepper.
  6. Pour the batter into an unlined muffin tin and bake
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden. Serve hot.
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World



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6 thoughts on “Cheesiness: Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian Cheese Rolls”

  • CHEESE + CARBS! There is nothing better. These look so yummy. There is no Red Lobster anywhere near me and the texture of seafood makes me wanna vom, but I desperately crave the cheddar biscuits. mmmm.

    • Yah, right? I can’t say these compare to the gloriousness of Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits, but they are a tasty alternative.

      Now I want to go to RL. Bah.

      However-cheesy risotto coming at you soon. All the cheese is happening!

  • ohmygosh i am in LOVE with pao de queijo…i must’ve consumed my weight’s worth when i was in buenos aires. they call them chipa down there, but i’m pretty sure they’re super similar, made with tapioca flour. i just love how chewy and cheesy they are 🙂

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