Homemade Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo) (with Dairy-Free Option)

Brazilian Cheese Bread on Cutting Board

Pão de queijo is a popular Brazilian snack that has gained worldwide popularity. These naturally gluten-free bread bites are crispy on the outside with a chewy, cheesy center. Perfect as a snack, appetizer, or side dish, they're a taste of Brazil that's easy to make at home.

The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.

Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.

The first time I tried Brazilian cheese bread, the year started with a “1,” and the only Fogo de Chão in the United States was located in Dallas. Under the close supervision of her Brazilian mother-in-law, one of my American co-workers whipped up a gigantic batch of these cheesy bread bites for a potluck. The tasty tidbits immediately became a hot topic as a bunch of Midwesterners fell in love at first bite with this traditional Brazilian treat.

Today, many Americans have tried Brazilian cheese bread, or pão de queijo. It’s served as a side dish at Brazilian steakhouses from coast to coast, and you can bake frozen Brazi Bites at home. And today, I’m going to show you how fast and easy it is to whip up a batch of delicious Brazilian cheese balls at home.  

The cheesy chewy inside of Brazilian cheese bread.


In This Article

What is Brazilian Cheese Bread?

Brazilian cheese bread, or as the locals say, “pão de queijo,” is a bite-sized ball of cheesy, chewy goodness that’s the culinary equivalent of a warm hug from avó. Imagine biting into a perfectly crusty exterior only to discover an explosion of gooey, cheesy heaven on the inside. These Brazilian cheese puffs are kind of like that!

Is Brazilian Cheese Bread Gluten Free?

Yes, Brazilian cheese bread is naturally gluten free! It’s made with tapioca flour, so you can still enjoy these tasty little cheese bites even if you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity.

What’s the Difference Between Tapioca Flour and Tapioca Starch?

Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are essentially the same thing. In fact, the front of Bob’s Red Mill tapioca flour package says “also known as tapioca starch.” Whether you call it tapioca flour or tapioca starch, it’s a very fine, white flour made from the root of the cassava plant native to South America.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

These are the key ingredients needed to whip up a batch of Brazilian cheese bread.

White and Brown Eggs in a Carton.
Photo Credit: Canva.


Like most baked goods, it’s best to use a room-temperature egg. Why? There are two main reasons. First, room temperature eggs whip better, helping the batter be fluffier and less dense. Additionally, if your batter contains butter, cold eggs can make melted or softened butter re-solidify, causing the mixture to be lumpy and the baked good to cook unevenly. 

Because eggs are an alpha-gal friendly ingredient, I haven’t tried this Brazilian cheese bread recipe with an egg substitute. But if you give it a go, leave me a comment and let me know how it works for you.

Person Pouring a Glass of Milk
Photo Credit: Canva.


Because I’m once again able to consume small amounts of low-fat dairy products, I typically make Brazilian cheese bread with skim milk. However, you can easily substitute almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk if you are an alpha gal who avoids dairy.

A wooden bowl of tapioca flour on a wooden table.
Photo Credit: Canva

Tapioca Flour

Derived from the cassava root and naturally gluten free, tapioca flour gives these cheesy puffs their chewy texture. Because tapioca flour isn’t as readily available as wheat-based flour, you may wonder, “Can you make Brazilian cheese bread with regular flour?” Unfortunately, wheat flour will not work in this recipe. However, tapioca flour is typically found at large supermarkets, specialty grocery stores, or online.

Wooden Board with an Assortment of Cheeses
Photo Credit: Canva.


You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and you can’t make Brazilian cheese bread without cheese. The good news is that you can use just about any cheese or combination of cheeses you want — including vegan cheese. I’ve made these bites with everything from aged Gouda to sharp cheddar to vegan cheddar cheese shreds, so whether you enjoy dairy or have to avoid it, you can still dig into a batch of these chewy cheese puffs.

Sage Advice: Whether you use low-fat, full-fat, vegetarian, or vegan varieties, other great cheeses to try in this recipe include white cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, queso fresco, blue cheese, mozzarella cheese, and feta. You can even mix and match as long as your cheese of choice totals ½ cup.

Related Article: Is Cheese Vegetarian? Slicing Into the Truth

Dairy-free sign

How to Make Brazilian Cheese Bread Dairy-Free

For a dairy-free version of these Brazilian cheese bread puffs, use these ingredients and then follow the same instructional steps in the regular recipe below:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ¼ cup olive oil (plus more to grease muffin tin)
  • ⅔ cup plant-based milk (like almond, oat, or soy)
  • 1 ½ cups tapioca flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • ½ cup vegan grated cheese (like Violife Just Like Cheddar Shreds) 
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Related Article: Dairy Free Baking: Proven Tips for Beginners

The ingredients needed to make Brazilian cheese bread include olive oil, mik, tapioca flour, and cheese.

How to Make Brazilian Cheese Bread

Making Brazilian cheese bread is easier than you might think. Simply pulse all ingredients together in a blender, pour into greased mini muffin tins, and bake. Yes, it’s really that easy!

Sage Advice: Notice that the word “mini” is in bold italics above. It’s absolutely essential that you use a mini muffin tin to create these bite-sized Brazilian treats. They will not work in a regular muffin tin.

What to Eat with Brazilian Cheese Bread

In Brazil, these cheesy bread bites are served for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or as a starchy side at dinnertime, so they blend in with any meal as efficiently as a Rainforest chameleon.

Brazilian Cheese Bread with Coffee
Photo Credit: Canva

How to Store Brazilian Cheese Bread

Sort of like leftover wine, I’ve heard of leftover Brazilian cheese bread, but I’ve never actually experienced it. If you are more disciplined than I am and don’t eat the entire batch of warm cheese bread in one sitting, you can store these bread balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

How to Reheat Brazilian Cheese Bread

For the best results, I recommend reheating your pão de queijo in the oven. This will ensure that the crispy exterior is restored before you bite in. Just pop them in the oven or an air fryer at 350 F for a few minutes until they’re warm, and they’ll taste as fresh as the day they were originally baked.

Related Article: What is an Air Fryer? Get the Fry Without the Fat

Brazilian Cheese Bread (with Dairy-Free Substitution)

These gluten-free, cheesy, bite-size gems are crispy on the outside with a chewy, cheesy center. Perfect as a snack, appetizer, or side dish, they're a taste of Brazil that's easy to make in your kitchen. (Recipe inspired by Bob’s Red Mill.)
4.97 from 170 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Brazilian
Servings 12
Calories 122 kcal


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups tapioca flour I used Bob’s Red Mill
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Grease a mini muffin pan with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray and set aside. (You must use a mini muffin tin. This recipe does not work in a standard or jumbo muffin pan.)
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until ingredients are thoroughly combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula as needed.
  • Pour batter evenly into greased muffin tins, leaving about ⅛” of space at the top. (If you use a silicone muffin pan, place it on a baking sheet before placing it in the oven.)
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops of the bread bites are golden brown.
  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack for two minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan and serve immediately.


It's absolutely essential that you use a mini muffin tin to create these bite-sized Brazilian treats. They will not work in a regular muffin tin.


Serving: 2 piecesCalories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.002gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 138mgPotassium: 32mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 89IUCalcium: 52mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword alpha-gal friendly, cheese, dairy-free, tapioca flour, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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21 thoughts on “Homemade Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo) (with Dairy-Free Option)”

  1. Healing Tomato

    5 stars
    I had never heard of Brazillian bread until yesterday. I baked this bread and oh my! It was unbelievably delicious and cheesy good. Your steps were easy to understand. Will make it again.

  2. I love these homemade Brazilian cheese bread bites. It’s an absolute delight! The crispy exterior and its chewy, cheesy center are truly a taste sensation. It’s worth a try, and I would definitely make some over the weekend!

  3. 5 stars
    Mmmm! You had me at cheese! I love a lot of Brazilian recipes and this was no different. Cheesy and delicious. We served them with soup instead of bread and it was a great combo.

  4. 5 stars
    Always heard good things about this cheese bread, and when this came across my feed I knew I had to make them. They were oddly a perfect addition to our cookout last night – so fluffy and light!

  5. 5 stars
    Just baked these little cheese bread puffs. The cheese inside was melty and gave them fantastic flavor. They were so simple to make too!

  6. 5 stars
    These were light and chewy and full of cheesy flavor. I had never heard of this before, but I ran across your post and decided to give them a try. Delicious! Thanks for the great recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Tried the dairy-free version with almond milk and vegan cheese, and it was really delicious! Crispy outside and chewy inside. It’s my new favorite snack!

  8. These are okay, I may have done something wrong. I tried twice. I have been baking for a long time, but used a regular muffin tin. The first time I filled it 3/4 of the way, but kept putting it back in the oven. The second time I filled it up 1/4 of the way, but they still seemed doughy in the middle. Do I NEED to use the mini pans? Or am I doing something wrong?

    1. Hi Jess! This recipe is written for a mini muffin tin, and in my experience Brazilian cheese bread is always a bite-sized treat (and never a full-sized muffin). If you’re willing to give them one more go (and you use a mini muffin tin), I am confident you’ll have much better results! P.S. Based on your feedback, I’m going to update this recipe to make it more clear that it’s super important to use a mini muffin tin for this recipe. After all, most recipes can flex between the two, so others might try that and be similarly frustrated.

4.97 from 170 votes (160 ratings without comment)

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