Pao de Queijo (Cheese Puffs-Brazilian)

"I have not made this recipe, but after having been to Brazil a few times, and after having found this recipe in the Brazilian Children's Fund Cookbook (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), I had to add this to my recipes. I hope it turns out as good as those I've tried in Brazil!"
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by amorxoxo photo by amorxoxo
photo by lapetitbrioche photo by lapetitbrioche
photo by cpadlan photo by cpadlan
Ready In:
20 cheese puffs




  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Bring the milk, salt, and margarine to a boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Slowly add manioc starch, stirring constantly until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the cheese and eggs.
  • Knead until smooth.
  • Form into balls approximately 2-inches in diameter and place on a greased baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake until golden brown.
  • Eat while hot.
  • Makes 20 cheese puffs.

Questions & Replies

  1. what is manioc starch?
  2. Can manioc starch be replaced with tapioca starch/flour at the same measurement (2 cups)?


  1. This is a great recipe! The best Pao de Queijo comes from Minas Gerias. I would have to say this is very close to the ones I have had there. My wife is Brazilian and she was shocked when I made these for her. She said it reminded her of home. There are three tricks you have to do to make this work. 1) Use Tapioca Starch not Flour 2) After you make the mixture, refrigerate it. The balls will come out perfect. 3) Bake at 350 for 25 mins. If you do these things, it will come out perfect. Al
  2. I have made this recipe 4 times, and I would say it's pretty good. I think the only thing I would change is the oven temperature, it has to be at 350 degrees, otherwise it will burn them. If you like them small, it makes about 28. If you prefer them medium size, maybe 22 or so. Instead of making the balls round, you can make them a little flatter, so it looks more like a puff, and it bakes better that way. Also if you are trying to reduce the fat, you can definitely decrease the butter a little, because it turns out a little more oily than usual. I use real butter, I like it better. You do not need to grease the baking sheet. It's also very important that the milk is really hot, so it can precook the flour as you mix it. And last, the choice of sour versus sweet manioc flour, is all a matter of taste. I like to use 1 1/2 cup of sweet, and 1/2 cup of sour, so it does add a little sour taste to it.
  3. Good recipe. Have never been able to make balls with it so we always use a muffin pan. I use real salted butter and do not add any extra salt. The cheese I use is Pecorino Romano cheese. I also use 350 for the oven temperature for 20 to 25 minutes and then I turn the broiler on for about 3 to 5 to brown the tops lightly. Just love the taste and flavor. This poa de queijo also taste good two days later. Just pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds depending on the power of the microwave. That and a cup of coffee and it is breakfast for me!
  4. This was very close to the pão de queijo I had when I lived in Rio de Janeiro many years back. These turned out very light and not as dense as I remember having them, but the flavor was very close and consistency very nice. I followed the directions almost exactly, except I took some reviewers suggestions: did 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup parmesan, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. I only had 2% milk on hand, so maybe using whole milk will help making denser bread next time. I also made the mistake of adding the second cup tapioca starch in the beginning, so I had to add it at the end, hopefully that was not another reason why the batter did not solidify as much and ended up using a muffin pan. But, I will try making these again and post another review with these small changes and maybe that will make a difference in density that I won't have to use the muffin pan. I baked for about 18-20 min. in the middle rack until golden brown. Posted a picture as well.
  5. I haven't tried this exact recipe but have some tips in general for this delicious treat. Reading the other reviews, I would suggest using at least another cup of Manioc starch, and if you can find it (you can find anything on the internet) get sour Manioc starch, For one, it's more authentic and for another, it tastes better IMHO. Also a good trick is to only use 1/2 parmesan cheese and 1/2 another white cheese with more moisture. Mexican white cheese (like Contija) works well. Still waiting for the day they start importing Queijo de Minas. The muffin tin idea is good for a pinch but seems anathema to tradition, that's why I suggest more manioc starch, and roll it into a proper ball. and I'll second the ideas that you should keep your hands oiled when rolling them into balls, as it keeps it from sticking to your hands and gives it a nice finish and additional taste boost, and definitely eat these right out of the oven. If you do try and freeze them, let them defrost for a bit. If at all possible avoid buying the Yoki mix as it uses sweet manioc flour, but they are ok if you really must try them. Though not necessarily a must, I like to serve them with some cream cheese (or Requeijao if you can find it) For some it's a cheese overload, but for people like me, there is no such thing.


  1. These had a brief period of popularity in Tokyo a few years ago, and I've been craving them ever since. This recipe is wonderful! Like the other reviewers, I, also, used tapioca flour - in my case, from Taiwan. It worked perfectly. As an experiment, I substituted grated cheddar cheese for the Parmesan cheese in the dough, and it worked fine. The dough did have to be spooned onto the baking sheet. I sprinkled grated Parmesan on top. I had the most success using a rounded teaspoonful of dough. I later got lazy and increased the amount, but the puffs did not look nearly as good. Thank you very much for this recipe.



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