Pao de Queijo | Brazilian Cheese Rolls
Recipe type: bread
Cuisine: Brazilian
Irresistible Brazilian cheese rolls made from tapioca starch are naturally gluten-free and easy to make.
  • 800 grams (28 ounces) tapioca starch
  • 400 grams (about 1 pound) shredded cheese (a mix of mozzarella, sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, Parmesan)
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (you can use less if you want)
  • 3-4 extra large eggs
  1. Put the tapioca starch in the bowl of a large stand mixer.
  2. In a pan, heat the oil, milk, and salt to a boil, watch carefully so it doesn't boil over. Stir to dissolve the salt.
  3. Pour the hot milk into the tapioca starch and stir with a wooden spoon (you can use the mixer, but it might poof up in your face). Turn on the mixer to combine. The dough will look shaggy. With the mixer running. add the eggs one at a time. The dough will have the consistency of frosting. If it's too dry add another egg. Wait for it to cool to room temperature. With the mixer running, add the cheese a little at a time. The dough will be runny. Let it chill for a few hours, if you want, and it will hold up better. Otherwise, use a small ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes. The tops should be golden.
Tapioca starch can be found in Asian markets in small 400 gram bags. This recipe uses two of those. Each bag weighs about 14 ounces. You can also find tapioca starch in Latin markets.

You could substitute another flavorless oil for the canola - sunflower, safflower, or grape seed. Olive oil is too strong.

I've never attempted to make these dairy-free, but I have thought about using Daiya vegan shreds, a good tablespoon or more of nutritional yeast, and a non-dairy milk. The eggs cannot really be substituted, however.

It's important to let the dough cool before rolling into balls. If the dough is too warm, the baked rolls will flatten. Not the end of the world - more of an aesthetic thing.

This recipe makes a lot, so you can freeze half for later. Just form the dough balls and freeze, then put them into a plastic ziploc bag. You can bake them when they are frozen, just add about 5 more minutes to the baking time.
Recipe by Cafe Johnsonia at