Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)


Pão de queijo is a classic Brazilian snack and breakfast bread. Light and airy, with a delightful chew and savory, cheesy flavor, each puff has a lightly crispy exterior and a tender, bubbly center. Felipe Donnelly's version is a must-have at his New York City restaurant, Comodo. It's the perfect two-bite snack with hints of cayenne and nutmeg.

Pao de Queijo
Photo: Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins


  • 5 ounces Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 cups tapioca flour (about 8 1/2 ounces) (see Note) or manioc starch

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling and shaping

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • ½ cup water

  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • Pinch of black pepper


  1. Process cheese and eggs in a food processor until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

  2. Combine tapioca flour and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set aside.

  3. Combine oil, milk, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Immediately pour oil mixture into tapioca mixture in stand mixer, all at once, and turn the mixer on at low speed. Beat until dough is smooth and starch is completely incorporated, about 2 minutes. (There will be some oil left in bottom of bowl.)

  4. Turn stand mixer off. Add cheese mixture, nutmeg, cayenne, and black pepper to mixture in stand mixer. Beat mixture on low speed until it turns pale yellow, about 10 minutes. (You are trying to develop the structure of the dough by kneading it slowly.) (Dough should feel a bit sticky and moist.)

  5. Transfer dough to a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until dough is chilled and slightly stiffened, at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.

  6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, or oil the baking sheets well.

  7. Lightly coat your hands with oil (or flour them with tapioca flour). Pinch off walnut-size pieces (about 1 tablespoon) of dough; roll between your palms into balls. Place 16 to 18 pão de queijo on each prepared baking sheet 11/2 to 2 inches apart.

  8. Bake in preheated oven, 1 baking sheet at a time, until rolls puff up and are light golden brown, about 20 minutes per batch, rotating baking sheet from front to back halfway through bake time. Remove from oven; place pão de queijo in a basket lined with a napkin. Serve immediately, while they are at their warmest and chewiest.


Tapioca flour can be found at bobsredmill.com.

Make Ahead

Dough balls can frozen, covered with plastic wrap, on parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Increase bake time by 5 minutes if baking from frozen.

Related Articles