Brazilian Pão de Queijo (cheesy bread)

Posted on Mar 24 2015 - 1:15pm by Andrea     Print This Post Print This Post

In my younger years, I had the good fortune to travel the world and live abroad in various fun places for work. At the time, I was vegetarian, but not vegan. This means that I still have the taste of various cheese-and-egg-based foreign specialties in my mind and can work to recreate them, veganized, for all of us to share.

Pão de Queijo

One of those local specialities is Brazilian pão de queijo, or quite literally, bread of cheese. The small, spherical puffs are a traditional street food that you can buy as a snack on your way home from work or a night of partying. They are made with cassava (aka tapioca) flour for a delicious gluten-free treat. The original cheese flavor is very easily replicated here with the use of Daiya cheddar shreds, margarine, and nutritional yeast.

The best thing about pão de queijo (aside from the glorious memories of carnaval that it stirs up in me…) is the texture. They are obey, gooey, sticky, and totally unique. This recipe precisely replicates the original texture, so please enjoy and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Pão de Queijo

Prep time: 25 minutes ~ Cook time: 23 minutes ~ Makes: 30 puffs

1) In a small dish, combine:
-2 T ground flax seed
-3 T warm water
Mix thoroughly and set aside.

Pão de Queijo

2) In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients:
-2 c tapioca flour
-1.5 c vegan cheddar shreds (I use Daiya brand)
-3 T nutritional yeast
-1 t baking powder
-1 t salt (this will make for very salty and delicious pão de queijo…but if you are watching your salt intake or just prefer less salt, I suggest using half this amount)

Pão de Queijo

3) In a small pot, combine:
-3/4 c unsweetened soy/nut milk
-1/2 c margarine (I use Earth Balance baking sticks)
Heat, covered, over low until margarine has completely liquified. Then bring to a boil, whisking to keep even. Remove immediately from the heat and pour into large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir immediately with a fork until evenly mixed and flour has disappeared.

Pão de Queijo

4) Preheat oven to 350.

5) Add the flax “eggs” and mix.

6) If dough is too sticky to handle, place in freezer for 10 minutes until the dough is less sticky.

7) Spray cookie sheet lightly with spray oil. Use wet hands to roll approximately 30 small balls (1 tablespoon each.) Keep a shallow dish of water nearby to re-wet your hands as needed. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Cook at 350 for 23 minutes.

Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo


-Make sure your tapioca flour is fresh. If it’s old, it will have a strange metallic-like smell, particularly when mixed with liquid.
-Original, Brazilian-made, pão de queijo are formed into neat little balls. This dough is a bit stickier, making it harder to handle, and making the balls less perfect looking. However, even if you don’t roll them into spheres (as in my pictures!) the taste and amazing gooey texture is exactly the same, so enjoy!

Pão de Queijo

2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Kagiso June 29, 2015 at 8:33 am - Reply

    I have always watend to make this recipe, but I have so many other Christmas favourites, that I never got around to it. Last year my 31 yr. old son was diagnosed with Celiac and I am doing all GF baking so he can enjoy all the treats I make. Tried this recipe this morning, and they are UNBELIEVABLEY GOOD!!!! I even made a mistake in the recipe (only 2 eggs, instead of 3) and they were still fantastic. Anxious to try some of your other recipes now!!

    • Andrea June 29, 2015 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed!! This a favorite in our house too – a definitely treat given all the fatty goodness! :)

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