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Brazilian Cheese Bread (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

  • Author: Felicia Lim
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 buns 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This Brazilian cheese bread recipe (also known as “pão de queijo”) is super easy to make, and a batch comes together in 45 minutes. With a crusty exterior, and a soft and chewy interior, these buns have a tasty cheesy flavor. Great for snacking on or for a savory breakfast, these Brazilian cheese buns are totally gluten-free and dairy-free too, but no one would care! Go bake a batch right now!




  1. Preheat and Line: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Mix Tapioca Starch and Salt: In a large mixing bowl, combine the tapioca starch and salt and whisk well to combine.
  3. Add Water and Olive Oil: Pour the hot water and olive oil over the tapioca starch-salt mixture and stir until you get a gummy and clumpy mixture. Let the tapioca mixture sit for 5 minutes until it is cool to the touch.
  4. Mix Cheese and Egg: In a medium bowl, mix the shredded dairy-free Parmesan cheese and the beaten egg.
  5. Combine Mixtures to Create Dough: Add the cheese-egg mixture to the large bowl with the tapioca starch mixture and mix to form a homogenous dough.
  6. Form Dough Balls: Scoop out a tablespoon of dough and use oiled hands to roll the dough into a small ball (approximately the size of a golf ball).
  7. Place Dough Balls on Prepared Baking Sheet: Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake Until Puffy and Golden: Bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes until the Brazilian cheese buns are puffed up and golden.
  9. Serve Hot and Enjoy: Serve the Brazilian cheese bread hot (they taste best right from the oven).


Tapioca Starch: In this Brazilian cheese bread recipe, tapioca starch, which is also called tapioca flour, is an essential ingredient that provides elasticity (resulting in the chewy texture) and I do NOT recommend substituting it with other ingredients.

Salt: Adding salt to the recipe adds a little more flavor and makes the flavor of the buns pop. However, if you prefer not to, feel free to leave it out.

Hot Water: The hot temperature of the water helps to bind the ingredients together, so make sure you use hot water. You may also use hot non-dairy milk (such as cashew milk, almond milk, or rice milk) if you prefer. Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant, feel free to use normal milk instead.

Olive Oil: I recommend using extra virgin olive oil because it has a stronger flavor.

Dairy-Free Parmesan Cheese: To keep this recipe totally dairy-free, I’ve used shredded dairy-free parmesan cheese (but feel free to use other dairy-free cheeses that can be grated). However, if you are not lactose-intolerant, go ahead and use normal Parmesan cheese.

Egg: The egg helps to bind the ingredients together and gives it rise. I have not made it without egg, but if you are allergic to eggs or simply want to keep this recipe vegan, you could try using aquafaba or an egg-replacer.

Storing: Since these cheese buns are best eaten straight from the oven, and they harden quickly as time passes, I do NOT recommend storing them for another day.

Freezing the Dough: If you want to prepare the dough in advance, simple form the small balls of dough and place them on a sheet (follow the recipe till step 7) and then let them flash-freeze for 30 minutes until the dough is hard. Place the hardened dough balls in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake the frozen dough balls at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes until golden.

Adapted from: Brazilian Kitchen Abroad

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Brazilian

Keywords: Brazilian cheese bread

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