Pão de Queijo (Cheese Bread / Brazilian Cheese Popovers)

Posted: September 22, 2014 in Bake Along, Baked Bread/ Bun/ Puff, Brazilian, Cook Your Books, Savoury, Snack, Weekend Cooking
Tags: , , , , ,

If you happened to be reading this post and were wondering, “Where’s the bread? That does not look like bread”, then you are on the right post 😉

1. Pao de Queijo_closed up_basket

Pão de Queijo is cheese bread in Portuguese!

At first I thought pão is bun, as is used in Hokkien (pao = bun), however, ‘boa’ is bun in Portuguese.

When I first discovered that pão de queijo is cheese-flavoured bread, the word queijo kept replaying in my head like an old, broken gramophone.

Okey doke, the penny dropped! I realised where I have heard the word queijo from. It’s a word that I came across when I was in school in Kuching (Sarawak). In the Malay language, ‘keju’ is cheese.

Oh by the way, the Malay language has many loanwords, one of which is Portuguese, and one of which is queijo = keju = cheese.

A Truly Brazilian July

Honestly speaking, July 2014 had been a very sportive month, with many back-to-back international competitions, such as the Le Tour de France, Gand Slam (tennis) in Wimbledon on grass, XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and last but not least – and probably – themost prominent of all Tournaments was the 20th FIFA World Cup hosted by Brazil.

Although the host country did not win the World Cup this year, Brazil has won the hearts of millions of people with her much acclaimed cheesy bread.

Pão de Queijo had been flying around the net like nobody’s business this summer.

Ooh! Wow! Yum!

Yup, I exclaimed those words in that sequence – really, and, not wanting to be left gawking at the photos for nothing, I joined in the crowd.

The following proverb tells a lot about me. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”Unknown

2. Pao de Queijo_closed up_basket3
Mine! Mine! Mine! (remember the seagulls in Finding Nemo?) LOL!

Addictively Cheesy!

Yes, Addictively Cheesy!

Pop one in your mouth and you will be popping in chain reaction. Ha ha ha..

Pão de Queijo is crunchy dough snack with a mild cheese flavour. These little gems are eaten throughout Brazil, at breakfast or as a snack. I think the secret behind this addictive delicacy is the crispy outer layer while the inside is almost hollow and chewy and moist.

3. Pao de Queijo_cheezy


The essential ingredients used in making Pão de Queijo are very similar to making Popovers – eggs, milk, flour, oil or melted butter and salt. The only glaring differences are the use of cassava flour (or tapioca starch) and cheese(s), hence, living up to its name.

I noticed there are 2 ways of preparing these cheesy bread (1) the all-in –one method with the cold milk-oil-flour-salt-egg-cheese mixture pouring in the cavity of each muffin tin or pan or (2) the boiled milk-oil-salt mixture amalgamating in the flour followed by beaten eggs and cheese.

I have tried the first method first. Personally, I prefer the second method because it’s the authentic and traditional way of preparing Pão de Queijo.

Here’s one I made earlier using the first method, very similar to making popovers or Yorkshire puddings. Oops…not the best photography 😦

4. Pao de Queijo_cold process_r

In this post, however, I have based my recipe on a cool looking Cookbook, in the Dutch version, “BRASIL! Het Kookboek” (BRAZIL! The Cookbook) by David Ponte, Lizzy Barber and Jamie Barber. Note I have made some variations with my comments in blue italic.

5. Pao de Queijo_Cookbook_r

Ingredients –

  • 1.25 dl full cream milk
  • 50 ml Sunflower oil (I used Corn oil)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 250 gm cassava flour (or tapioca starch/flour)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (I used 2 small eggs)
  • 200 gm Parmesan or cheddar, grated (I used 100g grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus 150g Mozarella)

Method –

  • Pour 1.25 dl milk, Sunflower oil and salt in a large saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat once the mixture starts to rise and bubble. Add the flour and quickly stir the mixture vigorously until there is no trace of dry tapioca flour. Stir to form moist dough. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Let the dough cool slightly.
  • Add the eggs to the cooled dough and mix them through at low speed. Increase the speed after 1-2 minutes and blend the mixture on high speed until all the egg is incorporated and the dough is smooth. Add the grated Parmesan (Parmigiano reggiano and Mozarella) and continue mixing until the cheese is incorporated in the dough mixture. 6. Pao de Queijo_kneaded dough
  • Line a baking sheet or parchment paper. Moisten the palms of your hands with water or oil. Take a tablespoon of dough and roll into balls. Wash your hands in between before shaping the balls, because the dough is very sticky. (You can also use a small ice cream scoop. Dip the scoop into ice water and shake off excess water before shaping the balls). Place the balls 2.5 cm apart on the baking sheet.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. They should be crispy on the outside and a little gooey inside. Serve immediately.

7. Pao de Queijo_in the oven_r

Depending on your oven and the size of the cheese balls, the result can go either way – too golden or too pale. Below the outcome of the baking times at 25 mins (top half) and 22 mins (below half).

8. Pao de Queijo_25 vs 22

I must admit that the ones baked for 25 minutes were crunchier with small pockets of air within the dough. They were less gooey than the ones baked for 22 minutes. The verdict? I loved both, because they’re Mine! Mine! Mine!   Ha ha ha…

9. Pao de Queijo_25 mins10. Pao de Queijo_22mins

11. Pao de Queijo_closed up_basket212. Pao de Queijo_jar2

I am sharing this recipe to the following blog-hop events –

Cook-Your-Books#16hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Cook Your Books

Bake Along with the theme “Popovers”, hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Lena from Her Frozen Wings and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Bake Along

Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Weekend Cooking


  1. whytekidaily says:

    Hey I also went through a Pao de Keju craze recently hehe! Tried all the different recipes and methods too! Prefer also your Method #2. Tasted way better. Funny thing was I always had to readjust my recipe .. the consistency of the batter was always different somehow. But we all loved it and I still have a huge tupperware with a label that reads : “pao de queijo” hehehe…

  2. Beth F says:

    You’re right, recipes for these were all over the Internet! I’ve been meaning to try them and since your recipe works, I think I’ll try it.

  3. Nasifriet says:

    Hey Angel, I’ve made these several times as well. Once I made using the entire pkt of 400g tapioca flour and ended having cheese balls for a week! I should have freezed them up and bake them when I want to pop them in my mouth. Noticed the paos do not taste as good if left lying at room temp for too long. They are definitely not crispy on the outside and neither chewy in the inside. The cheese tastes odd too. They became quite oily when re-baked. By freezing the excess cheese balls when cooled is by far the best way to keep the original taste and flavour😜

    But at least you made them!! Guess little K loves his cheesy balls. I will make them again soon😍

  4. Nasifriet says:

    Yes we all love these, too😜

  5. Nasifriet says:

    I’ve made these several times already. If you make a lot and can’t finish immediately, I suggest that you freeze them up. Tastes as good as fresh when you re-bake them. But these days, there’re no opportunities to freeze these addictive mouth-poppers! All gone within 24 hours. Lol!!

  6. kitchen flavours says:

    Lovely little popovers! And cheezy too! We love popovers in my house, and our favourite is definitely one with cheese! Popping one into the mouth is not enough! A lovely snack with a cup of warm tea.
    Thanks for baking along with us!

  7. Nasifriet says:

    You’re right Cheese-flavoured popovers are really tasty AND addictive. I’m a fan😍

  8. Your little cheesy popovers remind me of the Christmas puffs that Curtis Stone made… the very addictive kind 😀 Great for entertaining especially cheering for games and soccer matches!

  9. Nasifriet says:

    That’s exactly what we did! The first time I made these was in July and it was the World Cup fever. Hubby and sons were popping these while cheering their favourite team, whilst wife/mum was popping these simply as a snack with a good mug of warm tea😜

  10. lena says:

    hi nasifriet, i have made these once before and with a slightly different method. The ingredients were all blended in using a blender and the batter was like in liquid form . Yes, they were kind of crispy too and hollow. Infact the brazilian rolls puffed up more nicer than the popovers that i made recently. I see that yours also have popped up beautifully and puffy too. Nice! Great to hv you baking along with us again! have a good weekend!

  11. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Lena, the method you mentioned is the one I started making these puffs. I’ve posted the picture. I did not take many photos as I was trying the recipe out for the first time. It was indeed the all-in-one method, blending using a blender and the batter was runny. I poured the batter in a muffin pan and yes, you’re right, they puffed up more, like Yorkshire puds. I prefer the “choux pastry method” as it’s less hollow inside and I could enjoy the cheesy texture, which I liked. I will make more again and freeze them up😄

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