Pão de Queijo – Brazilian cheesy doughballs

Pão de Queijo is one of the most delicious of the thousands of Brazilian recipes you can make with Cassava. I know it sounds strange, but the main ingredient is not ‘cheese’, but the cassava starch, not only replaces wheat flower in this recipe, but gives it the intense cheesy taste.

Pão de Queijo is one of the most delicious of the thousands of Brazilian recipes you can make with Cassava. I know it sounds strange, but the main ingredient is not ‘cheese’, but the cassava starch, not only replaces wheat flower in this recipe, but gives it the intense cheesy taste.

There are 2 kinds of cassava starch: sweet cassava starch and sour cassava starch. They are both made of the same raw material, the cassava root, but the sour king is left to ferment for 2 days in its processing.

You may think at first this is a rare product, but its one of the main sources of ‘modified starch’ which is a staple of the cooking industry. But that’s not to say you’ll be able to find it in your local supermarket (if you live outside Brazil of course). Check out our Brazilian food ingredients supplier directory.

The last time I as in Lisbon, my friend Titina and her family made some Pão de Queijo from scratch and I was really impressed. She sent me the recipe below. I have just tested and it’s absolutely spot on. She uses some plain white cheese, which is hard to find in the UK, so I used feta, which works just as well. Best Pão de Queijo I ever made ( … only Pão de Queijo I’ve ever made)

PÃO DE QUEIJO – Brazilian Cheesy Doughballs

500g Sour Cassava Starch (Polvilho Azedo)
2 cups of milk
1 cup of cooking oil
4 eggs
1 cup of finely crumbled Feta cheese
1 cups of grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp of salt

How to prepare:

  1. Boil the milk the oil and salt together.
  2. Pour the hot mixture it into a large bowl with the sour starch and mix with a wooden spoon. The mixture will look like a large ball of gummy paste.
  3. Let it cool and mix in the cheese and the eggs. Get your hands in there and squelch everything together into a smooth thick dough.
  4. Grab chucks of it with your fingers and roll in the palm of your hands making little balls just smaller than a golf ball.
  5. Place the dough balls on a tray. Pão de Queijo will grow around 20-30% as they cook, so leave some space between them.
  6. Place them in the top shelf of your oven at 190c and let them grow for 15 minutes.
  7. Reduce the temperature (around 150c) and cook for another 15 minutes. They should look golden brown and crackly and crusty outside. But inside your Pão de Queijo will still be nice and gooey… and cheesy!

And here’s a clip on how to make the beautiful napkin Lotus flower:

[stumble] Other names for Pão de Queijo around the world: Cheese buns, cheese bread, Chipá, Chipita, Cuñapé, Bolitas de Yuca, Pan de Yuca.

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16 Responses to "Pão de Queijo – Brazilian cheesy doughballs"

  1. Odete says:

    Cuca, congrats!
    Finally I found the right site to indicate to my friends here. Now they’ll be able to read what they like about Brazil in english.
    Note: I love the cool way you handle things here. Well done!

  2. Steve says:

    I love your clips. Brazil is beautiful and I can’t wait to visit. It even looks like a place I could live.

  3. Soares says:

    My husband is from brazil and we love pao de quejo, the best cheese to use is Mozzarella, fresh is best but any mozzarella works great! I can’t wait to try this recipe!!

  4. Raphaela says:

    I love Pao de Queijo and have only used the blender recipe before. I found this recipe much easier, less clean-up, but too oily.
    Has anybody tried using only 1/2 cup of cooking oil?

  5. Pão de Queijo Fake Out Recipe « One Vanilla Bean says:

    [...] more than met my expectations I still plan on making a traditional pão de queijo. I will be trying this recipe from Nando at Cuca Brazuca once I manage to get my hands on some sour cassava [...]

  6. Isabel says:

    Hi guys,congratulations for creating such a beautiful site!
    And while you are on the pao de queijo subject, I’d like to let you know that there is no need to make them from scratch any longer for that delicious natural flavour. You can find Isabel’s a new natural brand of pao de queijo mix available in the UK at Waitrose supermarkets, also buy it online.
    Get a 20% discount when buying online using the code: LWV01020!

    Best wishes, Isabel

  7. Becky says:

    Is it a vital thing that the mixture is left to cool? I have tried this recipe about 5 tims and i havent had a good batch. I think it may be because i havent left the mixture to cool.

  8. Michaela says:

    This was delicious! I’m on a gluten free diet and appreciate this recipe very much. I wonder, is there a sweet version of a manioc starch cake? Perhaps done in the same way as cheesy doughballs but with normal (not sour) starch and sugar (instead of salt and cheese)?

  9. Matt says:

    I usually use a mthod where you use a blender, but i’ll have to try this one out sometimes, get my hands dirty!

  10. Marilia Peixoto says:

    Olá!
    Sou brasileira, moro em Zagreb, na Croácia e cheguei por acaso no teu site através do site http://veggiewala.com/
    Queria dizer que adorei o site, as dicas, receitas e foi muito bom assistir aos programas no youtube e matar um pouquinho das saudades do Brasil!
    Vou provar essa receita de pão de queijo e torcer que dê certo!
    Um abraço e tudo de bom,
    Marilia Peixoto

  11. Jessica F. says:

    I tried that recipe, it’s a major fail.

    The dough was very gooey I couldn’t take it out of the bowl.

    I’ve to use two spoons to be able to give a shape to the ”balls”.

    They are in the oven now I hope they taste better than they look.
    P.S. I follow the recipe as you posted.

  12. admin says:

    I tried it too. Many times and I swear by it. In fact I’ll soon be publishing a video showing it. It’s vitally important to insert a lot of energy into the mix. Starch thickens the more energy you give it. In the case of using starch to thicken soups and sauces this is done by adding heat. In the case of pão de queijo, you just have to kneed it harder! (which is why I use a mixer with a dough hook to do the dirty work for me). Better luck next time.

  13. Adam says:

    Just an FYI, apparently another name for the cassava starch is tapioca starch (or flour). You still will want to find the sour type.

  14. Tais says:

    I tried the recipe and it worked really well. Thanks! I’m a Brazilian living in Canada and the most difficult part was to find Sour Cassava Starch. I found it in the Latin market and it worked well. The second time I tried I prepared it with Tapioca Flour. It was a little bit sticky but it worked well when I put in the oven. A secret to roll in the ball form it to put some butter in your hand. Cheers!

  15. And so the adventure begins! | Infused exposures says:

    [...] smile.  I cannot wait to try other ones when we will be in Brazil.  You can find the recipe here.  And getting cassava flour is not as hard as you could imagine if you live near any latin [...]

  16. 7 Bodacious Brazilian Recipes | FBWorld.com says:

    [...] Pão de Queijo – Brazilian cheesy doughballs [...]

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