Easy Brazilian Cheese Buns

Irresistible little puffy and cheesy bread buns called Pão de Queijo, made with sour Tapioca starch for a perfect gluten-free snack. These Brazilian Cheese Buns are fun to make and a true crowd-pleaser guaranteed!

I first tried these Brazilian cheese buns at a kid’s birthday party, made by a Brazilian mom called Vanessa. I felt hard! It was the perfect fluffy texture with lovely cheese flavour! A dream snack for a cheese lover like me but for the kids too! They were all gone within minutes. I’ve asked my other Portuguese friend to help me figure out this recipe because there are so many different versions. Finally, I’ve ultimately learned that these simple Pão de Queijo aren’t that simple to pull off. Let’s deep dive into the recipe, shall we?

Tapioca, Polvillo Doce o Agrio (Azedo)?

Brazilian Cheese Buns

Let’s start with the type of starch we’ll use. Tapioca starch, also called Polvilho doce, comes from the Cassava roots (Yuca, Manioc). From there, they pick up the starch of the origins by rinsing them. The younger batch, or the first collected one, is the ‘Polvilho doce‘ (not fermented). The second batch that stays way longer in the barrels gets fermented, and they call it Polvilho Agrio/Azedo (sour type). The bacterial process produces some lactic acid and yeast, making it acidic and, therefore, the best for our cheese puffs or Pão de Queijo.

The sweeter starch (Polvilho doce) would make a firmer, heavier and chewier bread. Most recipes use sour starch (Polvilho Agrio/Azedo) or a mix of both. So be careful if you buy a simple Tapioca flour/starch pack. It’s probably a sweet starch, which is not ideal for this recipe. This version uses both types of flour but could also be done with just the sour version.

Tapioca starch comes mainly from South America, although some have started to be produced in Thailand. While researching, I saw this article about Tapioca flours from South America vs. Thailand being put to the test of Pão de Queijo. The Thai one didn’t give the same consistency at all. If you want to make this recipe, a South American brand like Yoki is the standard way.

Type of Cheeses

Brazilian Cheese Buns

So, one thing cleared! Now, let’s talk cheese! This part is easier, with no theory or rules. You choose your favourite cheese and mix it up with parmesan. The original cheese used in Brazil is the Minas cheese, a semi-soft cheese. Like cheddar, you can find young and mature versions; for this recipe, they usually choose the oldest. I’ve used a mature cheddar for this recipe, which worked wonders, but you could use any cured cheese you prefer. I bet a lovely Gruyere would do magic here, too.

The second cheese used is the good old parmesan. This one is easy to find worldwide! To make it clear, it is not the powder type.

The Technique

At first, I thought it was strange; there was no added yeast to a puffy bread, but, as mentioned earlier, some yeast hides in the fermented sour starch. So that’s why you get this expansion, thanks to the sour Manoc/Yuca starch. They say to work the dough with the end for a few minutes before adding the eggs. I guess it’s to make some air pockets by folding the bread repeatedly. I’ve used my hands, but a hookbread processor would work, too.

The dough ended up pretty sticky, so to make the balls, I oiled my hands a bit, which also gave a nice finish to the cheese buns. Most recipes don’t let the dough rest before cooking; I gave it 5 minutes. I let the hidden yeast do a little work to ensure the starch was all well absorbed.

Brazilian Cheese Buns

To Serve with

They are, obviously, at their best, freshly baked out of the oven. In Brazil, they serve these Pão de Queijo at all times! Whether for breakfast, on the side of a soup, or sold on the street as a snack. Those cheezy bites go everywhere! Plus, the kids love them! If served at home, butter or cream cheese is served. A real crowd-pleaser!

*Thanks to Paula and Vanessa for guiding me into this beautiful recipe. Obrigado!

Brazilian Cheese Buns


Can I use a simple Tapioca flour/starch?

No, better not; if you want the right texture, you need the sour type (Polvilho Agrio/Azedo) or a mix of both. Tapioca flour is usually the same as the sweet version (Polvilho doce).

Where can I find this sour Tapioca starch (Polvilho Agrio/Azedo)?

Check Latino supermarkets or online. (Yoki brand is the most popular)

Why did my Pão de Queijo deflated?

This is probably because it missed a bit of cooking. All ovens are different, so next time, try one bun to check if it’s well done before taking them out.

How long can I keep these?

The buns will last two days at room temperature. You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. Otherwise, once cooled, freeze them. To revive them, add them to the oven at 200°C (400°F) for 5 minutes. So easy!

Other Snacks Ideas

brazilian cheese buns

Brazilian Cheese Buns

Irresistible little puffy and cheezy buns, called Pão de Queijo in Portuguese, are made with sour Tapioca starch for a perfect gluten-free snack. These Brazilian Cheese Buns are fun to make and a true crowd-pleaser guaranteed!
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Brazilian
Keyword: brazilian, bread, buns, cheese, pao de queijo, pao de quejio, parmesan, puffs, snack, sour starch, tapioca
Servings: 16 buns
Calories: 194kcal
Author: Marie Breton


  • 200 g sour tapioca flour azedo
  • 100 g sweet tapioca flour doce (can be replaced by sour type)
  • 100 g Parmesan
  • 100 g mature cheddar any aged cheese
  • 250 ml milk
  • 125 ml sunflower oil olive oil, or any vegetal oil
  • 2 eggs
  • salt


  • Start by bringing to a boil the milk, oil and salt. Whisk the mixture until it boils.
  • Turn off the fire, and add both tapioca flours.
  • Transfer to a bowl and mix with your hands for a few minutes or hooked food processor.
  • Beat the eggs and incorporate them into the dough slowly.
  • Add the two types of cheeses and mix well.
  • Let rest for five minutes.
  • Oil your hands and form small balls of 50g each, and add to a baking tray covered with a non-stick sheet.
  • Bake them in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for 20 minutes or until golden.
  • Let them rest on the cooling rack for 5 minutes.



Served with butter or cream cheese!


Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 46mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 167IU | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Nutrition Facts
Brazilian Cheese Buns
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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3 from 6 Reviews


  • Bernice

    5 stars
    Oh, so that’s how these are made! I always wondered. They have such a cool chewy texture and they’re so cheesy! I can’t wait to make another batch to deliver to my GF friend!

  • Vanessa

    5 stars
    So addictive and super delicious! My kids loved snacking on them!

  • Richsrd

    Recipe says 200 g sour + 100g sweet but instructions say only add sour

    • Marie Breton

      Sorry about that, you can add both at the same time. I’ve changed the instruction. Thanks for letting me know and sorry for the hassle.

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