Brazilian Pão de Queijo (Cheese Rolls!)

Brazilian Pao de Queijo- Kid World CitizenLooking to bake something new with your kids, that they are guaranteed to love? Try this simple recipe for pão de queijo, a delicious Brazilian, gluten-free cheese bread with a unique, chewy texture that is made from tapioca flour. In fact, it is believed this starchy root (called cassava, yuca, tapioca, or manioc) was originally domesticated in Brazil more than 10,000 years ago! In the 16th century when Portuguese explorers came to Brazil, they brought back the cassava plant to western Africa. It spread throughout the continent, growing successfully in poor soil and drought-ridden areas, and since has become a staple in many countries.Pao de Queijo with Kids- Kid World Citizen

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The original name for this bread is “chipá,” which comes from Guarani, a language spoken in Paraguay and southwestern Brazil. The Guarani people originally made chipá with only tapioca and water, but when the Jesuit missionaries brought dairy and eggs, the popular recipe evolved to what it is today.

These gluten-free puffs are easy to make, and perfect when eaten right out of the oven while they are still warm. Though originally from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, pão de queijo is eaten as a snack throughout Brazil, Bolivia, and parts of Argentina. This recipe was given to me by my dear friend Dani, from Campinas, Sao Paulo. Thank you Dani- we LOVED them!!!!

Tapioca Flour Pao de Queijo- Kid World Citizen

Look for tapioca flour in your local supermarket, an African market, or in a store like Whole Foods


24 oz of tapioca flour
(also called cassava flour)
16 oz of shredded mozzarella
8 oz of parmesan cheese
1 cup of milk
½ cup of oil
4 or 5 eggs


Pour the tapioca flour into a big bowl. Boil milk and oil together and pour into the tapioca flour. Knead well.

Making Pao de Queijo- Kid World Citizen

Add the other ingredients and knead until a smooth dough. It is a very starchy dough, that might be hard for kids to knead. I had my kids start it so they could feel the stickiness between their little fingers, and then I kneaded it by hand until it was completely mixed. I have heard others say that it is easier to do by machine (mixer), but I don’t own one:).

Dough Pao de Queijo- Kid World CitizenHere is where the kids get to help! Make balls (the size of a ping-pong ball) and bake in the oven (350F) for about 25 minutes or until crust is golden. This makes a LOT of small cheese balls, so the more hand you have rolling, the better. I oiled up their hand first to avoid getting them sticky and it really helped.

Rolling Pao de Queijo- Kid World Citizen

Pão de queijo tastes best when it is fresh from the oven. Many in Brazil freeze the rolls before cooking them so they always have them ready when guests drop by.  When you want to bake the frozen dough, just put them directly into the oven!Pao de Queijo- Kid World Citizen

Pao de Queijo Brazil recipe- Kid World CitizenPao de Queijo Brazil- Kid World CitizenBom Apetite!!!

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    • kidworldcitizen says

      What is tapioca called in Malawi? Is it used as widely as it is in Nigeria/Angola, etc? I’m so curious about the origin and migration of food… :)

  1. julie says

    We are trying these this weekend! I’ll make them ahead of time, freeze them, then just pop them in the oven for some fresh appetizers. Thanks!

  2. says

    Mmm, these look so good! Can’t wait to try them! And I had no idea that cassava was brought to Africa from Brazil, so fascinating how interconnected we all are! Just like, where would Italian cuisine be without the American tomato? Love it!

    • kidworldcitizen says

      Thanks Leanna- I know! It is amazing how foods have traveled the world and been absorbed and incorporated by other cultures. What would Irish cuisine look like without the Peruvian potato? Or like you said, Italian food without the tomato!? Or cacao from Mexico, mixed with the milk from the Spaniards…chocolate!

  3. Maria Burt says

    I started looking at your web site and I felt really dissapointed that in your Americas section you forgot a country…!
    My country Paraguay, at the heart of South America.
    Please next time you offer a site make sure you use a map…!

    • kidworldcitizen says

      Oh, you misunderstood- this is not an inclusive list! It is only the countries where I have done projects SO FAR:). Please help me come up with an activity, craft, or book from Paraguay!!! :)

    • kidworldcitizen says

      I think the key is the tapioca flour. I found it in a section of our supermarket with African ingredients, labelled “cassava” flour. I also found some in an Asian (more international foods) market. They are so, so, so good!!! :) If you send me your address, I will send you a bag of the flour!


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