These delightfully chewy, cheesy bread balls are really easy to make and totally delicious. Pão de queijo goes perfectly with a morning coffee and is gluten free. You may need to slightly adjust cooking times and temperatures to suit your oven, but this should serve as a very good starting point.

Ingredients (makes around 20 golf ball-sized breads)

  • 230ml (1 cup) whole milk
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 285g (10 oz) polvilho azedo (tapioca starch powder)
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 170g (6 oz) grated parmesan (or experiment with other cheeses, blend several varieties, etc)


  • Preheat oven to 230°C (450°F).
  • Gently heat the milk, oil and salt in a saucepan until almost (but not quite) boiling.
  • Transfer the milk mixture to a mixing bowl and add the polvilho/tapioca starch. Stir well.
  • If you have a stand mixer you can now transfer the mixture into the mixer bowl and process on slow for a minute or two. Otherwise just give it a steady stir with a wooden spoon for a minute or two. This gives the mixture time to cool down a little before the next step.
  • Add half the beaten egg mixture and continue processing/stirring for a minute or so until it is fully integrated.
  • Gradually add some/all of the remaining beaten egg mixture and keep mixing until reasonably smooth (a few lumps don’t matter). You may find that you don’t need all the egg (it will depend on the size of your eggs, etc). Aim for a thick-ish, play-doh consistency – too loose and your bread balls will fall flat.
  • Add the cheese and keep mixing. It may look a bit sludgy but just do your best to get everything well mixed – it’s going to be fine (probably…)
  • If you can, chill the mixture in the fridge or freezer for 30-60 minutes – it will make the next step easier.
  • Form the mixture into ping-pong sized balls. You will probably find the mixture sticks to your hands/fingers a bit. You may need to rinse your hands from time to time to stop things getting to messy/sticky.
  • Place the cheese balls on a greased baking tray or parchment. Try to leave a reasonable space between them as they will puff up in the oven.
  • Place the tray in the oven and at this point reduce the temperature to 180°C (350°F). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the balls have puffed up nicely (see below).
  • Place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes if you can wait that long.

The finished cheese bread balls should be served warm. They should be chewy in the middle but not too gooey (a matter of taste I guess). They’re delicious on their own or try cutting them open and filling them with something yummy.

You can freeze the mixture before or after baking without any ill effects. Enjoy!