Pão de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Balls

Pão de Queijo are a Brazillian classic which literally translates as ‘bread of cheese’. They are small, cheesy, choux like buns with a chewy centre and a crispy shell. Instead of flour, these balls are made with sour starch.

Sour starch is made from pressing and juicing fresh cassava roots, which are fermented and then dried to form a very fine white flour – making them the perfect gluten free snack.

The traditional cheese used is ‘Queijo Minas’, which is a cow's cheese from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. Instead we use mozzarella to replicate the stringy texture of Queijo Minas when melted and a mature cheddar for an added tangy richness.

Best enjoyed warm from the oven.

Ingredients Serves: 25

  • 150ml milk
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt 
  • 250g yoki sour starch  
  • 1 medium free range egg
  • 75g grated mature cheddar cheese
  • 75g grated mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan and line two baking trays (35cm x 30cm) with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Put the milk and vegetable oil into a medium sized pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the salt, sour starch and hot liquid mixture. Mix with a spoon until cool.
  4. In a separate bowl, roughly whisk the egg and gradually add it to the mixing bowl whilst combining the mixture with a spoon.
  5. Add the cheese to the mixture and knead by hand until you have a smooth dough.
  6. Lightly oil your hands and take a small piece of dough, roughly the size of a golf ball, and roll it into a ball. Place onto the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls a few centimetres apart.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes until they start to turn lightly golden brown - they will still be fairly pale. Allow to cool slightly before tucking in. 
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

Pão de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Balls

If you want to learn more about cooking with yoki sour starch, then check out our guide on how to use cassava flour.


  • Hi Mario, any unflavoured cassava or tapioca flour should work in this recipe. Let us know how you get on!

    Holly, Sous Chef on

  • Hi
    I live in South Africa and cannot find sour tapioca flour.
    My question is:
    what other gluten free flour can i use and add to the sweet tapioca flour to get a better consistency of bake.
    ie: rice flour as an example.
    if yes, at what ratios?

    Or can i just use the plain sweet tapioca flour instead?

    Thank you

    Mario on

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