What is pao de queijo?
Pao de queijo (technically “pão de queijo,” but the tilde over the “a” doesn’t always like to appear in text ?) is a Brazilian cheese bread. It’s made with cassava flour or tapioca starch which gives it a soft, chewy texture. Because it doesn’t use any wheat, pao de queijo is naturally gluten-free. It is mixed with eggs to give a yellowish-gold color and cheese (usually mozzarella or parmesan) to provide a savory flavor. The ingredients are rolled into bite-sized balls which make it a popular snack, or side for hearty meals.
The history of pao de quiejo dates back to the 1700s. Apparently the mining areas in Minas Gerais, Brazil gained easy access to certain ingredients including cassava and cheese, so the staple food of pao de queijo was inevitably born. However, this wheat-free cheese bread only gained popularity in the mid 20th century.
Where can I get it?
You can find pao de queijo at most Brazilian restaurants and churrascarias (Brazilian and Portuguese steakhouses). Try them yourself at any of these places, but like any type of bread, make sure to always ask for a warm freshly-made batch.
New York, NY (Astoria): New York Pão de Queijo
San Diego, CA: Rei do Gado
San Francisco, CA: Brazilian Bread
Looking for more places that serve pao de quiejo? You can find them on Glutto right here.
How can I make it?
Pao de quejo is surprisingly easy to make. You pretty much just have to blend all the ingredients and pop it in the oven. Here’s the recipe on how to make them at home. (Or, you could forgo all the baking and just buy them pre-made here.)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or meia cura)
- 1 1/2 cup tapioca flour (or polvilho azedo)
- 3/4 cup sunflower or vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch salt
- extra vegetable oil (to grease the muffin tin or baking sheet)
- First, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Brush oil on muffin tin on baking sheet.
- Add all the ingredients in your blender and blend until batter is even and smooth. If you don’t have a blender, vigorously mix all the ingredients by hand in a large bowl until your batter is smooth.
- Pour your batter into the muffin tins with about 1/4 room at the top. (optional: if you have extra cheese, feel free to sprinkle some on top)
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from tins and enjoy!
Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.