Introduction: Gluten-Free Cheese Bread

Picture of Gluten-Free Cheese Bread

Known as "Pão de Queijo" in Brazil, "Pan de Yuca" in Ecuador, and "Pan de Bono" in Colombia these yummy little breads use tapioca flour instead of wheat flour, making them gluten-free. A variety of herbs and cheeses can be substituted or added depending on your taste.

The method of making the dough is similar to a pâte à choux, resulting in wonderfully light and puffy little breads. They're frequently served with marinara or other tomato-based sauce, but they can be also be used in dishes in place of standard bread, and are also awesome on their own or served with soups or other dishes.

Step 1: You'll Need. . .

Picture of You'll Need. . .
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic (minced very fine)
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Large microwave-safe mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Baking pan/cookie sheet
  • Small cookie dough or ice cream scoop (or just two teaspoons)

Step 2: Heat the Liquids

Picture of Heat the Liquids
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit
  2. Mix melted butter, milk, water, and salt
  3. Microwave for approximately 1 minute or until the mixture reaches a gentle boil (mixture can also be heated in a small saucepan over medium heat)

Step 3: Add the Dry Ingredients (and the Egg)

Picture of Add the Dry Ingredients (and the Egg)
  1. Add tapioca flour and garlic and stir well to fully combine
  2. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes
  3. Add egg and grated cheese and stir well to combine (the mixture will resemble cottage cheese)

Step 4: Scoop and Bake

Picture of Scoop and Bake
  1. Scoop dough onto sheet pan (either greased lightly or with a silicone liner). Don't worry about the balls of dough being perfect balls - as they bake they form pretty little domes all on their own
  2. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned
  3. Enjoy!


AnastazjaC (author)2016-11-20

I made these and they were amazing! They were crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside! I did, however, have to add more tapioca flour than the recipe called for.

shesparticular (author)2016-08-08

I'm afraid I haven't had an issue when making these so I'm not sure, however mine are always soft/doughy in the center.

curbowman (author)2016-08-08

Hi! I need some help. I just did this recipe but had some trouble.

First, my mixture never became dough. It was too liquid, there was no way I could make scoops with that. (And yes, I did everything according to the recipe). So I decided to add more tapioca flour in order to get it more dense.

Then, after the scoops got a nice light brown in the oven, I took them out and discovered the crust was excellent but the center was not done. I had to cut them in half and put them in the oven again.

The end result tasted very good, but due to the need of halving the scoops, they were not like the balls I expected. What can I do?

tug_boat_captain (author)2015-12-13

One of my best friend's is from Brazil and she used to make these for me. We don't live near each other anymore. I am definitely going to try this recipe! Thanks!

AdrianaG (author)2014-11-21

This is definitely not Colombian Pandebono. Pandebono is made with a mix of precooked cornmeal and tapioca starch. Proportions vary, some use more corn than tapioca and vice-versa.

GlutenFreeMama (author)2014-01-09

We made these today and they are delicious!!! Thank you for sharing your recipe, we loved them :)

simoneja (author)2012-07-20

These were the exact texture of the package my husband brought back from Chile. Delicious-thanks!

Slight modification, used dried out Broncha (from Achadinha Cheese Company) because that was in the fridge. Nice!

canida (author)simoneja2013-04-02

Oooh, I like their Broncha, but the Capricious is my favorite! Good stuff. :)

shesparticular (author)simoneja2012-07-21

So glad you enjoyed them!

Doyle Newton (author)2012-09-02

Ok, got a chance to try these this morning, they were great but they did not rise at all. They came out like cornbread or a pancake. Can some one tell me what I may have missed. The rest of the family loved them as well.

nbronson (author)Doyle Newton2012-10-29

Doyle I had the same, try to bake longer - 30 min at 375F. It took me a while to figure it out. First I tried to make these bread myself - it was so mess =), used some ready mixes as someone suggested already - and every time they did not rise, uh!. Then friend of mine, she is Brazilian, showed me how to make them, but she used frozen cheese breads, Brasil Cheese Bread -, check at your stores. and sure enough it worked! The secret was to bake just right time and defrost them for couple minutes.

I'm afraid I'm really not sure - did you mix well after adding the egg? The only thing I can think of is that there wasn't enough air incorporated at that stage.

nosygirl (author)2011-11-06

Thank you thank you thank you! I have used this recipe more times than I can count in the past few months and it always turns out well. Parmesan is tasty, but I love switching up cheeses with what I have on hand. Sharp cheddar with a little bit of rosemary is a favorite among my friends.

shesparticular (author)nosygirl2011-11-06

So glad to hear you enjoy them! Cheddar and rosemary sounds awesome - will for sure have to give it a try!

bettinasusca (author)2011-07-18


So, I'm having a bit of a problem. It's turning out to be mostly liquid like, rather than a cottage cheese texture. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I'm thinking maybe not heating it long enough? They tasted great, but had more a cracker/cookie texture, rather than bread.

Any help would be appreciated!


Hmm, well the "dough" itself is pretty wet (if you look at the last photo in step three it should give you some idea of how it should look). I wouldn't say it's as wet as cottage cheese, but it isn't dry at all. In terms of the baked puffs, they're not really like "standard" bread but are much lighter and don't tend to dry out inside.

From what you've described, it sounds like they've turned out exactly how Pão de Queijo usually do. If you'd like them to be more bread-like, baking them and then splitting them in half and toasting them should help some.

Thanks so much for the comment!

So, I was in the process of trying another batch as I posted that comment, and I was right. It was definitely the heat. I added the tapioca flour while the mix was still boiling on the stove and it instantly turned into the fluffy, light mixture it was supposed to be.

As for the batch before that, I put it in a small dish and am now just baking a mini bread loaf. lol

Thanks for the quick response and help! ^_^

Dragontrap (author)2011-05-24

I'm going to have to try this out (and maybe add a little garlic butter after their baked)

Sounds like a good plan - hope they turn out great for you!

thepelton (author)2011-01-29

What about high alititude? That can change recipes. It's 6100 feet above sea level here in southern Colorado. About 1.8 km above sea level if I didn't mess up my math.

shesparticular (author)thepelton2011-01-29

I'm not certain exactly how altitude might affect them, but here are some tips for high-altitude baking that might help some. If it helps at all, these were baked in Chicago, which is an average of 579 feet (176 m) above sea level.

myckro (author)2011-01-27

This are called "chipa" in Argentina!!

unknown1140 (author)myckro2011-01-29

Actually, the "chipa"is a little bit different, the taste and the consistency are different and the traditional shape too. Chipa is shaped like a half moon and the "Pão de queijo" is shaped like a ball.

Hope I'v helped and sorry for may English...

Thanks so much for that clarification! Either way - it's very cool that there's something so similar in so many countries.

shesparticular (author)myckro2011-01-28

Awesome, thanks!

UltraPurple (author)2011-01-26

This kind of defeats the gluten- free part of this recipe, but could you use regular flour instead of gluten- free?

They're very similar to a standard choux (cream puff) dough which uses regular flour, so you could certainly use it instead if you prefer. The ratios of liquids would likely need to be adjusted some though.

zanne101 (author)2011-01-23

I definitely want to try this version. Your finished product looks yummy.

Have you ever made this without heating the liquids?

Have you tried the Chebe brand mix? I've been using Chebe, but it gets expensive and I would like to have a recipe for mix that I can make. I use Chebe's basic mix to make different types of rolls; one somewhat plain that tastes like regular bread, one a lightly sweet cinnamon/nut.

I'll let you know how my experience with your mix comes out - I really love these things as a snack.

shesparticular (author)zanne1012011-01-23

Thanks so much! I don't know if it would work without heating the liquids. As far as I can tell, the flour may react in some way with the warmer liquid that it wouldn't if they were cold (similar to a choux dough, which uses standard flour).

I'm not familiar with the Chebe mixes, but they look pretty interesting. These rolls are almost more like "puffs" than "bread," but they're pretty tasty! You might also want to check out this gluten-free bread which also doesn't use any gums as it might be a cheaper alternative to using a mix for a heartier bread.

zanne101 (author)shesparticular2011-01-23

The Chebe products make the rolls puffy too. It's basically tapioca flour, tapioca starch, dried milk and salt. I just need to play around with the ingredients etc. to duplicate. Your recipe may save me from having to experiment too much.
When I make them, I form them and freeze so I can just pull a few out and pop in the convection oven - works great.

I looked at your bread recipe and it looks good, but I have Crohn's so all that extra fiber might be a problem - flax and millet are kind of difficult to digest, even when ground What's considered healthy for most people isn't necessarily healthy for us.

BTW, if you go to the Chebe site, you will find tons of interesting recipes using the rolls (puffs). Lots of variations you could incorporate into your recipe. Tapioca flour/starch is kind of amazing, isn't it?

Thanks again for this recipe - I'll be making these soon.

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