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Bake a batch of ooey-gooey Brazilian Cheese Bread muffins with six simple ingredients for a savory snack, side dish, or appetizer. The combination of tapioca starch and cheddar cheese makes these little bites perfectly puffy and gluten free!
Gluten Free Cheese Bread
This Brazilian cheese bread, also known as pão de queijo, is a beloved baked treat. Brazilians eat these savory muffins as a snack or for breakfast. You may have also seen them in the freezer section of your grocery store where they are known as Brazi Bites. Those are tasty, but making them at home is so much better!
They are traditionally made with cassava root, which is a gluten-free starch made from a root vegetable. My recipe uses tapioca starch, which is made from cassava root and offers the same light and airy texture.
There are dozens of recipes for this bread throughout Brazil. Different cooks use everything from mozzarella to Minas cheese, which is a cheese produced in Brazil. My version gets its sharp, cheesy flavor with an all-American twist: cheddar. These cute buns are a kid-approved snack for any time of year.
You need only six ingredients to make your own gluten-free cheese bread at home. Here is a quick overview, but scroll dow to the recipe card to get the full amounts.
- Milk. This tenderizes the bread dough. You can use any kind of milk for the recipe.
- Olive oil. For a more mild flavor, you can use a neutral oil, like canola or avocado.
- Egg. This helps the cheese bread rise in the oven.
- Tapioca flour. Tapioca starch is another common name for this gluten-free flour alternative.
- Cheddar. Use your favorite variety of shredded cheddar.
- Sea salt
How to Make Brazilian Cheese Bread
Follow these simple steps to make your gluten-free bread in a muffin tin:
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a mini muffin tin with shortening for easy release. You can also use a regular-sized muffin tin.
Blend the dough: In a blender or mixing bowl, combine the milk, oil, egg, tapioca flour, shredded cheddar and salt. You want a fluffy and smooth dough. You can use an electric mixer or a wire whisk and some elbow grease to do the job.
Bake: Divide the batter between the wells in the prepared muffin tin. Place the muffins in the oven and reduce the temperature to 400°F. Bake for 12 minutes (for mini muffins) or 18 minutes (for large), or until the tops are golden.
Cool and enjoy: Finally, remove the pan from the oven and let the muffins cool for 1 minute in the pan before removing them and serving hot!
Tips for Success
Use these suggestions to perfect your muffins:
- Wait until the oven is fully preheated before putting the muffins inside. The higher temperature helps them rise quickly.
- Remove the muffins from the oven when they’ve just turned golden brown on top. Over-baking will make dry muffins.
- You can make mini or regular-sized muffins, just be sure to only fill the tin halfway if you’re using a regular-sized muffin pan. Otherwise, you may end up with overflow. The muffins rise quite a bit in the oven, thanks to the egg and the light texture of tapioca starch.
- Finally, these are best hot out of the pan, so don’t delay!
You can enjoy the muffins for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you’re serving them as a side dish, these entrees pair well:
- Crockpot Peruvian Pulled Pork
- Easy Chicken Tostadas
- Easy Fish Tacos Made with Fish Sticks
- Sweet Potato and Chorizo Tortilla Bites
Storing Brazilian Cheese Bread
The muffins are best the day they’re made. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container on the counter for up to three days. To reheat, pop them into a 400°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until heated through.
Can I Freeze Leftovers?
You can freeze fully cooled leftovers. Store the muffins for up to three months in an airtight container. Then, to reheat, let the buns defrost on the counter for a few hours, then warm them in a 400°F oven.
Things You’ll Need
- MUFFIN PAN: These little cheesy bites get backed in a mini muffin tin. Make sure you have a good nonstick one.
- TAPIOCA STARCH: The key ingredient (besides the cheese) is that tapioca flour or starch.
- HAND MIXER: You only need an inexpensive one to make it quick and easy to blend the batter together.
- COOLING RACKS: After they bake, pop them out onto a rack to cool for just a few minutes.
Gluten-Free Brazilian Cheese Bread
- ⅔ cup milk
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1¾ cup tapioca flour (or tapioca starch)
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a nonstick mini muffin tin with shortening.
- Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with a hand mixer or whisk until smooth and fully combined. (You may also use a blender).
- Pour the batter into the prepared mini muffin tins. You will want to fill each mini cup to the top. (If you do regular sized muffin tins, make sure to only fill halfway.)
- Place the pan in the oven. Reduce the heat to 400°F. Bake for 12 minutes for mini cups or 18 minutes for full sized cups. The tops will not get golden.
- Once removed from the oven, let the pan rest for 1 minute. Then transfer to cool on a wire rack until ready to serve. These are best served fresh out of the oven while still hot.
More Cheesy Gluten-Free Snacks
You can make all of these in a mini muffin pan too!