Vegan Pão de Queijo (Brazilian “Cheese” Bread)

Vegan Pão de Queijo - Brazilian "Cheese" Bread

If you’ve been anywhere near Brazil, then you have most probably heard of pão de queijo.

The cheesy balls are a national hero, and can be found in every street corner around the country. They’re crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside – few things in life are as delicious as tucking into one of these warm out of the oven. While most versions contain tons of cheese, this vegan pão de queijo is equally, if not more, delicious!

Vegan Pão de Queijo - Brazilian "Cheese" Bread       Vegan Pão de Queijo - Brazilian "Cheese" Bread

Also, in Brazil these can be eaten any time of day! They’re great for breakfast, as a snack, watching a movie, anytime really. It pairs perfectly with some hummus or olive spread, and if you want a sweet version leave out the italian herbs and fill with some chocolate once its out of the oven. The options are endless here.

If you’re hosting a dinner party, these are a good option instead of a traditional bread basket or starter. They’re naturally gluten free, so don’t weight you down as much as normal bread would.

Vegan Pão de Queijo - Brazilian "Cheese" Bread

Vegan Pão de Queijo (Brazilian "Cheese" Bread)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16-20
  • 300g sweet potato or parsnip
  • 2 cups (250g) tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons mixed italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil
  1. Start by cooking your parsnips. Place a steamer basket over a pan with some boiling water and steam until soft and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the steamer, mash until smooth, and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 210ºC / 410ºF and lightly grease a large baking tray. In a large bowl mix together your tapioca starch, baking powder, italian herbs, salt, and nutritional yeast, if using.
  3. Add your water and oil onto a small saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling remove from the heat and pour the liquid onto the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir together until it becomes a wet flour, then add the mash and mix until fully combined and a dough is formed - you might want to use your hands here.
  4. Shape into small balls, about the size of golf balls, and place on your baking tray.
  5. Bake for 25-30 min or until the bread balls start to crack on top (the middle should remain gooey!) and are hard once tapped underneath.


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  • These are spot on!!!! Vegan and GF and I love the potato and/or parsnip puree! That’s fantastic!

  • As a brazilian I have to say YES! I love pao de queijo! Great recipe 🙂

  • Heather

    These are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe 🙂

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  • Brandy Jones

    Made these tonight after falling in love with the regular PDQ, these were lovely!!! Never realized the miracle was the tapioca and not the cheese. I plan to experiment but….. Can you freeze these? Before or after baking?

    • So glad you liked them!! Yes, it’s the tapioca that gives it that stretchiness, so cool isn’t it?
      To freeze arrange them in the baking tray with some space in between the balls and freeze, before baking. Then you can bake straight from frozen!

      • Brandy Jones

        Awesome, thank you. Also, have you ever tried making these sweet? With fruit? I may have to experiment

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  • OMG, these look so good!! I was searching for a vegan and gluten free cheesy bread recipe, and this looks perfect. Going to make these today!

  • Melanie

    I made these this morning and they were amazing! I used Japanese sweet potato, oregano and nutritional yeast. Can’t wait to try parsnip next. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Hank Schkorio

    Ok, they’re in the oven 🙂

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  • Edmunds Jakovels

    Made three attempts, all of them came out like melted cheese, just without any inside. And definitely I wasn’t able to make anything like those perfectly round-shaped balls on the photo. Where did I make a mistake?

    • Oh dear, sorry to hear that! It could maybe be the type of tapioca starch you’re using or maybe even too much liquid, be sure that you’re removing the parsnips from the steamer and discarding the water. The raw dough should be easily made into balls and grow a bit when baked. Hope this helps, though do let me know if you need more help!