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.