This easy Vegan Brazilian Cheese Bread uses tapioca starch, potato, olive oil, and spices to make a dairy-free pão de queijo. Gluten-free.
It was only a few years ago now that I was first introduced to Brazilian cheese bread. A coworker had brought it in for a celebratory birthday lunch.
The moment I found out that it was made of naturally gluten-free tapioca starch, I almost jumped up and down with excitement.
It's the little things, right?
Traditional Brazilian cheese bread, or pão de queijo, while made up mostly of tapioca starch, is also, as the name suggests, heavy on the cheese.
I wanted a dairy-free Brazilian cheese bread that didn't rely on vegan cheese but still had that crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside texture and addictive flavor.
And while already going the dairy-free route, I wanted to go ahead and make it completely vegan, omitting the egg.
Due to the starch content of both tapioca starch and the cooked potato, this was possible.
Vegan Brazilian Cheese Bread Ingredients
Besides those two main components, the ingredients list is really quite short. Here's what you'll need:
- tapioca starch
- nutritional yeast
- cooked potato
- olive oil
- unsweetened almond milk
- garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, black pepper
Can you reheat Vegan Brazilian Cheese Bread?
I recommend that this vegan brazilian cheese recipe is best eaten the day it is made. It is especially good while still warm right out of the oven.
But, if you do have leftovers, refrigerate the brazilian cheese bread in an airtight container. You can reheat the cheese bread in the oven or the microwave.
I prefer to heat them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8-10 minutes. The oven method keeps the outside crisp, while the microwave method will not.
If using the microwave, heat for 15-20 seconds.
So, eat these for breakfast, serve as a snack or appetizer, or pair with a meal.
I love having them with soup as they make delicious dunking vessels!
Want more inspiration? Check out these gluten-free sourdough crescent rolls!
More Gluten-Free Bread Recipes
Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Cornbread
Vegan Brazilian Cheese Bread (Gluten-Free)
- 1 cup cooked Russet potato
- 2 cups (236g) tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pinches ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast*
- ½ cup boiling water
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pierce the potato with a fork and cook on appropriate setting in microwave until cooked and mashes well with a fork.
- In a large bowl, combine tapioca starch, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. Whisk to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine boiling water, olive oil, and almond milk. Whisk to combine. Add the liquid mixture to the tapioca mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula, stirring until most of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
- Add the cooked potato and stir and mash with the back of the spoon until mostly incorporated. Then, using your hands, squeeze and knead the dough together until it becomes smoother. There will be some dry bits of dough, just press and knead them into the dough.
- Scoop the dough by tablespoon, and roll into balls. It is helpful to squeeze the dough together a few times as you roll to make a cohesive ball. Space about an inch and a half apart on baking sheet.
- Bake for 32 to 35 minutes. The outsides should be dry and the bottoms should start turning a golden brown (lift one to check). The tops of the cheese bread will not really brown at all.
- Allow vegan brazilian cheese bread to cool for a few minutes on baking sheet. Serve warm. Best eaten the day they are made.
- For leftovers: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, warm in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes. You can also reheat in microwave for 15-20 seconds. The microwave will not make them crisp.
I don't want to be dramatic but this recipe changed my life. Having grown up in Brazil eating pao de queijo, I missed it so much once my dairy allergy worsened as I got older. Now I can finally enjoy pao de queijo again and these are so good I could cry. My dad (who is Brazilian) had them and said he couldn't even tell the difference, and I didn't even use nutritional yeast! On my second time making them I realized I actually (accidentally) have been using cassava flour/starch instead of tapioca starch/flour but they turned out perfectly still. I can't thank you enough for this wonderful recipe Tessa!
I love it! Thank you, Gabby, for such a kind note!
Can you freeze the uncooked dough?
I agree - this recipe is life-changing for those of us who grew up eating this and haven't been able to because of dietary restrictions. SO SO SO good! I'm making another batch right now to take to my family's Thanksgiving!
Hi Christine! That is wonderful to hear!! I hope you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!
I’ve made these several times and they are so unbelievably good! I now try to eat as oil free as possible so I am wondering if there is anything that can replace the oil in the recipe? Or can the amount of oil be cut down at all?
Hi Christina! Thanks so much. I haven't played with an oil alternative, but I would worry that decreasing the amount would affect the overall texture. It's possible that something like applesauce could potentially work in its place, but I would need to test that out. :)
Fabulous recipe! I made the cheese balls a lot smaller so got about 30-35 and they were very cute looking and very delicious! Felt very close to cheese bread with real cheese. Thank you so much for this ray of sunshine in an otherwise very challenging elimination diet I'm following :)
You are so welcome! Thank you for your kind note!
I used this recipe to make cheese sauce today (the one with carrot and potato). I did not use potato, but used tapioca starch (per your recipe) instead. It came out perfect.
I'm definitely going to try the full recipe, as I loved ordering the buttery version of these Brazilian bread balls when I visit The Coffee Shop, in Union Square, NY. Now all I have to do is come up with a vegan version of their seasoned cheese fries, and learn how to make Caipirinhas, and I won't miss The Coffee Shop at all.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
That's awesome! I love The Coffee Shop too. A vegan version of those seasoned cheese fries would be amazing.
These were delicious, I used sweet potato and added some rosemary.
That is awesome! Thank you!
Hi! I’ve tried making this and it blow my mind!!! Super deliciouuuus! Thank u for sharing this. anyway, may i know how do you count the calorie? It it 200Kcal for all this recipe? Or how many serving? Thank you
Thank you!! This recipe makes about 12 cheese bread balls, so the nutrition information is for one cheese bread ball.
Absolutely delicious and dangerously moreish! Thank you so much for this recipe!
So happy you enjoyed it! Thank you!
Hi, thank you, your a life saver. However i need your help because mine did not turn out like yours. The inside was gummy, outside normal. The inside looked like mozerella cheese all rubbery gooey and gummy. I followed instructions exactly. I ate them, probably should've have.
Hi! Thank you! The insides will be a bit gummy due to the tapioca starch, but shouldn't be overwhelmingly so. You can always try a little less tapioca starch or a little more cooked potato.
thanks for the recipe.
Dough turned out sticky and moist. so I couldn't really form the balls it. what did I do wrong? measured the ingredients exactly as per recipe?
still baked them and they looked similar to whats on the pictures, but stuck to the parchment paper and are like jelly inside?
Hi Rita! I'm not sure what went wrong, but you could always add a little more tapioca starch until it is easier to roll into balls. They will be a bit jelly inside - that is due to the tapioca starch.
Is is OK to substitute the garlic powder for fresh garlic?
I think that would work just fine!
Today I tried to make it according to your recipe Brazilian “cheese” Bread and it's so delicious! Tell me, what kind of consistency should be inside? it seemed to me a bit like chewing gum and it seems I did something wrong ..
Thank you for the answer and for the delicious recipes
Thank you, Jana! I'm happy you liked it! The inside should be a bit chewy/stretchy due to the tapioca starch.
Hello. I ussually make the cheese ones for my kids and freeze them in batches. Could i freeze this recipe and cook them for breakfast once needed?
Hi Carolina - I have never tried freezing and baking them later. I would like to think that would work but still need to try it out. If you freeze a small batch, I'd love to hear!
Hi Tessa, you made the unthinkable possible! cheese bread without cheese! amazing texture!
I did it without the pepper and added nutritional yeast.
I tried to do it a second time with potatoes flakes and oat milk instead of boiling water, but I lost the texture, why would that happen? any tips?
Thanks, Emily! I'm not quite sure why it would lose the texture except that potato flakes may not have the same amount of starch in them. The starch is necessary for that chewy texture.
I’m thinking about making your vegan cheese bread today but I’m wondering if I can make the dough and refrigerate it overnight and bake tomorrow?
Hi Diana! I have never tried refrigerating it before baking - I would worry that this may take away from the "stretchiness".
You could make the little balls and freeze it. When you are ready to eat them, just bake them frozen ;)
I just saw this on tv and they actually refrigerated it for two hours before balling and cooking. Said it helped to firm it up and make it a little less sticky.
Can't wait to try this!
That's awesome! I have not tried chilling them beforehand. Would love to hear if that works well for you.
I just did these. It was the best thing ever!! Really really amazing!
The dough was very liquify so I had to add more flour but they turned out amazing!!!!
Thank you for this wonderful recipe!
Thank you!! So glad you enjoyed them!
Even though my dough was very sticky after following the recipe the way it was written , all I had to was add a lot of extra tapioca starch to make the dough good enough to make balls from them! Do you think there's anyway to reduce the oil? To make a healthier version of it? Thank you.
P. S. These were delicious and approved by my meat eater hubby
Hi Vicky! Thank you! I am worried that reducing the oil may make the baked end product harder. If you try it, I'd love to hear how that goes. So glad your husband liked them too!!!
Are you able to change the tapioca starch to something else? I can’t find anywhere in Ireland.
Hi Ed! Unfortunately, the tapioca starch is crucial to this particular recipe. I wish I had a substitute to suggest!
These are absolutely delicious and addictive. The texture is god-like. I made this without onion powder as I couldn't find any, but instead used a little bit of Herbamare salt. I don't think it would be as delicious without the nutritional yeast. I will make this a million times again I swear. I plan on making a garlic herb margarine (as in vegan butter) for it - we'll see how that goes!
Thank you, Hannah! That garlic herb butter sounds like it would be amazing with these! :)
Just made this, and it was amazing! We made a vegan mayonnaise sauce to go with it, with Tajin spice and lime mixed in. It was so good - like a pub food made at home! :)
Hi Cait! Thank you! That sounds amazing. I love it!
These are delicious! I messed up and put one whole potato instead of a cup. It still worked out.
Thank you, Juliet! I'm so glad!
Mine turned put much too watery, even after I added more tapioca flour. I'm not sure where I went wrong.
These are FANTASTIC . I'm Brazilian and these were like little vegan bites of home. I have terrible GERD so no pepper, onion or garlic... added a smidge more salt and used the nutritional yeast. They came out SO cheesy. Thank you
That's awesome! I'm so happy to hear that! Thank you. :)
You could use garlic infused oil
That sounds great!
I'm Brazilian and this was my first attempt to make vegan cheese bread! I was amazed at the texture! Really similar. I am not a big fan of nutritional yeast, so I will skip it next time and add also more salt. Amazing recipe!
That is awesome - thanks so much!
The corn starch you used, is it grainy or finely ground in texture?
Hi Elisabeth! There isn't any corn starch in this recipe, but the tapioca starch is very finely ground in texture. I hope that helps!
Hi I have made these and they go very hard - is there a reason for this? Am I leaving them in the oven for too long?
You may be leaving them in too long - it is possible your oven runs a little hotter so you don't need as much time. It is natural for them to harden at room temperature after awhile, but they shouldn't be so hard right out of the oven. I hope that helps!
I’ve made them twice now, and they’re delicious! Thanks!
That is great to hear!! Thanks so much, Esther!
I tried to make these. But mine turned out dry on the inside. Any tips?
Hi, can the dough be frozen and then baked later? Or should they be baked right after the dough is made?
Thanks for the recipe. I found it via Instagram.
I am currently doing it but the tapioca balls are not melted.
Is that normal or did I choose the wrong type of tapioca ?...
Thanks in advance for your help.
Hey there, you actually need to use tapioca flour, not tapioca pudding with the little balls in. Good luck!
Thanks for the recipe! I made this with yuca/manioc instead of potatoes and for seasoning only added salt and nutritional yeast. They turned out delicious!
Did you repost this? I'm looking for a recipe from several years ago that used to be one of my favourites-- and this looks exactly like it. Do you think it was yours?
Unfortunately, I now live in Asia and don't have an oven! I just have a microwave, rice cooker/steam cooker and a stovetop... curious whether these can be pan fried...? What do you think? I'd love to taste this deliciousness again...
What’s the calorie and nutritional counts (macros?) of this recipe?
Could I sub oat milk for almond?
Can I ask you Do you know how many grams are in a cup of mashed potatoes?
Thank you so much!
btw. The recipe looks sooo good! I have to cook it this weekend.
Have a nice day,
Hi Veronika! It should be about 325g for 1 cup of cooked mashed potatoes. I hope that helps!
Hi Veronika! It should be about 325g for 1 cup of cooked potatoes. I hope that helps!
Hello, I am following the FODMAP regime and cannot eat garlic or oignon, can we make the recipe without it ?
Thank you so much !
Hi Charlotte! Yes, it will work just fine, it just changes the flavor a bit. Even without those two, I think it will still taste great.
If just using garlic powder and not turmeric/onion powder is that still ok?
Yes, that is just fine. The flavor will change slightly but should still taste great.
Could you sub russet potatoes with yams?
I think that would probably work just fine. I'd love to hear how it worked out for you.
I've made your recipe with sweet potato a couple times and it's just as good! I continue to make both kinds.
Love that! Thank you, Monika!
Can you use melted refined coconut oil instead of olive oil?
Hi Dee! I haven't tried using melted coconut oil, but I would guess that should work fine. The flavor will be slightly different but overall I think should work similarly.
Absolutely love this recipe! I’ve used it many times with much success! Would you say it’s ok to prep dough and refrigerate until ready to bake it and serve?
Thank you, Yaffa!! I have not tested it by chilling first, but am going to try it out as another reader mentioned the same thing!
These are supper good. However mine kinda exploded out their insides around the 20 minute mark in cooking. However they where still perfect in flavor and texture they just looked weird lol
Thanks, Lauren! So glad you like them. Yes, they are a kind of funny and do tend to pop a little!
How many balls does this make?
Hi Marina! It makes about 12-14 balls.
Thanks for posting this recipe, I’m going to make these today. Do I use the skin of the potato or do I peel the potato? Thanks in advance for your reply!
Hi Christina! Good question. No skin, just the inside. I usually slit the potato and scoop it out after cooking!
Hi Tessa! I have made mine but they were super hard on the outside, literally impossible to bite. I substituted tapioca starch with cassava flour. Do you think that’s the reason of my failure?
Hi Montserrat! Yes, I do think that is what caused them to be super hard on the outside. Cassava flour is more fibrous than tapioca starch and doesn't always work well as a substitute.