Brazilian Cheese Puffs

Recipe: Brazilian Cheese Puffs

Makes : 24 puffs | Appetizers/Snacks Vegetarian
You'll get the crustiest brown shell by using a mini-muffin pan, but you could also spoon heaping tablespoons of dough right onto a baking sheet. Or, for larger puffs, divide the dough among the 12 cups in a regular muffin pan. Look for tapioca flour (I use Bob's Red Mill) at stores that carry a wide selection of natural food products. Tapioca flour is becoming more available in regular grocery stores as well; it's often found in an "organics" or "natural foods" aisle.


  • 8 ounces tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch), about 2 cups
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)


  • Preheat the oven to 400°. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the tapioca flour, salt, and cayenne. In a small saucepan, combine the milk and oil and bring just to a simmer. Pour the liquid over the flour mixture and then combine with the mixer's paddle attachment. Let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl as necessary; make sure the dough isn't clumped around the paddle or the eggs won't incorporate properly.) Stir in the cheeses to form a thick, sticky dough. Fill each cup of a mini-muffin pan with a heaping tablespoon of the dough. Put the pan in the oven, and bake until the puffs are browned and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. (If you're using a regular sized muffin pan, decrease the heat to 350° after about 12 minutes. Cook until browned and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes longer.)
  • The cheese puffs can be made several hours ahead. Store them at room temperature and then reheat in a 350° until warm, about 5 minutes. While they reheat quite successfully in the oven, a microwave produces rather squishy results.


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  1. Kyra says:

    I LOVE this recipe and use it often as the bun for lamb sliders, turkey and havarti tea sandwiches and chicken salad. Thank you for posting this!

    • laura says:

      Yes, Kyra was the genius who thought to use these as little buns. I was just popping them in my mouth as-is, but this idea adds infinite possibilities…

  2. Lili says:

    Oh boy, I have to try this as well! What a great idea for a bun!
    Can’t wait for your cook book!

  3. Ligea says:

    Laura, these are absolutely fantastic! I used smoked gouda because I miss Whole Foods’ gouda rolls and I accidentally shredded 2.5 oz of gouda. They came out great and hubby and I nearly ate all of them while waiting for the lamb chops to cook on the grill. Hubby wonders if this would make a good dumpling…? Thanks so much for the recipe and good luck with the book (I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!).

    • laura says:

      I’m so glad you like them. Addictive, aren’t they?! I’m intrigued by the dumpling idea–would you poach them in a soup? Let me know if you try it.

  4. Tania goulart says:

    Have you ever tried making the wet dough with the cheese as a batter and just cooking off the next morning/day?

    • laura says: (Author)

      I have not tried that method. The batter may form a crust, which I suspect you could eliminate by pressing a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface, but I wonder if it might negatively affect their ability to rise in the oven.

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