Suellen Drummond’s Pão de Queijo

My grandmother grew up in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, in a family of cheese farmers. She would make this recipe every sunday afternoon. As a young girl, my job was to roll the dough once my grandmother had combined all of the ingredients. Since my family emigrated to the US when I was very young, it is important to us that we hold on to recipes passed on from our relatives in Brazil and hold true to our traditions.

Pão de queijo, Brazilian gluten-free cheese rolls, is traditionally made with Brazilian Minas Cheese and my grandmother would make it with fresh cow’s milk straight from the farm. My mother and I have adapted this recipe to using parmesan, pecorino, and mozzarella cheese which are easier to find here in the United States.

It is a tradition now that every time I visit my mother, usually on Sundays, we make pão de queijo together and enjoy it with coffee in the afternoon. With Mother’s Day approaching, I think fondly about these memories from my childhood of time well spent with my grandmother and mother. This recipe has been passed on from generation to generation, and is very special and close to my heart!

Yields approximately 20 individual pieces

  1. 1 cup whole milk
  2. ½ cup vegetable oil
  3. 1½ teaspoon salt 
  4. 2 cups sour cassava flour 
  5. 2 each large eggs 
  6. ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  7. ½ finely grated pecorino cheese
  8. ½ cup finely grated mozzarella cheese


  1. In a pot bring milk, oil and salt to a boil.
  2. Once at a boil, remove from heat and with a wooden spoon incorporate the cassava flour into liquid.
  3. Move the mixture into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once the mixture is warm to the touch and no longer hot, add the eggs one at a time making sure each is fully incorporated into the mixture.
  5. Add cheeses and mix only until it is incorporated being careful not to overmix.
  6. Using a 1-1.5 ounce ice cream scoop, scoop out  the mixture onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  7. After scooping the dough out, wet your hands with water and lightly roll and smooth out each ball (the dough is sticky so having your hands wet is key)
  8. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown 
  9. Best enjoyed warm, right out of the oven!