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Pan de yuca or cassava cheese bread

Pan de yuca or cheese breads

Ecuadorian pan de yuca are small cheesy breads made with yuca flour (cassava/tapioca starch) and cheese. There are variations of these delicious breads in many Latin countries. They are known as chipas in Paraguay/Argentina, pan de queso in Colombia, cuñape in Bolivia, and pao de queijo in Brazil. The variations and exact ingredients vary from one place to another, my recipe for pan de yuca is made with yuca starch, cheese, butter and eggs.

Yuca bread makes a delicious warm appetizer and the breads can be made in advance and baked minutes before serving. Leftover breads will get hard when they get cold, but can be reheated in the microwave (great for breakfast the day after). The flour is made from yuca root, and is also known as cassava or tapioca starch, the flour can be found in most supermarkets, in Latin grocery stores, or online. 

Video Recipe

Receta en español

Pan de yuca or cheese bread

Pan de yuca, also known as cheese bread or yuca bread, are yummy melt in your mouth warm breads made with cheese and yuca or cassava starch
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Course: Appetizer, Bread, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: Ecuadorian, Latin, South American
Keyword: Cassava cheese bread, Pan de yuca, Yuca bread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 20 -25 small yuca breads


  • 2 ½ cups yuca or cassava starch - sometimes also called yuca flour or tapioca starch/flour
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese can also use half mozzarella & half queso fresco or quesillo
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of butter 4 oz or 113 grams, room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-4 tablespoons of water or milk, add more if the dough is dry


  • Combine the yuca starch or flour, cheese, baking powder and salt in a food processor, blend to mix well.
  • Add the butter and eggs.
  • Mix until small dough balls begin to form, if it's too dry add 1-2 tablespoons of water or milk. Add more if needed.
  • Remove the dough from the food processor and roll into a ball, you can make the dough ahead and store in the refrigerator for up to a day.
  • To make the dough by hand, combine all the ingredients in large bowl, using melted (cooled down) butter, and mix until you have a smooth dough. It's actually very easy to prepare by hand.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 500 F.
  • Make small round shaped breads with the dough and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Bake immediately or store in the fridge until ready to bake. I find that they turn out best if you do let them chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before baking.
  • Once the oven reaches 500F, turn on broiler, place the breads on the middle rack and bake until the breads are golden, about 5-7 minutes. Another option is to pre-heat the oven to 400F and bake at 400F for about 5 minutes and then turn on the broiler.
  • Serve immediately, can be served alone or with tree tomato aji.


See variations below for more helpful tips & ideas.

Pan de yuca or yuca bread recipe

In Ecuador, pan de yuca is usually served with yogurt smoothies and there are several restaurants whose specialty is yuca bread with yogurt. I usually serve yuca bread as an appetizer, with tree tomato aji, but they are also great for breakfast or with an afternoon coffee or tea. My kids love yuca bread and I always let them have some dough so they can make their own shapes: ovals, triangles, spirals, etc. They get very excited as they watch the oven and wait for their bread to be ready.

Yuca cheese breads

I used to make yuca bread by hand, and it is probably one of the easiest breads to make by hand, the ingredients are easy to mix, but it is a little bit sticky, so I tried using the food processor instead and it works great. If you don’t have a food processor or prefer to make it by hand, just melt the butter to make it easier to mix the ingredients.

Notes, tips, ideas & variations for making yuca cheese breads:

I’ve been making these delicious cheesy breads for so long, and in different places when we travel. I am constantly finding that the yuca bread dough is so flexible and can be used in many different ways. Here’s a quick compilation of some of the variations, tips, and ideas that I’ve tried over the years:

Ecuadorian yuca starch bread

– The texture of the yuca breads will vary based on the type of the cheese you use, this recipe uses mozzarella (not fresh, but the grated harder type) and I sometimes mix it with queso fresco. This results in very soft and smooth tasting breads which my family loves. For a cheese bread with a crunchier texture and stronger cheese flavor, you can use a harder more aged cheese: parmesan, gruyere, emmental, etc. When we visit my in-laws in France I usually take the tapioca flour from the US and use local cheese (usually the grated emmental they sell at most grocery stores there). When making these with dryer aged cheese you will need to add more liquid (water or milk) to the dough to get it to the right consistency.

Cassava yuca breads made with emmental cheese in France

– If you want the yuca breads to have a perfect uniform shape or if they tend to fall flat after baking (this tends to happen more if they didn’t have time in the fridge before or if the oven isn’t pre-heated/very hot when baking them) – you can use a small muffin tin to keep them in place.

Bake the yuca bread in a muffin tin for rounder breads

– To freeze the unbaked yuca bread rolls, place them on a baking sheet with wax paper, place in the freezer. As soon as the breads are frozen, transfer them to a Ziploc bag and save in the freezer until needed. To bake them from frozen, pre-heat the oven to 400-425F, place the frozen yuca breads on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake until golden on top.

Frozen yuca breads

Grilled yuca cheese breads: You can also grill the yuca breads, this works best on a pizza stone. Make sure your grill is very hot and the pizza stone is pre-heated, then place the breads on the stone and let them cook until golden. They tend to have a crunchier outer texture when grilled.

Grilled yuca or cassava cheese bread

Yuca cheese griddle tortillas: You can also flatten them into thick tortilla shapes and cook them in a grill or in a stovetop pan.

Yuca cheese griddle tortillas

Yuca bread waffles: Another idea is to cook them in a waffle maker. Simply form the dough into a thicker patty (slightly smaller than your waffle maker), and place it in the waffle maker, cook until crispy on both sides.

Yuca bread waffles

Yuca bread pizzas: You can flatten the dough as thin as you would like, add a light layer of sauce (tomato, pesto, etc), your favorite toppings, and bake at 450F until crispy.

Yuca cheese bread pizza

Stuffed yuca cheese breads: Make the breads as usual, but put a piece of guava paste in the middle of each one, seal, and bake for a sweet & savory variation. Other filling ideas include cooked chorizo, cooked bacon, a piece of a different type of cheese, etc.

Yuca breads stuffed with guava paste

Yuca bread empanadas: Use the yuca bread dough to make gluten free empanada discs, just be warned that the dough is very fragile, fill it with you favorite savory or sweet filling, and bake or fry.

Yuca bread empanada dough

Fun holiday shaped yuca bread treats: For holidays you can use cookie cutters to cut the dough into different shapes and decorate them with olives, pimento peppers, etc. For Halloween, I used a ghost cookie cutter to make these cute little yuca cheese ghosts with pimento pepper eyes.

Yuca cheese bread ghosts for Halloween

Photos of yuca bread or pan de yuca preparation:

Yuca flour or tapioca starch

Ingredients for yuca cheese breads

Yuca bread preparation

Pan de yuca Pan de yuca

Pan de yuca recipe Pan de yuca or cheese bread

Pan de yuca or pan de queso

You can freeze the yuca bread rolls and bake as needed

Pan de yuca or cheese bread recipe

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  1. I want to make this for my husband who is from Ecuador, but I do not have baking powder and at the moment it is not available at the grocery store. Can I use baking soda? If so how much would I use? (I also don’t have any cream of tartar to mix with the baking soda). Thank you!

  2. HI, I just made your recipe for my husband since he need to eat gluten free and does not like any of the gluten free breads already available. I made them larger and flatter since he wants it for sandwiches, They came out good, but only 6 slices of sandwich bread size but my question is.. Can I use this same recipe and put it in a bread loaf pan? I know I can, but I wanted to know if I should double it so that it may rise to make the loaf?

    1. Hi Arlene,

      I’ve never made into a loaf form, I do remember a friend of my mom did that in Ecuador, but we ate it intermediately after it was baked. It does get hard once it gets cold, so not sure if it would work to keep for several days. Let me know if you try it and how it goes. All the best!

      1. Thank you for your reply. I do also believe it will be too hard in a few days. If I try it, I will let you know.

        I tried it yesterday with egg substitute because he is no suppose to eat eggs and with Gluten Free flour, but it was really hard. Do you think it was the flour or the egg substitute??

        1. It was more likely the flour, you need a very starchy flour for this recipe. One of my friends didn’t have enough yuca/tapioca starch and she added corn starch instead – so about 1/2 of each starch – and she says they turned out great. Other starchy flours include potato and arrowroot – but I haven’t tried them with this recipe.
          Another option is to make them larger as you did, then freeze them (freeze on a tray first and then transfer to a freezer bag) and cook them each day you need them.

          1. Thanks!!! I can do that and actually today I ran of the tapioca starch, so I added 1/2 of that gluten free flour to it and it was not bad. But now I know about the other starches I can use also. Thanks for tips!!! stay safe!

  3. Soooo delicious and soo easy to make! I have been making them two days in a row now! My husband is from Ecuador and we actually had homemade tomatillo ahi at home and these were delicious dipped in there! Thank you :)

  4. I made these for lunch this weekend and they were beyond delicious. I only wish I had made more! Definitely going to be trying out the waffle iron suggestion :-)

  5. I love your recipe. Is easy and fast. Made the for the third time and always perfect. Added a little more salt, but other than that no need to change anything. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  6. These are the best thing ever hot out of the oven. I’ve made them several times. If I make them ahead and refrigerate overnight broiling for 7 minutes is perfect. Baking at a lower temp seems to make them melt.

    1. Yes, high heat and refrigerating prior to baking makes a big difference. I also find that they’re less likely to melt if you use a dryer/more aged cheese. However I really love the taste that they get from a younger fresher cheese.

  7. I love your recipe, I use feta cheese and works perfectly. I also use coconut milk instead of water or regular milk. For fat I use a mixture of ghee butter and olive oil. I make them when I travel for my gluten free diet. Thanks.

  8. Fernando, from NJ.
    I am originally from Ecuador, and of course I love pan de yuca. I followed your recipe as suggested by you, and I just want to tell you that my family and I have enjoyed these pan de yuca. Thank you for the directions and tips about baking these delicious pan de yuca.

  9. I lived on these while living in Brazil 40 years ago while in the Peace Corps…came home and married an Ecuadorian and have continued to make these for my family for all these years. My favorite additional ingredient is chopped yellow chiles! Perfect with a cup of coffee.

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