Living and Thriving Gluten Free

Healthy & Whole Food Eating

Categories: Bread  •  Breakfast    

These cheese buns are chewy and delicious. They're an excellent replacement for dinner buns or biscuits, and are best served warm.

Cheese buns on a plate next to a small dish of butter
Image by: Thora Toft
Prep time: 15 minutes Chilling time: 30 minutes Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes Makes: 20 to 25 small buns Difficulty: Medium
Gluten free Grain free Soy free

These can be prepared ahead of time, and popped into the oven as needed.

This style of cheese buns are from Ecuador, and are known as Pan de Yuca. Each South Americal region has it's own names, recipe variations, and flour manufacturing differences.

For best results, use yuca flour that is made by grating, dehydrating then ground into flour (without being toasted). You may find it named cassava or manioc flour. This is simply the preferred form for this recipe, as this is the type of flour that is traditional for this recipe and this region. The second best option is to use Tapioca or yuca starch. Below the recipe is more info on the various types of yuca flours, and a short description about the differences.

These are great served with breakfast with some homemade Raspberry Sauce instead of jam.

Use all organic ingredients, and ensure any packaged items are labeled gluten free.

Cheese Buns - Pan de Yuca
These cheese buns are chewy and delicious and make a great alternative to dinner buns or biscuits. They're great served with your dinner or even breakfast, and are best served warm.
Prep time: 15 minutes Chilling time: 30 minutes Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes Makes: 20 to 25 small buns Difficulty: Medium
Gluten free Grain free Soy free
2 1/2 cups Yuca flour or tapioca starch
4 cups Cheese, grated - mozzarella, cheddar, etc. (any kind of meltable cheese or combination) (about 12 ounces to 1 pound)
1 teaspoon Baking powder, gluten free
Pinch Sea salt
1/2 cup Butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
2 large Eggs
2 to 4 tablespoons Water or milk
Substitutions and Notes:
  • Yuca flour and tapioca starch: There are a number of different kinds of yuca flour on the market. You'll find it referred to by various other names such as manioc flour, cassava flour, yuca starch, tapioca flour, tapioca starch. They are not all created the same, and will produce different textures. They are all fine to make this recipe. They will just have a bit of a different texture. See below for more explanation on the different types available.
  • In a large bowl combine the yuca flour, grated cheese, baking powder and salt.
  • Combine butter and eggs, then add to dry mixture.
  • Mix with your hands until well blended. If the dough is dry, add 1 tablespoon of water or milk. Add liquid in 1 tablespoon amounts until soft dough is formed, that doesn't crumble. The type of flour and cheese can make a big difference in the amount of water needed.
  • Cover or wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Grease a baking sheet with butter or line with cooking paper.
  • Form dough into small balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 5 minutes. Then turn on the broiler and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Be sure to watch them closely once you turn on the broiler so they don't burn.
  • Alternatively, you can simply cook them at 400 F until they're browned. It can range from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven and the flour you used.
  • The dough can be prepared ahead of time and can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. They can even be prerolled so they're ready to pop into the oven when needed. They also can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge before using.
  • Serve immediately. These are best served warm. They get tough when they cool down. They can be reheated for 5 minutes in the over or toaster oven.


Note: Use all organic ingredients. Ensure all the flour is labeled gluten free.
Additional Notes on Yuca Flour and Tapioca Starch:
  • Tapioca starch, tapioca flour, cassava starch, yuca starch: These are the same thing. This is the starch of the yuca root, with all the fiber removed. This will produce a chewier product. As it's pure starch, it should be eaten in smaller amounts. If you get digestive upset from it, it may be worth trying a different type that is made from the whole root with the fiber still left in.
  • Yuca flour, manioc flour, cassava flour: There are 3 ways that this flour is produced. The name of flour does not determine how it was produced. The differences are more regional differences. These are all produced from the whole yuca root, and the peel is removed. Some countries ferment the root prior to creating the flour. Some will grind then toast the flour. And finally, some will grate then air dry it, then turn it into flour.
  • Many manufacturers claim their product is the best, but that isn't necessarily true. Each flour has long held traditions in each area, and the traditional recipes using each type of flour turn our really well.
  • This recipe is an Ecuadorian style cheese bun, and is traditionally made with yuca starch, or dehydrated yuca flour (not toasted). It turns out best with one of these 2 types of flours.
  • If you find that the yuca flour you've tried is gritty, it's likely that it's a toasted version and / or the skin has not been completely removed during processing, and / or the woody core has not been removed. Try some different brands, and you'll eventually find some that you like. The different types will work best with regional recipes that have been developed specifically for each flour.
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