Cunape (Cheese Bread Balls)

by Jin Yoo-Kim
(Los Angeles, CA)



In English and in Spanish (below). I've tried this so many times and it works! It's also tasty too. Here's the recipe in both languages:

Begin by preheating your oven to 305 degrees Fahrenheit

1 cup yucca (manioc) starch
(you can get this in Latin or Mexican stores)
1 Round (3 cups) of Mexican cheese like Queso Fresco
1 egg
SALT, Water, and milk, as needed and only if the dough is too dry.

Crumble the cheese into a big mixing bowl (it should crumble easily) and add the yucca starch and egg and a pinch of salt. Knead it with your hands until you have a dough-like consistency. At this point, if it's too dry, you can add some milk or water.

Make them into little balls and insert your thumb into the bottom to make a hole in the bottom (this helps for it to not stick to your pan). Place them on top of a non stick pan or a floured pan. Let it sit for 15 minutes.

Place them in the oven between 15-20 minutes.

Do one batch first. If it comes out too cheesy, then add more starch.


1 taza de almidón de yuca
3 tazas de queso fresco
1 huevo
Leche o agua si es necesario (si está muy seco)

Rayar el queso, mezclar con el almidón de yuca y agregar el huevo batido. La consistencia debe ser blanda haga unas bolitas haciéndoles un pequeño hueco con el dedo por debajo y póngalas en una bandeja para hornear. Deje quince minutos. Ponga en horno caliente por 20 mins.

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Jan 02, 2015
Yucca (manioc) starch?
by: Anonymous

Hello, My husband is from Bolivia and he asked me to make these. Where do you buy yucca (manioc) starch? I've tried Fresh Market, Publix, and Walmart. Would it work with all purpose flour?
Thank you.

In response:

Yucca starch is called TAPIOCA STARCH in English. Try WholeFoods or Trader Joe's. You can also try finding it at some of the more ethnic food markets, like Mexican food stores. It doesn't work with regular flour as starch is much, much finer and lighter.

Dec 12, 2014
No baking powder
by: Anonymous

Cunapes do not ever use baking powder.

Nov 30, 2014
flat cunapes
by: Anonymous

the cunapes flattened, because the recipe needs a teaspoon of baking powder!

Sep 06, 2013
Miss the Bolivian food
by: Anonymous

I am brazilian and I miss the cuñapés a lot. I just wanted to know why they are a little sweet.
I lived in Sta. Cruz for 6 years and I learned to love that place.
I remember the cuñapé, the Salteña, and the Ceviche...
How I miss it...

Aug 13, 2013
What to do so cuñapes won't flatten

My best friend's mom taught me to make cuñapes one afternoon and I asked her exactly the same question. So she taught me first to roll the little ball of dough between your hands and then you take one thumb and push it upwards into the dough making a deep dent or hollow in the dough. You then place this hollow part downward on the baking pan. When the cuñapes are baking, they will rise more this way instead of flattening. Even though most of the time the hollow part will "fill in" during baking, cuñapes will form a little "peak" upward.

You may have noticed that in some bakeries the cuñapes even have a little bubble at the very top and are a little bit pointy. You know a baker is a real cuñape expert if they have that little bubbled pointy peak because that's what gave the cuñape it's name in the first place. As I mentioned below, the name "cuñapé" is a Guaraní word that is actually two words combined. Cuñá means "woman" and "pé" means breast.

Let me know how you do on your next batch!

Aug 12, 2013
What can I do so cuñapes won't flatten?
by: K

My canapés flatten as soon as they come out of the oven. They taste OK but don't look so great. Any suggestions? Thanks

Dec 11, 2011
How many?
by: Anonymous

How many cunapes does this recipe make?
Also can you eat this cold?

Response: Depending on how large you make them, this recipe makes between 2-3 dozen. Yes, you can eat them cold. They will keep well for 2-3 days. However, they are softer when warm.

Sep 17, 2010
good stuff
by: Anonymous

these are good. get these and it will feel like you are in heaven.

May 07, 2010
The origins of the cunape
by: BoliviaBella

The cuñapé is native to the eastern region of Bolivia and is also known in some parts of Brazil. It is usually eaten at tea time.

The name "cuñapé" is a Guaraní word that is actually two words combined. Cuñá means "woman" and "pé" means breast. Sometimes when cuñapés are baked they form a little bubble or tip that rises out of the center causing the cuñapé to look like a woman's breast.

Traditionally, Bolivians eat salty baked items at tea time much more often than sweet things. Here in Eastern Bolivia most of these baked goods are made from locally available products and yucca (manioc) is one of the most plentiful! It grows very easily, very quickly and very large in Bolivia, so it's used in many ways because it can be ground into a very fine flour (yuca starch), boiled, baked, fried or deep fried. Yucca is as versatile as a potato and as common to meals and snacks in Eastern Bolivia as potatoes are in Western Bolivia. This is why baked goods like cuñapés are so popular, along with others, like zonzo.

May 07, 2010
history of cheeseballs
by: bolivian bella

what is the history of cheese balls (how did they become popular)

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