Pandebono: Colombian Cheese Bread

Pandebono (Colombian cheese bead)

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yields: 12 to 15 small pandebono
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
93 Calories
6g Fat
6g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 93
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 45mg 15%
Sodium 213mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 121mg 9%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 38mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pandebono, or pan de bono, is a delicious cheese bread, perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack with coffee. It's a simple recipe made with cheese and two kinds of flour—tapioca flour (cassava or yuca starch) and cornmeal. The precooked cornmeal called masarepa used to make arepas works well, as does regular cornmeal. You can even order a special mix for making these rolls called harina de pandebono.

The dough is shaped into balls or rings, which puff up nicely in the oven even though there's no leavening ingredient. The pandebono are best when they're warm and soft, and they reheat very well in the oven.

Traditionally, pandebono is consumed a few minutes after baking while still warm with hot chocolate. If you'd like to serve them with a meal, the best entrees to eat with pandebono are savory foods like meats and other protein-rich foods; the balance of protein with the starchy bread is satiating and will leave you wanting more. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow masarepa, or cooked cornmeal

  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 2 cups grated farmer's cheese, Monterey jack or mozzarella

  • 2 large eggs

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 3 teaspoons milk or buttermilk, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Colombian cheese bread ingredients

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a cookie sheet.

    Greased cooking sheet

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Mix the masarepa, tapioca flour, and sugar in a bowl.

    Masarepa and tapioca flour in a clear bowl with sugar and metal whisk

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Stir in the grated cheese and the eggs. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Taste for salt and add salt as needed.

    Cheese with a flour mixture in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Knead dough until smooth. If the dough seems too dry, add up to a few teaspoons of milk or buttermilk. The dough should be soft and pliable.

    Kneading dough on a wooden board

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes covered with plastic wrap.

    Colombian cheese bread dough in plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. Pull off sections of dough and roll into balls that are slightly larger than golf balls. Or, to shape the dough into rings (rosquillas), first roll a piece of dough into a cylinder then join the ends together to form a circle. The rolls do not have to be perfectly smooth—they will puff up during the last several minutes of baking.

    Shaped dough for Colombian cheese bread

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  8. Place rolls on a prepared cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden in color and puffed. Serve warm.

    Colombian cheese bread on a sheet pan

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

How to Store

  • Pandebono is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
  • To freeze for up to three months, wrap each pandebono in plastic wrap and add to a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container.

What is Pandebono in English?

Pandebono is a Colombian cheese bread made with cornmeal and tapioca that's often shaped into rings. The literal translation from Spanish to English is "bonus bread."