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Cheddar & Herb Cheese Straws

5 stars based on 22 votes

cheese straws

These crisp and flaky cheese straws specked with fresh herbs and crushed red chili flakes make a wonderful hors d’oeuvre to go along with wine and cocktails, and they’re also delicious with a bowl of tomato or vegetable soup. Though they look like bread sticks, they’re actually more akin to savory pie crust or pastry. I find them wildly addictive, and just plain fun to serve. (Thanks to my dear friend Kelly Santoro for the recipe!)


As you can see, the ingredients are very basic. No need to spend a lot on the cheese; here, I’ve used a brand from Whole Foods but I’ve also had excellent results with Cabot, which is widely available in most grocery stores. For the herbs, I like a combination of rosemary and thyme but you can use anything you like — or even omit them.


Begin by combining the grated cheese, flour, salt, red chili flakes and herbs in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.


Process until the mixture looks like coarse meal.


Add the cold butter and process until the mixture is crumbly with pea-size bits of butter within.


Add the cream.


And pulse until the dough clumps together in a mass.


Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and dust the dough with flour.


Knead the dough until it comes together and shape into a rectangle about an inch high; then, cut in half.


Roll each block of dough into an 8×10-inch rectangle.


Trim the edges, then use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into strips about 1/4-inch wide. Try to be fairly accurate: if they are too thick, they won’t crisp up; if they are too thin, they’ll break.


Transfer the dough strips to a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about a 1/4-inch between them.


Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and a rich golden color on the bottom (see below — the first three cheese straws are flipped over).


Let cool on a rack, then transfer to a plate to serve.



Southern Cheddar & Herb Cheese Straws

Servings: About 55 Cheese Straws


  • 8 ounces (2 packed cups) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with knife, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Scant teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary and/or thyme
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set two oven racks in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cheese, flour, salt, red pepper flakes and herbs. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch chunks and add to the flour/cheese mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with some pea-size clumps of butter within. Add the heavy cream and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together into a mass.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface and dump the dough on top. Dust the top of the dough with flour and use your hands to shape into a rectangle about 1-inch high. Cut the rectangle in half.
  5. Dust the work surface with more flour and roll each block of dough into a 8 x 10-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick (turn the dough as you go and add more flour as necessary so it doesn't stick). Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, trim the edges straight without sacrificing too much dough, then cut the dough into thin strips about 1/4-inch wide. Transfer the strips to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about a 1/4-inch of space between them. Bake the straws for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and a rich golden color on the bottom, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through. Remove from the pans from the oven and set on a rack to cool. Carefully transfer the cheese straws to a plate and serve.
  6. Note: The cheese straws will keep well in a covered container for a few days.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 cheese straw
  • Calories: 50
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Sodium: 69mg
  • Cholesterol: 11mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I have a love/hate relationship with this recipe. They are so tasty it’s impossible to stop eating them! My son & I made them together and they are simple, yet very impressive. It’s important to cut them the same size and keep an eye on them while they bake – easy to burn. We used cheddar and gouda and did not use herbs and it was delicious. I’ll try with herbs next time. Perfect for guests!

    - Michelle Yoshinaka on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Make these for a drinks party and be a star! Make with fresh Dill instead of Rosemary as a variation.

    - Margot C on March 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These Cheese sticks are my favourite appetizer. Everyone loves them. Freeze beautifully baked or unbaked. Wouldn’t change anything.

    - Barbara on March 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh my goodness. I was in the kitchen cleaning up while these were baking, and the aroma was killing me. They taste divine. I formed mine into a roll, sliced them thin and topped with a half pecan. I made 6 to sample, and just ate all of them. Since it is winter I didn’t have any fresh herbs and the ones at the store looked bad. I added a tsp. of Mccormick Italian herb mix. It was great, but this summer I will add the fresh herbs. I plan to bake a roll of these for an appetizer for a dinner party, and freeze a roll for later use. So easy to make. If you are worried about the heat, it is just right. You could leave out the herbs and add chopped dried cranberries. This is a real keeper.

    - Laura Migliore on January 27, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are so good I just swapped out my 50+ year old family recipe (the one using the jar old english cheese). I will miss that steady supply of juice/jelly/wine glasses though… ?

    - Charleen on December 19, 2016 Reply
    • Oh, and I cut them out using itty bitty gingerbread men cutters and they baked great and looked adorable

      - Charleen on December 19, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I added fresh chopped cilantro, smoked paprika and chipotle chili powder for a Southwest twist. Big hit with all here in Texas.

    - Marsha on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you for sharing this excellent recipe! This was very easy to make and the savory flavor is a winner. I made it as written with the exception of substituting the fresh thyme for half the amount dry since that is what we had on hand. Making another batch for a Super Bowl party this weekend. Thanks again!!

    - Staci on February 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are incredible. Thanks for such an incredibly easy and yummy recipe!

    - Flo on December 29, 2015 Reply
  • If I bake these the day before, how will they hold up? Do they need to be refridgerated for the 24 hours until eaten?

    - Lilly on November 14, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Lilly, They will be fine made a day ahead of time. I would store in an airtight container — no need to refrigerate.

      - Jenn on November 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve made these several times, usually with just crushed red pepper and garlic salt, and they are ALWAYS a hit. I never have any left to take home.

    - Diane Z. on November 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    so very good. Only problem is they did not last long sitting on the counter when the family came in.

    - Chris on October 29, 2015 Reply
  • I love your recipes. I have been making some of them and all turned out great. I would like to try this cheese sticks but I don’t have food processor. Any suggestions?

    - Vera on September 8, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Vera, You can mix the flour/cheese mixture by hand (use finely grated cheese); then cut the butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives. Good luck, and please let me know how they turn out 🙂

      - Jenn on September 10, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love these! Make one batch with the herbs and one without and both were great. They are addicting and great for entertaining.

    - Dawn Bourdo on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • Are there any substitutes for heavy cream.
    Kind Regards
    P.S I haven’t made the Recipe yet

    - Waheda Mantah on August 20, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Waheda, You could use half and half.

      - Jenn on August 24, 2015 Reply
  • I’m wondering if you have tried other cheeses with this recipe? I was thinking about a hard cheese like asiago. Im going to try it and let you know how it goes.

    - Denise on June 23, 2015 Reply
    • I haven’t, Denise, but think it would work well. Please let me know 🙂

      - Jenn on June 23, 2015 Reply
  • Why do you add cream to this recipe for the cheddar cheese sticks? What is a serving size? Do you know what the fat, fiber protein and carb is?

    - AMY on June 11, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Amy, The cream makes them tender. I have added nutritional data beneath the recipe. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on June 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn, as other reviewers said, the dough was really easy to work with. I made these the week before Thanksgiving and mailed them to family in Chicago (from San Diego, rather than schlep them on the plane). I wrapped them in heavy duty foil and then put cardboard “wrapping” a book came in, and they arrived perfectly. My host put them in the freezer until Thursday. They traveled beautifully and were a huge success with the guests.
    I wonder if the dough could also be formed into logs and sliced. I may try that this week and will report back. Thanks for all the great recipes and inspiration.

    - Marlene on December 21, 2014 Reply
    • I wondered if you did get to try them rolled and sliced—-how did it work and did you make changes?

      - pam on November 9, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these the other day and they whip up pretty quick. I actually chose to use white cheddar as I thought the white, green and red would look festive for the season. They melt in your mouth and have a nice follow up warmth from the chili flakes. Thank you again for another recipe that is quick and delicious.

    - Karen T on December 12, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I pinned this recipe today and made them for dinner. They are amazing. Very addictive and flavorful and so easy to make. I can’t wait to try them with a stronger cheese than what I had on hand.

    - Linda on December 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made these for a party and OMG, can you say A-D-D-I-C-T-I-O-N?! I used a premium Irish Cheddar and the guests ate them almost before I could get one. The red pepper gives it enough of a kick at the end to make you pick up another. I was out of Kosher Salt so used a Himalayan Pink Salt I had been given. Cannot wait to make them again. And, my husband and all the guys were the biggest eaters of them.

    - Carol on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made these for Thanksgiving. The guests loved them, so did my family, and most importantly so did I! Will definitely make these again for company; they would also make a great gift to give with a bottle of wine or homemade treat. I used lots of rosemary and thyme. Am thinking of trying chives next! The cheddar you use definitely makes a difference, I used Talbot’ Sharp Cheddar (wasn’t white) and it complemented the rosemary and thyme really well.

    - Heather on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made these. They are delicious! I added 1/2 t of garlic powder. I added a scant scant of 1t red pepper flakes (1/2t maybe). I love spicy food and the minimal pepper flakes I used added a good amount of residual heat after you’re done. My non-spicy eaters thought they were very spicy. I will make these for entertaining…they will be a big hit! Thanks Jen.

    - Cohoma on November 15, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made the cheese straws. They were awesome! Love your website. I like that your recipes have everyday ingredients.

    - Kelly Levant on November 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Happened to have all the ingredients on hand for this recipe so figured I’d give it a shot. All I can say is WOW! So delicious and, yes, addictive! The dough was much easier to work with than I expected. Great easy recipe for entertaining. Thx!!

    - Jordan on November 7, 2014 Reply
  • Can the dough for the Cheese Straws be made in advance and then cut and baked at dinner time?

    - Kim A on November 6, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Kim, Yes, absolutely. You can wrap the dough in plastic wrap (or roll and cut the dough and place the unbaked straws on prepared baking sheets) and keep in the fridge until ready to bake. May need to add a minute or two to the baking time since the dough will be cold.

      - Jenn on November 6, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just rolled out the dough (it was so easy to put together and i happened to have everything on hand! ). it looks like both halves will make a lot of sticks. Can this dough be frozen?

    Thank you!!

    - alisa on November 6, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Alisa, Yes, the dough can be frozen.

      - Jenn on November 6, 2014 Reply
      • 5 stars

        My family loved them and there were no left overs on the first batch so no freezing necessary this time! thanks for another great recipe!

        - Alisa on November 7, 2014 Reply
  • These look amazing! I can’t wait to make them for my next dinner party – coming up very soon! Thank you, Jennifer.

    - Erica on November 6, 2014 Reply
  • If I’m out if cream can regular milk be substituted?

    - Sarah on November 6, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Sarah, Cream or half-n-half would be best, but milk should work in a pinch.

      - Jenn on November 6, 2014 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Loved this recipe. I used almond milk and they came out just fine

        - Gillian on October 31, 2015 Reply

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