Cheddar & Herb Cheese Straws

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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!)

ingredients

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.

herbs

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.

flour-cheese-and-herbs

Process until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

coarse-crumbs

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

adding-butter

Add the cream.

adding-cream

And pulse until the dough clumps together in a mass.

wet-dough

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

wet-dough-on-counter

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

ready-to-rest

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

rolled-dough

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.

cutting-dough

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

ready-to-bake

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).

done

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

baked-cheese-straws

 

My Recipe Videos

Southern Cheddar & Herb Cheese Straws

Servings: About 55 Cheese Straws

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Shape the dough into 2 rectangles, about 1 inch thick, wrap each securely in plastic wrap, and place them in a sealable bag. When ready to bake, remove the dough from the freezer, thaw it until pliable, and then proceed with recipe. To Freeze After Baking: Let the cheese straws cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove them from the container and let them come to room temperature.

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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • Jenn, how far in advance can I make these and keep them in a sealed container without refrigerating?

    • — Mary Heston Cooper on November 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • They’ll keep well in a sealed container for 2 – 3 days. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on November 15, 2018
      • Reply
  • Can these be made with GF flour? Thanks.

    • — Karen O on November 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, I haven’t made these with gluten-free flour, but I suspect it should work. Please LMK how they turn out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on November 13, 2018
      • Reply
  • Jenn – do you have a suggestion for something that could be served along with these before Thanksgiving dinner is served?

    • — Carol Frampton on November 10, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I think these would be good with store-bought cheeses, cured meats, olives, marinated veggies, etc. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • Rather than rolling the dough and cutting into straws I use an old Mirro cookie press with the star disc. Newer cookies presses don’t work well.

    • — Jeanne on November 8, 2018
    • Reply
  • I live in Berlin, Germany. What type of cheese could I use to replace cheddar. My daughter has a craving for these and I would like to make them for her.

    • — Laura on October 20, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Laura, I think Parmesan or Gouda would work nicely here too. Hope your daughter enjoys!

      • — Jenn on October 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • I don’t have a food processor. Can you cut the ingredients in together by hand with a good pastry blender?

    • — Levian on September 27, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yes, Levian, that will work. (Make sure to use finely grated cheese.) I’d love to hear how they turn out! 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 27, 2018
      • Reply
  • Love these – the texture and taste are amazing. The only problem I had is the sticks would break, easily. I like the long look but they are a bit delicate. Maybe I am not handling the dough correctly?

    • — Dabney on February 22, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Dabney, Yes they are a bit delicate. You can try cutting them a bit thicker to see if that helps. Glad you like them!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2018
      • Reply
  • Has anyone tried substituting the cheddar with parmesan? Just wondering if it would work.

    • — obird on February 8, 2018
    • Reply
  • You mention in one of your answers that the addition of cream makes them tender. I was looking for something crisp – are these straws crisp or more like eating crust?

    • — Sandy on December 8, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, They have the texture of crisp/flaky pie crust.

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2017
      • Reply
  • We made these for Thanksgiving. They were a huge hit and were all gone after the happy hour. We will definitely make again and again. Thanks Jenn, I always know I can trust your recipes to be winners! Happy Holidays.

    • — patty davis on December 7, 2017
    • Reply
  • I have been making cheese straw for years. I learned from generations in my past, good southern women all.
    This is a nice twist, but instead of making long straws I rolled the dough into logs and sliced them thin. Easy snacking and convenient to store, of course I doubled the recipe because they are addictive!!
    Thanks to you the emails are great.

    • — Katie on November 30, 2017
    • Reply
    • Looking for a savory to bake for a fund raising tea and thought perhaps something w/cheese. Would you recommend the cheese straws or do you perhaps have another suggestion? Thanks. Blessings!

      • — Trosj on December 30, 2017
      • Reply
      • Yes I think they’d be wonderful!

        • — Jenn on December 30, 2017
        • Reply
  • Love love love!
    And so quick and easy!

    • — Kathryn on November 19, 2017
    • Reply
  • I’d like to bake and freeze these ahead of time. What is the best way to thaw so that I can be sure they are crisp when served?

    • Hi Liz, I would just let them defrost, covered, on the counter. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 31, 2017
      • Reply
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • I added fresh chopped cilantro, smoked paprika and chipotle chili powder for a Southwest twist. Big hit with all here in Texas.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

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

        • — Gillian on October 31, 2015
        • Reply

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