These easy Southern cheese straws are a finger food recipe made with cheddar cheese, butter, garlic powder, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  These crispy cheese straws are the perfect low carb appetizer for a crowd on game day or at a party.  Serve them with dip for an easy appetizer!

Prep Time: 45 minutes
holding a piece of one of the Southern cheese straws
Appetizers, Snacks

Easy Southern Cheese Straws

This post was originally published on April 13, 2018.

If you’re a cheese fan like me, you probably jump at the chance to eat something cheesy.  Cheese balls, nachos, skillet cheese bread…there’s few dishes that can be improved by the addition of a good cheese.  Even appetizers and snacks deserve a healthy dose of cheese–like these easy Southern cheese straws.

Southern cheese straws on a plate

How long will cheese straws keep?

Cheese straws will keep at room temperature for about a week if they’re sealed in a zip-top bag or airtight container, but they taste best if eaten within 24 hours.

Can I freeze cheese straws?

Yes, you can freeze baked cheese straws in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag for up to 3 months.  Bake the straws at 350 F for a few minutes to make them warm and fresher tasting.

Southern cheese straws on a plate

Where are cheese straws from?

Some food historians think that cheese straws were based on the British biscuit (cookie) or the Italian biscotti.  Many people make cheese straws with puff pastry, but the Southern way to do it is to make a cheesy dough that’s rolled or pressed into sticks.   Supposedly, Southern housewives would make them to preserve the cheese.  Whatever their origins, cheese straws are a delightful appetizer that’s easy to make!

holding half of one of the Southern cheese straws

How to Make Southern Cheese Straws

You’ll need 7 ingredients: grated extra sharp cheddar cheese, softened butter, flour, paprika, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

ingredients for Southern cheese straws

Whisk the flour and spices together.

dry ingredients for Southern cheese straws

Beat the butter and cheese together with a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer until well blended.

cheese and butter mixture for Southern cheese straws

Add the flour mixture to the cheese mixture and mix and knead until a dough forms.  If it’s dry, add another tablespoon of softened butter to bring it together.

dough for Southern cheese straws

Roll the dough into 1/3 inch (1 centimeter) ropes and cut into 6-inch lengths.  Place them about an inch apart on two parchment-lined cookie sheets.

unbaked Southern cheese straws on a cookie sheet

Bake at 375 F for 15-18 minutes per tray, until slightly puffed, crispy, and golden on the bottom.

Southern cheese straws on a cookie sheet

Let cool briefly on a wire rack, then enjoy!

holding a bunch of Southern cheese straws

If you need a crunchy, cheesy appetizer for company, this recipe should be your go-to.  It would also be perfect for game day along with our easy baked jalapeño poppers and some creamy spinach dip.  😍 Can you imagine how yummy that would be?

Pro Tips

  • Make sure the cheese and butter are at room temperature before you start.  Cold butter and cheese will make a lumpy dough.
  • Use freshly grated cheese instead of the pre-grated kind.  The pre-grated cheese is coated with cellulose to make it not stick together, and that will make the dough more dry.
  • Don’t add any liquid to the dough; it will negatively affect the texture of the cheese straws.
  • Is the dough too dry?  Add another tablespoon of softened butter and mix until a dough has formed.
  • Make the straws more spicy by adding additional cayenne pepper.
  • Squeeze the dough through a cookie press to make the straws look more fancy.
  • Save time by making the dough ahead.  Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  • Baked cheese straws keep well at room temperature for a few days.  Freeze for up to a month.  (Note that the straws do taste the best within 24 hours of being baked.)

Hungry for more crowd-pleasing appetizers?  Look no further.

jalapeño poppers with sriracha mayo tearing apart the pull apart skillet cheese bread dipping a chip into buffalo chicken dip

Did you make these Southern cheese straws?  Please leave a star rating below to share how you enjoyed them.

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holding a piece of one of the Southern cheese straws

Easy Southern Cheese Straws


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 dozen straws
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These easy Southern cheese straws are a finger food recipe made with cheddar cheese, butter, garlic powder, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  These crispy cheese straws are the perfect low carb appetizer for a crowd on game day or at a party.  Serve them with dip for an easy appetizer!


Ingredients

  • 3 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated and at room temperature (226g)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (143g)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Grate the room-temperature cheddar to get 3 cups of grated cheese.
  3. Whisk together the flour, salt, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat 1/2 cup (115g) of softened butter and the grated cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until well blended, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula.  Reserve the other tablespoon of butter for the next step.
  5. Dump in the dry ingredients all at once and beat until thoroughly combined.  The mixture will be dry at first, and will take a minute or two to become a playdough-like consistency.  If the mixture doesn’t come together after a minute or two of beating, add the tablespoon or two of reserved butter, which should bring the mixture together.  Don’t add any liquid, as it will affect the texture of the dough.
  6. Knead the dough for a minute or two to combine, then roll the dough into ropes about 1/3 inch (1 centimeter) in diameter.  Cut the ropes into 6-inch lengths, then place the cheese straws about an inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 375 F for 15-18 minutes per tray, until crispy and golden brown on the bottom.  Transfer the straws to wire racks to cool before serving.

Notes

  • It’s very important that both the cheese and butter be at room temperature.  Cold cheese will not incorporate as well as room-temperature cheese.
  • Short on time?  Make the dough up ahead of time, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you’re ready to roll and bake the straws.
  • Leftover cheese straws keep well on the counter for a few days in an airtight container.

Keywords: southern, best

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