If you're a cheese fan like me, you probably jump at the chance to eat something cheesy. That's why I'm always excited if I see some cheese straws nearby!
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How long will they keep?
They 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 them?
Yes, you can freeze baked ones in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag for up to 3 months. Bake them at 350 F for a few minutes to make them warm and fresher tasting.
Where are they from?
Some food historians think that cheese straws were based on the British biscuit (cookie) or the Italian biscotti. Many people make them 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, they are a delightful appetizer that's easy to make!
How to Make
You'll need 7 ingredients: grated extra sharp cheddar, softened butter, flour, paprika, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
Whisk the flour and spices together.
Beat the butter and cheese together with a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer until well blended.
Add the flour mixture to the mixture and mix and knead until a dough forms. If it's dry, add another tablespoon of softened butter to bring it together.
Roll the dough into ⅓ inch (1 centimeter) ropes and cut into 6-inch lengths. Place them about an inch apart on two parchment-lined cookie sheets.
Bake at 375 F for 15-18 minutes per tray, until slightly puffed, crispy, and golden on the bottom.
Let cool briefly on a wire rack, then enjoy. If you need a crunchy, cheesy appetizer for company, this recipe should be your go-to!
- Make sure the cheese and butter are at room temperature before you start. Cold ingredients will make a lumpy dough.
- Use freshly grated cheese. The pre-grated kind is coated with cellulose to prevent clumping, and that will make the dough more dry.
- Don't add any liquid to the dough; it will negatively affect the texture.
- Is the dough too dry? Add another tablespoon of softened butter and mix until a dough has formed.
- Make them 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 ones 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.)
Other Appetizers You'll Enjoy
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Easy Southern Cheese Straws
- 3 cups extra sharp cheddar, grated and at room temperature
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Grate the room-temperature cheddar to get 3 cups.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat ½ 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.
- 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.
- Knead the dough for a minute or two to combine, then roll the dough into ropes about ⅓ 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.
- 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.
- It's very important that both the cheese and butter be at room temperature. Cold ingredients will not incorporate as well as room-temperature ones.
- Be sure to grate your own cheese. Pre-grated cheese is coated with cellulose, which will prevent it from mixing well with the other ingredients.
- 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.
- Leftovers keep well on the counter for a few days in an airtight container.
This post was originally published on April 13, 2018.