cheese-straws Recipes

cheese straws

Meet my new favorite party trick.

In dusting off a woefully-neglected group of recipes on my “Cook This” list, subcategory “Cheese” I came upon a curious confection known as a cheese straw. Despite making a note to try them, cheese straws were new to me, but seeing as they involve cheddar, butter, salt and red pepper flakes, I couldn’t imagine them being anything less than awesome.

rolling out the cheese straws

What I didn’t realize was that, in a ridiculously simple process that took no more than one hour from prep to snacking, what I’d really baked were a cheesy poofs/cheez doodle hybrid! And that my life may now be complete.

cheese straws, ready to bake

It’s funny, all of these “cheese”-based snacks have never held my interest; they seemed so artificial, but not in a tasty way, like Twizzlers or Insert-Your-Shameful-Junk-Food-Habit-Here are. So you can imagine my surprise that when cheese, flour, butter, salt and pepper flakes are rendered into this cracker-like format, they taste remarkably like, well, Cheeze-Its.

cheese straws

Except so much better: buttery, crisp, flavorful and just a little spicy. We fanned these out in glasses at our housewarming party, among plates of cheese (including this one, which might be the best thing I’ve had since that awkward incident in Paris last fall where I declared a soft cheese “the best thing, ever” only to discover that I was actually eating butter) and crackers and various stuffed phyllo triangles and though they quickly almost disappeared, I noticed that people were doing that thing where nobody wants to be the person who takes the last one. Fortunately, I have no such inhibitions: cronch. I only wish I’d made more.

cheese straws

One year ago: Pistachio Petit-Four Cake
Two years ago: Whole Lemon Tart + Strawberry Tart

Cheese Straws
Adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon half-and-half (I used cream, because I had it on hand; suspect milk would work just as well)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.

3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet (though I lined mine with parchment), leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.

4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

5. Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days. They will not last an hour at a party.

Variation: One adaptation I am curious to try would be to roll these into thin, round crackers. Because they puff a bit, I’d roll them as thin as possible, and use a fork or skewer to make some holes to keep the expansion in check. If you try this, I’d love to hear how it went for you.

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393 comments on cheese straws

  1. Mikki

    Hi, ive just recently come across your blog and im working my way through the archives. I was a little bit surprised to read that cheese straws are a new thing to you? is that just in america perhaps? im british and grew up with cheese straws :D though home made ones are definitely better than shop bought!!
    looking forward to more amazing recipes!

  2. Amanda

    I’m loving the recent cheese theme! Cheese straws are ubiquitous down here in the south, but tend to be thicker and shorter, piped through a star tip. I like this presentation much better. Had no idea they were so easy to make – I will have to try these!

  3. Anna

    My grandmother made cheese wafers by rolling the dough into a log, chilling well, then slicing into thin rounds. Her recipe looks similar to yours just at a glance.

  4. Sweets by Jas

    Hey Deb, yet another great looking recipe. I once tried making bread sticks when i was much younger and I was very new to yeast (still am actually)… needless to stay they werent a hit. But this! This I will try… I wonder if it would work out if I make them into shapes with cookie cutters instead of long straws? Your blog junkie!

  5. Yay! I chomp through a bunch of these every time I go to Cambridge 1 (Cambridge, MA), but I hadn’t thought about making them myself. They’re awfully spicy there, but since they leave glasses of them out on the bar, I can’t help myself. If I make them myself I can temper the heat. Ooh.. and I’m imagining rosemary garlic versions with some other cheese. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Oh yes, this is my favorite recipe for cheese straws. So easy to make in the food processor, and no fussing with a cookie gun or pastry bag to get the straws.

  7. Oooh I never thought to make my own cheese sticks, but you make it sound so simple, so now I’m tempted to try! After all, they are made from pretty much the best ingredients ever!

  8. Karen

    I use a similar dough (cheese straws out of Joy of Cooking) to made cheese thumbprint cookies. I use homemade jalapeno jelly in the middle. They go fast at parties with a glass of wine, or juice spritzer.

  9. I love these! I’ve only ever made them as rounds before though – I think the recipe I have calls them cheese pennies. You basically make them like peanut butter cookies – roll them into balls and then use the tines of a fork in a cross-hatch pattern to flatten them out. So good!!

  10. leftfoot

    I made a version of these for a party as well, about 4 months ago. They are fantastic and even yummier if you sprinkle and press more cheese onto the top of the straws (especially if you’re a cheese lover like we are).

  11. I make them two ways. The first is the typical southern cheese straw where you press it through a cookie press to get little wiggly “straws”.

    The second and my favorite of the two is to roll is out and cut into tiny circles. Then brush the top of the circles with a dab of water and top with a pecan half. Push the pecan half in just a smidge so it sticks good. Bake them up and enjoy the best snack in the world. Seriously when I lived in the same state with family that is what everyone got for Christmas. They are almost evil they are so good!!

  12. So sorry you have been cheese-straw-less for so long– they are such a delicious Southern treat! My family has a similar recipe but with a bit more butter and flour. We always make them using a squiggly shape from a cookie press (which means they aren’t straw shaped at all, though we still call them that). No matter how many I make, they disappear fast!

  13. Thanks for this recipe! These look like perfect summer party food, ideal for when all you want to drink is red wine, but need something to nibble on so it doesn’t look like you are just drinking.

    Do you think they would freeze OK? say if I made a few hundred of them ahead of time for a party?

  14. Betsy

    A Southern classic, and one I’ve never been able to master despite my Southern roots! Maybe I’ll try yours and have better success!

  15. Wendy

    These are one of my favorites! I’m a Cheesehead by birth, so it’s required that I like them. :) In response to Aimee (#24), I’ve frozen a very similar recipe before and they’ve been absolutely fine. I’ll even admit to eating them frozen sometimes…

  16. My father in law makes the best cheese straws ever. I may have to try these to see if they are better! A family member of min also forms them into a butterfly shaped curl before, which is pretty!

  17. I can’t wait to try them. My better half used to live in South Carolina for a year while in graduate school. Still, we have yet to attempt cheese straws. I love that they’re spicy. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. The cracker idea sounds really good! But these straws would be great with salad. I have never heard of them before and wouldn’t have guessed they were a southern thing.

  19. Jenna

    I cannot wait to try these! They may be a Southern classic but I know any Midwesterner (like me!) would love them. The best part is they involve ingredients I already have on-hand.

    I love the variety of recipes that you post on a daily basis. Thanks for another great one!

  20. I believe this is the third or fourth monitor that you owe me.

    If I had only known you’d never made these delights because cheese straws were a staple in my household. Maybe it’s the hybrid of British-Southern US upbringing but my mom made sure we always had a packet on straws in the house or we could pop them in the oven on a weekend.

  21. What a coincidence, I got my Mum’s cheese straw recipe out last week and was wondering how I had survived without them for so long!
    Her recipe is even simpler, for those who like ratios (and weights): equal weight flour, cheese and butter plus around one egg yolk per 80g plus of course all the seasoning you’d like to throw in. Also, my 90-year old granddad once forgot to put the eggs in and he says there was no difference!

    Would love more oh-so-simple-but-good recipes, for my oh-so-tiny kitchen!

    @Mikki: yes it must be a British thing!
    @Sweets by Jas: yup, our cheese straws are traditionally cut with a cute small star-shaped cutter

  22. Oh, droooool. I made cheese crackers over the holidays and had to stick half of them in the freezer before I no longer fit into my clothes. These sound even cheesier (in the best way possible), and thus more tempting. Can’t wait to try them!

  23. Catherine

    In our family we use a cookie press with the star insert and squirt them out into circles and call them Cheese Rings. No baby/bridal shower, family reunion, or other occasion is complete without them!

  24. I’m going to make these for a party I’m hosting tomorrow. Was going to break down and buy cheetos, but your post has renewed my fortitude. The recipe is similar to Mark Bittman’s cream crackers, so I think these would work in cracker form. My 11 year old made Bittman’s cream crackers a million times when she first discovered the recipe, and her friends were psyched that “they taste just like cheez-its.”

  25. ATL Amanda

    I make a similar recipe all the time and they are a hit with guests. I shape the dough into a log and freeze it and slice off rounds. It is easy to have on hand for impromtu cocktails.

    I make another version with blue cheese and ground pecans. Also very ymmuy!

  26. Ah, Lee Bros. Of course! I was about to ask you if you’re SURE you aren’t Southern deep down inside.

    We make these every Christmas, and only then, for some strange reason. But my grandmother always made them into tee-tiny little biscuits. I’m sure you’d have approved of their diminutive stature!

  27. Julie

    Some years ago, I did the mistaken butter thing too. Only in my case, I thought it was ice cream. Thank you for making me feel a little less stupid about that whole event! =)

  28. Susan

    I’ve tried cheese wafers with a more shortbread type of recipe and they softened after a while. I was so disappointed that I haven’t made them since. These read more like pie dough almost, is that the texture and treatment of the dough? Do they get a flakey?

    1. deb

      Susan — They’re not like pie dough at all — much closer to a cracker. Seriously, Cheeze-It like in texture, but richer, due to the butter. Also, you’re not talking about the Ina Garten recipe, are you? I saw them years ago on her show, but was perplexed as to how anything that was clearly a shortbread cookie, savory or not, could be called a cracker. Or could have cheese spread on it. Though I am sure they’d still be a tasty party snack.

      Abby — Actually, I’m not sure I’m not a teensy bit Southern, or at least occasionally in the kitchen, due to my obsession with slaws and potato salads and cobblers and big, fluffy birthday cakes.

  29. Kimberlee

    These look delicious! Do they get soft after two days?

    I also wanted to let you know that you’re famous as far away as Idaho. (Of course, you’ve been a favorite single gal-turned married woman-turned food blogger-turned momma-to-be blogger in this house for a LONG time.)

    They just featured your cinnamon chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake: http://www.idahostatesman.com/life/story/804092.html

    I hope it brings you a ton of new readers. :)

    Kimberlee in Idaho

  30. wyn

    Thanks for posting this simple recipe for the best food ever! Love cheese straws. I also wanted to mention that the photo with the unbaked cheese straws has this optical illusion effect – to me – and they look like they are moving across the picture!

  31. Oh my gravy, these look good! I’ve made a similar recipe that calls for the dough to be rolled in a log, and then cut into rounds. There’s something very intriguing about this straw shape! I have another similar recipe that includes rice krispies, and it’s surprisingly good!

  32. These remind me a lot of Nigella Lawson’s cheesy feet, which I haven’t made them in quite some time. (Ironically, since my son was born. Who says foot shaped treats are reserved for the young ‘uns? I suppose this is what would be a kick in the butt to revive them.) And they look so much better than those puff pastry things that I used to love but have gotten so, so tired of.

  33. Tula

    Hmm, I’ve never had cheese straws. But, hey, it’s cheese. It has to be good. Cheese is the food that makes other food taste better. I’ll be trying these soon. The menu for my next party is getting longer and longer with every yummy recipe you post :-)

  34. jo

    These look really good and our kind of “snack, munch”, in-front of telly” type food. Coincidetally I made my first grissini-bread sticks 2 weekends ago. Love it.

  35. We eat cheese straws in the South a lot, usually at wedding or baby showers. Usually they are piped though. I love them – yours look so pretty in your presentation!

  36. Kim

    These look wonderful. I think I may have to convince the manfriend to have people over just to make these. I’ve always wanted to try these but found them so daunting. Heck, maybe I’ll just make them, and eat them all.

  37. These look great. If (and when) I make them I think I’ll try sharp white Cheddar…mmm! Do you think they’d cook up as well if I cut them into small pieces before cooking?

  38. Another English gal who grew up on cheese straws . . . although Mum didn’t use anything as ‘exotic’ as chili flakes (we’re talking English village in the 60’s) Instead she used a pinch of mustard powder (which she superstitiously will put in anything with cheese) and a whack of cayenne (apparently not as exotic). I have honestly been meaning to ring her for the recipe for the last couple of weeks. I didn’t even know you had them in the US. So how’s that for synchronisity? I have to make them now!!

  39. Marielle

    They look just like the ones they serve at Witchcraft and those are delicious (but really, when is anything with cheese NOT delicious?!)

  40. Diane

    Southern delights! We love any version of good cheese with butter. Coming to North Carolina for your get-aways must have rubbed off some good ‘ole Southern Belle characteristics. The “wafers” others have talked about are version very distinctive to certain cities in South Carolina. Roll your dough into a log and refrigerate until firm. Slice and for the Columbia version, gently mash a pecan half on each wafer; for the Charleston version, roll each slice into toasted sesame seeds before baking and bless your heart, you have benne crackers! Welcome to the South!

  41. Felicia

    I live in MS, so it’s hard for me to imagine anyone having not had these before. They are a holiday staple, and a treat any time of year. A lot of folks down here use a pastry bag and an icing piping tool with ridges (no idea what that is called) to give them a little shape. One of my favorites!

  42. I came here to double check if you had any rhubarb recipes and immediately went into the kitchen and made these to go with dinner. They were a hit and super easy even in my tiny food processor!

  43. Susan

    Deb, No. It wasn’t Ina’s recipe. I don’t even have the recipe anymore and probably got it from a friend. It had alot more cheese in it than this recipe as I recall. And it had an egg, I think, plus you beat it with a mixer. I think between the excess cheese, butter and egg, it was too much fat/moisture and not enough flour. I’ll give this one a try as I like the idea of cutting the flour, the butter and cheese together rather than beating it. It’s seems it would be alot flakier. I’m thinking sour cream instead of the cream or milk, maybe. I have a pastry recipe that uses S C and it really wonderfully flakey.

  44. Kelley

    After about 5 minutes after reading the title I decided I must try these, and even though I didn’t have the proper kind of cheese, after searching through the fridge I realized I had enough (random types of) cheese to attempt to make the recipe. I made them into crackers as you suggested and putting holes in them definitely helped. I suggest to make them as thin as possible in order for them to be nice and crisp. Thanks for such an enjoyable recipe!

  45. Vanessa

    I made these last week to take to a party. We always had them when growing up, at funerals, weddings, whatever…The only difference is that mine have 1/2# sharp cheddar and 1/2# parmesan. Oh, and 1/2# of butter. It comes out really crumbly, like pie crust, but you roll and cut, roll and cut… I also use 1 teaspoon of cayenne. They go great with booze because that salty zing makes you thirsty.
    PS- Toddlers LOVE these, and fat is good for them. You might dial back the cayenne for the short-set, though.

  46. margo

    Try rolling out the dough and cutting it on the parchment paper,put paper on cookie sheet and bake.So much easier than transferring each piece.

  47. Sky

    Love your blog and have made a few of the simpler recipes. I had never seen nor heard of cheese straws before, but they sounded fun so I made these tonight. I used extra sharp cheddar and a few extra pepper flakes. (we like a bite here!) My partner and I love them! Simple and so versatile; I could see them at a picnic, potluck or fancy cocktail party. And variations will be fun. Also I didn’t use a food processor. I did it by hand, and it was still easy.

  48. Yep, I will be making these. How can I write MY blog when all you foodie girls are sharing such wonderful things? PW, now you. I’m in the kitchen making all sorts of yummy things and have yet to write a word or cook for MY blog. Oh well. Thanks for the recipe. N

  49. Oh, WOW. I love cheese, I love crunchy things, this may be a win-win recipe for me here. Now I just have to find my food processor… am I the only one who’s kitchen appliances mysteriously disappear?

  50. Gina

    Mmmmmm! Cheese straws, especially w/red pepper flakes, just cannot be beat for a great snack! As much as I love them, I’ve never made them. I need to rectify that. Thanks for the push to do so.

  51. Liz C.

    Toast: “who’s” = who is. “whose” = belonging to who. Good luck finding that food processor. It’s an awfully heavy thing to lose!

  52. Vidya

    Yum. Right now snacking on delicious almond halva made by my Indian mother for my birthday. And craving something salty like this to rescue me from the sweetness. By the way Deb, if marzipan is your thing, you NEED to make an Indian almond/badam halva. Like a sticky marzipan pudding. I add a lot less sugar than most recipes call for so it is very almondy and marzipany.

  53. These look tasty delicious. I have made cheese crackers but never straws! I love the way you can handle and play with the shape.

    I have also made black pepper and parmesean biscotti. They are a HIT. So much flavor in savory crackers.

  54. Kat

    Another Brit here – Cheese straws were a staple at all my childhood parties. they’re usually one of the first things that kids learn to cook! It’s rare to find a picnic or party here in the UK without cheese straws and Twiglets (google it!).

  55. nan

    Oh girlfriend ..this is what we did with a cheese straw recipe..pinch off small balls and thumbprint into a small tart pan..add a dolop of jalepeno jelly..cook ten minutes..we call them jalepeno tarts..they are so good

  56. That’s funny, I made the same kind of recipe two weeks ago, for the wedding cocktail at work, but it included 1 egg yolk (left from the buttercream for the wedding cake) and 1 tbsp paprika too.
    I made them in round shape as you suggest in the end, first by refregerating the dough as a log and slicing it. The were a little puffed (I did not use a fork), and very sandy. A huge hit!

  57. Sweetie

    these look great and they’ve also been on my “to bake” list.

    not sure if anyone else has asked but could you indicate if you grated your own fresh cheddar? i sorta remember reading reviews of other cheese straw recipes where users mentioned not so great results using pre-shredded packaged cheddar (prehaps bc of the anti-caking agents?). i could be wrong…

    thanks!

  58. Hmmm? I think I’ll try these with a little amaranth flour, or maybe a mix of amaranth and sorghum and see if it works just as well gluten-free. Good launching pad for experimenting! Thanks for the inspiration. They look divine.
    Melissa

  59. Liz

    The story about you tasting the butter cracked me up. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does those kinds of things.

    These look great. We’re having a menfolk gathering here Friday night and I’m going to make these for them to gnosh on before dinner.

    Thanks Deb. Hope you’re feeling good!

  60. Vanessa

    Deb, darling, all you’d need to make now is pimiento cheese, chicken salad, and deviled eggs and you’d have made four of the most important foods there are in the South. :)

  61. Why is it that people never want to eat the last one?? I guess eating the last one somehow validates the fact that I’ve personally eaten 3/4ths of the snack already…

    I’m fascinated that this comes out to be cheese-it like in texture. Makes me wonder if Cheese-Its are closer to a ‘real food’ than I previously assumed!

  62. Deb, what’s the texture of this dough like? Do you think if I formed it into a log and refrigerated it, it would firm up enough for me to do a “slice and bake” version of a cracker? I was thinking it may be easier to get it thinner that way.
    Let me know what you think, and YUM.

  63. Celeste

    I’ve enjoyed the recipe for Golden Dollars on the Cabot cheese website; it has Tabasco and garlic powder for the seasoning, and then roll logs and roll them in toasted sesame seeds and slice into thin disks. They travel very well in a round shape and the sesame seeds are so savory.

  64. Steffi

    Deb,

    I’m a long time reader (ok only a couple of months but I’ve made a serious dent in your archives…so that has to count for something right?) and first time commenter.

    But…HOLY CHEEZ-WIZ BATMAN!!!!!!!!! These look fantastic! My hubs and I are chesse-aholics. I’m going to have to whip some of these darlings up tonight?

    I do have one teeny-tiny question…do you think that Salted butter would work if I omitted the 1/2 tsp of salt?

    Also don’t you think a little garlic powder would make these even more divine? Sorry…I’d put garlic in pancakes if I didn’t think the world would disown me.

  65. Mary

    Laughed out loud at your butter/cheese story. Indeed, butter IS the best thing ever; it’s just not socially acceptable to eat it by itself. Too bad. Anyway, as a native GRITS (girl raised in the South), I’ve been eating and making cheese straws all my life. Try putting them through a cookie press. They come out really pretty. I have another recipe that adds Rice Krispies for an interesting texture (won’t go through a cookie press though). Congratulations on discovering this yummy treat. And, if you make the wafers, no need to prick them.

  66. Erika

    These look yummy! I’ve made cheese straws before, but my recipe called for using a cookie press – that was NOT a fun experience, and I broke my cookie press! I love cheesestraws (and Cheez-its!), so I’ll definitely be trying this version.

  67. Awesome! I will have to make these ASAP. Great to have around at parties, you’re right! And for those of you who said that you wanted to make them gluten free, PLEASE let me know how that turns out! I have lots of gluten intolerant peeps in my family and would love to make them a yummy cheese straw!

  68. Mmm, cheese. I’ll have to see how this recipe compares to my cheese shortbread standby, which is from Rose’s Christmas Cookies. Some minor variations at least. Hers are roll-chill-slice, and cayenne-tastic.

  69. marianne

    these look delicious — i’m moving to wisconsin and what better way to assimilate than to incorporate cheese into practically everything? :)

    deb, i think you’re my taste-bud twin. i love this site!

  70. Sherri

    I make these every year for Christmas, using a cookie press to make rings instead of straws (they fit into cookie tins better). I’ve taken to using chipotle powder instead of the pepper flakes (or cayenne, my old standby), which has been a big hit with everyone who’s tried them. A friend of mine makes a variation with blue cheese and worchestershire sauce – delicious!

  71. SRabbit

    Cheese straws are a firm family favourite. They work really well with onion seeds, rosemary, strong blue cheeses, gruyere. Anything you have to hand really.

    I make a non cheese version with caraway seeds (also can be done as a breadstick) which always goes down a treat.

  72. Heather

    I love your site and this recipe! Is it ok to make this w.out a food processor? I want to make the cheese straws but I’m afraid they wont turn out if I do not have the dough right.

  73. vickie

    NC cooks use a pastry bag with a star shaped nozzle when making cheese straws. We make them about 3-4 inches long . So Good!!

  74. Melina

    These are always a hit at any party! They are the first thing to go, and everyone asks for the recipe. I make a similar version with a couple tablespoons of cornmeal in it – gives it a lovely texture!

  75. kathleen

    I recently came across this recipe in the cookbook “Screen Door and Sweet Tea” and have had it marked for a month. Now I really have to make it for this weekend. I was wondering how tabasco sauce would be in it instead of the flakes.

  76. Elsbeth

    Oh these are quite similar to the recipe my mum uses for cheese biscuits! She adds roasted cumin seeds and a little curry powder and rolls the dough into a roll and cuts that in slices. Delicous. Love the shape of these, will try these at my next party!

  77. Dawn in CA

    I love the Lee Brothers. They are just too darn cute in every way. I’ve had a celebrity (are they considered celebrities?) crush on them ever since they were featured on Anthony Bourdain’s show a while back. Wouldn’t it be fun to be their guest at some Southern backyard soiree?

  78. Denise

    I have to admit, since I’ve recently found your site by google” peanut butter chocolate cake” …which turned out to PERFECTION…I haven’t made anything else. BUT, have been enjoying your pictures ever since. I LOVE cheese, so this I will make and try the thin crackers as suggested. I will bring to a birthday party and update you.

  79. Laura-Leigh

    As you may notice from my double name, I’m a southern girl, born and bred. My Granny makes cheese biscuits every Christmas, using a similar recipe, rolling the dough into balls, and putting a pecan slice in the middle. They are heavenly, and she always brings me some for the holidays. I’ve made them myself, too, but nothing ever tastes as good as Granny’s, does it?

  80. Vanessa

    No blue cheese. I think it would come out wrong. You might try something like Manchego, though. The cheese needs to be firm and sharp. That is why mine also have parmesan.

  81. Hey, don’t be ashamed. Butter IS the best thing ever!
    So are cheese straws (yes, in my world, I can have many, many “best things ever”). I love their salty-cheezy-goodness.

  82. Amy

    One of my favorite party foods ever is to make a similar dough and wrap it around green olives. Makes delicious little cheesy, olivey bites. Around here, we also add rice krispies to the dough for our cheese wafers. Simply scoop into balls using a small cookie scoop and then use a fork to flatten and make a criss cross pattern before baking. The cereal adds a nice crunch and these are so much simpler than making cheese straws with the same fabulous flavor!

  83. I’m so excited to see this! I’ve had the idea of homemade cheezits rolling around in my head for the past couple weeks. I’ll try this recipe in cracker form and let you know how it goes.

  84. Susan

    My goodness! I sure am glad I didn’t have my little crystal ice bucket filled with these sitting next to me last night when I watched the pilot episode of Royal Pain. I’d have eaten the whole thing! These are so good! I love that this calls for crushed red pepper flakes instead of cayenne; it’s so much more flavorful. (Cayenne tastes like musty dirt with a dull bite to me..I don’t see it’s charm at all..but that’s just me, obviously!) This dough was together in a flash and was easy to roll. I cut the dough with the side of my 1 1/2 X 9″ offset spatula and it also made it a snap to transfer to the cookie sheet (and move them for spacing) I added a 1/4 tsp of cracked black pepper to the dough too. They are crisp tender..perfect! Thanks, Deb..keeper recipe.

  85. Jeannie

    I have made cheese straws before and they have come out rather stiff and hard rather than fluffy and yummy. I actually love these as an appetizer, they hit all my necessary yummy factors, cheese, carb, crunchy, easy to eat, great with wine, they are in the same category for me as gougeres(which I am still trying to perfect) So I will try these again because having a great cheese straw recipe in your pocket is a very convenient thing to have!!!!!! If you have any extra tips so that they turn out fluffy but crunchy, let me know…Thanks for visiting these………..

  86. CatsPaws

    OK … you’ve FINALLY done it now! Have been lurking here for years (literally), but have never before been SO motivated to post that I’d waste anyone’s time with a question. This recipe, however, begs one so badly that I simply cannot resist. I’m in the same camp with the other Southerners who’ve posted of growing up with the ‘ball mashed with a pecan half’ variation baked by Gram for every (or no particular) special occasion. (The pecan really does add a wonderful element to the whole concoction, FWIW.) And I’m proud to say I’ve carried on the family tradition – it’s a kick-butt recipe.

    BUT, what I WANT, and have been utterly unable to achieve, despite my very best efforts, is a CHEWY version of this delight. I’m not talking about ‘cakey’, which is about the best I’ve accomplished with my variable efforts … I’m talkin ’bout chewy, like a soft chocolate chip cookie chewy. The kind you burn your tongue on because you are stupid, and can’t wait for ’em to cool enough when they come out of the oven chewy.

    Am I nuts, or doesn’t that sound good? And why, oh why, can I not manage to just make it so? Anybody got a clue? Ideas? Deb? Anyone?? HEEELP!!

    Thanks so much for a wonderful site. Every once in a while, I may peruse a few other foodie sites. Yours is part of my daily ritual, and I have yet to be let down by one of your recipes.

  87. Rhonda

    Ah Deb, you can make anything southern you want. I really want one of those, now. The last picture is great, looking down.

  88. Brooke

    I always make mine into wafers, via the log method as described by Anna up above. You do want them to be thin, and I press the middles down with fork, usually in a perpindicular pattern (so that the fork tines make a checkerboard like pattern on the top). I actually also use a recipe that incorporates either crushed cornflakes or rice krispies for an added crunch. To me, cheese straws/wafers are the quintissential southern treat. You see them at a lot of showers, teas and parties. We actually had them in the “hospitality” boxes that we gave to our out-of-town guests at our wedding because my husband likes them so much!

  89. I made these this afternoon, and while they are a little too spicy for my taste (I think black pepper is spicy), the rest of the fam loved them! I will definitely be using this recipe again. Thanks!

  90. light

    Like Amy, I have also had something similar wrapped around a green olive and good LORD are they delicious. My mom’s recipe has a bit of cayenne pepper for kick. Mmm, now I’m sort of drooling just thinking about them. I’ve never tried to make them myself but now I think I need to get her recipe!

  91. Been scheming to have an adult cocktail type (but casual) gathering and was all ready with some mustard-cheddar ‘crackers’ on my (hypothetical) menu but then you had to post this (more than compelling) recipe! Darn it. But, not surprisingly, yours looks a bit easier and well, cuter (and more consistent) results so I’m sold. Not sure if this has already been asked (my apologies if so) and I know you aren’t one for fancy-schmancy but are these best with any specific kind of extra-sharp cheddar?

    1. deb

      Food processor questions — Yes, I think this is totally tackle-able without a food processor. I would grate your cheese extra fine, maybe run over it with a knife a few times so the bits are extra small. And then make it however you would make a cookie dough, such as with a hand mixer. If it has gotten too soft to easily roll out, just let it firm up in the fridge for a few minutes.

      Kara — I went to a local, unfancy cheese shop and asked for their sharpest cheddar. It happened to be a New York State one. But for grocery store accessibility, I’ve always liked the Cabot in what I remember having a purple package — I think it’s the sharpest. Also, I love the idea of adding mustard. Maybe try this recipe with half a teaspoon of mustard powder?

      Susan — Where on earth are you buying your cayenne that it is musty?! ;) Mine is sharp and yee-zow. Even a quarter teaspoon seems to set a dish off.

      Also for you and others looking for different ways to add heat: Have you tried a smoky hot pimenton? It tastes like a blend of smoked paprika and cayenne and it’s fantastic. I imagine it would be awesome with the cheddar and butter.

  92. Susan

    Deb..It’s just my crazy T-buds, I guess. I have the McCormick/Shilling cayenne. Everyone else in the family thinks cayenne is just fine. I’ve never liked it. I don’t like Tobasco and many of the hot sauces and some chili powders, too, for the same reason, because I detect those same off flavors. It must be that particular pepper that doesn’t agree with me. I like fresh hot peppers like jalapeno, serrano, habenero and few others, or the red flakes. Crazy, huh? I’ve not tried smoky hot pimentos. I’ll have to check it out.

  93. henry p.

    My mother was a caterer for a few years during my childhood. Her cheese straws were always a big hit – they are super popular in the South but I never really come across them up here in NYC. Anyway one afternoon she had a whole double batch of them cooling on racks on the kitchen table. I was about eight years old and clambering and climbing around and generally making a ruckus (actually, I was pretending to be a koala) and the next thing you know I fell headlong onto the cooling cheese straws. You may have noticed they are very fragile. I smashed them all to bits. My mother took them off her menu and didn’t make them again until 24 years later.

    I tell you all of this for two reasons: One, beware when your kid decides to pretend to be a wild animal in the kitchen. Two, the same dough that you make the cheese straws with can just be rolled out, baked, and then cut into delicious cheese crackers. You will never buy a Cheez-It again. Unless you really want to.

  94. Athena

    Just made these (delicious) and would like to offer a few suggestions. It was hotter than heck in my kitchen today and that created much difficulty in transferring the straws to a cookie sheet. I found it very helpful to roll the dough out on a slab of marble and then cut them to size using a pizza cutter. I cut each straw in half. Then I refrigerated the straws, still on teh marble, for about 20 -30 minutes. Using a wide edge spatula I slid 4-5 straws on to the spatula and used the sharp point of the knife to separate the straws as I placed them on the baking sheet. Next time I will even go as far as to chill the marble before even rolling out the dough.

  95. shelly

    So funny – I just made these the other day. I had been craving cheese straws. I love the Lee Bros — the apple stack cake and the ambrosia salad are great. Next boiled peanuts – yum!

  96. Wow, I saw this recipe, and then went to the store and got cheese for it.

    They were absolutely delicious. Only one thing — I needed quite a bit more than 1 tbsp half and half. The dough was not the least bit cohesive with only one tbsp, and it was not sticky when pressed together. I ended up needing 4 tbsp, and even then, it did not form a ball automatically (when I pressed it together with my fingers, it finally balled up). I followed the recipe to a T, and a used a 9 cup cuisinart. I can’t think of why that would be, unless I made a serious error in my flour measurement…

    Regardless, the cheese sticks are very tasty. I love the flavor of the red pepper flakes. It makes me want to give this a shot with pepperjack cheese. Thank you for this great recipe!!

  97. N.

    When I was just barely pregnant (didn’t know it yet), I had this wild idea that I was going to BAKE for Christmas. Cheese straws, pound cake, family traditional cookies and coffee cake, and cranberry bread. You should have seen my grocery cart overflowing with so many boxes of butter, a few bags of flour, and all the other ingredients – including 5(!) pounds of extra-sharp cheddar for the straws, which took me all afternoon and evening to bake. The funny thing is it was just going to be the two of us that year, so I had to figure out what to do with the bounty. I delivered them to friends who were still in town, mailed some to family, treated the neighbors, and finally looked up my professors and took some to the ones who lived fairly close by.

    After all that, I was too tired to bake the rest of what I had planned. Now that embryo is a preschooler and is fond of cheese straws!

  98. Alpa

    Deb ,
    Any suggestions how to make the dough without a food processor .
    I have made your double chocolate cake .. it is always a smash hit considering that i am really a novice baker.

    Alpa

  99. Sarah

    I made these tonight in advance for the dinner my husband and I are having together tomorrow for our third anniversary. I may have added too much red pepper but they were really good! I will make these again. I used NY sharp white cheddar (from the bag because 1) I had it 2) I’m lazy and didn’t want to shred cheese myself. It worked well! Thanks for the recipe Deb!

  100. These look so good, and I bet they are much better than cheez its…healthier, too. This will be added to my must-play-with pile of recipes. Glad the party was a success.

  101. Lia

    Deb, I have a really weird question. I HATE cheddar cheese, but i loooooove cheez-its. Will I like these? Or should I try a different cheese? If so, what type? Or should I just stick with cheez-its?? I need your guidance!

  102. I’m so glad you made these. This is the first thing i remember making with my mother as a child. I grew up eating these and homemade is so much better than bought. Our recipe was slightly different, we used cayenne pepper or mustard powder instead of chilli flakes.

  103. Is it alright that I am a little in love with you? I mean, these sound like heaven! I made a similar-ish recipe from the SF Chronicle Cookbook except they used the cheese cracker mix to encase olives. Olive Cheese Balls. I will have to make these this weekend!

  104. Due to ingredient limitations, I used 2 tbs of milk instead of the half-&-half, and a (very) generous amount of cayenne instead of the red pepper flakes. I spaced out while I was grating, so I think I had an extra quarter to half cup of grated cheese as well.

    I did it by hand since I don’t have a processor–it didn’t take long. I just used a fine grate on the cheese like deb suggested above. I started mixing it with a pastry cutter, but it was actually faster/easier for me to get to the “coarse crumb” consistency using the edge of a fork*. It was also helpful for me to put saran wrap over the dough when I rolled it out to keep it from sticking to the pin. I also tried making some of the dough into square, cheez-it size crackers. They did puff way up compared to cheez-its, even with fork dents. In fact, they also seemed to puff up more that the longer straws. But they still tasted good, and they were pretty easy to cut up out of the dough using a pizza cutter.

    *note: possibly because it was my first time attempting use of a pastry cutter. It’s one of those unfathomable cooking tools the boyfriend brought when we moved in together, along with “cutting boards not meant for the dishwasher” and “knives that cost more than $12.”

  105. Candace

    A friend always makes these and gives them as gifts around the holidays. She actually puts the dough in a piping bag and it comes out in fun frosting pipe shapes.

  106. Jess-Dublin

    Deb,
    You’ve put me on a quest to find the recipe for my beloved cheese wafers sold by a bakery back home (in South Carolina). I’ve only eaten them once or twice, but they were so good, I’m determined to find the recipe so I can make them here in Dublin. I’ve requested the recipe from the bakery, but in the meantime, I’ve been searching the web and have, through the process, found out quite a bit about cheese straws! There appears to be some controversy as to whether they’re originally British or originally from the American South. This guy [http://hoppinjohns.net/cheesestraws.aspx] votes for the South. But I love what the Waitrose British canape survey has to say about cheese straws:
    “Social rating: 9/10
    Taste rating: 9/10
    Wow factor: 6/10
    Maligned by some as dull, the cheese straw is in fact, and quite correctly, pre-eminent among canapés. Its glowing, golden complexion can entice and it brings with it a message of comfort and wholeness. It rises above the one-bite rule and can be waved around and used to drive home important conversational points. It’s solid enough to provide a good foil to alcohol, and its only drawback is the threat of crumbs falling to the carpet. But hey, as long as it’s not your house, who cares?” [http://www.waitrose.com/food/celebritiesandarticles/foodissues/0511038.aspx]
    OK, sorry for the long message, but I do love the bit about waving them around to drive home important conversational points. You just can’t do that with a mere wafer!

  107. christinaK

    Hi! I apologize for asking but I don’t live in the States so… What does the term half-and-half mean? I’m surely going to make these -so delicious looking- straws (probably with milk) but I am curious about this half-and-half thing.
    By the way , Best Wishes for your birthday.

  108. I made these last night and posted about them on my blog – hope that’s ok! I love them – they are addictive! I didn’t have red pepper flakes, so I used about 1/8 tsp of chipotle (i was operating under the assumption chipotle is a lot spicier than red pepper flakes…is that true?) I loved the flavor, and probably could have added more chipotle to make it a little spicier. so good! Thanks :)

  109. Cindy in GA

    Here in GA, these are often made w/ chopped pecans in them (and usually ground red pepper rather than flakes) – sounds strange, but IMO it’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory! I made them that way at a bakery I worked for years ago in NC, too. Yum.

  110. Gina F.

    What a wonderful recipe. I rolled the dough out on parchment paper and took my pizza cutter and a ruler and made quick work of the “straws.” I kept the ruler and pizza cutter dusted with flour which kept them from sticking. My house was warm and the dough was too soft to transfer without distorting it too much so I slid the parchment paper onto a smaller cutting board and placed it into the freezer for about 30 minutes. The dough was then firm enough to separate the pieces on the same parchment and pop into the oven. The only change I plan to make is to freeze the dough before slicing them, instead of after slicing. I think it will make slicing them a little easier. Thank you for an exceptional recipe. PS: I’m from Alabama where cheese straws are revered and discussed in great detail. They were a huge hit at my family gathering. Oddly enough, I’ve never cared much for cheese straws. This recipe has changed my mind about them.

  111. wow.. such mouthwatering dish. cheese contains lots of calcium. these kind of recipes will help for more intake of cheese especially for children. plz post few more.

  112. I went on a cheese straw kick for a few months about 2 years back, and this is inspiring me to make them again. Maybe for my housewarming party coming up in about a month! You seriously cannot go wrong with these things.

    Also, I saw this mentioned above – mustard. My recipe uses some mustard powder and it really does add a nice flavor. Yum!

  113. Ann

    These are a Christmas tradition at our house, but we cut the dough into star shapes. This was a “do it once, do it forever” tradition that I started when kids were little and now they still want Cheese Stars!! Easy and delicious in any shape.

  114. Debbie from Illinois

    We are in our RV on vacation and I will be definitely trying this recipe tonight. Sounds and looks delish!

  115. Marty

    I just finished making this recipe. I rolled the dough into a log and cut them into round crackers. They turned out great. My 3 year old son is enjoying them now. Thanks for another great recipe!

  116. Elizabeth

    My recipe is very nearly this but with all quantities doubled. My 86 yr old grandmother and all of her friends use a cookie press to pipe their dough. The dough is very stiff so it will bend a plastic press, use a metal one! I just roll mine into logs and slice. A must have at all Southern cocktail suppers, baby and bridal showers, receptions and holiday gatherings!

  117. What I really love about this recipe … and can’t get out of my head … is the shape of the sticks. So simple. I can see scattering festive glasses filled with these straws all over the place for my 4th of July party, for convenient snacking wherever my guests happen to be standing. Must experiment this afternoon with the mustard powder …

  118. Smitten Kitchen! These cheese straws were perfect and so easy to make. The recipe was flawless. Should they be crispy or soft when they are finished? Thanks! Love the blog.

  119. Gretch

    Just pulled the first sheet outta the oven. The hot one that…”fell”…off the edge was spectacular. Father’s Day. Definitely.

  120. I have these in the oven cooking right now- I doubled the recipe and it worked out perfectly in my Mom’s small old food processor. I used a pastry cutter instead of the knife and it worked so much better than the knife- just a tip! Can’t wait to eat them!!!!

  121. Jenna

    I tried making these today.. What a hit! Instead of their straw form, I just rolled them out directly onto the baking sheet and scored them to break off into squares. My nephew thinks I am a god now. Thanks.

  122. Lisa

    Well, I visited your site for the first time in a while & ended up having a smittenkitchen day here at our house – cheese straws & marshmallows. Both big hits! Thanks for posting the recipes, and best of luck with your little cutie on the way!!!!

  123. I’ve had cheese straws through the years at cocktail parties and I love them!

    Never have made them, but I have made the Olive Cheese Ball thingies and they are great – that recipe is in a Junior League cookbook that I’m going to have to scrounge up this afternoon!

  124. I made these yesterday along with your tomato soup (I didn’t puree mine, and it still came out wonderful…) Thank you so much for all of the delightful recipes, I have tried many of them.

  125. Kathleen

    It’s so interesting to read all of the comments about something that I, too, had never heard of (and I’m in my 50’s and have been an avid cook since my teens). I doubled the recipe, and it looks like I should have tripled it! I only wish I had paid more attention to the original directions–I didn’t leave a quarter inch between all of them, and some of my most gorgeous straws broke when I tried to separate them. Am loving all ‘smitten’ recipes that I’ve tried!

  126. kathleen

    I made these with cookie cutters — they turned out a lot more like cookies than crackers. maybe my dough wasn’t thin enough?

  127. JKH

    These are PERFECT! I’m so happy to have a homemade version of Cheez-Its!! Thank you so much for posting this!
    Oh, and for the folks wondering if pre-shredded sharp cheddar does the trick – it does. I’d go for a hand-grated nicer cheese if I were making these for a party, but for home snacking, the shredded Kraft I had in the ‘fridge worked just fine. :)

  128. JKH

    And I meant to say – I didn’t have any red pepper flakes so I put in 1/2 tsp of ground mustard, and a few dashes of cayenne and paprika. Tastes delicious!!

  129. Cate

    I made these with kids from my summer cooking class… we skipped the food processing and mixing with our hands – they turned out great! The best response from a nine year old boy, “You have GOT to get me the recipe for them chesse fries!”

  130. kitchentop

    I made these twice last week. They turned out fluffy once, crispy the second time, and completely addictive both times. Discussions ensued about how to prevent ourselves from eating all of them before dinner: make half? (no, the recipe’s small anyway), freeze all but two before dinner? (no fun), make a small dinner so you can eat them all at once? (yes).

  131. Spice in SF

    Tried this recipe last night with my 5 yr old after a full day of summer camp for her and work for me…SUCCESS!! Not only did my kiddo (who know her way around a kitchen) love the counting the secs of the pulses and the whirling and whirling, she rocked the pizza cutter too and the shapes she came up with…awesome. True test, obviously, is the eating of the “sticks” and those passed with flying colors too! She is learning about the balance of junk food w/ real food (ermmm..she has inherited my love for doritos) and these definitely bridge the gap. NOTES: we didn’t use the pepper flakes (too spicey); I subbed in basil and oregano and I think next time (oh yes, that will prob. be tonight) I will dump in some parm/romano to vary the flavor. Thanks for all of the great recipes…I have so many of yours collected in a file…next up marshmallows or granita?

  132. I tried this recipe today with great results. I made little round “crackers” out of them and my husband and son can’t seem to get enough of them! Thanks for the great recipe. PS i’m posting pics of them on my blog soon!

  133. Keaton’s Mama

    Wonderful!! See ya later nasty Goldfish crackers! My 19 month old sons loves these ‘sticks’. We use use garlic instead of red pepper and everyone in the house is addicted.
    Thanks for a easy delicious recipe.

  134. ms ellie

    Dear Deb and other new-to-cheese=straw folks,
    I am so, so sorry to hear that ya’ll have not been enjoying cheese straws until now. It’s just a cryin’ shame.
    p.s. what about tomato sandwiches? pimento cheese?

  135. HelenF

    Hi – thanks for reminding me of these wonderfully addictive little snacks. They were very popular here in Australia in the 60’s. I first met up with them in Home Economics classes in High School when I was 13. They have mostly been put aside for newer, trendier snacks but they really deserve a comeback. I’m going to make some today and introduce a new generation to them through my son and his university friends.
    p.s. I was taught to make straws but as a young married I would chill a log of pastry then slice them thinlyand evenly with a madolin type slicer

  136. I made two batches of these wonderful cheese straws for a Saturday night party last week. For the first, I grated the cheese first. Then I decided that was an unnecessary step since you — happily — gave the weight for the cheese. After weighing the cheese, I cut it into somewhat small pieces and threw it into the processor with almost everything else. Could not tell the difference between the two batches (and I dont think any were left…..I had to finally box them up so my husband and I would not eat them all beforehand as I did not have the time to make them a third time!)

  137. Wow! My daughter and I made these tonight and they are fantastic! She is not a fan of pepper, so we substituted garlic for the red pepper flakes and garlic salt for the kosher salt. These will definitely be one of those things we make again. and again. and again. I don’t think this batch will last til morning!

  138. lindsey

    They are also great with salads and soups. or, wrap prociuto ham around the cooked straw.
    You can now find some straws at grocery stores in some places. Geraldine’s (a real Southern name) makes traditional. Also a Parmesan Rosemary version is great, but not the classic Southern cheddar version. They taste great when you want to skip the work!
    I wouldn’t get the pre-grated ones in the store, they have starch to prevent sticking, and you want to mix the cheese with the butter as soon as you can, it’s what takes the longest.

  139. Kat

    Wow, these are amazing, and so easy that I wonder why it’s taken me so long to make crackers again. Thanks! I look forward to trying with different cheeses and spices.

  140. kate

    Yum! We made these to eat with our summer gazpacho soup for dinner tonight. My kids loved to use the pizza cutter to cut them. We did half straw shapes and half squares. I didn’t put the red pepper flakes in, instead used 3 drops of Tabasco. They were not spicy at all (which is what I was going for). They are so flavorful!! I think we will make them again tomorrow to have with the leftover soup…Love your site!

  141. clim

    I made these tonight and they are really great. Just a note: I made with 1/3 whole wheat flour – just to try to sneak something “healthy” in. While I can’t compare with complete all-purpose flour straws, I can’t tell they have whole wheat. So good.

  142. Kat

    clim, I forgot to mention that I made them with 100% whole wheat flour and they worked just fine. But it was a special whole wheat flour, bought at the market and labelled all-purpose, so I guess a light one?

  143. Delicious, and definitely better than Cheezits (saying that is near blasphemy, given my long-time love for the unnaturally orange cracker). I used a sharp white Welsh cheddar, rolled the dough out, and cut it into squares to make crackers. I poked them all twice with a fork, but a couple still puffed up. The fork marks, however, made them have a more professional cracker look.

  144. Audrey

    Ok, I know I’m very late in posting my comment, but I made these for the second time today and discovered a new trick. My kitchen is very hot, and the first time I made them I had the hardest time getting the straws onto the baking sheet. Today I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap, froze it for about ten minutes, and then rolled and cut them. It was so much easier, I didn’t have one break, and they baked up just perfect!

  145. Kayvie

    I made these for my mum’s 60th party. I was nervous about making them so far in advance (2 days) but they were absolutely awesome! They distracted us all from the (predictable) English rain (its July!!!) and I’ve passed on the recipe! I made most of them into straws, but did make some crackers with the leftover dough and really enjoyed them. I rolled them very thinly (am I making up words now?) and poked holes into them – they cooked for the same amount of time as the straws and were wonderfully flakey. Lovely recipe, thanks!

  146. Aloe

    I half melted the butter in the microwave, used finely shredded cheese and kneeded the mix together like I was making bread– it came out fine.
    (Also made a low carb version with 1/3 milled flax seed & 2/3 low carb flour (Need a bit less total flour for that one) that worked ok as well.)

  147. MBT

    Made these today for my birthday party tomorrow… I’m afraid I might eat them all before then! So good! My food processor is mini, so I used my kitchen aid with finely shredded cheese and it worked out perfectly. I couldn’t find my rolling pin so I used a bottle of sweet chili sauce to roll it out :-)

  148. vencogirl

    Started to make these tonight and then when I went to add the milk/cream/half n half realized I was TOTALLY out of all manner of milk! So I threw in a Tablespoon of sour cream. And instead of pepper flakes (again–out of!) I threw in a bit of smoked paprika. omg. I think I am going to have to add another mile to my run every night to make up for how many of these I ate.

  149. oh, my! i made these last week and they were divine. i don’t have a food processor–i just used my hands to smoosh everything together and it worked perfectly, though it was a bit messy. i sliced up all the straws and froze half of them so i could bake them at a later time.

    thanks for the great recipe!

  150. Kathy

    I accidentally made a double batch of these (just assumed the recipe started with 1 1/2 cups “flour” – oops). It went together fine without a food processor. I made some straws and some crackery things, but the straws were crunchier and much more fun to eat. My kids had a blast making (and eating) them too! So, when you start up your child-friendly version of SK in September – after all, what 4 year old would eat a zucchini goat cheese pizza – be sure to include this recipe!

  151. Diana

    I made them for a party this past weekend and my guests were shocked that it was homemade… After all who makes their own cheese straws? The recipe was so easy I don’t know why more people don’t make their own.

  152. Marla

    I made these for a party and they were a big hit! I added some ancho chili powder and some pepper to make them a bit more spicey. They smelled amazing. So good, so easy.

  153. nancy

    My apologies if this has been answered before — I skimmed through and didn’t see it. How many straws will this recipe yield, roughly(including, of course, the ones I eat before they make it out to my guests…)? I plan to make these for a gathering of about 15 and need to know if I should double (or triple) the recipe.

  154. Heidi in DF

    I just discovered your blog last week and am completely enchanted. This is the second of four recipes I’ve tried so far.

    Tried these with packaged shredded 6 Italian Cheeses (I forgot the brand…sorry) because sharp cheddar is hard to find and very pricey here in Mexico City. I also used chile de arbol for the pepper (half the amount called for in the recipe because I thought they might be too fiery otherwise). I made them without a food processor and they went together just fine.

    (Thank you, by the way, for giving butter measurements in something besides just fractions of a stick – the sticks here are not the same size as back home in the US.)

    I did not roll them out as thin as I would have liked because of my own impatience and lack of counter space (galley kitchen would be an exaggeration). I sliced them with a bread knife and had no trouble moving them to the cookie sheet (probably because they were so thick). In spite of all that, they baked up just fine. I want to try them again, but do not dare for now because the recipe is right…they won’t last an hour even if there’s not a party!

    Thanks for an inspiring site!

  155. Julie

    I just made these and they are fantastic!! I sliced them in 1/2 so they’re about 5-6 inches. So for the person asking how many it makes, mine made about 40 1/2 size ones, so if you leave them long (like Deb’s) about 20 I would guess. So quick and easy to make!

  156. stacey

    Yum! I just made a half batch of these, and I am trying very hard not to eat all of them before my boyfriend gets home. This is quite a late response to the person who asked about quantities, but my half batch made 12, 9″ sticks (quite thin- I might cut them a bit thicker next time) and 16 little round biscuits, made with a 2″ cookie cutter (they shrink considerably when baked). I also made mine with a blue brie, after one commenter affirmed you could make these with blue cheese. They turned out wonderfully, although I think I could have done with even less butter, and my sticks have come out slightly more buttery and crispy than I might ideally have, although they are still divine. I probably didn’t need to add any milk, because the cheese was so soft and gooey. I ended up sprinkling in an extra TBSP or 2 of flour because the dough was so sticky as to be unworkable. After that addition, it rolled out just fine, although I had to liberally flour my board. I have ‘sampled’ a straw and a biscuit, both of which are delicious. I’ll try with chedder next time, just to compare, but the blue brie worked a treat- despite being massive cheese fans, my boyfriend and I found the blue brie we bought too pungent even for us, but this recipe mellows and distributes the flavours brilliantly. The cayenne (no pepper flakes on hand) is a stroke of genius too. Thanks Deb!

  157. jude

    Mine worked out great and very tasty. I found there was not enough milk in one tablespoon it was still just crumbles and added a bit more to bind. did anyone else find that?

  158. Wow! After bookmarking this recipe over the summer, I just had a chance to try it this evening. I replaced the half-and-half with 2 tablespoons of 2% milk with great results (consistency was perfect for a quick roll of the dough). Can’t believe how easy and quick this was given that I’m completely hopeless in the kitchen. I don’t think I’ll ever eat Cheez-Its again! So delish.

  159. Jaime

    I had to add a bit more milk, but other than that ours turned out great! I added a pinch of chipotle pepper, and they turned out really well. We are going to add them on our Thanksgiving cheese board.

  160. Brenda

    These are so wonderful. Just made a batch and used about 4.5 oz cheddar and 1.5 oz. pepper jack. Plus the pepper seeds made it have a nice little burn. Mine cooked longer because I like crispy.:) I’m hoping they last through the evening.

  161. sara

    Great recipe. I used a HEAPING half teaspoon of cayenne, and used mini cookie cutters to make little Christmas Tree biscuits – great gift for the holidays.

  162. errme

    Just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful recipe! I’d never tried making cheese straws before, needed an appetizer to take to a party today, came across yours in search, decided to try it and am glad I did! Easy, fast recipe. The only change I made was to add hickory smoked spice to along with a pinch of cayenne instead of just the red pepper flakes. Marvelous, thank you!!! Am now a fan, for sure!

  163. Kate

    I grew up on Cheese Straws – they are a food group along with Pimento Cheese and Chicken Salad in my book. For Christmas, I made the Mustard Cheddar Crackers from a long long ago Gourmet recipe using both Dijon mustard and dry mustard. Using an extra sharp cheddar and a good quality butter makes crackers that melt in your mouth – try Kerrygold Irish Butter, it works really well. If you can’t find it just use what you have. I omitted the mustard seed called for in the recipe. The dough tastes a little pungent but if you bake them off and let them sit for a day (store in a tin if you can wait that long) they age beautifully. I took them to a Christmas Day dinner and they went fast. I even saw someone put a couple of drops of the green Tobasco sauce on a cracker and declare it delicious!

  164. Well, I tried them, and they’re yummy. I used a mix of cheeses (whatever I had in the fridge), and cayenne, chili and black pepper. I bent the strips into curves because it was fun, and I think my guests will really like them.
    I also added a tiny bit of minced rosemary, which I think improves them enormously.

  165. deejay

    To Rachael, this comment is so long after yours that you may never see this, but when using flour to bake anything, a recipe can only be a guide. The ratio of needed liquid to flour can change by the hour even in your own kitchen, depending on what part of U.S. (or world!) you bought your flour, when you bought your flour, what kind of flour, the weather, the humidity in your cooking area, etc.. Bottom line is that if your flour was drier than Deb’s (as I’m sure it was, from your description), then your dough would need more liquid than indicated in her recipe. So you didn’t do anything wrong. You just need to be aware that when it comes to baking, you may not be able to follow the recipe to a tee. We have to learn (thru experience) to trust our own judgment as to how much liquid the flour needs for what we’re trying to make. You should have seen my first attempt at the 5-min bread that everyone else found so easy. Yep, I followed the recipe strictly and my dough was waaay too dry — I needed a sticky, wetter dough! I began to learn. ;-)

  166. yum I finally got the chance to make these and unfortunately I didn’t have any milk but water worked out just fine! (I needed a bit more around 3 tbsps) I wish I read about the sour cream sub earlier as I did have that and it sounds yummy!

    thanks as always….

    ps I think I had a heavy hand with the crushed red pepper as they were spicy! (but good)

  167. Melissa SF

    I made cheese coins today with some super sharp cheddar from the cowgirls. A-ma-zing! Made two logs of the dough and froze them for an hour. Then I cut thin coins. The thinner ones were definitely better.

    Can’t wait to try it again tomorrow with blue cheese. Thanks for the great recipe!

    I also made you old school chocolate mousse today as well. My husband can barely contain himself, but I’m making him wait until our guests arrive.

  168. Ilana

    Happy New Year Deb (and everybody else)!
    Thank you for your quick reply (I asked you if I can freeze the straws).
    So I froze it, and few days afterwords I baked some of them (the rest is waiting in the freezer for today’s evening), and they were divine!
    Thank you for the grate recipe!

  169. have followed your blog and flickr for almost a year…love making your recipes! the hubs and i ‘catered’ my sister’s birthday last night, and these were easily the favorite item on the buffet table! thanks for your inspiration deb.

  170. 5 words: Yummy yummy yummy yummy yummy!!!

    I’m not big into pepper, so I added 1/2 a teaspoon of dry mustard instead of the pepper flakes, and the flavor was wonderful. Oh, and since cheddar isn’t available where we live ::sniff, sniff::, I grated up equal parts of Parmesan and Asiago. I guess they put a more Mediterranean spin on the cheese straws, but oh were they delicious! This is my new game-night-with-company recipe. :)

  171. Nuala

    I just made these this afternoon to bring to a housewarming party. fyi– if the strips are cut to 5-5.5″, the dough makes exactly enough to fit into a wide mouth quart size mason jar (minus a few for tasting :)

  172. You are right! These didn’t last an hour at a party, they hardly made it out the door, and for that matter into the oven. They smelled of heaven as they baked and were a huge hit! Thanks!

  173. pam

    I made these tonight. Coming down with a cold, bored, wanted something quick to make in the processor.

    I swapped red pepper for Mrs. Dash and it’s yummm0. Thanks for this recipe.

  174. Liz

    Hi! I have been saving this recipe for months, and the time has finally come for a birthday! housewarming! potluck! extravaganza I’m having this Friday. I’m wondering about how many cheesesticks the above recipe yields. Keep the good eating coming!

  175. Jung

    Just wondering if you can substitute parmesan cheese for the cheddar for my parmesan cheese addicted children (minus red pepper flakes). Would you add more butter to compensate for the drier parmesan?

  176. Casey

    I can’t believe I managed to grow up in the south and have a deep love for all things British and never heard of these before! I suppose it must be because I was raised by yankees ; ) I just made these (there are some in the oven right now) with a slight twist, I substituted half of the butter for the same amount of bacon grease. It gives them just a hint of bacony goodness. Plus bacon grease is one of the weird southern habits that I managed to pick up in spite of my family.

  177. You saved my life! I had an order for cheese straws at my shop and I forgot until the last minute. I made yours substituting pepper flakes for red pepper powder and Irish White Cheddar. Fabulous, easy and beautiful! I also made some little crackers and they are delicious! Would be perfect with a martini! Thanks so much!

  178. narelle

    These couldn’t be simpler or more delicious. Took me 10 minutes! I used a cheddar / parmesan blend and they were gobbled so fast in this house. I rolled some flat and cut out some rounded triangle shapes with fork pricks – cute!

  179. MissBrownEyes

    Delicious… simply devine! I always thought cheese straws were so difficult to make.

    I omitted the red pepper flakes & salt in favor of garlic salt. I used store bought 4 cheese blend of American, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack & Mozerella.

  180. Annie

    I need to make bunches of these incredible straws! Can I freeze them? Or is there a better way of keeping them fresh for 24 hours? Out in the open? in a tupperware container? Wrapped?

    Thanks!

  181. Cathy

    These are beyond delicious…and easy. For those who are not expert with pastry dough, this is the recipe for you! I was surprised that a non-chilled dough could be so easy to roll (and forgiving). I found the bench scraper to be better than the pizza roller for cutting and transferring the straws to a cookie sheet. The first pan I baked without the parchment paper and the straws were difficult to take off the cookie sheet. I highly recommend the parchment paper…makes things a little easier. I also browned them a little longer than called for in the recipe. I used 1/8 t. of cayenne in lieu of the red pepper flake–could use a smidge more but it was fine enough. I added sesame seeds to a second batch. Two recipes yielded around 85-3″ straws (with liberal snacking. testing on my part). I was not religious in my widths, so they vary from cigarette width to approaching an inch. The thinner are prettier. I will definitely make these again, they were phenomenally easy and really delicious.

  182. brigette

    Hi
    I love your site and have tried many of your recipes with great success.
    I grew up in Britain and remember grandma making these for parties, so was thrilled to find it here. I’m going to try it with the red pepper flakes, but for an alternative try replacing them with mustard powder…my grandma used Colman’s.
    Thanks again for all your inspiration

  183. Colleen

    This recipe is the greatest. I divided the dough in half and rolled it out under wax paper. Cut straws with a pizza cutter and would use a ruler next time. Made them about 7″. 12 minutes bake time was perfect. I’d use less red pepper flakes, reduce to 1/4 tsp I think. I love “hot” but not everyone does. Had no trouble lifting them with a spatula and placing on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Will definitely make these again.

  184. Southern V

    Oh my god, these things are heavenly! As a Texan, I’ve had more queso blanco in my life than cheese straws but these really are like a spicy, highly improved buttery cheese-it! WOW!

  185. Made them today and they were a big hit at the party I brought them to (even receiving the admiration of an actual pastry chef), although they were slightly undercooked since, as I kept explaining, I could not bear to have the oven on even one more minute in order to get them toasty brown. I used about an eighth teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, a quarter teaspoon cayenne, and a quarter teaspoon mustard powder, with medium New Zealand cheddar, and they had flavor without screaming Hey, I’m peppery!

    I rolled them out and cut them right on the parchment paper and froze them before separating them, as someone above suggested. I cut them very skinny, about a quarter inch. They were pretty fragile.

  186. I just made those again today. The first time I made the straws.
    This time I cut them into rounds. Halve of the batch went into the freezer while I was cutting the rest, the other halve went into the fridge.

    My observation: the frozen ones seem softer but didn’t puff up (I didn’t pierce any), while the fridge ones puffed up.

    My kitchen smells amazing! Thanks so much!

  187. I made these today and they are so perfect! I decided to cut them into 1-inch squares like the cheese crackers that come in the red box. They are just melt-in-your-mouth good! The 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper is just the right amount.

  188. Tamara

    This recipe is fantastic!! I had tried Ina’s recipe for cheese straws (from Barefoot in Paris); she calls for puff pastry which is supposed to make the whole thing really easy, but I found it so hard to work with rolled out puff pastry and the straws didn’t stay crisp. I made two batches of these, one with cheddar and one with parmesan, and just served them in glasses on the dinner table and people went NUTS for them. I HIGHLY recommend. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!!

  189. Libbi

    i made these today as appetizers for a cocktail hour, and they didn’t quite come out as ‘straws’. Is there a trick to making them square and round? Mine went flat in the oven.. they’re still tasty though… just worried they will crumble to pieces.

  190. Liz

    I made these today with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour in place of the regular flour, and added 1 tsp of Xanthan gum. They came out amazingly delicious! Definitely a recipe that converts well to gluten free.

    PS This is my new favorite website of all time.

  191. Katie

    I know that this recipe has been up for awhile but I just made these tonight and they are delicious! We did two flavors, one with the red pepper and also one with a rosemary garlic seasoning and I can’t stop eating them! Thanks for this awesome recipe!!!

  192. Amanda

    Hello Deb,

    I am fairly new to your blog – after hearing 2 references to blueberry boy bait from 2 different people (one being my mother-in-law) in the matter of 2 weeks, and getting to taste said people’s BBBBs, I decided I needed to check it out. So glad I did!

    I made your chili and cheddar sour cream biscuits last weekend which went over big with my husband and I. Thanks for giving me a tempting enough recipe to make me try homemade biscuits for the first time. They were amazing, and I cant wait to experiment with several other biscuit-y recipes now.

    Which brings me to the point of my comment here – sorry to be long winded. I would like to make these cheese straws for an upcoming housewarming party. I know you said they’ll be gone in an hour, but could you give me a sense of how many straws this recipe makes, as posted? I looked a few times in your post and recipe, and searched the comments but could not find this. We have about 30 people coming, and I am feeding them lots of food (including the chili and cheddar sour cream biscuits) but want to have enough for everyone to at least have a taste.

    Thanks so much!
    Amanda

  193. Cora

    For the thinner round cookie-like version, try pressing half a pecan on top of each. That’s what my family has always done, and it gives them a nice, deep nutty flavor.

  194. My mother has long described butter as ‘nature’s finest cream cheese’. Sometimes nowadays i do just have a bit of bread and butter. As long as you think of it as cheese, I think it’s justifiable!

  195. Ann Marie

    This recipe tastes so good in any shape. I made them for a shower and, for some reason, they did not want to form into straws. I pinched small amounts from the ball, flattened them, poked them with a fork and made probably the BEST crackers I have ever had. And everyone at the shower wanted the recipe and could not stop eating them. This recipe made about 100 quarter size crackers (no dip required).

  196. Murghi

    Deb, you had me at “cronch!” Actually, you had me from the beginning. Just made them. AWESOME! Crunchy cheesy deliciousness. I baked batch #2 at 325, because they went very very fast at 350. I also reduced the pepper flakes to 1/4 tsp, because I’m a wuss. But yummy? Oh. My. YES!!!

  197. tiffany

    soooooo taking these along with the peanut butter chocolate cake to the christmas party tomorrow. thank you! I have totally fallen in love with this site

  198. Maureen

    YUM! I made these for a family party this weekend and they were very well received. Luckily, there was so much food at the party I got to take the rest of these babies home. I added a pinch more red pepper flakes and a touch of cayenne, since I like a kick with my cheese. 12 minutes was perfect for my straws. I sprinkled some grated romano when they were still hot out of the oven and thought this added a nice touch to the taste and texture. These will be perfect for Super Bowl. Another great recipe!! Thanks, Deb!

  199. Virginia

    Making these for Superbowl party tomorrow – SUPER easy, and verrry delicious. I have a feeling they will become a much-requested snack!

  200. Yasmin

    Made these with my 3 year old son tonight- he enjoyed cutting the dough into straws and eating the finished product equally! I am from the UK where these have been around for years (milk is usually used to bind the dough). When I was a little girl I made them with my mother!

  201. I finally made these today. They do taste just like Cheez-Its! I think next time I’m going to forgo the straws and make them into little crackers, for easier storage.

  202. Cindy in GA

    These are amazing with chopped pecans in them; I use ground cayenne pepper rather than the flakes… so many variations are so delicious!

  203. Frances

    Hi Deb, Greetings from South Carolina. Just found your website and it’s great.
    Since I love cheese straws, thought I’d give you another version. We can use
    your recipe but instead of making straws, make it into a roll and refrigerate until
    firm (about 3 hours or overnight ) Then cut thin slices and place a good Southern
    pecan half on each slice. Bake at 325 for about 25 minutes. Here’s the good part,
    when cool dust with powdered sugar. We call these cheese cookies. Put them in a
    cookie tin to keep fresh and hide them or they will be gone in no time! I failed to
    say that you need to wrap the roll in plastic wrap before refrigerating. Keep an eye on the cookies when you bake them to be sure that they don’t get too brown .

  204. I just had to bump the comment total up to 300 and tell you that I made these as a last minute addition to a party I am catering tonight. I doubled the recipe and I’m glad I did since I think these might be the first to go. I hope you have a great weekend!

    Dana

  205. Ariel

    I know this was posted forever ago, and I made them for the first time about a month after you posted them (they were delicious), but I was wondering how long you think the dough could last pre-baking?

    I’m planning on bringing them to a party next weekend (along with the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes), but the party is an hour and a half from my house and I’d like them to be fresh when I get there. I don’t want to mess up her kitchen so I’d like to make the dough at my house. Any advice? Should I put the dough in a cooler for the long car ride? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Just keep the dough chilled. If you want to make it more than a day or two in advance, you can freeze the dough. If you’re going with a cracker (and not straw) shape, you could even roll out the dough, form the shapes, freeze them so that they don’t stick and then bake them directly from the freezer when you’re ready too. It might still work with the straw shape, but I’d be more nervous because it would be much more liable to break in the freezer. Not that it would have any effect on taste!

  206. Jan

    These are the best straws EVER! I’ve finally found the perfect recipe, after searching and testing for over 25 years!

    Thanks

  207. Kirsten T

    Deb- I skimmed the comments to see if anyone else had done your variation of rolling these into crackers and I didn’t see anyone, so – yes it worked! I rolled the dough into about a 1 1/4″ diameter log, wrapped it wax paper and chilled in the freezer for about 20 minutes, then cut into discs. I cooked at the same temp and time (my oven took 12 minutes, up to 14 to get them lightly browned). I didn’t prick them (puffing was fine) and they could’ve chilled longer as I got ovals more than discs, but yum!

  208. Finally, I got around to make these, after they have been swirling silently around in the back of my head since I read the recipe last year. My batch is in the oven now, looking really cute and orange! I did some changes to your recipe – i changed the crushed peppers to pimenton picante, spanish smoked pepper. I also didnt have any extra sharp cheese, only extra bland & boring cheese, so I also added a teaspoon of dijon mustard. I hope my friday night guests will enjoy cheese-straws with their wine.Kitche is starting to smell really nice and cheesy now, so I am very excited!

  209. Fanya

    o.m.g. I like cheese straws, saw the recipe and wanted to try it. Ok, so here’s how it:

    1. after laying out strips on the pan “darn it, there’s not enough dough. It’s only got enough to line a 9 x 13 pan + 7 sticks”.
    2. after getting it out of the oven “oh it IS delicious. Why did she say it only last for 2 days? whatever, I’ll divided in portion and wrap it individually as snacks for the next 3 days. ”
    3. 6 hours later “Smitten kitchen lied. It didn’t even last for one day. Can’t believe I ate the whole batch.” (and was so obsessed with it that I forgot the nuts roasting in the oven, so now I’ve got an apt stink of oil and $4 worth of pitch black charcoal almonds)

    Now nursing a slight stomachache from the 8 oz of cheese I just ate… So that was that. I used cayenne pepper instead of red pepper and sprinkled a little on top when baking. Since my cheddar is medium instead of sharp, I used 8oz instead of 6. The flavor is definitely very much there, just not the in-your-face kind. Love the fact baking time is flexible +/- up to 5 minutes. And I have moved bookmark into “dangerous. Only make for special occasion” category.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  210. Shelly

    No food processor so I mixed these by hand … they turned out wonderful. I have made them a few times, used cayenne instead of red pepper flakes … absolutely delicious. They didn’t even last an hour at the party!! I also made a batch into crackers and was very pleasantly surprised …. rave reviews on both!

  211. blumie

    #1 how spicy are they? im making them for my son’s first birthday. should i leave out the red pepper flakes?
    #2 do they freeze well?
    #3 how many does one batch make?
    thanks!!

    1. deb

      blumie — It really depends on the spiciness of your red pepper flakes, which can vary greatly. Skip them if you’re nervous. They should freeze well, but I haven’t done it. (Others in the comments above have.) It makes about 30 straws.

  212. danielle

    i made these, less the red pepper flakes for a kids party. i used a small star shaped cookie cutter. they did puff up and the shape was not perfect, but the kids loved them and they are delicious.

  213. catherine

    these were so fun!
    I used monterey jack cheese, because that’s all I had, and smoked chipotle pepper flakes, and smoked paprika. they were awesome. I plan to experiment more with different cheeses.

  214. Rachael

    I know I’m really behind on this, haha, so you might not get this comment. But I was wondering about how many cheese straws you got out of this recipe? (Sorry if it’s posted above – I can’t find it.) I’m making them for a party & need to figure out how many times the recipe I need. Thanks!!

  215. Fantastic!!! My girlfriend (who co-owns my blog with me) teaches music lessons, and a students’ mother is the head PR person for cabot. We always have a bunch of free cheese laying around – usually by the sack full. This is such a cool way to get rid of it, she’ll love it.

  216. Mary

    My grandmother always made cheese straws with Maclaren’s Imperial Cheddar, really sharp cheddar, only available in Canada and the UK I think. I look forward to trying this with Maclaren’s cheese.

  217. kelli

    Hi – I made these this evening with Beecher’s Reserve Sharp Cheddar. So good, and I did cut them into tiny crackers with a 1″ tiny scallop edge biscuit cutter, and a quick fork in the top. Baked 10 mins, they are heavenly.

  218. bimbels

    These are amazing – my red pepper flakes are on the hot side so I skimped there and they’re still plenty spicy. I 6X the recipe for my holiday party tomorrow night. I have two large Take-Along plastic containers full of Christmas tree shaped cheesy goodness. I’ll post back and let you know how long they last. :)

  219. I made this last week, and used a star shaped cookie cutter to cut them out. I did not make holes in the top and they puffed up quite a bit, but I really didn’t mind. They were really cute and my family loved them. I’ll have to make them again for Christmas. Thanks for the recipe.

  220. Thanks to these cheese straws, I was able to silence a family that cannot agree on anything food-related. I could have served a shoe for dinner and it would not have mattered. Thank you!

  221. They look really nice cheese straws. I like to use really strong cheddar cheese too, preferbly west country, but i do like the idea of using the red pepper flakes.

    Tasty

  222. Angela

    These are great! Just made them today to take to a party tonight. I used old cheddar and since I didn’t have red pepper flakes I used paprika instead. Yummy! I also twisted them for a slightly different look! This recipe is going to be a keeper. Thank you!

  223. So, do you suspect milk would work as well as half-and-half, or should we try using ‘suspect’ milk?
    LOL had to do a double take for that one (it’s early here). Can’t wait to make these for a Christmas tree bonfire tomorrow night.

  224. I made these for a girls’ night and since I don’t own a food processor, I had to mix the dough by hand. This meant I had to use a bit more cream (3 tablespoons, about). I also added onion flakes and sprinkled ground red pepper on top of them before they baked – and they were awesome! I also made them into sticks and rounds, though the sticks got crispier and everyone liked them more.

  225. Good heavens. I just made these for a sort of informal dinner party at my boyfriend’s house (Superbowl night, my first ever!), and tried one. I am now banning myself from ever purchasing cheese crackers ever again. These would be amazing during finals week. Thank you, so very, very much for posting these!

    Postscript: I’m one of those strange people who likes to read the entire archives of a blog. I love Smitten Kitchen!

  226. Oh, and I was so excited that I forgot to mention, mine didn’t require any milk to make the dough perfectly workable. Could that be because I didn’t have a food processor? I hand-chopped the shredded cheese into little bits, and wound up with speckles of toasted cheese all over the sticks.

    Also, I added 3 cloves of finely minced garlic, and it was a good idea :)

  227. KitKat

    I made these ahead of time for a Wednesday dinner party and they were gobbled up! I substituted the same amount of parmesan (lightly grated into “flakes”) for the cheddar, and a half teaspoon of paprika plus the product of a few generous turns of the pepper mill for red pepper flakes. The straws were still zippy and delicious.

  228. I’m making these for a wedding this weekend — for about 375 people… at approx. 3 each, that’s 1125 straws. Is that about 28 times the recipe? Any suggestions expert bakers?

    Thank you!
    Rebekah

  229. oh sorry for not knowing but what does this mean( 1 tablespoon half-and-half)?
    (I used cream, because I had it on hand; suspect milk would work just as well

  230. MrsJourns

    I make these for my toddler (though everyone else always tucks on) as they are so quick and easy to make. I find they work well with any hard cheese, but are most delicious when made with a really strong cheddar and eaten whilst still warm.

  231. Sarah Hluchy

    Ooh I need to try out this recipe! I must note, these could easily be made gluten free just by using a gluten free all purpose flour blend (Better Batter is my favorite! (I’m not currently gluten free, but I may return to the diet. Maybe.) You say these taste like cheez-its, but better; it is difficult to find a good GF cheese cracker, and GF convenience foods are very expensive! I haad tried a GF cheese cracker recipe a few years ago, but it didn’t seem to be worth the work. However, your cheese sticks would be relatively cheap and easy to make!

  232. Whenever I am having a universally stressful day, I always make these cheese straws. Because they are hot, salty, oily and absolutely sexy. And I can make them in less than half an hour, which means within forty five minutes I am approaching human again. And I have you, your fabulous blog, and these wonderful cheese straws to thank for that!

  233. Having never had cheese straws before, I set out to compare your recipe with Lisa’s from Homesick Texan to see which I preferred. I was planning on taking both to a potluck I am going to tomorrow. So as not to make too much, I halved Lisa’s and was going to make a whole batch of yours. I made mini ones, about 1/4″ by 3″ and was so happy to see them go into the oven, all cute and neatly arranged. Imagine my surprise when I looked into the oven about halfway through their bake time to see that all my cheese straws had run together and turned into a thin, chewy, cheesy mess! Not wanting all of them to go to waste, I let them finish their bake time, transferred them to a cutting board, and sliced them back down to their intended size. I threw them back in the oven for about 5 minutes since they never did crisp, and voilà!, perfectly crisp, thin, deliciously cheesy crackers (though still looking far different from your pictures)! Ten minutes after working through my obvious mistake, it hit me–halfway through measuring the ingredients, I forgot I was making an entire batch and only threw in half the amount of flour, salt and crushed red pepper flakes :) Maybe that’s how cheez-its were born!

    P.S. This is my first comment! I’m pretty sure I’ve read almost every one of your posts, but never felt the urge to comment (for fear of continuously repeating myself–genius!, lovely!, delicious!, etc) until now. Hope you get a kick out of my kitchen mishap turned cheez-it miracle! Gotta love playing in the kitchen!

  234. Barbra

    I just made these straws and they are fabulous! I also added some fennel seeds and had only some almond milk on hand. Worked out fine. I took some others advice and will serve them with some of my homemade Habanero Jelly. Thanks and I have been touting your website for some time now on my facebook…love it
    Peace to you always

  235. Teresa M

    Love these! I made three variations today for Pottery Open House and they were a hit. I made one with the red pepper flakes, one with Rosemary leaves and one with Cilantro leaves. All were vey yummy. One thing I noticed is I needed more Half and Half than the recipe called for (about 2 tlbs).

  236. Elizabeth

    Oh, man, these are amazing. I made two batches- one exactly by recipe, the other with a mix of mozzarella, ricotta salata, fontina and asiago, minus the crushed red pepper and with a dash of thyme. They were also delicious! I just found your blog today and I am in love ^_^

  237. Elke

    How did I just now discover your blog! I’ve only ever had store bought cheese straws – always brought home with great anticipation, always discarded with great disappointment. Loved the first batch I made with your recipe. My only change was it took nearly 1 minute before the dough formed a ball (my first attempt at cheese straws). I also made a batch using your idea of cutting them round (used my smallest fluted biscuit cutter) then sprinkled garlic and onion powder as well. Holy moly!!! yum yum yum yum yum

  238. Julie

    Just made this. Talk about yummy! No way in the world could I get a rectangle, so some are quite rustic looking! Love the pepper in them. Can’t wait to try some variations! I was afraid to try them, but it turned out to be surprisingly easy. These will make my girls’ weekend shopping trip quite tasty. Thanks for this one!

  239. Alison

    I am SO addicted to cheese straws! I roll the dough into a log and slice it into 1/8″-1/4″ rounds for heavenly little cheese crackers. I will have to try the “straw” idea sometime! I always double the recipe and freeze half- you can slice and bake the frozen log- just increase baking time by a couple of minutes.

  240. Kathy in St. Louis

    YEEEEEEES. So good. Used some nine-month, extra-sharp Wisconsin white cheddar. And I can attest that the hand-grating-plus-chopping-with-big-knife method as Deb described in comment #148 is the way to go when you’re sans big food processor.

  241. Rachael

    I made these yesterday for a super bowl party and received lots of compliments! I don’t have a food processor so I tried the suggested hand mixer method, but switched to a pastry cutter after inhaling a cloud of flour smoke. For the ingredients, I received excellent results from whole milk instead of cream and non-fancy Tillamook extra sharp cheddar. Also, I went a little overboard while grating cheese (an extra 1/4 cup or so) and wasn’t sorry about it at all.

  242. I know this will sound odd but my grandmother used to make these and she split the flour with rice krispies. She added them by hand so they wouldnt get crushed and no one ever knows what that crunch is from…delicious!

  243. Jessica Chandler

    I’m from the South and we make these with a cookie press or the slice and bake method (chill the dough like icebox cookies and slice- usually topped with a pecan), varied with different cheeses and made into thumbprint cookies (blue cheese with fig preserves or cheddar with green pepper jelly) or mixed with rice krispies cereal and baked like a peanut butter cookie (a rounded teaspoon plopped on a cookie sheet and pressed down with fork tines). I love them in every form! I add a few drops of Tabasco and a bit of garlic powder too. Relish these delightful cheese concoctions!
    Another popular, served at many tailgates, bridal and baby showers, and brunches is the cheese ring with strawberry preserves in the center served with Ritz crackers. Have you had it? Just curious.

  244. maria

    these turned out GREAT. i don´t have a food processor and i just mixed it all up in my kitchenaid and that worked wonderfully. i also live at high altitude in Mexico City so it´s always exciting to have a recipe turn out correctly, and these totally did. already brainstorming variations…..maybe gouda cheese with bits of bacon?

  245. Khemara

    Just made these to bring to a bbq this weekend. I used whole wheat flour and almond milk because that’s what I had. No food processor so I mixed it with my hands and added an extra tsp of almond milk. They turned out great! I ended up with about 40 straws that were about 6-7 inches a piece. I think next time I’ll use more crushed red pepper because they weren’t as spicy as I thought they would be. Thanks for such a great recipe!

  246. Betty

    They are delicious! I’m sure my book club group will love them. Glad I made two batches.
    Another great recipe from your site. Thanks.

  247. Joanne

    I probably used around 7 oz. Tillamook Vintage White, otherwise did everything as specified. I rolled it into a 1″ log in plastic wrap (like for ice box cookies) and refrigerated it while I made three additional batches (probably half an hour). I cut it into 1/8″ discs with a wire cheese cutter and cooked them on parchment at 350° for about 10 minutes, turning the cookie sheet half way through and returning the rest of the roll to the refrigerator while they baked. They got lightly browned on the edges and puffed a little; I tried pricking them before baking but it didn’t seem to make much difference. I grated the cheese in some batches and cubed it in others. I think this will be great for the holidays since the dough comes together in a flash. They truly are addictive. I’m taking these to a knitting retreat this weekend and I’m betting I won’t be bringing any home!

  248. SHelly

    I had a shy quiet co-worker approach me last week and request that I make these for him again ….. quite the compliment to your recipe as it would have taken a lot of courage for him to do so.

    1. deb

      Rachel — I don’t have experience with cookie presses, but if other shortbread-like ones do, I think these would. Just make sure the cheese is very well blended — definitely from FP — so it doesn’t get stuck in any of the shapes.

  249. Elly

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Deb! (You know, back in 2009. I really do use your site, and your actual cookbook, as one my favorite cookbooks.) I’m looking to make cheese straws for a family party and though I can generally depend on my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook for things like this, this time they told me to sprinkle cheese on puff pastry. As a southern girl, I say that’s blasphemy. These, THESE, are cheese straws.

  250. Breadmaker

    made really thin rounds and thicker rounds. The thicker ones puffed but were flaky and crisp. The thin ones got really warped, but were still thin + crispy

  251. Elly

    Update: It’s everything I can do to not eat half the batch right now. These are wonderful. I twisted the straws before baking, and am enjoying the little design it makes in the finished cracker. I’ll have to be more careful in re-rolling scraps next time, though, as I did have a couple that fell apart in the middle because the dough needed just a wee bit of kneading. I don’t think it will be very long before I find an excuse to perfect the technique.

  252. Carolyn Person

    I made the recipe but used 1.25 cups of carrot powder instead of cheese. What happened was fabulous – we had vitamin enriched carrot veggie straws!

    1. deb

      Carolyn — That is so cool! I’d love to see what they look like if you have a photo. And where does one buy carrot powder or did you make your own?

  253. take an onion

    These are so easy to and delicious as a cocktail snack. Admit to keeping a roll in the freezer for instant crackers (about 1/4″).

  254. Jamie

    Hello! Does anybody have an idea roughly how many people one batch will serve? Assuming that each person will have maybe 3 straws?

  255. Monica

    OK, this is embarrassing. I cannot find the darn page where this recipe is located in my book. I had originally seen them in the book and when I went to make them..No matter how many ways I tried to find it, I couldn’t. Finally pulled it from here but I want to use from my book! No, I am not 8. *Sigh*
    Help. Just a page number. Please.

  256. Sandy

    If these cheese straws make it to the party this evening i will be amazed… must keep an eye on my husband and son to ensure there are some for the other guests! Somewhere in the 379 comments it was probably mentioned already, but i put the rolled out dough on a sheet of parchment paper and then sliced them, transferred the whole thing to a cookie sheet, and then spread the straws out a little before baking… so no broken pieces. Thanks for a real KEEPER for the 2014 holiday party season!

  257. Just tried the recipe and the taste is fantastic! 1 Tbsp. of cream was plenty. I followed the suggestions of some of the other posters – rolled the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter, chilled it for about an hour, then sliced it thinly (3/16 of an inch) into rounds and got 38 rounds in total. There was no need to clean the knife in between slices – I think chilling the dough helped in this regard. I pressed some sesame seeds into half the batch, but I really liked the plain rounds much better. Next time, I would try to slice the rounds a little more thinly. Some of the thinner ones got nicely brown and were very crispy. I liked them better than the slightly thicker ones that were a bit soft in the middle. The rounds spread a bit during baking and touched each other, so next time I will leave a little more space in between each round. The ingredients of your recipe produce a very tasty result. Thank you for sharing it!

  258. Romney

    As always, Smitten Kitchen is my go-to website for a new recipe. We are bringing cheese straws to a party tonight. These turned out great! They were fun to make, and really delicious!

  259. friederike

    A very tasty recipe and very easy! After a trial batch, I decided to use a cheese less strong (I had used Leerdamer caractère before) and doubled the quantity. The big problem is to stop eating them before the party starts!
    Thanks!

  260. Sandra

    Have made these twice now. A hit both times. I last made them and displayed them in a wide-mouth Ball jar as an accessory to an antipasto platter. They did not last long.

  261. Kt

    Can anyone give me tips on making these ahead for a 50-person party in July? I want them to be long and thin for elegance in 1960’s style for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party, and I read the caution about freezing them in that shape–has anyone tried it?

    Mainly, is my best shot to cook them all, freeze them cooked, and them defrost on the counter or in the glasses on end, as they’ll be served? *Or* should I shape them and freeze them uncooked, then bake them at the venue right before the party? There is a kitchen at the place but obviously I want to minimize the to-do list for the hour before the party! Thanks!

  262. deb

    Kt — I realize this is after the fact but these are like a good butter cookie — they keep very well in a tin or airtight container at room temperature so not reason not to bake them in advance. They also freeze well. Good luck!

  263. Karen

    From my incomplete and personally biased historical research, cheese straws are considered “Southern” here in the US, but they probably do originally hale from England. So much of the American South where these are popular was colonized by the British.

  264. I made these today with some cumin seed infused Gouda I was given. I subbed garlic powder for the red pepper flakes. Turned out great, very tasty and easy, even using a pastry cutter instead of a food processor. Thanks for sharing!

  265. Laura

    These cheese straws (and your big crunch granola) were enough to get me out of my heat-induced, several week long, very sad, rejection of cooking today! For anyone concerned about making variations, these seem pretty close to no-fail. I used kraft parmesan cheese, (and a extra splash of water to account for the dryness), added some dijon mustard, a few tablespoons of sesame seeds, and didn’t use a food processor, and they are delicious!