Puff pastry cheese straws (or cheese twists) are the easiest appetiser you can make – they require just three ingredients (four if you count the egg) and takes minutes to prepare. Plus, they can be frozen, and baked when needed. Serve them as an appetiser, put them on your cheese board, or just have them with chai.
Ingredients – what you need to make this delicious puff pastry snack!
- Puff Pastry: The puff pastry that I use in Australia comes in square sheets that are 25 x 25cm / 10 x 10" squares. For one puff pastry sheet of that size I need about 1 cup / 90 grams of grated cheese – enough to cover the whole sheet in a thin layer of cheese. Use whatever puff pastry sheets are available in your part of the world and eyeball the grated cheese amount. In case the puff pastry is available in a slab or block, you may need to defrost (if frozen) and roll it out to the desired thickness. I use frozen puff pastry but you can use ready rolled refrigerated puff pastry or make your own. Make sure to thaw the frozen puff pastry by following the instructions at the back of the packet.
- Cheese: My preferred cheese for these puff pastry cheese stews is cheddar cheese. You can also use parmesan cheese or swiss cheese or mix a variety of cheeses together such as cheddar cheese with parmesan. It is possible to use the supermarket shredded cheese, but I prefer to grate the cheese myself as the flavor is better, and it also melts better. The small holes of a box grater can be used or the shredder blade on a food processor.
- Spices and Herbs: though it is possible to just use grated cheese to make these cheese straws, I prefer to add herbs and spices for an additional flavor kick. I use a mix of dried Italian herbs along with red chili powder. Other flavouring options are given below.
- Egg: Finally, an egg is used as a base for the cheese to stick to the puff pastry. In case you don’t have an egg, you can use oil instead.
Can I freeze the puff pastry cheese straws?
Yes, you can! I love making a double batch of these cheese straws – I bake a few to eat right away, and the rest I freeze. That way whenever there are unexpected guests at our place, or I am craving a salty snack with tea, or I am hungry I can take out a few of these cheese straws and bake them up.
To freeze place baking paper / parchment paper on a baking tray. Twist the puff pastry to make cheese straws, and then place them on the baking paper / parchment paper ensuring that the straws don’t touch each other. Keep the cheese straws in the freezer for a few hours until frozen. Once the cheese straws are frozen, they can easily be removed. Place them in a Ziploc bag to store. Bake directly from frozen until golden – just add 1 – 2 minutes to the baking time.
Additional flavour twists for these delicious cheese straws:
These cheese straws are super versatile and can be flavored in many different ways. Here are some options for you to experiment with:
- Pesto cheese twists:Spread a layer of pesto on top of the puff pastry and then top with grated cheese for pesto cheese straws.
- Switch up the cheese: Instead of cheddar, you can experiment with other cheese flavors such as Havarti, parmesan or use a mix of cheddar options like a mild cheddar with an aged cheddar.
- Use your favorite herbs and spices: Instead of mixed Italian herbs, you can use a specific Italian herb such as oregano, basil, thyme or rosemary. You can also skip the chili and use another spice such as black pepper, paprika or cayenne pepper.
Help – my cheese straws aren’t twisting! What do I do?
- Make sure the puff pastry is thawed properly. I prefer to thaw it in the fridge so it thaws evenly. If it’s frozen, the puff pastry won’t twist and will break.
- On the other hand, if the puff pastry has been left out for too long, it will be sticky and again, won’t twist properly. If this happens, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes for the puff pastry to stiffen up slightly.
- One more thing you can do to prevent sticking is placing the puff pastry sheet on parchment paper / baking paper. This will also make it easy to pick up the pastry straws and place them on a baking tray.
- Press down the cheese. Once you have scattered the cheese and herbs over the puff pastry, press it down properly. I do this by placing a piece of parchment paper over the cheese, and using a rolling pin. You can also use your hands. Once the cheese is stuck properly, it will be easy to cut and twist into the cheese straws.
- If making long cheese straws, it’s easier to twist from the ends. First twist from one end, and then twist from the other end, till the twist meets in the middle.
- Cut the strips in half if you want to make smaller cheese straws – the smaller cheese straws are easier to twist than the longer ones.
- Finally, use the right knife. A serrated knife is best for cutting the pastry straws, but you can also use a pizza cutter.
The first time I made these cheese straws, I was too impatient to wait for the puff pastry to thaw properly. It was a bit of a mess, but honestly once the cheese straws baked up, they tasted lovely. Rest assured, even if something goes wrong, the twists will be delicious.
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Some other snack recipes that you can try are:
- Aloo Pakoras or Potato Fritters
- Potato and Chicken Croquettes
- Daal and Aloo Bun Kebab
- Keema Samosa
- Chicken Spread Sandwiches
- Chicken Box Patties
How to make Puff Pastry Cheese Straws (also known as Cheese Twists)
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 square puff pastry sheet (25 x 25cm / 10 x 10"), thawed see note 1
- 1 egg mixed with water
- 170 grams / 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese see note 2
- Preheat an oven to 200°C / 400°F (180°C fan forced)
- In a small bowl, mix the dried Italian herbs and red chili powder together. Set aside.
- Place the puff pastry on baking paper / parchment paper.
- Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water, and then brush the beaten egg on the puff pastry with a pastry brush.
- Sprinkle half the grated cheddar cheese over the puff pastry sheet followed by half of the herbs and spices mixture.
- Place a piece of parchment paper over the cheese mixture, and use a rolling pin or your hands to press the cheese into the puff pastry.
- Cut the pastry into 2 cm (about 1 inch) wide strips. This will make about 12 - 15 cheese straws. You can adjust the size depending on how thick or thin you prefer the cheese straws. It is possible to cut the cheese straws in half, to make shorter cheese straws.
- Twist the strips slightly from both ends and place onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Repeat until all the strips have been twisted to make cheese straws.
- Lightly brush the twists with a little more of the egg mixture.
- Place the cheese straws into the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Baking time can vary from one puff pastry brand to another, so always look at packet instructions to be on the safe side.
- Once the cheese straws are golden brown, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
- The cheese straws can be kept in an airtight storage container for 3 – 4 days. However, make sure they are completely before putting them in a container, as they can turn soggy otherwise.
- This recipe will yield around 12 - 15 cheese straws depending on how thick or thin you prefer the cheese straws. Nutrition is based on the recipe yielding 15 cheese straws, and 1 cheese straw per serving.
- The puff pastry in Australia comes in square sheets that are 25 x 25cm / 10 x 10" squares. Use whatever puff pastry sheets are available in your part of the world and eyeball the grated cheese amount. In case the puff pastry is available in a slab or block, you may need to defrost (if frozen) and roll it out to the desired thickness. Make sure to thaw the frozen puff pastry by following the instructions at the back of the packet.
- My preferred cheese for these puff pastry cheese stews is cheddar cheese. You can also use parmesan cheese or swiss cheese or mix a variety of cheeses together such as cheddar cheese with parmesan. It is possible to use the supermarket shredded cheese, but I prefer to grate the cheese myself as the flavor is better, and it also melts better. The small holes of a box grater can be used or the shredder blade on a food processor