Not many people can resist a cheese straw. This recipe shows you how to make shortcrust pastry cheese straws that are crisp, crumbly and of course seriously cheesy.
You'll be surprised at how easy it is to make your own shortcrust pastry from scratch. With just 10 minutes of hands-on time, there's no reason not to, and this is the key to making cheese straws next-level delicious.
Whether you serve them as a canapé, snack or side they'll be gone up before you know it. So why not serve them alongside some other tasty snacks like these Feta and Spinach Filo Parcels, Tuna Pate or Butter Shortbread Cookies?
The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!
3 secrets to the tastiest cheese straws
- Plenty of cheese in the pastry. Plus extra for topping.
- Seasoned with mustard powder, ground nutmeg and dried chives for more yummy flavour.
- Making your own shortcrust pastry. For a delightfully crisp, crumbly, and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
🛒 Key ingredients:
- Cheese: Parmesan is what you need. It has a sharp nuttiness that makes for wonderfully cheesy cheese straws. I tested the recipe with mature cheddar as well but Parmesan undoubtedly had the edge.
- Flour: Regular plain/all-purpose flour.
- Butter: I tested the recipe with salted and unsalted. Both worked, but salted butter added just the right amount of saltiness.
- Egg: The yolk adds a little extra richness to the pastry and the white is for brushing the cheese straws before baking to give the extra Parmesan something to stick to and give the straws a nice sheen.
- Seasoning: I've opted for dried chives for a herby tanginess, a little mustard powder for extra punchiness, and nutmeg to add a very subtle warm earthy taste.
- Cheese: Switch for Pecorino or a very mature cheddar.
- Flour: For gluten-free cheese straws swap the regular flour for gluten-free.
- Butter: You can use unsalted butter instead.
- Seasoning: Feel free to experiment here. Other dried herbs that will work well include paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and oregano. Please avoid using fresh mustard, getting it evenly distributed is a challenge, and it could alter the consistency of the pastry.
Note that the recipe has not been tested with all the substitutions and variations below, so the results cannot be guaranteed.
Sometimes, you crave basic chow mein noodles – perfect for accompanying dishes like Singapore Fried Rice, Sesame Chicken, and Crispy Shredded Chilli Beef. Yet, there are moments when you simply want to savor chow mein as a full meal. Here are some ideas for those times.
- Chicken chow mein
- Duck chow mein
- Special Chow mein
- Singapore chow mein
- Vegan/vegetarian chow mein with fried tofu
I don't recommend altering the base ingredients in the recipe; however, seasoning is where you can experiment. Ensure you use dried herbs and spices rather than fresh to avoid altering the consistency of the pastry.
- Spicy: Add cayenne pepper or a touch of chilli powder.
- Herby: Add dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil or oregano.
- Smoky: Add smoked paprika
- Garlicky: Add garlic powder
When it comes to topping the cheese straws before baking, you could swap the additional Parmesan for poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds.
🧑🍳 Recipe steps
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions! *
Step 1: Combine the butter and flour with your hands until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Step 2: Incorporate the egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, ground nutmeg, mustard powder, and dried chives and form the pastry into a ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface around ¼ inch/6mm thick. Cut into strips around 1.5cm or ½ inch wide and 10cm/4 inches long.
Step 4: Brush with egg white and sprinkle on some extra Parmesan.
Step 5: Bake for 10 minutes at 200°C or 400°F until golden. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
🍽️ Serving suggestions
Cheese straws make an ideal snack, appetizer or side.
- Dips: like tuna pate or guacamole (without tomato).
- Canapés: serve alongside other tasty small bites like spinach and feta parcels or pigs in blankets at Christmas time.
- Soup: cheese straws pair up nicely with a warming bowl of tomato soup, Mexican street corn soup or broccoli and Stilton soup.
- Add them to a charcuterie and cheese board
- Use fridge-temperature butter to make the pastry easier to handle and give it a delicious flaky texture.
- Reserve a couple of tablespoons of Parmesan for topping to boost the delicious cheesy flavour.
- Refrigerate the pastry before rolling them out for 30 minutes to prevent the cheese straws from spreading in the oven.
- Brush with egg white to give them a nice sheen and to allow the Parmesan topping to stick.
🙋 Recipe FAQs
Baked cheese straws will keep for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight tin or plastic container.
You can freeze baked cheese straws for up to 3 months. Place them on a tray or plate with space between them to prevent them from sticking together and freeze. Then transfer to a plastic container or freezer bag once frozen.
Hard punchy cheeses work well like Parmesan, Pecorino, or a mature cheddar. Avoid mild cheeses or creamier cheeses that might alter the consistency of the pastry.
Cheese straws have roots in both the United Kingdom and the United States. In the UK, cheese straws have been enjoyed for many years as a traditional British snack. They are commonly served at gatherings, parties, and afternoon tea. In the United States, cheese straws gained popularity in the southern region, particularly in the American South. Both the UK and the US have their own variations and recipes for cheese straws, showcasing the versatility and widespread appreciation of this tasty treat.
Did you try this recipe?
It would be really great if you could leave a comment and a star rating ⭐️. I would love to receive your feedback and know that other readers find it helpful too.
Don't forget to tag #knifeandsoulrecipes on Instagram or @knifeandsoul on Pinterest!
Easy Cheese Straws With Shortcrust Pastry
- 60 g (¼ cup) salted butter fridge temperature cut into cubes (Note 1)
- 90 g (¾ cup) plain/ all-purpose flour (Note 2)
- 1 egg yolk and white separated
- 50 g (½ cup) Parmesan cheese finely grated with two tablespoons set aside for the topping (Note 3)
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp mustard powder (Note 4)
- 1 tsp dried chives (Note 5)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cold butter cubes and flour. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the egg yolk, Parmesan cheese (except for the 2 tablespoons set aside for topping), ground nutmeg, mustard powder, and dried chives to the bowl. Mix until well combined and use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball.
- Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Note 6)
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 6mm / ¼ inch thick.
- Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into thin strips, about 1.5cm or ½ inch wide and 10cm/4 inches long.
- Carefully transfer the cut cheese straws onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving a small gap between each straw to allow for spreading during baking.
- Brush the tops of the cheese straws with egg white to give them a golden colour and a nice shine.
- Sprinkle on the extra Parmesan.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes until golden.
- Remove and cool on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve the cheese straws as a delicious snack or appetiser or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Butter: Should be cold. This makes the pastry easier to handle and gives it a delicious flaky texture. You can use unsalted butter instead of salted.
- Flour: For gluten-free cheese straws swap regular plain flour for gluten-free.
- Cheese: Hard, nutty, strongly flavoured cheeses work best. Substitute Parmesan for Pecorino or a hard mature cheddar.
- Mustard powder: Swapping this for fresh mustard is not advisable as it will alter the consistency of the pastry.
- Seasoning: Feel free to swap out the mustard powder, nutmeg and dried chives for other dried herbs and spices.
- Refrigerating the shortcrust pastry: This is an important step that prevents the pastry from spreading in the oven and makes it easier to form into straws.