Dinner party plans stressing you out? Puff pastry cheese straws are here for you. These crispy, flaky, cheesy twists require just two ingredients and a few minutes of your time, and yet they deliver big — real big — out on the buffet table.
What Makes Cheese Straws So Good?
Cheese straws are made with puff pastry, which is cut into strips and then twisted into "straws." This pastry is made of hundreds upon hundreds of thin layers of dough and butter. In the heat of the oven, these layers puff dramatically and become incredibly crispy. Add some cheese to those layers, and you've got something worth spoiling your dinner over.
Don't Overthink Your Cheese Straws
Cheese straws are just two ingredients: cheese and puff pastry. Don't overthink it! You can make the strips as long or as short, as thick or as thin, as twisty or as delicate as you like. A little extra cheese will also not throw anything off. You can even prep the straws and stash them in the fridge for an hour or so until you're ready to bake them, which is handy if you're juggling lots of tasks just before a dinner party. You can also bake them ahead, but they're best served within an hour or two of coming out of the oven.
Serving Cheese Straws
Cheese straws are really an equal-opportunity appetizer. They go just as well with a glass of wine or a pint of beer. They can stand on their own (literally — you can serve them standing in a pretty cup!), but they're also great as part of a spread with things like pickles, deviled eggs, dips, and other nibbles.
How To Make Puff Pastry Cheese Straws
Makes 16 to 20 long cheese straws
What You Need
1 1/2 cups
grated mixed hard cheese, such as Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or aged cheddar
thawed store-bought puff pastry, divided
Parchment paper or 2 silicone baking mats
Heat the oven to 375°F and line 2 baking sheets. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
Dust the counter with 1/4 cup of cheese. Sprinkle a work surface with 1/4 cup of the cheese.
Place 1 sheet of the puff pastry on the cheese. Unfold or unroll 1 of the puff pastry sheets onto the cheese. If the pastry isn't quite thawed, don't force it. Let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes, and then try unrolling or unfolding again.
Top with another 1/4 cup of cheese. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese over the puff pastry.
Roll out to 1/8-inch thick. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry out until 1/8-inch thick. This presses the cheese into the pastry and also smoothes out any seams or wrinkles.
Fold the pastry in half. Fold the sheet of pastry in half.
Top with another 1/4 cup of cheese. Sprinkle the pastry with 1/4 cup of the cheese.
Roll out again to 1/8-inch thick. Roll the pastry out again until 1/8-inch thick. The exact dimensions of the puff pastry don't matter. Aim for one side to be about 10 inches long to make longer puff pastry straws, or aim for 6 to 8 inches for shorter straws.
Cut into strips. Using a knife and cutting straight down (do not saw), cut the pastry into long strips about 1-inch wide. Again, dimensions don't really matter, but I like my long puff pastry straws to measure about 10 inches.
Transfer to a baking sheet and twist. Transfer each strip to one of the baking sheets, spaced an inch or so apart. As you set them down, twist the ends in opposite directions to give the straws a spiraled look. If they start to untwist when you let go, gently press the ends into the parchment to make them stick.
Chill for at least 10 minutes or up to an hour. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour. This helps firm up the straws and give them better puff in the oven. While they are chilling, prepare the rest of the straws using the second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining cheese.
Bake 15 to 25 minutes. Bake the first sheet of cheese straws until they are puffed and crispy, feel dry to the touch, and are deep golden brown. The exact baking time will depend on the size of your straws. Begin checking shorter straws after about 15 minutes, and longer straws after 20 minutes.
Cool briefly on the baking sheet and bake the second sheet. Let cool until the straws are firm enough to lift from the sheet without bending. Transfer to a cooling rack or serving plate. Meanwhile, bake the second baking sheet of cheese straws.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve the cheese straws warm, or let them cool and then keep them in an airtight container until ready to serve. Puff pastry straws are best served the same day they are made.
Flavored cheese straws: Experiment with adding minced fresh herbs, spices, or infused salt blends to the cheese straws. Sprinkle a teaspoon or two over each puff pastry along with the final addition of cheese.