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Easy Puff Pastry Cheese Twists

Puff pastry cheese twists are a perfect appetizer for your next get-together. Flaky, cheesy, buttery, crispy and make ahead.

Cheese twists are not new or original. But they are super popular and versatile. You can serve them on their own or use them as dippers.

cheese twists on plate in pile

Cheese twists – also called puff pastry cheese straws – are a go-to for us during holidays. The melt-in-your-mouth flaky sticks of puff pastry and cheese are a great appetizer as part of a spread. Kids love them too.

You can make them with just 3 ingredients – cheese, egg and puff pastry. We like to add mustard and herbs to boost the flavor.

They can be made well ahead which makes them great for entertaining.

Bottom line: Easy, quick, melt-in-your mouth and pretty (in a rustic kind of way). About 30 minutes start to finish.

How to serve cheese twists

Here are a few suggestions for serving the twists at cocktail parties, holiday gatherings or meals.

  1. Serve them with dips such as onion dip, roasted red pepper dip, eggplant dip, salsa or a fresh marinara sauce. Dips should be on the looser side as the straws are delicate and can break with thicker dips.
  2. Serve them to accompany a cheese board, charcuterie board or antipasto platter.
  3. Use them as dippers for soups and stews like homemade creamy tomato soup or old fashioned beef stew. Sort of like a flaky breadstick.
  4. Don’t forget a nice glass of wine or beer! Upscale or casual – both good.

How to make puff pastry twists

two cheeses, sheet of puff pastry, egg wash, salt, pepper
Ingredients: puff pastry sheet, gruyere and parmesan cheese, egg wash (with mustard), salt, black pepper.
square of puff pastry dough on cutting board
Unroll a sheet of puff pastry. Brush with egg wash mixture.
corkscrew straws of cheese twists lying on lined pan
Twist each strip in opposite directions into a corkscrew. No need to be perfect (I call them rustic)
puff pastry cheese twists lying on pan
Bake until flaky and golden brown.
puff pastry cheese twists standing in a two glasses
Serve standing up in glasses.
cheese twists on plate in pile
Or pile the cheese twists on a plate and serve.

Tailor To Your Taste

Experiment with a few of these variations if you like.

Types of cheese to use: Feel free to use your preferred cheese or combination of cheeses. Good options are regular cheddar cheese, sharp cheddar, manchego, gruyere (my favorite), parmesan cheese, Italian cheese blend, Mexican cheese blend, pecorino romano.

Flavor: I use mustard powder and a sprinkle of dried thyme. You can also try chili powder, dill, oregano, Italian seasoning, a pinch of cayenne pepper or garlic powder. Hmm, I’m am just thinking a thin layer of pesto might be amazing.

Length of cheese twists: I cut the straws in half before twisting and baking them as they are easier to manage and less likely to break. But feel free to twist and bake long strips. The recipe makes 48 half straws or 24 long straws.

Tips for working with puff pastry

This recipe uses frozen puff pastry which, in our opinion, is a miracle food because it is so *!##!** convenient, tastes amazing and easy to use. If you prefer to make your own from scratch, here’s a homemade puff pastry recipe from Preppy Kitchen.

A couple of tips on using puff pastry:

  1. Buy frozen puff pastry in the frozen section of your grocery store. Try to get a box with two pre-rolled sheets (no rolling needed). And, if possible, buy a kind that says ‘made with butter’ or ‘ butter puff pastry ‘ for a richer taste.
  2. Defrost the puff pastry overnight in the fridge or for 40-60 minutes at room temperature. 
  3. Work with cold dough. It’s much easier to work with. Don’t let it sit on the counter for too long. If the dough sticks, sprinkle a little flour on the work surface. 

Important: Puff pastry dough is not the same thing as phyllo dough. Make sure you are buying puff pastry dough!

Shortcuts

  • Buy pre-shredded cheese
  • Of course the store-bought puff pastry is a huge time saver!

Make Ahead

  • Store for a few days: Cool the cheese twists completely, then store them in an airtight container or freezer bag at room temperature for a few days. No need to refrigerate.
  • Freeze after baking: They may be baked and frozen for up to 3 months and reheated at 350F/177C for a 5-6 minutes to re-crisp them. Just make sure they are not jammed into the freezer as they are easily damaged.
  • Freeze before baking: (my preferred option). Another option is to flash freeze the cheese twists in a single layer on a tray in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, then put them in an airtight container of freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake as per directions when ready to use. No need to thaw. 
cheese twists on plate in pile
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4.86 from 7 votes

Easy Puff Pastry Cheese Twists

Puff pastry cheese twists are a perfect appetizer for your next get-together. Flaky, cheesy, buttery, crispy and make ahead. Very popular!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 48 twists (or 24 longer twists)
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 package store-bought puff pastry dough (2 sheets/16-17 ounces)
  • 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (for dusting cutting board)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder (or 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated cheese, Note 1 use small holes of a box grater or microplane grater
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or pinch of cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme or rosemary (optional), Note 2

Instructions

  • HEAT OVEN to 375F/190C. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • MAKE EGG MIXTURE: In a small bowl, mix together water, egg, salt, pepper and mustard powder.
  • PREPARE PUFF PASTRY CHEESE TWISTS: Unroll the two sheets of puff pastry dough onto a lightly floured cutting board or parchment paper. Each sheet should be about 12 x 10 inch rectangle/30 x 25 cm (stretch a bit if needed).
    Brush on egg mixture and cheese: Lightly brush beaten egg mixture on puff pastry sheets with a pastry brush. Sprinkle on cheese and thyme (if using) evenly. Press down gently with the heel of your hand (or a rolling pin) to make cheese stick to the dough.
    Cut into strips: Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut first sheet into about 12 strips. Also cut the strips in half if you want 48 shorter twists instead of 24 longer ones. Repeat with 2nd sheet of dough.
    Twist: Holding each end of a strip with two hands, twist strips in opposite directions into a corkscrew and lay them on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all strips have been twisted. Leave a little space (about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm) between each cheese straw as they will expand a bit.
  • BAKE: Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese twists are golden brown. Turn baking sheets half way through for more even browning.

Notes

  1. Cheese options: Use one cheese or any cheese mixture. Good options are cheddar cheese, sharp cheddar, manchego, gruyere (my favorite), parmesan cheese, Italian cheese blend, Mexican cheese blend, pecorino romano.
  2. Seasoning variations: chili powder, dill, oregano, Italian seasoning, a pinch of cayenne pepper or garlic powder. Hmm, I’m am just thinking a thin layer of pesto might be amazing.
  3. To Make Ahead, Store and Freeze:
    • Store for a few days: Cool the cheese twists completely, then store in an airtight container or freezer bag at room temperature for a few days. No need to refrigerate.
    • Freeze after baking: They may be baked and frozen for up to 3 months and reheated at 350F/177C for a 5-6 minutes to re-crisp them. Just make sure they are not jammed into the freezer as they are easily damaged.
    • Freeze before baking: (preferred) Another option is to flash freeze the cheese twists in a single layer in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, then put them in an airtight container of freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake as per directions when ready to use. No need to thaw. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates for a half straw with parmesan cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 33IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

Adapted from an Ina Garten Cheese Straw recipe.

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