The best cheese straws in the world!

This family recipe was first published on my blog 6 years ago. Based on the numbers of visits since then, the post has been a constant favorite ever since. If you want to bring something special that’s not hard to make to a holiday party this season, try it out!

Cheese straws are my favorite offering to bring to holiday gatherings. The recipe comes from my maternal grandmother’s family from Orangeburg, South Carolina.  The tradition has been passed down from mother to child for generations. There are cheese straws and then there are these cheese straws, which always get a lot of attention. I’m working on teaching my sons how to make them – they sure like to eat them! The trick is to use the sharpest cheddar cheese you can get and to roll them as thinly as possible.

My grandmother (2nd from left) with the Salley family, in about 1900.

Ingredients: 3 Cups flour, 2 tsp. seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s), 1 tsp. dried mustard, 1 cup butter, 8 oz. very sharp cheddar cheese. Start by mixing the flour, salt and dried mustard in a bowl.

Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, like you are making pie crust.

Grate the cheddar cheese and stir it in with the flour mixture.

Dribble ice water into the mixture and combine until it sticks together in a doughy consistency. Don’t let it get too soggy!

Divide into balls, handling the dough as little as possible. Then wrap the balls and refrigerate for a few hours.

Roll out the dough balls as thinly as possible and cut in strips with a pastry crimper.

Spread the straws out on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. They may take longer to cook, so check them often and switch pans to different racks during baking time.

They don’t take long to cool, so immediately sample a few. Now, put them out and watch them disappear! They can be saved in a tin and make a great gift, too.

Since so many of you’ve enjoyed the recipe over the years, I decided to make a card with the cozy kitchen scene (below) on the front and the recipe for making cheese straws printed on the back. That way, it’s a greeting card (or Christmas card) and recipe card all in one. The Cheese Straws card is available in my shop in packs of 4 or 8.

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18 thoughts on “The best cheese straws in the world!

  1. OMGoodness Salley! What Perfect Timing I was collecting items to make of my hubby’s work crew.. This is a must on my list, I even “PINNED IT” for others who may be interested..Hubby’s crew loves it when he walks into work at 5 am with goodies I have cooked up..even if it is left

    GOD Bless,

  2. These look great. What is the salt seasoned with? Garlic? Or other herbs too? (You actually have a typo above so it says seasoned slat!) Anyway, yum. I am going to try to make them of some gluten free combination of flours so they may or may not work sans gluten.

  3. Salley, what a wonderful family photo! You hit our weak spot, food, especially this time of year, 12 responses in several hours. You are generous to share a family recipe. Thank you, I will be making them this week.

  4. Thanks Salley! I’m going to give these a try. You have a lovely family too. Keep up the good work and carrying on those special traditions!- – -Lilia

  5. The next day these showed up in the NY Times :0) complete with a recipe…. Yummy.
    You are a trend setter !
    Will you travel with a sewing project?

    safe travels and Happy Sewing

  6. Yummy! My mother used to make cheese straws, but I have no idea where her recipe is —your’s will be perfect, I’m sure. I haven’t had these in years. I love the look with your pastry cutter. I think Mom just gave each long piece a couple of twists.

  7. Lifehack: instead of using the pastry cutter, you can freeze the butter and grate it before the cheese. (If your butter has higher water content or you’ve had it in a deep freeze, you may need to let it thaw a little first.)

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