Spicy Cheese Twists


Add a little kick to your typical cheese appetizer.

Spicy Cheese Twists
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
30 mins
Cool Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
55 mins

Fans of cheese straws will love these homemade Spicy Cheese Twists. They are remarkably easy to prepare and make a great cocktail party nibble. Take that forgotten box of puff pastry stashed in the back of the freezer (along with a few pantry staples), and turn it into this impressive appetizer. Or package in a cookie tin as an edible gift, along with a bottle of wine, for an easy host gift. There's nothing that these Spicy Cheese Twists can't do.

Our Spicy Cheese Twists lean on frozen puff pastry to deliver flaky, cheesy layers to these simple party bites. Layered with thyme and aged Gouda cheese, these cheese twists are simultaneously crispy and tender. The cheese forms little crispy bubbles and pockets of deliciousness on the pastry. They get a kick from cayenne pepper and extra flavor from garlic powder. Feel free to change up the cheese and herb combinations to suit your fancy—try them with Parmesan and rosemary or Cheddar and bacon. Shaped into cute bow ties, these cheese twists are guaranteed to be the hit of the party. Serve with cocktails and sparkling wine.


  • 6 ounces aged Gouda cheese, grated in a food processor (about 1 cup)

  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves

  • ½ (17.3-oz.) pkg. frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

  • All-purpose flour, for work surface

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. Mix together Gouda and thyme in a small bowl; set aside.

  2. Roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 14-inch square on a lightly floured work surface. Thoroughly prick all over with a fork. Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Brush pastry lightly with egg mixture. Sprinkle evenly with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Cut pastry in half lengthwise to form 2 (14- x 7-inch) rectangles. Spread about ¾ cup of the Gouda mixture evenly over one of the rectangles, and press with palms of hands to bind cheese to pastry. Place remaining pastry sheet, egg wash side up, directly onto pastry sheet with cheese. Sprinkle remaining ⅓ cup Gouda mixture evenly over top pastry, pressing with palms of hands to bind cheese to pastry. (Alternatively, gently roll a rolling pin over both sheets to bind cheese.) Cut pastry stack lengthwise into 2 (14- x 3½-inch) rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 12 (about 3½- x 1-inch) strips.

  3. Working with 1 strip at a time, twist the ends in opposite directions so that each end is cheese side up, resembling a bow tie. Arrange bow ties on prepared baking sheets, at least ½ inch apart. Press ends down gently to adhere to parchment. Pinch middle of each strip with fingers to create center of bow tie. Bake in preheated oven, 1 baking sheet at a time, until crispy and golden brown, about 12 to 16 minutes. Cool on baking sheet at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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