Does your mouth water in the supermarket bakery section? Mine does, and especially when I spot these freshly baked (warm!) cheese twists with pesto. Luckily, you need just 4 ingredients to make your own!
My cheese twist obsession
I blame two things for my obsession with anything remotely resembling cheesy bread: the warm feta cheese bread I used to buy a bit too often for breakfast when I lived in Greece, and the fresh supermarket puff pastry cheese twists I couldn’t resist when I lived in the UK.
Now that I don’t live in either of these countries, these homemade pesto cheese twists are my new way to feed my obsession!
Luckily, this 4-ingredient recipe only takes about 10 minutes to throw together, and about 20 minutes in the oven.
So if you too are wondering how to make cheese twists like Lidl, Sainsbury’s, or Tesco, read on…
If you’re not in the UK and have no idea what I’m talking about, but somehow your mouth is still watering, then read on too!
What’s a cheese twist?
You may or may not be familiar with some version of these. Maybe you know them as cheese straws?
This version is incredibly simple… if a little rustic. But that’s OK, right?
Warm, puffy, crispy, buttery, cheesy, and pesto-y pastry. Heavenly. And yes, just a little bit addictive. “
My pesto cheese twists kind of start out like a puff pastry sandwich filled with pesto and cheese. I slice my ‘sandwich’ into strips, then twist each strip so that it ends up looking like a corkscrew.
The final step is to lay the pastry twists on a baking tray and sprinkle over a bit more cheese.
You bake for about 20 minutes, and end up with a warm, puffy, crispy, buttery, cheesy, and pesto-y pastry. Heavenly. And yes, just a little bit addictive.
This is all you need to make these (yes, just 4 ingredients):
- 1 or 2 sheets of fresh or frozen store-bought puff pastry (depending on the size)
- 3 or 4 tablespoons of store bought or homemade pesto
- a few handfuls of grated cheese
- a whisked egg for brushing over the top (or just use milk!)
How to make them
(Photo 1) Defrost 2 sheets of puff pastry (or use fresh), and lay one on a work surface. Here in Australia the sheets are square, but rectangular works too. If you’re using a large rectangular sheet of pastry, you could simply make more cheese twists! Or you can spread pesto and cheese over half of the pastry, then fold it closed like a book!
(Photo 2) Spread a few tablespoons of homemade or store bought pesto over the puff pastry. Then sprinkle over a few handfuls of grated cheese. Any cheese works, but most often I use plain old tasty cheddar, or sometimes a mix of cheddar and parmesan.
(Photo 3) Place another sheet of pastry over the top and smooth down with your hands.
(Photo 4) Slice the pastry ‘sandwich’ into 7 or 8 equal(ish) strips. My strips are usually about 3 or 4 cm wide. But really there are no absolute rules here. It’s hard to go wrong!
(Photos 5-7) Take one of the pastry strips in both hands, then twist until it resembles a corkscrew! It can feel a bit ‘awkward’, but that’s OK. I find it’s easiest to begin twisting in the middle, then work outwards. Again, no rules. Messy is fine!
(Photos 8-9) Carefully place the cheese twists on a baking tray (either with or without baking paper, but with is less messy!). Then brush over the top with a bit of whisked egg and sprinkle over a bit more grated cheese.
(Photo 10) Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes or until nicely puffed up and starting to brown.
What to serve with them
- I often make these ‘just because’, when the craving strikes. Did I mention that they’re delicious warm out of the oven?
- They’re great served as an appetizer, and they make perfect party food if you make multiple batches. Serve with extra chunky pesto or a simple tasty marinara sauce.
- They make delicious soup dippers! I especially like to dip them into a simple Instant Pot tomato soup. Mmm.
- They’re perfect after school (or work!) snacks.
How to serve them
I usually pile my cheese straws onto a rectangular plate, but if you like you can stand them up in a glass jar. The only challenge is finding a jar that’s the right size. Most of mine are too small. You need one that’s ‘just right’ (3 bears style!).
Can you freeze them?
Oh yes you can!
Freezing them raw
You can freeze your pesto and cheese twists raw in a large container between sheets of baking paper.
Baking from frozen
You can bake them straight from frozen! Just add a few minutes on to the cooking time.
Freezing cooked leftovers
OR you can freeze leftover cooked cheese twists. Simply reheat for 5 to 10 minutes at 180C/355F.
Pro tip: Air fryers are perfect for reheating these! I find 160C/320F for 2 to 3 minutes makes for perfect crispy twists that taste as good as new.
You don’t have to make these exactly like mine. You can:
- leave out the pesto
- vary the type of cheese e.g. Swiss cheese, parmesan cheese, feta cheese, goat cheese, cream cheese with herbs, ricotta…
- use something else instead of the pesto e.g. wilted & squeezed spinach, fresh or dried herbs, chopped sundried tomatoes, Vegemite or Marmite for you Ausssies/Brits!
- sprinkle a bit of chopped ham, salami, or chopped cherry tomatoes over too (why not?)
And if you have some leftover puff pastry or pesto…
More puff pastry recipes
- Baby tomato, pesto and prosciutto tart
- Ricotta, cherry tomato and chorizo puff pastry tarts
- Asparagus brunch tart with parmesan and basil
- Sundried tomato, parmesan and rosemary palmiers
- Pear, feta and walnut puff pastry tarts (this one is a bit of a wildcard recipe, but some readers love it!)
More pesto recipes
- Spinach, pesto & parmesan orzo salad
- 15-minute stove top chicken with pesto parmesan sauce
- Roasted eggplant, pesto and bocconcini panini (a delicious weekend sandwich!)
- Mediterranean penne pasta salad (for tasty and healthy lunches all week!)
Or check out Scrummy Lane’s snack archives for more easy & scrummy snack recipes!
4-ingredient Cheese Twists With Pesto (Supermarket Copycat)
Equipment (affiliate links)
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
- 11 ounces puff pastry (I use 2 square sheets 9.5 x 9.5 inches, but 1 larger rectangular one is OK too)
- 4 tablespoons pesto homemade or store bought
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese or any kind of cheese
- 1 egg whisked, for brushing (milk works too)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 355F.
- Lay one of the pastry sheets on a floured board or work surface.
- Spread with the pesto, then sprinkle over most of the cheese.
- Place the second sheet of pastry over the top and smooth down with your hands.
- Cut the pastry into 7 to 8 equal strips (about 3 to 4cm wide).
- Hold each strip at both ends and twist into a corkscrew, then lay each twist on a large baking tray, leaving a small space between each.
- Brush each twist with a little whisked egg (or milk). Sprinkle with the leftover cheese.
- Bake for 20 – 22 minutes or until puffed up and golden.