This Cheese Puff Recipe is an easy Holiday Recipe for festive entertaining! It takes just 5 main ingredients, staples you may already have on hand. Top with paprika, chives, or cooked bacon, for the perfect little cocktail nibble for Christmas or New Year's Eve.
- Serve these cheese puffs before serving the main course of Lamb Chops and Tarragon Dijon Sauce or my Salmon with Beurre Blanc Sauce
- And for dessert try my Honey Lavender Creme Brulee or my No-Bake Chocolate Mousse
Why You'll Love These!
- They are light and airy and melt in your mouth!
- The sharp cheddar cheese gives them wonderful flavor
- You can make a few batches ahead of time, freeze, and then just pop in the oven and bake. No need to thaw first
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French Loaf: The softer, squishier the French loaf is, the better! Since it will make the cheese puffs light and pillowy! (I tried it with a crisper baguette and they were not as good!) Also cut off the crusts so you have just the inside bread as the cube, that too adds to their lightness.
Unsalted Butter: The cheddar cheese adds a lot of saltiness to the cheese puffs so it's best to use unsalted butter otherwise I find they tend to be a bit too salty.
Cream Cheese: I like to use whipped cream cheese because I think it's easier and quicker to melt, but it will still work with brick cream cheese if that's all you have.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese: It's amazing how much more flavor you get from the sharp cheddar vs. the mild cheddar. Definitely buy the sharp cheddar it will add so much more flavor than mild cheddar or white cheddar cheese. Have extra cheese? Put it to good use in my Cheddar Cheese Coins. Another great cocktail nibble.
Eggs: You'll need 2 egg whites for this recipe. Use the real eggs (as opposed to pasteurized, egg whites in a carton) the real eggs whip up a lot better and you'll need that volume to create the lightness in the cheese puff.
Smoked Paprika: I like the smokey flavor the smoked paprika provides over the regular paprika, it's a great flavor combination against the cheddar cheese
Fresh Chives: These little morsels are rich! So adding a little freshness in the form of some fresh chives balances out the richness. It also looks pretty on the cheese puff as well when you serve it.
Tips for Making the Cheese Sauce:
- Use a double boiler (a larger pot of water that boils over a smaller pot with ingredients in it). The double boiler creates a gentle heat for melting the butter, cream cheese, and cheddar, which may otherwise scorch under stronger heat.
- Add the butter, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese to the pot together at the same time. If you add the butter first, and it starts melting before the other ingredients are in, the sauce will separate and it will be harder to work that melted butter back into the cheese sauce.
Trouble Shooting the Cheese Sauce:
- Once melted your sauce should be a thick, velvety smooth sauce.
- If the butter separates, you can bring it back together by adding ¼ cup more cheddar cheese, and whisking vigorously, or try bringing it back together with an electric hand mixer.
Creating the Cheese Puff Mixture:
- Once the cheese sauce has cooled you'll transfer it to a bowl, and then fold in the beaten egg whites.
- The stiff egg whites will lighten the heavy cheese sauce.
- Fold the egg whites in, a third at a time, until they are all incorporated.
- Once the mixture is light and fluffy, you are ready to start dipping the bread cubes.
Dipping the Bread Cubes:
- This is definitely the most tedious part, but once baked you'll be rewarded with the most delectable little cheese puffs, you'll forget all about it!
- Using 2 forks you will pierce the bread cube, and roll it around in the cheese mixture until the cubes are coated on all sides.
- Then transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- The parchment paper sheets are key for preventing the cheese puffs from sticking or burning on the bottom. I buy the pre-cut parchment sheets online and it makes holiday baking a breeze!
Make-Ahead and Serving Tips:
- You can make the cheese puffs ahead of time and place them on the trays and keep them refrigerated. Then pop the trays in the oven and bake once guests arrive.
- Or you can place the baking tray in the freezer, and once the cheese puffs are frozen, you can transfer them to a Ziploc bag and freeze until ready to bake.
- Then place them back on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake as directed. No need to thaw first. They may just take 1-2 minutes more in the oven.
More Great Appetizer Recipes!
- Honey Glazed Cashews
- Tarte au Soleil with Pesto
- Smoked Salmon Mousse on Cucumber Coins
- Baked Brie with Fig Jam
- 6 thick slices of soft French Bread, cut into 36 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup (120g) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (90g) whipped cream cheese
- 2 egg whites
- 1 ⅓ cup (113g) Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
- ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) Smoked Paprika
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) Fresh Chives, minced
- Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set them aside.
- Slice bread into 1-inch cubes removing crust, until uniform in size. Set aside.
- In a double boiler, add the butter, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese. Stir gently with a whisk until combined and a cheese sauce forms. Transfer sauce to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly and then set aside.
- Meanwhile, whip the 2 eggs whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites, in thirds, into the cheese sauce, lightening the mixture gently with each fold.
- Dip the bread cubes, one by one, into the cheese mixture with 2 forks, rolling the cube around the sauce until the cube is coated. Transfer the cubes to the baking sheets lined with parchment. Complete the process until the trays are filled.
- Sprinkle cubes with paprika and fresh chives. Bake for 13 minutes, switching trays at the 6-minute mark. Serve immediately.
Trays can be refrigerated until ready to bake. Or place trays in the freezer until cubes are frozen then place them in a Ziploc bag and bake as needed. No need to thaw first.
Use a French Loaf: The softer, squishier bread works best for this recipe since it will make the cheese puffs light and pillowy! (I tried it with a crisper baguette and they were not as good!) Also cut off the crusts so you have just the inside bread as the cube, that too adds to their lightness.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 28mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g