You'll love these Crispy Cheese Wafers made with sharp cheddar cheese and a hint of cayenne pepper! These bite-size cheese cookies are topped with toasted pecans and dusted with powdered sugar for the perfect appetizer at holiday gatherings.
What are Cheese Wafers?
Cheese wafers are a cross between cheddar cheese straws and a crumbly shortbread. This recipe also adds a dusting of powdered sugar and pecan halves, so it's both savory and sweet like a cookie.
Traditionally served at Christmas, baby showers and southern tea parties, this light and crunchy snack is hard to resist! It's a great recipe to add to a charcuterie board, or tastes delicious with hot wassail during the holiday season.
It's southern tradition to give crispy cheese wafers as a hostess gift wrapped in a decorative cookie tin or box. Who could resist these light and buttery cheese cookies? They're the perfect Christmas treat!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
What Type of Cheese Works Best?
Sharp cheddar cheese works best in this recipe because the flavor enhances the butter and flour without being too overpowering. Parmesan will work, but try cheddar first for best results.
Also, be sure to shred the cheese by hand (or in a food processor) because a bag of pre-shredded cheese has stabilizers that prevents the dough from sticking together.
Equipment You'll Need
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe. (Items below are affiliate links.)
This cheese wafers recipe requires only 7 ingredients that you may already have in your refrigerator and pantry. See recipe card for quantities.
- sharp cheese - use hand shredded cheddar cheese for best results
- unsalted butter - since salt is added, it's best to use unsalted butter
- all purpose flour - White Lily flour works great in this recipe
- ground cayenne pepper - a little goes a long way, so adjust according to taste
- salt - be sure to add salt for flavor
- pecan halves - add a little pecan half on the top of each cheese wafer
- powdered sugar - use at least 10X powdered sugar to dust the tops
How to Make Cheese Wafers
Start by grating one pound of sharp cheddar by hand into a large bowl. Place the cheese in a mixer with one pound of softened butter (not melted) and mix until fluffy.
Gradually fold in flour, cayenne pepper, (ad) and salt until cheese mixture forms and creates a stiff dough.
Roll dough into a thin layer (about ¼ inch slices) on a floured surface.
Cut dough into small circles about 2 inches in diameter with a cookie cutter (ad) or small glass. Gather the excess dough, then form a ball and roll it out again. Repeat the process of cutting out the dough until it is all gone.
Place a pecan half in the middle of each biscuit and arrange them on an ungreased cookie sheet. You can used a parchment-lined baking sheet if desired.
Bake for only 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Take out of oven and allow to cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy! Store in an airtight container, or wrap in individual bags or boxes to give as gifts during the holidays.
- Use different types of cookie cutters or a cookie press (ad) to make a variety of shapes and sizes.
- Add a drop or two of food coloring to dress up wafers for holiday parties.
- Stir in some Rice Krispies cereal to add extra crunch.
- Make parmesan crisps or use gouda for a smoked version.
- Add fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano for an entirely new flavor.
You can, but using a cookie cutter creates a more consistent shape that looks better after it's been baked. It's also easier to cut the dough if you roll it out. This method prevents it from crumbling and falling apart.
No, some cheddar cheese wafers don't include a pecan or a dusting of powdered sugar. If you have a nut allergy, you can definitely leave off the pecans. But, dusting this recipe with powdered sugar is absolutely delicious!
Yes, you can prepare the dough in advance and keep it in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. When you're ready to bake, just roll it out, cut it into shapes and pop in the oven!
What to Serve with Cheese Wafers
- Holiday Beverages: these tasty little appetizers taste great with crockpot wassail or festive holiday punch
- Quiche: serve alongside mini quiche tarts, meat lovers quiche, or a spinach dip frittata
- Sausage Balls: these sour cream sausage ball nuggets taste great with cheese wafers
- Meatballs: pair with appetizer meatballs for a savory bite
- Classic Cheese Balls: be sure to serve a classic cheese ball with wafers as dippers
- Pimento Cheese: use cheese wafers to scoop up homemade pimento cheese
- Candied Bacon Pecans: candied bacon pecans go really well with other appetizers
- Oyster Cracker Candy: a mix of tiny crackers, special spices, nuts and brown sugar makes oyster cracker candy a holiday favorite
- Charcuterie Boards and Dips: add this recipe to your favorite charcuterie board and serve it with blue cheese dip or apricot cream cheese spread
- Fresh Fruit Platter: watermelon, blueberries, strawberries and grapes on a fresh fruit platter make the perfect accompaniment
Storage and Freezing
Storage: leftovers can be stored in an airtight container outside of the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Freeze Before Baking: you can freeze the dough before baking for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Thaw it out in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Freeze After Baking: To freeze after baking, let wafers cool completely on a wire rack and do not dust with powdered sugar. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating: it's best not to reheat cheddar wafers. It's better to take them out of the freezer or fridge and let them thaw at room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar immediately before serving.
A Christmas Eve Tradition
This is one of our family's favorite recipes because it was handed down to us from our beloved Aunt Julia. Every year on Christmas Eve, Aunt Julia hosted a present-guessing party and invited the whole family over to shake their gifts. She always served cheddar cheese wafers with pecans in the middle which was the highlight of our holidays!
More Holiday Treats!
- Chocolate Covered Cherry Bark
- Mini Quiche Tarts
- Santa's Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Salted Chocolate Toffee Bars
- Coconut Rum Cake
- Christmas Punch
- Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
Crispy Cheese Wafers
*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.
- 1 lb. sharp cheddar (shredded by hand)
- 1 lb. butter (softened but not melted)
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup pecan halves
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Mix cheese and butter together with a mixer until well blended.1 lb. sharp cheddar, 1 lb. butter
- Gradually fold in flour, cayenne pepper, (ad) and salt until dough is formed.4 cups all purpose flour, ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper, ½ tsp. salt
- Roll dough into a thin layer with a floured rolling pin on a floured surface.
- Cut dough into circles with a round cookie cutter (or small glass). ad
- Gather excess dough and form a ball, then repeat rolling process.
- Place one pecan slice on top of each biscuit.1 cup pecan halves
- Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet (ad) and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Remove biscuits from oven and cool completely or the sugar will not adhere properly.
- Dust biscuits with powdered sugar and transfer to a serving dish or store in an airtight container.¼ cup powdered sugar
- These biscuits store well in an airtight container and will last for at least a week.
- Be sure to let biscuits cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.
Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.