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In the past, I have made the mistake of making too much fuss over Thanksgiving appetizers. I go all out and make too many, or I choose recipes that are way too complicated, leaving me burned out on cooking before the turkey is even done. This year, I have decided to do something easy. I plan on leaving out quick bites that people can grab as they chat or watch football. And the one bite I am most excited for is my Cheese Straw Olive.

Everyone has had a cheese straw. This traditional Southern bite is a staple at every cocktail party. But, I like to change it up. Adding an olive elevates a reglar ol’ cheese straw, and it is so easy to make. My favorite recipe comes from Gena Knox, one of my favorite cookbook authors. This recipe comes from her cookbook, Southern My Way (a great Christmas gift for your favorite cook!).

First step, shred your cheese. Please, please shred your own cheese. I really think it makes a difference, and since you need your food processor to form your dough it’s easy to shred your own cheese. Next, dump all of your ingredients into your processor fitted with a steel blade.

Spin away! It takes several minutes to form your dough. Scape down the sides as needed.

Next, pinch a bit of dough and form a little hollow space in the middle. (It kind of looks like a taco.)

Place an olive in the middle.

And, form the dough around the olive. (It is better to use less dough then more.)

I often use pimento-stuffed olives, but really you can use any stuffed olive or stuff your own! Garlic, sun dried tomato, jalapeño, prosciutto olives are all good choices.

Cheese Straw Olives

Loosely adapted from Gena Knox
This savory party bite is a twist on cheese straws.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Southern
Servings 40 olives


  • 1 10 oz block of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 40 large stuffed olives with pimentos


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Shred cheese using the cheese shredding attachment on your food processor
  • In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, combine shredded cheese, butter, flour, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  • Process until you have a loosely formed, soft ball of dough. (This should take several minutes.)
  • Using your hands, form a hollow space in a small piece of dough, place olive in the middle, and wrap dough to cover olive completely. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned
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To save yourself some time, you can make the dough the day before and then wrap and bake the olives the next day. The dough will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Other good easy bites:

  • spiced nuts
  • deviled eggs
  • smoked salmon or charcuterie trays, both of which are super easy




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