Cheesy and buttery with a little kick of spice – these Thyme and Cheddar Cheese Cookies are a uniquely delicious savory cookie that’s PERFECT as an appetizer, on your cheese board, or even as an edible gift! They can be served soft or crisp, and the dough can be made ahead of time and frozen for later.
I’ve got a really fun recipe to share with you guys today. I’ve already shared a slew of great cookie recipes in the last couple of weeks – like these Classic Thumbprint Cookies, Classic Shortbread Cookies, and these amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Today’s recipe is an effortless and fun twist on the classic shortbread – a delicious savory shortbread cookie! These Thyme and Cheddar Cheese Savory Shortbread Cookies are just as amazing as they sound! They are great as a party appetizer or even for your cheese board.
Plus, these cheddar cheese cookies come together in a cinch and can even be made in a food processor.
Just like regular shortbread cookies, butter is the main ingredient for these savory shortbread cookies. But they are savory cookies, so there’s no sugar. These cheese cookies are flavored with thyme (dried or fresh), black pepper, and white cheddar cheese – insanely addictive and flavorful.
Can I make these cheese cookies ahead of time?
Yep, the dough can be made a few days ahead and kept in the fridge, OR a month ahead and stored in the freezer. And then when you’re ready to bake these thyme and cheddar cheese cookies, simply thaw out the dough in the fridge, slice and bake. Couldn’t be simpler.
What kind of cheese can I use to make these cheese cookies?
I like to use a good quality white cheddar cheese for these savory cookies, since the cheese is the core flavor in these savory shortbread cookies.
But you can substitute the cheddar cheese with a different type of cheese as well, if you like. Some options are,
Some less expensive cheese options are,
- Monterey jack
- Pepper jack
- Sharp or mild cheddar (the color of the cheese cookie will change then)
Since we love spice, black pepper is an absolute must for us. You can reduce the amount of black pepper or leave it out, if you’re making these cheddar cheese cookies for someone who isn’t a fan of spices. I do highly recommend the black pepper though, because that combination of smoky, black pepper and sharp cheddar is just wild! Remember NOT to use finely ground black pepper however. Use a coarsely ground black pepper or restaurant cracked black pepper instead. This way the cheese cookies will be studded with the coarsely ground black pepper, and the flavor won’t be overwhelming either.
And for thyme, I prefer using fresh thyme. It’s a pain in the ass to remove leaves from the stalk, but fresh thyme is so worth it. But if you only have access to dried thyme, that’s OK too.
Soft cheese cookies vs crisp cheese cookies
These savory shortbread cookies can be served either soft or crisp. That’s another way in which these savory cookies can be really versatile.
If you bake them for about 9 minutes, these cheese cookies will be buttery, cheesy and soft. And if you bake them for about 12-14 minutes (when the cookies are starting to color on the surface), they’ll be crumbly, cheesy and delightfully crisp.
How to serve these cheddar cheese cookies
Here are a few options.
- Crackers for your cheese board – these savory shortbread cookies will go really well with soft cheeses and other pates that you would schmear on top of crackers.
- Top it with relish, or caramelized onions or dips or herbs for a delicious appetizer that you can serve at any party.
- OR enjoy them as a snack, just as they are! That’s what we like to do… mostly because we can’t bear sharing these with anyone else.
The base for these thyme and cheddar cheese cookies was inspired by a delicious cheese spread that one of my Aunt’s made me when I was little. She’d make a whole tub of this cheese spread, and keep it in my grandmother’s fridge, and I’d spread it on everything!
These cheddar cheese cookies are like a crispy, crunchy, baked version of that cheese spread… all the cheese and buttery goodness, baked into a deliciously crisp savory cookie!
And if you want to indulge in some holiday spirit, these cheese cookies are perfect for sharing and gift giving too. 🙂
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Thyme and Cheddar Cheese Cookies
These slice and bake savory cookies are easy to make and uniquely delicious! Perfect as appetizers/snacks or as edible gifts!
- 6 oz good quality white cheddar cheese from a block, not pre-shredded
- 4 oz unsalted butter ½ cup
- 2 tsp cracked black pepper coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 heaped tsp of dried thyme
- ½ tsp sea salt cheddar cheese is salty too, so add more salt only if you’re using a different cheese
- 5.3 oz AP flour about 1 ¼ cup AP flour (spooned and leveled)
Shred the cheddar cheese using a grater (large grater holes are ideal).
Place the butter, shredded cheese, black pepper, salt and thyme in a bowl and mix with a hand-held beater on medium speed. Mix for a few minutes until the butter is creamy and the cheese gets mixed in with the butter.
Add the flour, and mix on low speed until the flour forms wet clumps (and there are no dry spots in the dough).
Bring the dough together to form a dough ball. Knead it a little if needed (to bring it together). But don't knead too much.
Form an evenly shaped dough log that's about 6-7 inches long. Wrap it in plastic wrap. Knot the two ends to form a tightly wrapped dough “sausage”. Refrigerate until the dough has chilled - about 30 min to 1 hour. You can also let it chill for up to 5 days in the fridge, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
When you're ready to bake - remove the log from the fridge (or freezer). If the dough is too hard to cut through, let it thaw a little (so that it's still chilled, but easier to cut). Unwrap the dough when you’re ready to slice it.
With a sharp knife, cut ¼ inch thick discs from the dough log. Use your fingers to shape the cookies into nice round shapes, if they lose their shape a bit.
Place the sliced cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking tray and let the tray chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place the chilled cheese cookies on the parchment paper-lined half sheet pan, with about an inch of space between each cookie.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 - 12 minutes for a soft cheese cookie - remove the cookies from the oven when the bottom edges of the cookie are starting to color.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes for a crispy cheese cookie - remove from the oven when the cookies start turning golden in color on top.
Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Repeat with the remaining sliced cookies (make sure the half sheet pan is at room temperature for this second batch of cookies - so either use a new half sheet pan, or cool down the previous one to room temp. first).
Place the cooled cookies in an air-tight container for up to 4 days. OR wrap them in plastic wrap, and then in foil, and store in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Serve at room temperature.