If you have never had Southern Pecan Cheese Wafers you are missing out! This cheese crackers recipe is nothing like you have ever bought at the store. It is a really fun cocktail appetizer and goes great with drinks and a cheese plate!

cheese wafer

Guys, I think I was meant to be born in Louisiana. Or maybe Georgia. Mississippi? Should the first word of this post been ya’ll?? Maybe not. I think I’m spelling it wrong.

It’s turning into a very Southern Thanksgiving around here. My best friend Sarah, who is also not Southern, texted me a couple days ago and said she was making my Cornbread Stuffing with Bacon and Sage and Literally the Best Mac and Cheese I’ve Ever Had for Thanksgiving, and that I’m making them more Southern than they’ve ever been. (Mac and cheese is not on the Thanksgiving menu where I’m from)

cheese wafers recipe

(Wait a second, she’s from West Virginia. Is that Southern?? Sarah, are you really Southern and I didn’t know? Come on, where is your accent??)

Also while we are on the topic of Sarah’s home state, let’s take a moment to remember that time in college when Sarah and I were introducing ourselves to a new friend, and Sarah said she was from West Virginia, and New Friend said, oh, you mean western Virginia? Like, you’re from the western side of the state? Sarah’s like, “no… West Virginia IS a state.” Oh dear. We still laugh about that one.

cheese crackers recipe

So on to today’s very Southern recipe, and if you want to make it as an appetizer for Thanksgiving, I don’t care where you are from, EVERYONE WILL LOVE YOU. Cheese Wafers are absolutely addictive.

I’ll be honest, I’m not much one for making my own crackers. I see all kinds of recipes these days for homemade goldfish, homemade graham crackers, etc. It’s just not my thing. Graham crackers are already delicious, and my kids don’t care whether their goldfish came from a box or from my kitchen.

cheese crackers recipe

But I’m here to tell you that these Cheese Wafers are in an ENTIRELY different category. Like, okay, technically these are glorified cheese crackers, but I’m telling you, they do NOT compare to anything you can get at the store. They are ultra cheesy (hello sharp cheddar!) and have a little bit of cayenne pepper for a bit of spice. (They are not really that spicy, they just have tons of great flavor. You can adjust the cayenne to your taste.)

cheese appetizers

Fun fact, these cheese wafers look almost identical to one of my favorite Christmas cookies of all time, Butter Pecan Cookies. The first time I tried one I was very confused that it was not sweet.

You could definitely try chopping up the pecans, adding them to the dough, and baking them flat so that they look more like crackers. Either way will work. But I love the look and taste of having a whole pecan on top of the cheese wafer.

How to make cheese wafers

cheese crackers recipe

You really have to pack the cheese in if you are measuring it and not weighing it.

cheese wafers recipe

I tried cheese wafers for the first time when I was in Richmond, Virginia (which, by the way, is not on the western side of the state). We were visiting my brother Nathan when he was a resident there. We tried out this fun lunch spot called Sally Bell’s Kitchen. We ordered their box lunch and took them on a hike with us. It came with a sandwich, potato salad, deviled eggs, cheese wafer, and a cupcake. Now THAT is what I call a box lunch. It was all so good and I even recreated the Upside Down Almond Crunch Cupcakes that we had. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that tiny cheese wafer. I knew I needed to try it at home!

cheese appetizers

The recipe is super quick to put together. The dough needs some time to chill in the fridge, and you can make it days in advance. You can even bake the cheese wafers the day before you plan to serve them. They would be really fun to have at any holiday parties you have coming up. They are perfect for nibbling on with drinks.

cheese wafer

You can also make these cookies as slice-and-bakes. It would be fun to package up a roll of chilled dough and gift it to someone with a bag of pecans and instructions to go with it. A nice holiday gift that is not so sugary.

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More cheesy appetizers you will love!


Southern Pecan Cheese Wafers

4.87 from 61 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 33 minutes
Servings: 60
If you have never had Southern Pecan Cheese Wafers you are missing out! This cheese crackers recipe is nothing like you have ever bought at the store. It is a really fun cocktail appetizer and goes great with drinks and a cheese plate!


  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded*
  • 60-70 pecan halves


  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce until smooth and creamy.
  • Add 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika, if you're using it. Beat well, scraping the sides.
  • Add the cheddar cheese and beat well, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Cover the dough and chill well, at least 2 or 3 hours or up to 3 days.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheet 1 inch apart. Press the top of each ball with a fork (if the fork sticks, coat with flour). 
  • Place a pecan half on top of each wafer. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until the edges are quite brown.
  • Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store covered on the counter. Best served within 2 days. 
  • Re-heating: I made these a day in advance as Thanksgiving appetizers. They lose a bit of their crunch by day 2, so I spread them out on baking sheets and baked at 350 for about 5 minutes until they got crispy again. Worked great!


* This comes out to about 3 cups, very well packed.
You can also make these cookies as slice-and-bakes. Once the dough has come together split in half and shape each half into a log about 12-14 inches long. Wrap in plastic and chill for 2-3 hours. When you are ready to bake, use a sharp knife to cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a baking sheet and top each wafer with a pecan half, gently pressing down (It won't go in to the cold dough very far, but once it's baked it will stick.) Bake as directed. It would be fun to package up a roll of chilled dough and gift it to someone with a bag of pecans and instructions to go with it. A nice holiday gift that is not so sugary. 
I also tried making these with chopped pecans in the dough. Add about 3-4 cups chopped pecans to the dough and stir until incorporated. Shape into logs, chill, and bake as directed. If you are short on pecans, this is a good way to make sure every wafer gets some pecan. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 742kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 76g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g | Monounsaturated Fat: 42g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 71mg | Potassium: 416mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 199IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Calories: 742
Keyword: cheese, pecan, Southern, wafers
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. Hello. This reminds me of a recipe I made as a kid with my mom. We called them Cheese Thins and this is as close as I have found to what I remember our recipe being like. My question to you is this: since your recipe calls for 1/2 tsp salt, is it best to use unsalted butter (or omit the salt if using regular salted butter)? Just wondering if they could end up overly salty. I believe that they probably will be fine though. Just checking. Thank you.
    Geri W.

    1. Hi Geri! You can use either for this recipe, since these are salty, crispy, cheesy snacks. If you prefer things a bit on the less-salty side, use unsalted, and use salted if you love the saltiest of snacks. Enjoy!

  2. I’ve been making a similar recipe for years at Christmas. I called them Pecan Cheese Bites. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe. When placing the pecan, I just press it into the dough  ball and the dough forms a little around the sides of the pecan, helping to hold it on. I’m a Cajun girl, so I also add Tabasco to mine. It doesn’t make it too hot, but adds a little extra zing. I love the idea of making them into thumbprint cookies using pepper jelly or bacon jam! Also, once these are assembled, I can freeze them (before baking) on a cookie sheet. Once frozen I place them carefully into a ziploc freezer bag, then pull out when needed. Especially great to have on hand for unexpected guests. 
    Love these addictive bites!  Making some tomorrow!

  3. 5 stars
    I made these for our small family Christmas gathering and they were such a hit! My mama usually hates everything I make, but she commented that they were so good and were better than the cheese straws she makes. I brought them over slightly warm and later told her we could reheat them for the crunch. She said she didn’t care about the crunch, & that they were just as good soft — maybe better. I agree. Thanks for making me the Golden Child for Christmas 2021 😜.

  4. I am a New Englander and have made these several times. They are delicious and always a big hit, but I have a problem getting the pecans to keep from falling off the top. I hope you have some suggestions for me. 

    1. Hi Judy! I haven’t had too many issues with the pecans falling off, that’s frustrating! Make sure you are pressing the pecan into the raw dough with a little force. It should be on there pretty snug before going into the oven. Hope this helps, enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    Yes, you are spelling “y’all” incorrectly. The word is a contraction of “you” and “all”, so the apostrophe is behind the y. “Ya’ll” means “ya will”. Also, as a bona fide southerner, I can tell you that Pimento Cheese is not a dip to us. It is a sandwich spread. We also, when I was coming up poor in Alabama, would eat banana sandwiches or pineapple sandwiches: white bread, mayonnaise, and either sliced bananas or crushed pineapples. Don’t knock it till you try it!

  6. 5 stars
    It’s spelled y’all (short for you all…the ‘ is in place of the “ou” in you). These were good, but I mixed chopped pecans into the mix like my granny did. Also, making them reminded me of a sign I saw recently, “Ban pre-shredded cheese and make America grate again!” LOL

    1. Hahaha!! I totally love that bumper sticker! It’s true, ya’ll gotta grate ;) and my misspelling of ya’ll is actually on purpose because I feel like that makes it a clear indicator that I’m not from Texas. I’m a poser and everyone knows it. Lol!!!

  7. 5 stars
    These are fantastic. A hit with family and friends. The wafers are one of my most requested recipes. I like to roll the dough into a log, wrap in saran wrap, and slice when cold. So easy to make.

    1. I’m so happy to hear you are loving the wafers Annette! So glad you’ve gotten requests, that’s always a nice feeling :) Thank you for the slicing tips, and thanks for reviewing!

  8. I made these this year for the holidays. I doubled the recipe and rolled into four (4) logs – I froze 2 of the logs for Christmas baking and cooked up the other 2 logs for Thanksgiving. I garnished with Planter’s Salted Pecans – the extra salt was GREAT!

    I also have the Rice Krispie wafer recipe from an old family member who swears it was on an original Rice Krispie Box.

    Fredna Earl’s Cheese Crackers –

    Mix – 2 Cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    2 sticks butter, softened
    Add – 2 Cups all-purpose flour
    Add – 2 Cups Rice Krispies
    – Roll into balls
    – Flatten with a fork
    – Bake at 375F for 10 minutes (I leave them in until the cheese starts to brown – 3 – 5 minutes longer for crispier crackers

    NOTE: These taste better if made 3 – 5 days before serving.

  9. So good! But in the south, at least in my family, you sprinkle them with powdered sugar – that’s the best part!!

    1. What what what!!! I’ve never heard of this! I must try it. Thanks for sharing Kelly! You are awesome!

  10. 5 stars
    Hi! My name is Virginia (Gini), and I live in the Ashland area (north of Richmond), but lived in Richmond, VA for many, many years before moving to the northern area. I’m originally from Orange, VA, which is a very small town, about 70 miles west of Richmond – lots of farms with horses and cows. ANYWAY! My mother made these cheese wafers at Christmas and as a child, I loved them. Now that I am retired with a grown family of my own, I make these at Christmas, also, and they are always a hit. The only thing I do differently is I chop the pecans coarsely and put them in the cheese dough before baking, AND I add 2 cups of Rice Krispies to add more crunch to the wafers. It’s getting that time of year to start making these again. YUM!

    1. Rice Krispies what!! That sounds so good Gini! I’m totally trying that next time. Thanks to you and all your Southern compatriots for making all these amazing recipes for us all to enjoy!!

  11. These look great! However, these were actually known as cheese straws back in the early 20th century in many Southern homes. My grandmother ‘s recipe for this variety of cheese straws turns out dry so I’m going to try this one which looks luscious and very flavorful!

    1. I thought cheese straws were basically the same recipe, just in a straw shape? Did they call them straws if they were sliced or dropped like this? I’ve been meaning to try this recipe in the straw shape. Interesting info Nancy, thanks for sharing! Let me know how the recipe goes!

      1. I’m not sure about the straw shaped ones and their origin of history but both my grandmothers – with deep Southern roots going way back – made them from old family recipes. One grandmother owned pecan orchards and so she was working with what was available. I’ve got a friend with a similar background and a similar family recipe. It makes you wonder how old the tradition actually is. I’ll be making them at Thanksgiving for my sister’s family who have never had them before. 😊

      2. No, we do not call the round ones “cheese straws” because they are not elongated in a straw shape. These are round, and can be called cheese crackers or cheese rounds, or just “hurry up with those cheese things”, LOL.

    1. I haven’t tried it but I think it would work great Maggi! Make sure it’s well sealed and thaw on the counter before baking. Enjoy!

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