When it comes to cheesy food, it doesn’t get any simpler (or yummier!) than cheese sticks. These deep-fried delights are often the first appetizers to disappear from the buffet table. When kids hear that these are on the menu for merienda, their eyes light up like it’s Christmas morning. Adults can’t resist them, either. Admit it: you’ll happily break all your diet rules to indulge in all the salty goodness this snack food offers.
Classic, Pinoy-style cheese sticks call for crisp, delicate lumpia wrappers and ooey-gooey cheese. The processed quick-melting variety is the best choice for this dish because it’s affordable, familiar, and reliably melty. But that’s only the starting point – you can easily customize them to your tastes. Try these ideas!
How to Make Cheese Sticks, the Filipino Way
Think of these as the Filipino version of mozzarella sticks – equally indulgent but not nearly as complicated to make. No need for batters or breadcrumbs! A standard Filipino cheese stick recipe only has four steps: slice the cheese, place them on lumpia wrappers, roll, and deep-fry until golden brown. So easy! Try making some with your kids after school or one weekend afternoon.
4 Cheese Stick Ideas With Dips
Experiment with different fillings and combinations to keep merienda exciting!
1. Four-cheese with honey
This version is the ultimate treat for anyone who loves sweet-savory combinations. These ultra-cheesy goodies take inspiration from the fried truffle cheese wontons by local brunch spot Nono’s. To make the filling, combine cream cheese, sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and bleu cheese in a bowl.
Each cheese type should add a unique texture and flavor to the dish, making it even more addictive. Not a fan of the strong taste of bleu cheese? Feel free to swap it with something milder but no less flavorful – like a crumbly feta. Balance the richness of the cheese with a simple syrup or honey dip. Optionally, drizzle truffle oil over the sticks while they’re still hot, just before serving. This addition gives the treats an extra kick of mushroomy umami.
2. Ube and cheese with condensed milk
Can’t get enough of ube and cheese together? You’re not alone. Filipinos have been enjoying ube-flavored puto with cheese slices long before the combo became a global food trend. Purple yam is naturally sweet and earthy with a nutty, vanilla-like flavor. The best pairing for the tuber is Pinoy-style processed cheese – the kind that comes in a box and melts beautifully over toasted pandesal.
To make this cheese stick recipe, go for halaya over fresh yams – it’s easier to work with. The former is sweetened, spreadable, and ready to use in any recipe. Line your lumpia wrappers with alternating layers of ube and sliced cheese. Roll, seal, and fry. Pair with condensed milk for maximum nostalgia.
3. Fiery dynamite with mayo-ketchup
Dynamite is a beloved Filipino street food and after-school merienda. As the name suggests, the roll is spicier than your average cheese snack. It consists of hollowed-out green finger chilies with a cheddar or cream cheese stuffing. Some variations include giniling for a more filling dish. Thrifty Pinoys even enjoy their dynamite as ulam with rice!
Vendors serve dynamite with a luscious dip of mayonnaise and banana ketchup. Unlike its tomato counterpart, banana ketchup is sweeter and mildly spicy. It’s also so red, it’s almost neon. Make this versatile dip at home by combining two parts Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise with one part banana ketchup. Add hot sauce for extra heat.
4. Cheesy tuna with toyomansi
Proudly Pinoy fast-food chain Jollibee receives global acclaim for its Yum burgers and crispy Chickenjoy. But their deep-fried savory pies have a cult-like following, too – especially the cheesy tuna version. In 2022, Filipina content creator @abigailfmarquez went viral for her version. Instead of a flaky pie crust, she uses lumpia wrappers to encase the molten filling. Genius, right?
Combine canned tuna and mushrooms, cheese, and mayonnaise. Cook everything in a pan until homogenous, then spoon the mixture onto wrappers before frying. You can make yours more finger food-appropriate by making smaller, leaner rolls. Pair with a bright and spicy dip of soy sauce, calamansi, and siling labuyo – but only if you can handle the heat!
Is it time for merienda? Wow the whole family with these creative, homemade cheese sticks!
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