Crunchy buttery pastry is filled with melting cheese... 






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp  salt
  • 85 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  •  cup (80ml) cold water
  • 350 g panela, haloumi or firm mozzarella cheese, cut into strips (see Note)
  • Corn oil, for frying
  • Ketchup or tomato sauce, to serve (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, butter, egg and cold water. Blend well until dough is soft but not sticky, adding more water as required.

2. Remove dough from food processor and place on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle about 6mm (¼ inch) thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 2.5cm (1 inch)  strips.

3. Wrap one strip of dough around each piece of cheese, working from one end to the other, until cheese is covered.  Crimp edges to seal. 

4. Heat oil, about 1-1.5 cm deep, in a large saucepan to 190oC / 375oF.

5. Place wrapped cheese sticks into the hot oil, and cook for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until tequeños are golden brown and crisp. Remove from hot oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Serve hot with ketchup on the side.



• Panela-style cheese can be found at some specialist retailers. Haloumi or a firm mozzarella or feta make good substitutes; different cheeses will melt to different degrees. Avoid a too-soft cheese or your cheese sticks may go a little soft.  Cut the cheese into strips about 2.3cm x 2.5cm x 7.5 cm (1x1x3 in), about 30 g (1 oz) each.

• Juan Pablo says that while he likes to eat these with ketchup, you could also try Dijon mayo, chipotle mayo or guasacaca.