Cheese Crisps

If you have read some of my past posts, like the one about roasting beans (so delicious, by the way!) or the recipe for 2-ingredient coconut macaroons, you know I enjoy a good kitchen experiment.  The journey I am taking for Sargento Cheese is up my alley more than they probably realized when they asked me to work with them.  I have been testing cheeses I never used before and incorporating Sargento’s products in new and unusual ways as I develop new recipes.

In need of a last-minute hors d’oeurve, I scanned my fridge and noticed the sheer excess of cheese.  My mother-in-law adores a thin cheese crisp that she makes in her microwave.  I have made Parmesan crisps in the oven or in a skillet on the stovetop, yet had trouble wrapping my brain around microwaving cheese.  But as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained…right?

Because I have made cheese crisps with shredded Parmesan and other hard cheeses, I thought I would start on the other end of the spectrum.  Although I was pretty sure microwaving a soft cheese would result in a goopy mess, I began with…I know what you are going to think…a Provolone-Mozzarella cheese stick!  They are the two pictured on the top right of the cheese board.  I continued with sliced cheese, regular and Ultra Thin.  For the standard slices, I tore them in half and folded each half on top of itself, making two crisps from each slice.  For the thinner slices, I doubled the slice then doubled again for one crisp per slice.

Each and every  time, I was rewarded with another perfect crisp.  Two minutes was the average cook time.  The Ultra Thin slices were the exception, requiring about a minute and a half.  I cut a piece of parchment the size of the glass turntable in my microwave and cooked right on it.  After each batch, I removed the crisps to a paper towel, wiped off the parchment (as some of the fat cooks out of the cheese during the cooking process), and reused the same piece of parchment.

The flavorful rounds were light and crispy with a hint of saltiness.  I added nothing to them, however.  It was just the cheese and the parchment, which made for very easy cleanup! Perfect for a pre-dinner nibble and a novel option to a bowl of nuts.  I actually had to ask my husband and kids not to eat anymore until I took a few pictures!

Although I did send a thank you note, I would like to mention that the pretty cheese board and tea towel (on which you can sort of see my name monogrammed in red), were lovely gifts from my friends at Sargento.  They were given as a welcome and have already been well used.  One thing that really stuck with me when I spent time at the Sargento headquarters outside of Milwaukee in February was a motto espoused by the company: Hire the best people and treat them like family.  As I spent time in the facilities, that motto was clearly played out and exemplified by employees who so obviously loved their jobs. Beyond that, I learned that Sargento is truly a pillar of support and voluntarism in their community, helping to build Habitat houses for many decades now.  Thought that was worth a mention.  I could give more examples, but I should probably get to this easy recipe!

Cheese Crisps
While I used Gouda, Mozzarella-Provolone, 4 State Cheddar and a few others, choose whichever Sargento flavors you like the best or have been wanting to try. I think I tested enough to confidently say that all of these all-natural cheeses should work!
One or a combination of the following Sargento all-natural cheeses
  • Cheese sticks
  • Shredded cheese
  • Ultra Thin Slices
  • Regular cheese slices
  1. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your microwave turntable and place it on the turntable.
  2. For the cheese sticks: Cut in quarters and place two quarters side by side on the parchment; you will have two blocks per cheese stick. Make as many as desired, leaving a couple of inches between each one.
  3. For the shredded cheese: Place slightly mounded tablespoonfuls on the parchment with a couple inches of space between them.
  4. For the Ultra Thin slices: Fold each slice in half, then in half again, spacing as directed on the parchment-lined turntable.
  5. For the regular slices: Fold in half and then tear the slice down the middle, forming two pieces. Break each half in two again. Stack two quarters on top of each other, forming two piles per slice, spacing as directed once again.
  6. Microwave on full power for approximately 2 minutes for all but the thin slices. They will take about 1 1/2 minutes. I recommend cooking for 1 minute, checking, and then microwaving in 30-second intervals (perhaps a 15-second interval at the end) until the cheese is crisp and golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool enough to touch. Remove to a paper towel. Wipe the parchment with another paper towel and repeat as often as desired.
  8. Once cooled, eat and enjoy, and store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen
For the introduction to this flavor trend journey along with the top 10 flavor trends as determined by top chef Rick Bayless, click here.  And if you would like to see the Pinterest board I created to see other recipes incorporating the ten flavor trends–this board will continue to grow over the year ahead–click here.

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  1. susan

    very well written and explanatory. I love the Sargento motto which should be every business’s motto btw. and I enjoy their cheeses. since you’ve written so favorably about them, I plan to buy their product more often. thank you for this and yes, I will be trying it. cheese = nominess.

    1. Ann

      Thank you for your comments, Susan. I always feel better about buying the products I like when I feel good about the company behind them. Sargento is truly a big company with a small family feel.

  2. Mary Lou Keller

    wow! I cannot believe how easy this looks! and as Susan has posted above, I too will be buying more of their products. I am impressed and I really thank you for sharing this information about them Ann.

    As for the cheese crisps… OHHH MYYYY. there is a lot of food I can learn to live without but cheese is NOT one of them. Can’t wait to try these recipes.

    1. Ann

      Hi Mary,
      To make these in your oven , I would recommend five to seven minutes at 350 degrees F. Exact time will depend on the amount of cheese and your oven, as ovens may vary. If you watch closely during the last couple of minutes, you will get a feel for exactly how long it takes. I hope you enjoy!

  3. Mary Lou Keller

    Yummy yummy! Just tried with the extra sharp cheddar slices Ann.. WOW I have found my new favorite way to love cheese.

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  5. Carol Graham

    Oh my gosh what a find!!
    I tried this with finely shredded swiss and with medium shred white cheddar, both straight out of the freezer. Since I was doing a test batch, I made 4 crisps of each cheese, one cheese at a time. The swiss took about 30 seconds and the cheddar about 50 seconds, so they need watching, depending on the power of your microwave. They were both delicious, but if I make a large amount for a party, I think I will cycle different parchment paper in and out, as it helps to give the crisps a few seconds to cool before popping them off the parchment paper.

    1. Ann

      So glad you found these, Carol, and great suggestions. There can be a big difference from one microwave to another. On the other side of the spectrum, they take over three minutes in my mother-in-law’s microwave!

  6. Renee

    I have been doing this for years on a saucer, but parchment paper works for me. I LOVE the taste of cheese this way!

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  9. Ken

    We are having a problem with cheese sticking to parchment paper. Is there a certain type of paper we should use. We get the cheese to get crisp in Micro but cannot get it iff the Parchmrnt paper. Please help us cause we really love cheese.

    1. Ann

      Hi Ken,
      I have never had that problem, although I think you can fix it. My best suggestion would be to lightly oil the parchment…and then try another brand when it’s time to replace. If you still have trouble, let me know and I will keep thinking!

  10. Ken

    We have tried the oiling with no luck. We are going to try a different paper but we didn’t know if there was a brand that had the best results. Thank you for responding and do let us know if you have anymore suggestion. We do low carbohydrate eating and this really fits the plan. I really want to add this to our list of available foods.

  11. Ken

    Success! We bought some Reynolds parchment paper and that did the trick. We were using a paper by Cooking Concepts which probably came from one of the Dollar type stores. I have made around 80 or so and not one stuck to the paper. We love them. Thank you so much for helping. Look forward to trying all you examples.

    1. Ann

      Great news! I actually just looked and I have Reynold’s brand currently, too. i’ve used other brands as well, so the one you mention must have something a little different in it! Enjoy the cheese crisps!

  12. Rila

    Hi Ann! I got back from Costco tonight with a large bag of shredded parmesan cheese and the goal of making some cheese crisps. Of course, the first place I looked was Fountain Avenue Kitchen and voila! — there was your fantastically easy recipe. Thank you! I really wondered if they got get crisp in the microwave so I did some in the microwave and some in the regular oven and the microwave batch is noticeably better (crisper, faster, easier). So thank you AGAIN for sharing your cooking talents with us. Love your beautifully laid out website and how easy it is to find recipes!

    1. Ann Post author

      I know! Who would have thought the microwave would work better? Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Rila, and hope all is well with your crew!

  13. Barb

    OMG!! I tried doing these in the oven the other day. What a mess. I did provolone slices in the microwave and now I am addicted. Thanks.

    1. Ann Post author

      That’s awesome, Barb! They are so easy, and I’m glad you found this method. For another idea, try breaking them up a bit and using as croutons. 🙂