Mum’s Quick Cheese Rolls

Jun 21, 2020

This recipe will make two dozen (a little more than a loaf of sandwich white bread).  

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My mum is Yvonne, and in the winter there would be always be cheese rolls being made on mass in our house. She would make them to have with soup on cold days in the weekend.

She would often make many batches and store some in bread bags in the freezer to use on other days.

What cheese have I used?

I prefer to use either Tasty or Colby in my cheese rolls.

In New Zealand, “tasty cheese” is a common term used to refer to a specific style of cheddar cheese, which can lead to some confusion when comparing it to Colby cheese. Here are the main differences between New Zealand Colby cheese and New Zealand tasty (cheddar) cheese:

  1. Flavor and Aging:
    • Colby Cheese: Colby cheese typically has a milder flavor compared to cheddar. It is not aged as long and undergoes a shorter maturation process, resulting in a softer, creamier texture and a less pronounced tanginess.
    • Tasty (Cheddar) Cheese: Tasty cheese, which is essentially New Zealand’s version of cheddar, has a stronger and sharper flavor profile. It undergoes a longer aging process, sometimes up to several years, which contributes to its more complex taste and crumbly texture.
  2. Texture:
    • Colby Cheese: Colby cheese tends to be softer and smoother in texture. It has a springy, elastic feel and melts well, making it ideal for melting on sandwiches or incorporating into recipes.
    • Tasty (Cheddar) Cheese: Tasty cheese has a firmer texture and can be crumbly when aged for longer periods. It is often used for grating or slicing and pairs well with crackers or fruit on cheese platters.
  3. Color:
    • Colby Cheese: Colby cheese typically has a pale yellow color similar to other mild cheeses. It may have a slightly darker orange hue in comparison to some cheddar cheeses, but it is generally lighter in color overall.
    • Tasty (Cheddar) Cheese: Tasty cheese tends to have a deeper orange color, especially in varieties that are made with annatto, a natural food coloring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. This coloring agent gives cheddar cheese its characteristic orange appearance.
  4. Usage:
    • Colby Cheese: Colby cheese is often enjoyed on its own or used in recipes that call for a mild and creamy cheese. It is a popular choice for sandwiches, cheese platters, and melting into dishes like macaroni and cheese or grilled cheese sandwiches.
    • Tasty (Cheddar) Cheese: Tasty cheese is more commonly used for its bold flavor, whether sliced for sandwiches, grated for cooking, or enjoyed as part of a cheeseboard. It adds depth and richness to dishes and pairs well with a variety of ingredients.

While both Colby and tasty (cheddar) cheeses are beloved in New Zealand, they offer distinct flavor profiles and textures, allowing consumers to choose the cheese that best suits their preferences and culinary needs.

Can I double the recipe?

Yes! It is easy to double!

How do you transport them to keep them hot?

If I need to keep the rolls warm on the way to the smoko room I simply place them on a wooden chopping board and cover them with tinfoil. I then place a tea towel over the top. 
I find they won’t sweat when wrapped up like this.

What should the mixture look like?

When you melt the mixture, make sure to keep an eye on it. Stir it often. It will burn and stick if left unattended.

Stir the pot often to avoid the mixture burning

Why do you chop the side crusts off the bread?

I like to chop two crusts off the edges to make rolling the cheese rolls easier. You could save the edges to make into bread crumbs, or I like to feed them to the chickens and get my reward in eggs.

I use an electric knife to get a straight edge and avoid squashing the bread. My mum found mine in a second hand shop and I find it so handy.

I use an icing knife to spread the mixture onto the pieces of bread. The mixture is easily doubled and can be made in advance and frozen.

When you are ready to use the rolls – place them on a baking tray, spread with butter and grill. Turn and repeat.

Why do kiwis love cheese rolls?

Cheese rolls have a long-standing tradition in New Zealand, particularly in the southern regions of the South Island. Many Kiwis have fond memories of enjoying cheese rolls at community gatherings, school events, or family gatherings. This cultural heritage has helped solidify cheese rolls as a quintessential Kiwi dish.

Mum’s Quick Cheese Rolls

Recipe by Philippa CameronCourse: Lunch, Meal Ideas, Savoury Smoko


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 pckt onion soup (32 grams)

  • 1 can reduced cream (230 mls)

  • 200 grams Tasty cheese ((colby would work well too))

  • 1 loaf Sandwich bread


  • Combine the soup mix and reduced cream in a pot
  • Grate the cheese and add it to the pot
  • Place on a low heat until the cheese is combined
  • Remove the crusts from two sides of the bread. I find using an electric knife makes this super easy.
  • Dollop a pudding spoon amount of mixture onto each slice. Use an icing knife to spread the mixture on each slice of bread.
  • Roll up the slice of bread holding the crust toward you. The sides will be the piece of bread where you removed the crusts.
  • If you are freezing the rolls then return them to the bread bag and stack them in. Use the bag tie to close the bag and pop in the freezer. They will last up to three months in the freezer.
  • If you are eating them, spread butter on each one and grill. Turn over and repeat.