These easy Cheese & Onion Rolls are almost as common on a British buffet as their sausage cousins! Using fluffy potato as a base and packed with onion and tasty cheese, they really are a delicious veggie puff pastry snack. Air fryer and oven instructions included for extra ease!
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Cheese and onion rolls are a strange beast – they really should be called Cheese, Onion & Potato rolls because the potato in the filling is essential for both the taste and texture.
I tested a whole heap of different versions of these pastry rolls, including several that didn’t use potato and used other bulk fillers like breadcrumbs instead. But they were all missing something – it turned out to be potato.
I’ve included my method for making super quick mashed potato using the microwave. Simply nuke potatoes, cut them in half and scoop out the soft and fluffy innards. I also discovered that if you use instant potato like Smash, you cannot tell the difference, so that’s an extra easy alternative option.
To address a possible elephant in the room, yes the filling for these rolls does spread a little. Every test I did where I made the filling less cheesy, more eggy or overall drier in any way, they just weren’t nearly as nice to eat. So I’ve settled on a recipe with great flavour, great texture and just a tiny bit of escaping filling.
How to Serve Cheese & Onion Rolls
Quite possibly more than any of my various sausage roll and related recipes, I want to eat these warm, ideally fresh out of the oven. The gooey cheese and warm crunchy pastry simply has the best flavour and texture that way.
They are perfectly fine to serve at room temperature and I know that many people even prefer them this way!
They’re great for buffet spreads, picnics, lunchboxes, cheesy afternoon snacks and even in place of a pie or pasty for dinner (try adding chips and beans!)
More Sausage Roll Recipes
You can now find all of my sausage roll recipes in one place. Plus I’ve included a few extra bonus sausage based recipes too!
If you’re looking for veggie and vegan options, doesn’t worry, they’re included too!
Ingredients for Cheese & Onion Rolls
Unfortunately I found that this isn’t a great recipe for using up leftover mash. Not unless that mash has no extra fat or liquid added. If you make it like me with heaps of butter and cream this causes a problem with this recipe.
So the best way is to make some mash from scratch. I’ve given two super simple ways to do this in the recipe.
The first is microwaving whole potatoes. Look for varieties which are marked as all rounders, fluffy or baking potatoes. You want to avoid waxy potatoes as the texture is wrong for both regular mash and these rolls.
I have tried my best to give you guidance on how many potatoes you need to obtain the required amount of mash but it will vary. Using more smaller potatoes will give you less mash than using fewer larger potatoes because of the flesh to skin ratios.
The second way is to use instant potato mix – the measurements for this are pretty easy and included in the recipe. Smash is my retro go-to here but there are own brand and newer branded options available too. Look for the original/plain flavour rather than something with added extras.
I sometimes make my own homemade puff pastry and it truly is delicious. But like most folk, I mostly use store-bought pastry. I tend to buy the ready rolled version as it is really easy to make the rolls with and is exactly the right thickness.
If you can find and buy the all-butter versions, these do give the best flavour.
I usually use white/brown onions for this recipe as they are slightly sharper than red onions. But I’ve made the recipe with red onions too and I do like the touch of extra sweetness. So pick the version you prefer.
The most important thing is to cut the onions very finely. This will make sure that they distribute really evenly throughout the filling.
If you prefer the onion flavour to be very front and centre, halve the cooking time on the onions. This will also give them more crunch.
I’ve left the type of cheese for this recipe really open. As long as it is cheese which is hard enough to grate or that you can buy ready grated, it is good to use.
My preference is to use a roughly 50/50 mix of mature cheddar and red Leicester cheeses. I sometimes buy them pre-grated, sometimes I grate them myself – it really doesn’t matter. If possible, using grated (shredded) is better than chopping up a block or slices but you can do this in a pinch.
Please avoid fresh mozzarella as it will just ooze everywhere! If you want to use parmesan, make sure to mix with another cheese – use it for max 25% of the total amount or the texture doesn’t work well.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Cheese & Onion Rolls with Puff Pastry
- 25 g Instant Potato Powder
- 250 ml Boiling Water
- 250 g Cooked Mashed Potato - without significant butter/milk/cream
- Poke 500g Potato with a fork and microwave on a microwave safe plate or bowl until soft – around 5 to 8 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.
- Once cooked, cut each potato in half then scoop out the cooked flesh. You want to end up with around 250g Mashed Potato. You may have a little spare depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Give it a mix to break up any lumps then allow it to cool spread out on a plate.
- Alternatively make up instant mash with 25g Instant Potato Powder and 250ml Boiling Water. Allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile, finely dice 200g Onion.
- Add the onion to a microwaveable bowl along with 1 tbsp Salted Butter and ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes.
- Cook the onion in the microwave for 5 minutes – give them a stir a couple of times during cooking. They will be softened but not cooked through – you want to retain some bite. Set aside to cool.
- Once the potato and onions are cool, preheat the oven to 200c fan | 220c | 390c or equivalent.
- Mix the potato and onion mix together then add 250g Grated Cheese, 1½ tsp English Mustard Powder and ½ tsp Sea Salt Flakes.
- Crack and beat 1 Egg then add the majority to the potato cheese mix. Reserve around ¼ to glaze the rolls.
- Mix everything together until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Roll 320g Puff Pastry out on a floured surface to about ¼ inch thickness. Or unroll a sheet of ready rolled pastry.
- Cut the sheet into half lengthways with a sharp knife.
- Split the potato mixture roughly in half and then in half again. Form a quarter of the filling into a sausage shape half the length of each pastry strip. Using wet hands will help with this.
- Place the filling around ⅔ of the way along the pastry strip.
- Repeat with the remaining 3 quarters of the filling. Make sure the filling reaches from end to end and is of roughly equal thickness all the way along.
- Use a pastry brush to cover the smaller side of exposed pastry with a little of the reserved egg.
- Start to roll the pastry around the filling starting with the egg free pastry. Keep the pastry nice and tight to the filling.
- Continue to roll until the filling is totally enclosed. Wet your finger a little and gently press along with pastry seam – this will allow the pastry to meld together and reduce the likelihood of the pastry coming apart as it cooks.
- Use the same sharp knife to cut the end off of each roll to neaten it up if needed. Cut each roll into half, then half again and then half again to end up with 16 rolls.Note – Use the knife to saw rather than press down or you will squash the rolls. Wipe the knife in between each cut. Don't forget not to press too hard.
- Move each roll to a lined baking tray, seam side down. Make sure the rolls each have ample room to expand.
- Generously egg wash the top and sides of each roll. Make sure to not wash the exposed ends or filling.
- Sprinkle over roughly 25g Grated Cheese. Try to pile a little onto each roll or you’ll end up wasting a load on the baking tray.
- Bake for 15 minutes until light golden brown. They may need slightly longer depending on your oven. Use your eyes and judgement. If your oven does not cook evenly, turn the tray midway through cooking.
- Allow to cool a little before tucking in!
TO AIR FRY (SEE NOTES SECTION FOR MORE GUIDANCE)
- Prepare the rolls per the oven instructions but apply the egg wash and extra cheese without moving them to a tray.
- Preheat your air fryer if your version requires you to.
- Once hot, remove the basket and lightly grease using an oil spray (not fry light) or brush on some oil. Be careful because the basket will now be hot.
- Use tongs to carefully place the rolls into the basket. Make sure to leave enough room for the rolls to puff up.
- Cook for 15 minutes at 180c/350f.
- Remove the rolls from the basket to a cooling rack then continue to cook the remaining rolls in as many batches as you need.
- The air fryer version of this recipe is tested in a Corsori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I can fit 6 cheese and onion rolls in the basket at a time. The fit is quite snug. For the recipe as written, this means that I need to cook the rolls in 3 batches.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.