|Alternative names||Cheese curls, cheese balls, cheesy puffs, corn curls, corn cheese|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredients||Puffed corn, flavoring|
|Cookbook:Cheese puffs Cheese puffs|
Cheese puffs, cheese curls, cheese balls, cheesy puffs, corn curls, corn cheese are a puffed corn snack / crisp, coated with a mixture of cheese or cheese-flavored powders. Common brands include Pirate's Booty (U.S.), Cheetos (U.S.), Cheez Doodles (Northeastern U.S., Sweden), Chee-Wees (New Orleans, South Central U.S.), Chizitos (Perú), Boliquesos (Perú), Cheezies (Canada), Twisties (Australia), Kurkure (India and Pakistan), Utz (U.S.) Wotsits (U.K.), Curl (Japan) and Chee.Toz (Iran).
They are manufactured by extruding heated corn dough through a die that forms the particular shape. They may be ball-shaped, curly ("cheese curls"), straight, or irregularly shaped. Some are even shaped as animals or other objects. Some cheese puffs are puffy while others are crunchy. A similar snack, puffcorn is made likewise, but without the cheese flavoring.
Cheese puffs were invented in the United States of America in the 1930s; there are two competing accounts. According to one account, Edward Wilson and/or Clarence J. Schwebke of the Flakall Corporation of Beloit, Wisconsin (a producer of flaked, partially cooked animal feed) deep-fried and salted the puffed corn produced by their machines, and later added cheese. He applied for a patent in 1939 and the product, named Korn Kurls, was commercialized in 1946 by the Adams Corporation, formed by one of the founders of Flakall and his sons. Adams was later bought by Beatrice Foods.
Another account claims they were invented by the Elmer Candy Corporation of New Orleans, Louisiana some time during or prior to 1936 at which time the sales manager for Elmer's, Morel M. Elmer, Sr., decided to hold a contest in New Orleans to give this successful product a name. The winning name "CheeWees" is still being used today by the manufacturing company, Elmer's Fine Foods.
- Deirdre S. Blanchfield, How Products Are Made: An Illustrated Guide to Product Manufacturing, Gale, 2002, ISBN 0-7876-2444-6, p. 70
- "U.S. Patent 2,295,868".
- Burtea, O (2001). "Snack Foods from Formers and High-Shear Extruders". In Lusas EW; Rooney LW. Snack Foods Processing. p. 287. ISBN 1-56676-932-9.
- Stuart Elliott (14 July 2011). "Celebrating ‘South Park’ by Bringing It to Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 October 2011.