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Cheese puffs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cheese puffs
Cheese puffs in a bowl
Alternative namesCheese curls, cheese balls, cheesy puffs, corn curls, corn cheese
TypeSnack food
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsPuffed corn, flavoring

Cheese puffs, cheese curls, cheese balls, cheese ball puffs, cheesy puffs, or corn curls are a puffed corn snack, coated with a mixture of cheese or cheese-flavored powders. 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. Puffcorn is a similar food, without cheese flavoring.


Cheese puffs were invented independently by two companies in the United States during the 1930s. According to one account, Edward Wilson noticed strings of puffed corn oozing from flaking machines in the mid 1930s at the Flakall Corporation of Beloit, Wisconsin, a producer of flaked, partially cooked animal feed. He experimented and developed it into a snack.[1] Clarence J. Schwebke applied for an improved extruder patent in 1939[2] 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.[3] Adams was later bought by Beatrice Foods.

Another version was created by the Elmer Candy Corporation of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1936. The sales manager Morel M. Elmer Sr. held a contest to name the new product "CheeWees". The trademark was lost when the candy company was sold in 1963, but the family's Elmer's Fine Foods continued to make the snack and repurchased the name in 1993.

Notable brands[edit]

Common brands of cheese puffs
Brand Manufacturer Country Year
Cheetos Frito-Lay U.S. 1948
Cheez Doodles Wise Foods Northeastern U.S. 1958
Cheezies W.T. Hawkins Ltd Canada 1948
Curl Meiji Japan 1968
Kurkure Pepsico India India 1999
NikNaks Simba Chips South Africa 1972
Pirate's Booty B&G Foods U.S. 1987
Twisties The Smith's Snackfood Company Australia 1950
Wotsits Walkers United Kingdom 1970

In popular culture[edit]

A fictitious brand of cheese puffs called "Cheesy Poofs" has appeared periodically in the animated television series South Park. The Frito-Lay company produced a limited, promotional run of the snack in August 2011.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Atlas Obscura: A Brief History of the Cheese Curl Retrieved May 26, 2018
  2. ^ U.S. patent 2,295,868
  3. ^ Burtea O (2001). "Snack Foods from Formers and High-Shear Extruders". In Lusas EW, Rooney LW (eds.). Snack Foods Processing. p. 287. ISBN 1-56676-932-9.
  4. ^ Stuart Elliott (14 July 2011). "Celebrating 'South Park' by Bringing It to Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 October 2011.