|Alternative names||Cheese curls, cheese balls, cheesy puffs, corn curls, corn cheese|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredients||Puffed corn, flavoring|
Cheese puffs, cheese curls, cheese balls, 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. Clarence J. Schwebke applied for an improved extruder 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 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.
|Chee.Toz||Dina Food Group||Iran|
|Cheez Doodles||Wise Foods||Northeastern U.S., Scandinavia||1958|
|Cheezies||W.T. Hawkins Ltd||Canada||1948|
|NikNaks||Simba Chips||South Africa||1972|
|Pirate's Booty||B&G Foods||U.S.||1987|
|Twisties||The Smith's Snackfood Company||Australia||1950|
In popular culture
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.
- Atlas Obscura: A Brief History of the Cheese Curl Retrieved May 26, 2018
- U.S. Patent 2,295,868
- 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.
- Stuart Elliott (14 July 2011). "Celebrating 'South Park' by Bringing It to Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- "Cheesy Dibbles – the food for super spies". Coyote Productions Blog. October 11, 2014.