Fried Sage and Manchego Cheese Rolls

fresh sage leaves being rolled for Fried Sage and Manchego Cheese Rolls

Fried Sage and Manchego Cheese Rolls are tender sage leaves wrapped around tiny chunks of Manchego cheese and then lightly fried ~ this unique tapas style appetizer is always a hit!

making fried sage and manchego cheese rolls on a cutting board

fried sage and manchego cheese rolls

I found this idea of rolled and fried sage years ago in an old Italian cookbook I picked up at a thrift store. I happened to get some especially beautiful large sage leaves the other day and they jogged my memory about those rolls. the original recipe involved anchovies—my adaption is even better, if I do say so myself.

fresh sage leaves and manchego cheese

what you’ll need

  • fresh sage leaves, the larger the better. It helps to have medium to large sage leaves for this, so that you can fit a decent size chunk of cheese inside.
  • manchego cheese
  • olive oil
  • toothpicks

Sage leaves have enough body to them that they hold up when fried, and take on the most wonderful flavor and crispness. Fried sage leaves are a delicacy just by themselves, sometimes served with an aioli type dipping sauce, sometimes as a garnish on Italian dishes.

making fried sage rolls with manchego cheese

let’s make it!

  1. Trim any longer stems from your sage leaves. Place them upside down on your surface.
  2. Put a small chunk of cheese at the tip end, and roll up, around the cheese. Secure with a toothpick.
  3. Fry in hot olive oil (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep) in a skillet for about a minute to a minute and a half, just until the sage has crisped.
  4. Drain on paper towels, shower with coarse salt, and serve!

If your oil is deep enough you can stand the rolls upright in the oil and flash fry the whole roll at once. The rolls will fry in about a minute. If you use shallower oil it’s easiest to use tongs to flip them over. Either way it takes a minute or less to fry them. Drain briefly on a paper towel before serving. You can toss the cheese cubes in flour first if you want, that just helps to keep the cheese from melting out of the leaf too fast, but I didn’t bother.

how to serve fried sage rolls

These little rolls can stand on their own, just provide a nice chardonnay or pinot noir. I pile them on a little plate and let people at them. I find they taste good at room temperature, too.

a small plate of fried sage rolls
fried sage leaves stuffed with manchego cheese

the sage leaf gets crisp, the Manchego melts. What more is there to say?

fried sage rolls on a plate

more Mediterranean inspired appetizers

fresh sage leaves being rolled for Fried Sage and Manchego Cheese Rolls
5 from 1 vote

Fried Sage and Manchego Cheese Rolls

Fried Sage and Manchego Cheese Rolls are tender sage leaves wrapped around tiny chunks of Manchego cheese and then lightly fried ~ this unique tapas style appetizer is always a hit!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 16 large sage leaves
  • 16 small cubes of manchego cheese


  • Heat about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of olive oil in a saute pan. It should be hot enough that the sage sizzles on contact with the oil.
  • Lay down sage leaves, under side up. Put a small chunk of cheese at the tip, and wrap up, securing with a toothpick.
  • Fry until crisp, about one to one and a half minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve.

Cook’s notes

Double or triple the recipe to serve more.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I have a monster sage plant in my garden that is so huge. This could really work for me. Thanks

    • Reply
      November 18, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      You are so lucky, that will be perfect!

  • Reply
    Bites from life with the barking lot
    October 12, 2012 at 5:00 am

    As always, your photographs are amazing….

  • Reply
    October 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    And they look like they’re wrapped in felt!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    October 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Really!? This sounds so interesting and creative. So outside the cheese box!

  • Reply
    October 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Great idea! 🙂

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    October 9, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Joyous! Nuff said x

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    October 9, 2012 at 2:11 am

    fried sage! Count me in- when can I come over to eat! It sounds so good

  • Reply
    October 9, 2012 at 12:10 am

    These look like an amazing quick appetizer to make for parties! I can just see a big platter getting decimated. 🙂

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    October 8, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Who would have thought anyone could make sage leaves look so pretty? These sound amazing – what a fun little appetizer!

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    October 8, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Ummmmm…Want. Don’t know much else to say. I would not be able to stop eating these.

  • Reply
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    October 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    What a great use for my sage leaves!!! And I’ve been dying to try this cheese! Thanks for sharing, I’ll bet this is a very flavorful appetizer!

    Have a great week!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    October 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Now this is so creative! I love that you just rolled them up and put them on toothpicks! My kinda fun little appetizer!

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