Deep Fried Cheese Curds have been a favorite at State Fairs and festivals, as well as recognized staples on menus throughout Wisconsin and Canada, but you can also make them at home!
Lightly fluffy beer batter engulfs sweet little nuggets of gooey cheese, make the perfect appetizer similar to mozzarella sticks. Who doesn’t love fried cheese?
This all started when I was prompted to make Poutine and I needed cheese curds. The name alone sounds a little gross, or at least not deliciously appetizing, I like it is the curd part. But holy cow they are good!
What’s In This Article
Why You’ll Love This Fried Cheese Curd Recipe
Gooey cheese coated in a beer batter and deep fried to perfection- what’s not to love!
- Fair food at home – For the longest time I could only find really good cheese curds at the fair, but now you can make them whenever you want in your own kitchen!
- Great for all occasions – Whether for game day, a great appetizer, or even as a side dish, this delicious recipe is perfect for it all.
- Easy to make – Even if it’s your first time deep frying, this recipe is super easy to follow and with minimum ingredients.
What are cheese curds?
Cheese curds are a baby cheese, if you will. During the cheese making process, milk is curdled using a combination of acid, rennet and bacterial cultures (yummy, huh?).
Don’t dis it until you try it.
Fresh curds are pasteurized milk solids prior to being put into molds and allowed to age, resulting in various tastes and textures of cheese. They have a salty, milky taste and are famous for squeaking when eaten, thus earning their nickname of “squeaky cheese”.
They are best fresh, but most of us will be purchasing them packaged and preserved. Look in your specialty cheese department, they are usually in a bag. You can even make your own cheese curds at home, if you prefer.
However it takes a lot of dairy to make 1 pound of cheese curds since here is little milk solid leftover from each batch of fresh cheese. In fact, it can take up to 10 pounds of dairy to make 1 pound!
Cheese Curd Flavors
Cheese curds come in a variety of flavors, mostly cheddar, so you can tailor your Fried Cheese Curds to your own liking and tastes. Sometimes you can find buffalo or yellow cheddar.
You can also add different flavors to the beer batter like garlic, onion, paprika, chile powder, lemon pepper, Cajun seasoning, Thai seasoning, blackened seasoning, ranch, seasoned salt, and anything else you can think of.
The color of cheese curds comes from the diet of the dairy cow. Most are white, because it is a milk solid. Some naturally have an orange tint, but most with strong hues have been colored because they should be white.
Deep-Fried Cheese Curds Ingredients
All of these simple ingredients can easily be found at your local grocery store.
- Cheese curds – Frozen curds are the best to work with. When they are frozen, it takes more time to melt and gives the batter longer to brown and crisp. If they aren’t frozen, you might find yourself with escaping cheese.
- Flour – All purpose flour is what we need here. It’s what helps to hold all of those batter ingredients together and stick to the homemade cheese curds.
- Egg – Unless specified, always assume a recipe is calling for a large egg. This acts as a binder to help adhere the sticky batter to the tasty cheesy curds.
- Seasonings – I like to use a blend of dried parsley, garlic powder and oregano. The beer and fresh cheese curds have lots of flavor already, so we don’t need a lot.
- Beer – This is a beer batter after all! A simple melty lager works great, or really anything beer you already have on hand will work.
- Vegetable oil – This is the oil I prefer for frying. It has a high smoke point which means it can reach a high temperature before burning, making it perfect for frying. You could also use peanut oil.
- Sea salt – II always like to sprinkle a little salt on these cheddar cheese curds after deep frying. It really helps to bring out all the flavors.
How to Make Fried Cheese Curds
You are going to love how easy it is to make these crispy delights!
- Make flour coating. In a medium bowl combine flour through oregano and whisk together. It will be thick and pasty. Slowly whisk in beer. Place in the refrigerator. The colder the curds (which should be frozen) and batter are, the better of a golden brown fry you will get.
- Heat oil. In a large heavy saucepan heat oil over medium-high heat. You can test the oil by dripping a small drop of batter into the oil, if it starts to float and sizzle, the oil is ready for frying.
- Add curds to batter. Dredge frozen cheese curds in the cold beer batter. Working in small batches, place beer battered cheese curds in hot oil. Cook, turning to evenly brown. Remove as soon as beer batter is a warm brown and before cheese melts and escapes from the crunchy exterior.
- Drain excess oil. Remove each batch to a paper towel lined baking sheet or a wire rack over paper towels, this prevents them from being soggy on the bottom.
- Salt & Warm. Sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt. If you are making a large amount, you can keep completed beer battered cheese curds in the oven to keep warm, but don’t heat it up too long or allow them to sit because the cheese will escape!
- Serve and enjoy. Serve immediately with Bloomin’ Onion Sauce or other desired sauce like an aioli, ranch or blue cheese.
We love this great recipe exactly as written, but there are plenty of ways for you to make these cheese curds your own.
- Seasonings – You can take our simple blend up a notch by throwing in some onion powder, cayenne pepper for some heat, or even chipotle powder.
- Crispy coating – I prefer to use a light and fluffy beer batter, but some like to coat in flour, egg and then dried bread crumbs for more of a traditional fried cheese texture and taste.
- Dipping sauce – I serve my fried cheese curds with blooming onion sauce, but check the section below for even more options.
- Air fryer – You could eliminate all the oil and make air fryer cheese curds instead. Place cheese curds in basket and fry 5-7 minutes or until the crispy coating is golden brown.
The best thing (or one of the best things)is the ability to dip cheese curds! The options are endless, and your favorite dipping sauces with work too.
These are pictured with Blooming Onion Sauce– you know the kind you get with a Blooming Onion at Outback? But they will work with any of these….
Make Ahead & Freezing
Storage: Like so many fried foods, they are really best fresh. My advice would be to make the batter, but dip and fry them when you are ready to serve.
Freezing: Cheese curds can be frozen in their original cheese curd form in an airtight container. I have tried to freeze them after frying, but refried cheese just never comes back to the same texture.
Reheating: The best way to reheat leftover cheeses curds is to lightly pan fry them again and allow to drain on paper towels. The next best way is to warm them gently in the oven on 300 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Watch them carefully as the cheese will melt and start to escape. Fried foods can be microwaves, but lose the crunch.
Frequently Asked Questions
You sure can. Just substitute water or milk for the liquid. You could even use club soda instead to get that bubbly texture.
I supposed you can fry anything without a batter, but you are going to end up with a gooey mess of melted cheese in a pot. Not suitable for eating.
While they are both gooey cheese coated in breading and deep fried, one is in the shape of a stick and the other a curd. Curds are generally make from cheddar and mozzarella sticks, well, mozzarella.