Fried Cheese Curds

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! 

overhead shot of tray of fried cheese curds with dipping sauce with text overlay for facebook


 

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 our favorite Poutine recipe 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!

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. 
overhead shot of cheese curds on tray with dipping sauce

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.

fried cheese curds on tray with bowl of dipping sauce

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.
angled shot of bowl of crispy cheese curds

How to Make Fried Cheese Curds

You are going to love how easy it is to make these crispy delights!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. Serve and enjoy. Serve immediately with Bloomin’ Onion Sauce or other desired sauce like an aioli, ranch or blue cheese.

Variations

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.

Dipping Sauce

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….

tray of fried cheese curds with dipping sauce

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

Can I make fried cheese curds without beer?

You sure can. Just substitute water or milk for the liquid. You could even use club soda instead to get that bubbly texture.

Can you fry cheese curds without a batter?

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. 

Are fried cheese curds like mozzarella sticks?

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.

collage of cheese curds for pinterest

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angled tray of cheese curds with text overlay for pinterest
tray of fried cheese curds with dipping sauce

Fried Cheese Curd Recipe

4.64 from 22 votes
Fried Cheese Curds, also known as Beer Battered Cheese Curds, as the perfect fried cheese balls! Gooey little nuggets paired with a tangy dipping sauce. A great easy appetizer for snack idea!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Measure 1 cup cold beer into a measuring cup. Start drinking the remainder of the beer. (This step is essential to perfect cheese curds).
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, egg, parsley, garlic powder and oregano. Whisk together. It will be thick and pasty. Slowly whisk in the beer. Place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, but up to 24 hours.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat or to between 325°F-350°F. I highly suggest using a deep fry thermometer. 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.
  • Dredge the frozen cheese curds in the cold beer batter. Working in small batches, place beer battered cheese curds in hot oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes turning to evenly brown. Remove as soon as beer batter is a warm brown and before cheese melts and escapes from the crunchy exterior.
  • Remove each batch to a paper towel lined baking sheet or a wire rack over a paper towel lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt while still tacky. If you are making a large amount, you can keep completed beer battered cheese curds in warm oven.
  • Serve immediately with Bloomin' Onion Sauce or other desired sauce.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 458 kcal, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Protein: 15 g, Fat: 31 g, Saturated Fat: 21 g, Cholesterol: 86 mg, Sodium: 292 mg, Potassium: 69 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Vitamin A: 60 IU, Calcium: 323 mg, Iron: 1.8 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 458
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese curd recipe, fried cheese curds
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.64 from 22 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. I love cheese curds – but it never occurred to me to use them in cooking! We always just ate them like a snack. Can’t wait to give this a try – thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh man, cheese curds. I am DYING to try them but never have. They sound like my kind of thing, for sure. And this version looks beyond fantastic!

  3. You spoke to me through this post, as a Wisconsinite with a French Canadian heritage who lived (and loved)in Montreal for a year (with many a poutine trips since I was 19 and not at aaaallll concerned with my waistline)…and that blooming onion sauce? In my family we used to heat a cup of water in the microwave and then drop a cheese curd in it…it would get extremely elastic. Kind of fun to play with…if you are a kid at heart like me anyway;)

  4. I love beer battered recipes. Just something about it that speaks to me. I need to try this, looks fantastic.

    1. Most grocers with a specialty cheese section will have a few packages. Or ask and they can order them.

  5. 5 stars
    These look and sound soooooooooo good! I love cheese curds, and you just upped the yummy factor! Pinning! I think people would go gaga over these at my next Happy Hour!

  6. Oh goodness I have never tried cheese curds. I’m a New Englander so I don’t think it’s around where I live but boy would I love to try them!