An easy recipe for deep fried cheese curds for anyone not fortunate enough to live in or near Wisconsin. These crispy little bites are legendary in America’s Dairyland!
Frying up cheese curds for a dozen hungry quarterbacks? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What are cheese curds, anyways?
Technically, cheese curds are the moist pieces of curdled milk that are part of the cheesemaking process. That may not sound all that appealing, but trust me on this, they’re out of this world. They have a mild taste with a perfectly salty, fresh cheese flavor. They can be white or yellow, although sometimes the cheesemaker seasons the curds with herbs and spices.
Wisconsin is perhaps the most well-known place to find fresh cheese curds. They’re sold fresh or deep fried as a local delicacy, usually using a light beer batter like this one.
However, Canada loves its curds, too. Canadians use cheese curds for poutine, a dish involving fries, cheese curds, and gravy.
Cheese curds vs. cheese..what’s the difference?
I could see how someone who never has experienced a cheese curd could think that fried curds are no different than a breaded mozzarella stick, for example. But it’s just not true, I tell you!
Cheese curds somehow taste younger and fresher than a fully-formed cheese. That’s because they are. Cheese usually goes through an aging process, once the curds are corralled and pressed into the cheese form. The curds you’re lucky enough to find…think of them as baby cheese. Mmmm…deep fried baby cheese!
Why do cheese curds squeak?
Squeaking is a sign of freshness; air is trapped inside the porous curd and makes a tiny, cute sound when you bite into it. If a cheese curd doesn’t squeak that means it’s less than fresh. Unfortunately, cheese curds are at their squeaky prime within the first 12 hours of being made. After that, even if refrigerated, they aren’t as squeaky fresh. It’s one of the reasons they’re difficult to find at the grocery store.
Where can you buy cheese curds?
Outside of Wisconsin or any dairy-rich region, curds are notoriously difficult to find. Thank goodness for the internet! I order my cheese curds here, when my family is tired of shipping them to me.
How do you store cheese curds?
Most curd aficionados swear by keeping their curds out on the counter, to maintain the squeak. They’d never think of refrigerating cheese curds! However, most cheesemakers recommend warming cold curds in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds to get the squeak to return.
Whatever you do, make sure you use room temperature cheese curds within a couple days. If you fry them up, I promise you they’ll be gone within the hour.
How do you make Fried Cheese Curds?
Finally! I thought you’d never ask.
This fried cheese curds recipe uses a beer batter to get the party started, but you can substitute out soda water if you want to keep the beer out of it.
- To deep fry cheese curds, I like to use a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed, deep pot for heating oil. I heat the oil to 375 degrees.
- In a big bowl, I whisk together flour, beer, eggs, milk, and salt to make a thin batter.
- The room-temperature curds get dipped in the batter, a few at a time. I shake off the extra batter and gently lower them into the hot oil.
- Cheese curds don’t take long. Depending on their size, they may take a couple minutes on each side. They should be golden brown when done.
- When ready, I remove them from the oil and let them cool a bit on a paper towel lined plate or tray.
- They’re delicious as-is, but taste sublime dipped in ranch dressing or Sriracha mayo.
- Go Packers!
What is a good substitute for cheese curds?
You can always plan ahead and order cheese curds online, but if pressed, some people have been known to use chunks of full-fat mozzarella instead. Or you could make your own cheese curds, with the right ingredients, equipment and a little patience. If you try it, please let me know how homemade cheese curds worked for you.
Fried Cheese Curds Recipe
- 2 quarts vegetable oil or corn oil, for frying
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup beer preferably dark, such as Guinness
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1 pound cheese curds separated
- Ranch dressing for serving, optional
- In a large saucepan or deep fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, milk, beer, eggs, and seasoned salt. The batter will be light and thin.
- Working with 6 or 8 cheese curds at a time, add to batter, toss to coat, and remove with a wire strainer. Shake them to remove excess batter.
- Drop the curds into the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with ranch dressing if desired.