How to make beer battered fried cheese curds.
- Go straight to the Recipe Card or
- Read on for relevant information and tips (2 mins)
Fried cheese curds are, if you ask us, an iconic beer garden menu food item in America.
Chewy, melted, salty cheesy goodness encased in delicious crispy golden beer batter… What is not to love about these bites? A small bowlful of them and a cold beer on a warm summer day sounds better than perfect.
Cheese Curds are a classic…but what are they?
Eaten fresh, as a classic topping in poutine or deep fried, cheese curds have raving fans among the ranks of craft beer fans. But they are, in our very, very partial opinion, best paired with beer.
Cheese curds are made by adding rennet and mesophilic culture cheese starter blends to warm milk. The type of bacteria in the starter culture determines the type of cheese curd (cheddar is the most common). After the milk separates the whey is drained from the curds, the curds are shaped into a single mass and cut into slabs and then through a series of cheddaring steps any residual whey is removed and the fresh cheese curds are cut.
Here is a great video demonstration of making cheese curds if you are interested to see the process.
Best When Fresh
Cheese curds have a landmark springy, rubbery texture and are best eaten fresh. If you ever had cheese curds made the same day you know how much better the texture is versus those that have been sitting refrigerated for a few days.
They are often sold already flavored besides the salt added at the end of the making process. Popular flavors are Cajun, BBQ, Onion & Garlic, Dill, Ranch etc.
We used white cheddar cheese curds from a local creamery which we bought from the local cheese section of our grocery store. Relatively fresh and perfectly fine for making fried cheese curds. They were quite squeaky when we tasted them plain prior to frying.
Why do Cheese Curds Squeak?
Squeaking is a signature attribute of fresh cheese curds. Here is why.
There are long protein strands in them which are very elastic and upon contact with your teeth the rubbing of those strands against the enamel produces a squeaky sound. The fresher the curd the more pronounced the squeak.
After a day the curds begin to lose their squeak as the bacteria used to make them continue to work and increase their acidity content and break down the long proteins into smaller and less elastic fragments. This video provides a good explanation for the loss of squeakiness.
Different Ways to prepare Fried Cheese Curds
You can prepare fried cheese curds in any number of ways so feel free to make alterations to our basic recipe below. For this post we simply whipped up a basic batter with a beaten egg and beer and selected a pale ale with a good balance of malts and herbal hops.
It is definitely fun to experiment with differently flavored curds and methods of making them. You can truly identify your favorite kind of fried cheese curds. Whenever we can get our hands onto dill flavored ones we add garlic powder to the batter – the result is impressive.
Here are a few other suggestions to prepare fried cheese curds:
- breaded fried cheese curds – simply toss in flour, dip in egg wash and then roll in bread crumbs
- soda water battered fried cheese curds – replace the beer in our recipe with soda water and add a bit of sugar to compensate for the loss of malty sweetness
- buttermilk battered fried cheese curds – use buttermilk in lieu of the beer in the recipe below
- spice battered fried cheese curds – follow the recipe below but add your favorite spice to the batter – we particularly like adding smoked paprika
Fried Cheese Curds in Beer Batter
Golden, crispy outside reveals gooey melted cheese curds. These beer battered fried cheese curds are an iconic American beer snack. A nod to Wisconsin creameries and breweries. Servings depend on amount of curds you will prepare.
- 2 quarts cooking oil for frying
- 1 to 2 lbs of fresh cheese curds, you will have leftover batter if you use 1 lb and just enough for 2 lbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup flour + more to toss cheese curds prior to dipping them in the batter
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup beer
- Place the cheese curds in the freezer for about an hour just prior to frying them (optional step, but recommended).
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot to 350 F (375 F if you chilled curds in the freezer).
- Fill a small bowl with flour (depending on how many curds you have 1/2 to 1 cup).
- In another bowl add the beaten egg, the flour, baking soda, salt and beer and beat with a fork until a thin-nish, smooth batter forms.
- Working 6 to 8 curds at a time, toss them in flour, then dip them in the batter and fry until they turn golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry over paper towels.
- Enjoy immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 2 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 681Total Fat: 555gSaturated Fat: 87gTrans Fat: 11gUnsaturated Fat: 80gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 488mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 116g
Raschell | MissHomemade.com says
I stopped scrolling immediately when I saw these babies. Looks awesome. Here in Wisconsin my first love is fresh, squeaky curds and my second when they are fried. Great website and so informative. Looking forward to more.
Jas - All that's Jas says
Those look dangerously delicious. They deserved the feature! So easy to pop them in the mouth and not know when to stop, lol. YUM. Pinned.
I’m originally from the midwest where beer and cheese are a food group. The BEST food group in my opinion. Nothing is more satisfying then sipping a cold brewski and munching on some fried cheese. I’m excited to see your beer garden menu! Your website brings me so much happiness. Whenever I’m stressed I just come back here and gaze upon your stunning photography of tasty morsels and beer and I instantly feel beer. BETTER! I mean better 🙂
LOL! Very well stated, beer and cheese are a food group!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
Girl, stop whatever you are doing and send me some of these, ok?!?! Seriously, though, this is right up my alley. We have cheese curds on poutine every once in a while for a lil’ treat, but beer battered? Now, that’s taking it to another level. I would have a hard time sharing these. Side note—> can you imagine THESE on poutine?! Mind blown. Pinned and can’t wait to try 🙂
Lol:) All I can say is that the first time I had real poutine in Canada I was mind blown. Can hardly imagine a more indulgent, cozy thing to eat in winter. It has a special place in my heart and cheese curds are so essential to the experience…We need to make some poutine soon! Have a great week!
Nicoletta @sugarlovespices says
I love almost anything deep-fried, and these cheese curds are looking so appealing! I don’t think I’ve ever had them, but I know I would like them a lot! With a cold beer, they would be just perfect and I’m worried about how many I could eat! 🙂 Cannot wait for your ‘beer garden’ section!!
Thank you, Nicoletta! They are so good:)
[email protected] says
There is nothing not to love about these bites! Absolutely nothing! Pinned!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
I let out an audible sigh when I saw the name of this post :). Cheese curds hold a special place in my heart because of a road trip to Tillimook with my aunt when I was little. I’ll have to send this recipe to her! I think the only way to improve upon a cheese curd is to fry it!
Thank you, Kelsie! I bet the cheese curds you had were super fresh!
Helen at the Lazy Gastronome says
We get cheese curds every time we visit Tillamook (cheese factory). This recipe will be tried next time – pinning. Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party!
Thank you so much Helen for stopping by!