Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds, Pan-fried

Melty on the inside and crisp on the outside, Wisconsin Fried Cheese curds are a classic appetizer or snack. And they can even be pan-fried! Melty on the inside and crisp on the outside, Wisconsin Fried Cheese curds are a classic appetizer or snack. And they can even be pan-fried!

True confession time. This Wisconsin girl had never fried cheese curds before now. Eaten them? Yes. Enjoyed them? For sure. 

So when my Sunday blogging group decided to do “Regional Favorites” I knew what I had to do. 

Now for the uninitiated, cheese curds are produced in an intermediate step in the cheese-making process.  At the point where the milk separates into curds (solids) and whey, the tasty morsels can be pulled out and enjoyed!   Fried or not!

Cheese Curds

Early Fried Cheese Curds

It was ages ago now, when I had my first fried cheese curds. And it actually happened in Iowa, not Wisconsin. Once or twice a year we’d head to a small town there (Wilton for the Iowa-savvy) to visit my grandparents. There was a cheese factory right in town and if I was lucky, my father would suggest a walk downtown to buy fresh cheese curds.  Melty on the inside and crisp on the outside, Wisconsin Fried Cheese curds are a classic appetizer or snack. And they can even be pan-fried!

We’d enter the building, pause to watch the machines turning, shop, then head over to my great grandfather’s house, cheese curds in tow. My great aunts would be there, ready to fry up our bounty. Unlike modern fried cheese curds, they used a frying pan, not a deep fryer, and absolutely zero breading. Melted inside and crisp on the outside, they were always a hit!

One day, back in Wisconsin, my father decided to give this a try. Unfortunately, our curds melted before they developed a crust—and promptly stuck and burned over the bottom of the pan. He tried again and the next batch worked. Then the following didn’t. What?!

We eventually stopped trying to fry them and just ate them plain. Melty on the inside and crisp on the outside, Wisconsin Fried Cheese curds are a classic appetizer or snack. And they can even be pan-fried!

Fried Cheese Curd Innovation

Enter the battered cheese curd craze. I don’t know who first did it, but once you dunk cheese curds in a batter, they all fry great.

End of problem, except all the recipes call for a deep fryer. I don’t own a deep fryer.

You see, that much oil scares me. Even when I do keto.

So I went back to my Iowa aunties and their frying pan technique. Using about ¾ inch of oil in my smallest frying pan for best oil conservation. Hooray, a winner again!

Final Notes

Now I should note that this is a very basic beer batter recipe. It’s really designed to let the melty flavor of the cheese shine through. But feel free to jazz it up if you’d like with some extra spices or flavors–there’s more than one way to batter a cheese curd.

Next, in the true nature of all things fried, I think these taste best if given a good sprinkle of salt right out of the frying pan.

Finally, I hear you can substitute club soda for the beer if you are out of beer or a non-drinker. This is something I haven’t tried and can’t confirm.

I am never out of beer. Wisconsin girl.

Melty on the inside and crisp on the outside, Wisconsin Fried Cheese curds are a classic appetizer or snack. And they can even be pan-fried!

Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds, Pan-fried

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Melty on the inside and crisp on the outside, Wisconsin Fried Cheese curds are a classic appetizer or snack. And they can even be pan-fried!

Ingredients

  • Oil for frying (see note)
  • 1 pound cheese curds, broken apart

Batter:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, scooped (see note)
  • 1/2 cup beer (see note)
  • Salt
  • 1 egg

Instructions

In your smallest frying pan, pour a good frying oil about ¾ inch deep. Heat until a test piece immediately sizzles but doesn’t burn quickly (about 350 F)


Whisk together batter ingredients to form a smooth batter. It should be like thin pancake batter so the batter sticks but isn’t a thick coating. Add more flour or beer as needed.


Coat the curds in batter a few at a time. Fry the curds until golden, then turn and fry the other side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place on towels to drain, salt, then cool briefly to avoid burning. Serve while still hot and melty.

Notes

The first time I tried this I fluffed, spooned and leveled my flour. The batter was way too runny and I had to add more flour. The second time I scooped my flour and it came out just about perfect. If your batter is not sticking, try a little more flour.

No beer? I have heard that club soda works too. If you try this, I’d love to hear if it works .

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Cholesterol: 79mgFiber: 0gSugar: 0g

Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.

Regional Favorites

We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you’re at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Melty on the inside and crisp on the outside, Wisconsin Fried Cheese curds are a classic appetizer or snack. And they can even be pan-fried!

 

Melty on the inside and crisp on the outside, Wisconsin Fried Cheese curds are a classic appetizer or snack. And they can even be pan-fried!

26 thoughts on “Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds, Pan-fried

    1. Inger Post author

      I feel so bad for all the college seniors and their parents. At least your Covid numbers are getting better. Ours are getting worse again 🙁

  1. Raymund

    I never had tried anything like this and curds are not available in the supermarkets here, when I made my poutine before I have to make my own curds. Looks like I have to make it again to try this delicious looking dish.

  2. Ashley Marie Lecker

    Hello fellow Wisconsinite! I have to say that I have never had cheese curds pan fried before as they are typically deep fried when I make them or order them, but they look nice and melty! I also love a fresh curd- nothing like that squeek!

  3. Inger Post author

    We’re so spoiled to get them never-refrigerated and squeaky! I don’t own a deep fryer and am amazed at how many things still pan-fry well.

    1. Inger Post author

      Oh dear–I’d be in trouble without my beer. I even buy some alcohol free beer so that I can cut down my drinking and still have beer 🙂

    1. Inger Post author

      Maybe I’ll remember this when this awful pandemic ends and can bring some. We had an Arizona/Utah trip planned for April spring break which (obviously) got canceled.

  4. April

    I’ve heard of fried cheese curds, but never had the opportunity of enjoying them yet. I wouldn’t even know where to find them, as I’ve never seen them in any stores where I live. (Southern Indiana) Now that I’ve read your post and seen the pictures though, I can’t wait to try some!

    1. Inger Post author

      I wish cheese curds were more widely available but you may have a shot in Indiana. My daughter, who went to ASU, complained you couldn’t even get good frozen custard there. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


css.php