Deep-Fried Cheese Curds
Most people who go to the Minnesota State Fair have a similar must-try food on their bucket list: Deep-fried cheese curds.
You can find cheese curds all around Minnesota, but they’re Wisconsin through-and-through.
I recently traveled to Ellsworth, Wisconsin, to pick up some fresh cheese curds from the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery. Ellsworth is proclaimed the Cheese Curd Capital.
What Are Cheese Curds?
Most of the cheese you buy at the store has been aged.
In contrast, cheese curds have not been aged. If cheese curds were allowed to age, they’d eventually become cheddar cheese. But instead, they’re bagged up and sold fresh.
Wisconsin state law allows cheese curds to be sold unrefrigerated within one day of being made.
You’ll know a good cheese curd if it’s served at room temperature and squeaks when you chew it.
If you know you know…
How To Make Deep-Fried Cheese Curds
There are two popular ways to eat cheese curds:
- Battered and deep fried
Both are delicious, but the deep-fried version makes for an unforgettable appetizer/snack.
The cheese curds are dipped in a simple beer batter, then deep fried until golden brown. If you know how to deep fry foods, this is a super simple recipe. If not, just remember a few things:
- Use a heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer
- Use peanut oil for the best results. Canola oil or vegetable oil will also work.
- Heat oil to 350F – or test the oil by dipping the edge of a battered cheese curd in the oil. If it sizzles, it’s probably hot enough.
- You can reuse the oil once or twice – but no more. Strain out any fried bits of food before reusing.
- To discard, place in a lidded jar sealed tightly and throw in the trash. Do NOT pour down the drain!
This Recipe Uses A Simple Beer Batter
If you’re going to have cheese curds, have them the right way: With a beer batter.
This beer batter is a simple combination of beer and self-rising flour. If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can make your own using this recipe:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Sift together before combining with beer.
See detailed recipe, below.
More Minnesota State Fair-Inspired Recipes
The Minnesota State Fair lasts just 10 days every August into September. But you don’t have to wait for the fair to enjoy your favorite state fair foods at home!
- Sweet Martha’s copycat cookies
- Corn fritters with maple butter
- Tomato fritters
- Deep-fried candy bars
- Ham and pickle rollups
- Ham and pickle rollup egg rolls
If you’re lucky enough to enjoy fresh fried cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair, you can’t go wrong with Mouth Trap cheese curds in the Food Building or The Big Cheese on the west side of Liggett Street.
Eat fried cheese curds plain or serve with ketchup, raspberry ketchup, ranch dressing, apple chutney or your favorite dipping sauce.
- 16-ounce bag fresh cheese curds
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 12 ounces beer (can or bottle)
- Vegetable, canola or peanut oil, for frying
- Make beer batter: Place flour in a large mixing bowl. Slowly mix in beer until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Heat 2 inches of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat oil to 350F - or heat until a battered cheese curd dipped into the oil sizzles.
- Take a cheese curd, dip it in the beer batter and let excess drip off, and place it in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown - this could take 30 seconds to 1 minute or so. Remove fried cheese curd from the oil with a slotted metal spoon. Place cheese curds on a plate or pan lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Repeat, frying 3 to 4 cheese curds at a time, until all curds are fried.