Recipe: Indiana State Fair Cheese Curds

Breaded cheese curds piled on blue checked paper
Fried cheese curds

Suzanne Krowiak

Cheese, please. That was a popular response to an informal social media poll about the Indiana State Fair foods readers would miss most this year. Specifically, they meant hot fried cheese.

Ask and you shall receive.

The ancient Romans seem to have had the earliest documented love affair with fried cheese, when they covered fresh curds in semolina flour, fried them in olive oil, and rolled them in honey for a dish called Globuli. When it comes to cheese, we’re happy to follow St. Augustine’s advice and do as the Romans do. We went to Katy Williams, creative director at Tulip Tree Creamery, for a how-to on fried cheese curds. Her method is not only delicious, but it couldn’t be easier.

For the breading, Williams recommends using Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs. “They’re so airy and light that they complement the curds and keep them crunchy,” Williams says. While the curds are delicious on their own, if Williams is feeling feisty, she might serve them with an herbed lemon aioli. “I just throw some mayo and lemon juice in a blender at home with some herbs from my garden.”

For this recipe, we used Tulip Tree’s spicy cheese curds, which you can find locally at farmers markets like Lineage Market, Garfield Park Farmers Market, Carmel Farmers Market, Binford Farmers Market, and Broad Ripple Farmers Market. Or you can pre-order them online.

Read through the entire recipe before you get started, including the note at the end. We’d love to see your fried cheese curd adventures. Post your pictures on social media and tag us at @IndyMonthly or use #INStateFairAtHome.

Fried Cheese Curds


  • 1 9-ounce package of Tulip Tree Creamery spicy cheese curds (or cheese curds of your choice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Whisk eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl.
  2. Place panko breadcrumbs in a separate shallow dish.
  3. Put flour in a resealable baggie. Separate cheese curds (if stuck together in package) and add to the bag with flour. Close bag and toss the curds until well coated.
  4. Dip flour-coated cheese curds in the egg and milk mixture, a few at a time.
  5. Roll the curds in the breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs into the curds until covered individually, and place on a plate.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the curds.
  7. Put plate of coated cheese curds in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. (Don’t skip this step! It will be important during the frying process.)
  8. While curds are in freezer, heat vegetable oil to approximately 375 degrees in medium saucepan.
  9. Remove curds from freezer; carefully drop a few at a time into the hot vegetable oil. Move around in the hot oil while the curds brown on all sides. This will happen very fast, in 10 to 15 seconds. (Remove immediately if you start to see cheeze oozing.) Remove curds with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat for the rest of the curds.
  10. Salt to taste. Enjoy immediately.


  • Frying: 375 degrees can be monitored by a thermometer, but if one is not handy, drop in one test curd to see if the oil is too hot or cold. If the oil doesn’t react at all to the curd, it’s too cold. If it splatters or burns the curd, it’s too hot.