Cheese Curds

Cheese curds: Wisconsin's cheesy little secret

Why do Wisconsinites smile when they hear the words "Say cheese?" They're thinking about cheese curds.

These tiny morsels of squeaky goodness are the freshest of fresh cheese - let them sit for 24 hours and "poof" – the magic and the squeak is gone (though truth be told, we'd eat them before that could happen). Cheese curds may have gotten their start as a humble byproduct of the cheesemaking process, but today, cheese curds are a star in their own right. With a texture similar to young cheddar but springy and playful, cheese curds are always ready to party in your mouth. Rock on, baby cheese.

How to "prepare" cheese curds – and what to eat them with

Batter and fry themor pop them in your mouth fresh and plain – you really can't go wrong with Wisconsin cheese curds. Our northern neighbors smother them in gravy, throw in some French fries and call the dish "poutine." Here in Wisconsin, we just call them squeakin' delicious.

Peanut butter has jelly. Bacon's got eggs. Curds? This cheese wants beer. Don't try to pair these bad boys up with red wine or malt scotch – cheese curds are a dive-bar, pool-hall, county-fair, burger-joint sorta thing. They're right at home with a light pilsner, lager, or pale ale in one very frosty mug. Or two. Aw, heck, might as well order a pitcher.

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FAQs: What are cheese curds?

What are cheese curds?

Cheese curds are little bites of cheesy heaven. They're small pieces of curdled milk, roughly the size of peanuts in the shell, with a mild and cheddar-like flavor. Fresh cheese curds have a rubbery texture that causes a squeak when you bite into them. Curds are often eaten plain or with herbs, garlic, and spices. Fried cheese curds are also popular.

How are cheese curds made?

Cheese curds are formed by additives are introduced to milk to acidify and coagulate it. The coagulated milk is cut and heated to separate the liquid whey from solid curds. Cheese curds are typically then "cheddared" by stacking them, cutting them up, pressing them together, and repeating the process. This releases moisture and gives the curds their unique texture. The curds are then cut into small pieces and salted to help retain their moisture.

Why are cheese curds squeaky?

The casein or milk protein structure in a fresh curd is fairly porous, with a certain amount of air trapped inside it. When we bite them, the contact of our teeth against a wet, rubbery curd creates a vibration at a frequency we can hear, producing a squeak.

Why are cheese curds called curds?

Cheese is made by curdling milk, which produces both whey (a liquid) and curds (milk solids). Cheese curds are literally freshly made curds.

Why Wisconsin cheese curds rule

It's not exactly clear who invented cheese curds, but we think they like to call Wisconsin home. In fact, cheese curds are so baked into everyday life in Wisconsin that people who grew up here are shocked they can't get their daily fix when they travel outside the state.

Cheese curds are best enjoyed the same day they're made (or shortly after), so it makes sense that the epicenter of cheese curds is Wisconsin, the state that produces the most flavors and varieties of cheese in the world. These little cuties are not only deliciously adorable, they are award-winning. That's because we take cheese seriously here. We're the only state where cheesemakers must have a license, and the only place in the world outside Switzerland with a Master Cheesemaker program. That's the reason so many cheese fanatics – not to mention cheese curds – call Wisconsin home.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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