Air Fryer Copycat Culver’s Cheese Curds — Indulge in the magic of perfectly crispy and gooey cheese curds right from your kitchen!
This Air Fryer Copycat Culver’s Cheese Curds recipe captures the classic Culver’s delectable crunch and rich flavor. But the best part? No need for a deep fryer or a drive-through! In just a few steps, your air fryer will deliver these golden beauties, ready to be savored.
What Is Culver’s Restaurant
Culver’s is a popular American casual fast-food chain in the Midwest.
Founded in 1984 in Sauk City, Wisconsin, by Craig and Lea Culver alongside Craig’s parents, the restaurant is renowned for its ButterBurgers, fresh frozen custard, and delectable cheese curds.
Emphasizing quality ingredients and a commitment to friendly service, Culver’s has built a loyal following and has expanded to multiple states across the United States.
Culver’s Fried Cheese Curds
Culver’s Cheese Curds are bite-sized chunks of cheese coated in a seasoned batter and deep-fried to golden perfection.
Originating from the Midwest, particularly Wisconsin, cheese curds are a beloved treat, and Culver’s has become renowned for its delicious take on this regional favorite.
With a crispy exterior and a gooey, melted cheese center, these cheese curds are a delightful combination of textures and flavors many can’t resist.
Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Copycat Culver’s Cheese Curds
You can make these delicious copycat Culver’s Cheese Fried cheese curds with a few simple ingredients.
Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.
- Cheese Curds: The star of this recipe, cheese curds are fresh, young cheddar cheese chunks that offer a delightful squeaky bite and are essential for replicating Culver’s iconic dish.
- All-purpose Flour: Flour acts as a primary coating, ensuring the curds are covered well and providing a base for the subsequent layers to adhere to.
- Eggs: Beaten eggs are essential for creating a wet layer that allows the breadcrumbs to stick effectively to the cheese curds.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs give these cheese curds a crunchy exterior, making them irresistibly crispy when air-fried.
- Milk: A touch of milk added to the beaten eggs aids in achieving a consistent wet batter for coating.
- Seasonings (Salt, Pepper, and optional spices): A sprinkle of seasonings enhances the flavor profile, adding depth to the cheese curds and complementing their creamy inside.
- Cooking Spray: A light misting of cooking spray ensures the cheese curds turn golden brown and crispy in the air fryer.
How To Make Copycat Culver’s Cheese Curds In Air Fryer
Recreating Culver’s famous cheese curds at home has never been easier! Follow this straightforward air fryer method to achieve that irresistible crunch and gooey cheese center in just minutes.
Preparation: Start by freezing your cheese curds for at least 30 minutes. This ensures that the cheese doesn’t melt too quickly during the frying process.
Breading Station: Set up three bowls – one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with breadcrumbs. For added flavor, consider seasoning your breadcrumbs with some salt and paprika.
Dip and Coat: Dip each frozen cheese curd first into the flour, shaking off the excess, then into the beaten egg, and lastly, roll it in the breadcrumbs, ensuring it’s fully coated.
Preheat Your Air Fryer: Set your air fryer to 400 degrees F (205°C) and let it preheat for a few minutes.
Cooking: Arrange the breaded cheese curds in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they aren’t touching to prevent them from sticking together. Cook time for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown, turning them halfway through for even cooking.
Serving: Remove the cheese curds from the air fryer and serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
Pro Tips For Making Copycat Culver’s Cheese Curds In Air Fryer:
- Freezing is Key: Ensure your cheese curds are frozen solid before breading. This helps in preventing the cheese from melting too quickly and oozing out during the cooking process.
- Season Your Breading: Add some flair to your breading by mixing in seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, or even some cayenne pepper for a kick!
- Ensure Even Cooking: Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket. It’s better to cook in batches than to cram everything in. This ensures each curd gets cooked evenly.
- Shake the Basket: Give the basket a gentle shake halfway through cooking. This helps in getting that even golden color on all sides of the cheese curd.
- Quick Serve: Cheese curds are best enjoyed hot and fresh right out of the air fryer. If you let them sit, they might lose that delightful gooey center.
- Dipping Sauces: While traditional is a side of marinara or ranch, feel free to get creative! A spicy mayo or garlic aioli can be fantastic pairings.
- Check Your Air Fryer’s Wattage: All air fryers are not created equal. Depending on your air fryer’s wattage, you might need to adjust the cooking time. Higher wattage models might cook faster.
- Use Parchment Liners: If you’re worried about potential sticking or mess, consider using air fryer parchment liners. They allow for airflow and can make cleanup a breeze.
Can I use other cheeses besides cheese curds?
While cheese curds are the traditional choice for this recipe, you can experiment with cubes of mozzarella or cheddar cheese. However, the texture and melting points might vary.
Why are my cheese curds melting out into the air fryer?
It’s crucial to ensure that the cheese curds are frozen solid and that there are no gaps in the breading. This will prevent the cheese from oozing out during the frying process.
Do I need to preheat my air fryer?
While some models require preheating, others do not. It’s always best to refer to your air fryer’s manual. If in doubt, preheating for a few minutes can help achieve a consistent cooking temperature.
Can I make these gluten-free?
Absolutely! Simply substitute regular flour with a gluten-free variant and ensure your breadcrumbs are gluten-free as well.
Can I bake these cheese curds instead of air frying?
Yes, you can bake them in a regular oven. However, you might not achieve the same crispy exterior as when air frying.
What if I don’t have breadcrumbs?
You can use crushed cornflakes, panko, or even crushed potato chips as an alternative.
How long can I store leftover fried cheese curds?
It’s best to consume them fresh, but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in the air fryer to retain crispiness.
Is there a dairy-free version of this recipe?
While traditional cheese curds are dairy-based, you can try using dairy-free cheese alternatives available in the market. However, the taste and texture might differ.
Can I add spices or herbs to the batter?
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment by adding your favorite herbs or spices to the batter for an extra kick of flavor.
Why are cheese curds often called “squeaky”?
Fresh cheese curds have a certain level of moisture and a particular protein structure, which causes them to “squeak” when bitten into. This squeakiness is a sign of their freshness.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- air fryer copycat buffalo wild wings general tso wings
- air fryer copycat buffalo wild wings buffalo wings
- Easy air fryer Zaxby’s fried pickle recipe
- copycat chipotle corn salsa recipe
Air Fryer Copycat Culver’s Cheese Curds
- 1 pound Cheese Curds, frozen.
- 1 cup All-purpose Flour
- 2 large Eggs, beaten.
- 1 cup Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Prep the Breading Station: In one bowl, place all-purpose flour. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a third bowl, mix breadcrumbs, salt, and any optional seasonings.
- Bread the Cheese Curds: Dip each frozen cheese curd into the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the breadcrumbs, ensuring they are fully coated.
- Preheat Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (205°C) if your model requires preheating.
- Cook the Cheese Curds: Place the breaded cheese curds in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not touching. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning halfway, or until they are golden brown and crispy.
- Serve: Remove the cheese curds from the air fryer and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Air Fryer
- Cooking Spray
- Parchment Paper, optional
- Preheat Your Air Fryer: Begin by preheating your air fryer to 350°F (175°C).
- Arrange Cheese Curds: Once preheated, place the Culver’s Cheese Curds in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Make sure they are not stacked on top of each other to ensure even reheating.
- Reheat: Cook the cheese curds for 3-4 minutes or until they are warmed through and regain some of their crispiness. You may need to shake the basket once halfway through to ensure even reheating.
- Serve Immediately: Once reheated, serve the cheese curds immediately to enjoy their restored crispy texture and melty interior.
- It’s best to eat the cheese curds immediately after reheating to enjoy their optimal texture and flavor.
- Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. If reheating a large batch, you may want to reheat in batches to ensure even warming.