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What kind of cheese is frying cheese?

Frying cheese refers to any type of cheese that can be fried or deep-fried. The most common types of cheese used for frying are halloumi, paneer, queso fresco, and mozzarella. These cheeses have a high melting point which allows them to maintain their shape when fried instead of melting into a gooey mess. Frying brings out the salty, savory flavors of the cheese and gives it a crispy outer crust. Fried cheese makes for a tasty appetizer, snack, or addition to a variety of dishes.

What Makes a Cheese Suitable for Frying?

The first requirement for a cheese to be classified as frying cheese is that it has a high melting point. This allows the cheese to get hot and blister when fried while still keeping its shape. Soft, high-moisture cheeses like brie, ricotta, and cottage cheese will simply melt away when fried. Frying cheeses are made to be firm and dry enough to withstand the heat of the oil without losing their structure.

Some key qualities that make a cheese well-suited for frying include:

  • Low moisture content – Dryer, aged cheeses tend to work best.
  • Firm texture – The cheese needs to hold together and not crumble apart when fried.
  • Higher fat content – More fat means more flavor and crispy edges when fried.
  • Fresh – Fresher cheese tends to fry better than older, dried out cheese.
  • Neutral flavor – Cheese with a mild, neutral flavor work well so other seasonings can be added.

The age and method of preparation also impact the fryability of cheeses. Fresher cheeses like mozzarella or paneer are mild in flavor and hold together well for frying. Aged cheeses can work but may have more intense flavors that overpower other ingredients. Gruyere, Emmental, and some cheddars can fry nicely when they are younger and lower in moisture.

What Kinds of Cheese Work Best for Frying?


Halloumi is a brined Cypriot cheese that is considered the gold standard when it comes to frying cheese. Traditional halloumi is made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk. The cheese has a distinctive salty flavor and a dense, rubbery texture that holds its shape beautifully when fried. Halloumi has one of the highest melting points of any cheese due to its high content of casein proteins. It also has a moderately high fat content around 24% which adds nice crispy edges when fried. Slices of halloumi cheese develop a crispy, golden exterior crust and soft interior when pan-fried or deep-fried.


Paneer is a fresh, farmer’s cheese common in Indian cuisine. It has a mild, milky flavor and a firm, dense texture similar to pressed cottage cheese. Paneer holds together well when fried since it has a high moisture content of about 50%. It is made by curdling hot milk with lemon juice or other acids which gives it a tender but not rubbery texture. Paneer fries up crispy on the outside while remaining soft on the inside. It readily soaks up spices and flavorings. Paneer pairs especially well with bold Indian seasonings.

Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco

Queso blanco and queso fresco are simple Mexican cheeses made from cow or goat’s milk. They have a crumbly, grainy texture and mild, fresh dairy flavor. Both soft cheeses contain enough fat and protein to hold their shape when fried. Queso blanco means “white cheese” and is a fresh farmers cheese similar to paneer. Queso fresco is actually a bit lower in fat and moisture than queso blanco. Both melt at high enough temperatures to get soft and melty in the center when fried while crisping up on the outside. They make fantastic additions to fried Mexican dishes.


Fresh mozzarella, especially the semi-soft Italian style, has enough structure and fat to make an excellent frying cheese. Small mozzarella balls,thin slices, or even just shredded mozz can develop a crispy fried crust before the interior gets too melty. Low moisture mozzarella curds specifically meant for frying are also available. The flavor of fried mozzarella is milky, tangy, and slightly salty. Mozzarella’s tendency to stretch when melted makes for fun stringy textures when biting into fried mozzarella. Fried mozzarella cheese sticks or fritters are a tasty, popular appetizer.


Provolone ranges from semi-soft to very hard depending on its age and style. Milder provolone is flexible enough to make an excellent frying cheese. When deep fried or pan fried, provolone keeps its shape with a little melting in the center. The taste is tangy and nutty with a distinctive fried cheese aroma. Thicker cuts of provolone will remain firmer when fried. Fried provolone sandwiches are a classic Italian-American dish that plays on the cheese’s fryable nature.


Traditional firmer cheddar cheeses can also be sliced and fried for delicious results. The buttery, salty, sharp flavors intensify when the cheese is fried. Medium aged cheddar provides the best balance of firm yet flexible texture. Milder orange cheddars and white cheddar work well. After frying, the cheese will soften but still hold its shape nicely with crispy brown edges. Fried cheddar makes an excellent topper for burgers, sandwiches, steaks and more.


Asiago is an Italian cows’ milk cheese similar to cheddar but with a bolder, nutty flavor. When young, the texture of asiago is firm but pliable enough to use for frying. It will soften but not melt completely through when fried. The cheese develops a tasty crust and its tangy, intense flavors become more pronounced after frying. Fried asiago pairs fantastically with Italian seasonings and makes a great topper for all sorts of dishes.

Other Cheeses

Many other cheeses can work for frying under the right conditions. Some examples include:

  • Gruyere
  • Emmental
  • Manchego
  • Fontina
  • Gouda
  • Monterey Jack
  • Brie
  • Feta
  • Kashkaval
  • Halumi
  • Oaxaca

The key is starting with a cheese that is fairly firm and slicing it thick enough to withstand the frying without melting away completely. Lower moisture cheeses that are aged for a short time tend to work best.

What Is the Best Method for Frying Cheese?

There are two main methods for frying cheese – pan frying and deep frying.

Pan Frying

Pan frying is cooking the cheese in a skillet with a moderate amount of hot oil. This method requires less oil and allows you to cook the cheese in batches. It also helps keep ingredients like breading from falling off into the oil.

To pan fry cheese:

  1. Pat cheese slices or cubes dry.
  2. Coat with flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs if desired.
  3. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Fry cheese in batches 2-3 minutes per side until browned and crispy.
  5. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Thinner slices of cheese will fry up quickly while thick blocks may need more time. Turn the cheese gently with tongs or a spatula so it doesn’t stick and fall apart.

Deep Frying

Deep frying fully submerges the cheese into hot oil to surround it evenly in heat. This works well for softer and smaller cheeses. Use a deep pot, Dutch oven, or electric deep fryer filled with 2-4 inches of oil heated to 350-375°F.

To deep fry cheese:

  1. Line a tray with paper towels.
  2. Gently add cheese cubes or small pieces into hot oil.
  3. Fry 30 seconds to 2 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on prepared tray.

Monitor oil temperature and don’t overcrowd the pot. Cheese releases fat and proteins when fried so the oil may foam up. Deep frying lends itself well to bitesize cheese fritters and cubes.

Tips for Frying Cheese

Frying cheese takes some technique but follows a few basic guidelines for best results:

  • Pat cheese dry before frying so it browns vs. steaming.
  • Use thicker, denser cheeses and slice at least 1/4-inch thick.
  • Keep oil between 325°F and 375°F to avoid burning or undercooking.
  • Preheat oil before adding cheese so it crisps vs. soaks up oil.
  • Don’t overload pan or pot to maintain oil temperature.
  • Fry in batches for even cooking, turning halfway.
  • Let excess oil drain off on paper towels after frying.
  • Season with salt, herbs, spices, sauces to flavor.

The exact frying time and temperature will vary based on factors like cheese type, thickness, oil amount, and whether breading is used. Play around to find your perfect frying method for each style of cheese.

What Do You Serve Fried Cheese With?

There are endless options for serving crispy, hot fried cheese:

On Skewers

Thread cubes of halloumi, paneer, or cheddar onto skewers for easy handling. Blackened seasonings, herbs, and lemon wedges dress them up.

On Salads

Top a fresh salad with fried cheese cubes, mozzarella balls, or halloumi slices. The heat wilts the greens slightly and the cheese adds a tasty crunch.

As An Appetizer

Fried cheese wedges, sticks, fritters, or poppers make a popular appetizer. Serve with a dipping sauce like marinara or ranch.

In Sandwiches

Grilled cheese gets an upgrade with slices of fried halloumi, provolone, or cheddar. Fried cheese brings crispy texture to any sandwich.

With Meat

Fried cheeses pair well with grilled, roasted, and braised meats. Try fried halloumi or asiago on a burger, cheddar with a steak, or mozzarella with chicken.

In Omelets

Add some pan-fried cheese cubes or shredded cheese to omelets and frittatas just before folding and plating.

On Pizza

Top homemade or store-bought pizza with mixtures of fried cheese cubes, mozzarella balls, and shredded cheeses.

Homemade Frying Cheese Recipes

Looking for ways to use up the cheese in your fridge for frying? Here are some easy recipes to try:

Basic Fried Cheese Cubes


  • 8 oz cheese cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko
  • Oil for frying


  1. Coat cheese cubes in flour, dip in egg, then coat with breadcrumbs.
  2. Fry in 350°F oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Goat Cheese Fritters


  • 4 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder
  • Oil for frying


  1. Whisk together egg, milk, flour, and seasonings.
  2. Gently fold in goat cheese cubes.
  3. Coat fritters in breadcrumbs.
  4. Fry 2-3 minutes until golden and crispy.

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks


  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese sticks
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying
  • Marinara sauce for dipping


  1. Pat mozzarella sticks dry and coat in flour.
  2. Dip in egg, then breadcrumbs to coat.
  3. Fry sticks 2 minutes until golden brown and melty.
  4. Serve with warm marinara for dipping.

Crispy Breaded Cheddar Cheese


  • 8 oz white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Oil for frying


  1. Cut cheddar into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.
  2. Coat cheese slices in flour, egg, then seasoned breadcrumbs.
  3. Fry in 350°F oil 1-2 minutes per side until golden.
  4. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

Can You Freeze Fried Cheese?

It’s best to enjoy fried cheese right away when it’s hot and crispy. But if you end up with leftovers, here are some tips for freezing fried cheese:

– Allow cheese to cool completely before freezing so moisture doesn’t collect and make it soggy.

– Place fried cheese pieces in a single layer on a parchment paper lined pan or plate. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours.

– Transfer frozen cheese pieces to an airtight freezer bag or container. Press out excess air and seal.

– Store frozen fried cheese for 2-3 months.

– To reheat, bake frozen cheese directly from freezer at 400°F for 6-10 minutes until hot and crispy.

– Fried cheese won’t get quite as crispy after freezing but still tastes delicious.

– Cheese coated in breadcrumbs or batter may lose some texture after freezing and thawing.

– Stick to harder, low moisture cheeses like halloumi or paneer for best results when freezing.

Frying Cheese Safety Tips

While fried cheese is a delicious treat, proper precautions are needed to avoid potential food safety issues:

  • Use pasteurized cheese from a reputable source.
  • Avoid contaminating cheese by handling safely before and after frying.
  • Discard cheese that has mold or smells bad.
  • Keep oil between 325-375°F to prevent undercooking or burning.
  • Cook cheese until golden brown in center and any fillings reach safe temperature.
  • Let oil cool completely before disposing to prevent fires.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours and use within 3-5 days.
  • Reheat fried cheese thoroughly to 165°F.

When frying at high temperatures, be cautious of spattering hot oil. Keeping equipment and surfaces clean prevents cross contamination. Follow proper cheese storage times and temperatures.

Common Questions About Frying Cheese

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the world of frying cheese:

Why does fried cheese taste so good?

Frying brings out cheese’s savory umami flavor. The high heat causes browning which adds nutty, toasted flavors. The contrast of crispy outer crust and melted interior creates delicious textural variation. Frying also concentrates the rich, fatty flavors in cheese.

What cheese is used for mozzarella sticks?

Traditional mozzarella sticks are made from fresh mozzarella cheese. Low-moisture or aged mozzarella curds specifically meant for frying are also commonly used. Standard mozzarella for pizza may also work but can become rubbery and tough when fried vs. melty.

Can you freeze cheese before frying?

It’s best to fry cheese at room temperature for even cooking. But firmer cheeses can be thinly sliced and frozen raw then fried directly from frozen state. This helps prevent sticking. Thaw softer cheeses before frying. Partially thawing first allows very firm cheeses to slice more easily when still slightly frozen.

What is the healthiest cheese to fry?

Some healthier options for frying cheese include:

  • Part-skim mozzarella
  • Reduced-fat halloumi or paneer
  • White cheddar
  • Feta
  • Goat cheese

Avoid heavily processed cheeses high in saturated fat, calories, and sodium like American or pre-packaged fried cheese curds. Balance fried cheese with plenty of vegetables in the meal.

What oils work best for frying cheese?

Good oils for frying cheese include:

  • Canola
  • Peanut
  • Vegetable
  • Sunflower
  • Safflower
  • Coconut (for flavor)

Avoid olive oil as its low smoke point makes it easy to burn. Use high quality, fresh oils and avoid reusing oil.


Frying is a delicious cooking method that brings out the best in many cheeses. Halloumi, paneer, and mozzarella all turn crispy, golden, and flavorful when fried. Try out different cheese types, shapes, breadings, seasoning, and serving ideas. Fried cheese also makes fantastic homemade gifts. Just be sure to keep oil hot enough for food safety without burning. Let excess oil drain off and enjoy this tasty treat in moderation. With so many cheeses to choose from, there’s a whole world of crispy, fried cheese possibilities to explore.