This recipe makes breaded Air Fryer Cheese Curds that are cooked to crispy, squeaky perfection!

If you know, you know! Served at county fairs in the Midwest, fresh cheddar cheese curds are a regional treat. The delightful ‘squeak’ that comes from biting into a rich, cheddar cheese baby curd is what makes them so much fun to eat!

Air Fryer Cheese Curds on a plate with dip

Air Fryer Cheese Curds

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Ultimate Air Fryer Appetizer!

  • Cheese curds are baby cheddar cheese pieces that haven’t been aged and are considered raw. The air fryer turns them into little fried bursts of bright cheddar flavor, making them a fun and popular appetizer!
  • The air fryer makes battered appetizers taste like they came straight from a restaurant menu every time. One appliance, a few minutes, and minimal clean-up, the air fryer is a home cook’s dream machine.
  • Serve alone or with a fave dipping sauce like Instant Pot Bolognese Sauce or a tasty Ranch dressing.
  • Or, spice it up with a few other appetizers like these Air Fryer Potato Chips and some Air Fryer Hot Wings. Or try alongside these yummy Air Fryer Pork Bites. Game night just got better!

Steps to prepare Air Fryer Cheese Curds

What’s in Air Fryer Cheese Curds?

CHEESE Only farm-fresh cheese curds have that unmistakable ‘squeak’ when you bite into them, but they may not be available across the country. Good cheese curd substitutes are cubes of mozzarella cheese or cheddar since they have the same texture and a bright flavor.

BREADING Panko combined with bread crumbs always makes for the best coating for all kinds of homemade appetizers. For cheese curds, just a little garlic powder is added to complement the cheese.

VARIATIONS Other seasoning blends can be used to give cheese curds a new twist every time!  For a spicy twist add some Adobo, Southwest, or even Cajun seasoning. Cheese curds can be made with a keto coating by omitting the panko and breadcrumbs and using crushed pork rinds instead.

Air Fryer Cheese Curds before and after cooking

How to Make Air Fryer Cheese Curds

Breaded and air fried cheese curds are super easy to make:

  1. In 3 separate bowls, place the egg, the flour, and the seasoned breadcrumb mixture.
  2. Dip the cheese curds first in the flour, the egg, and then the breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs into the curds.
  3. Freeze and then cook in the air fryer until they are browned and crispy, (as per recipe below). Serve hot.

PRO TIP: Prep cheese curds and thread them on small wooden picks before air frying them. Then serve them hot as portable appetizers!

Air Fryer Cheese Curds being served

Storing & Reheating

Store cooked cheese curds in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in the air fryer.

To freeze, toss the cooled cheese curds in a little corn starch to absorb moisture. Then place them in a zippered bag with the date labeled on the outside and freeze for up to 8 weeks.

Best Air Fryer Appetizers

Air Fryer Cheese Curds being served
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Air Fried Cheese Curds

Cooked to crispy, squeaky perfection for the perfect snack!
Prep Time 36 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4



  • 8 ounces cheese curds
  • cup flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika


  • Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
  • Crack egg into a small bowl. Place bread crumbs and seasonings in another bowl.
  • Place cheese curds in third bowl and toss with flour. Remove from the flour allowing excess to fall off and toss with egg.
  • Dip the cheese curds in the crumb mixture gently pressing to adhere. Repeat with remaining curds and place on a baking sheet.
  • Freeze cheese curds for 30 minutes before cooking, once frozen generously spray curds with cooking spray.
  • Place in a single layer in the preheated basket and cook 3-4 minutes or until crisp and melted.


Important: Cheese curds must be frozen before cooking or they will not crisp on the outside before melting.
Don't overcook them, they should be just melted and crisp on the outside. 
The cheese curds can be prepared and frozen for several months for a quick snack at any time!
5 from 38 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 491mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 121IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 441mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Snacks
Cuisine American

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Air Fryer Cheese Curds with writing

Air Fryer Cheese Curds on a plate with writing
Top image - Air Fryer Cheese Curds. Bottom image - Breaded cheese curds in an air fryer basket with writing


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  1. To freeze the cheese curds, should we cook them first then freeze? Or freeze them after they are covered in the egg and panko crumbs? I am not sure if “prepared and frozen” include the air fryer

    1. You can freeze them before air frying or after. If freezing them after, toss the cooled cheese curds in a little corn starch to absorb moisture. Then place them in a zippered bag with the date labeled on the outside and freeze for up to 8 weeks. I hope this helps Sarah!