Have you ever had fried cheese curds? If you have, then you know how incredible they are. If you have never tried fried cheese curds, I highly recommend you go try them right now!
Cheese curds are such delicious food. I would actually say they are one of the most underrated ingredients out there. However, there are times when you go to make a recipe using delicious cheese curds and you don’t have any on hand.
Since cheese curds are not the most popular ingredient, they can be hard to find!
Luckily there are lots of great cheese curd substitutes you can use. If you can’t find cheese curds but have a craving for fresh poutine or fried cheese curds, these substitutes will work great in your recipes!
Take a look at these delicious ways to use a cheese curd substitute to get that salty, creamy taste you crave.
The best cheese curd substitute is mozzarella cheese. It has a similar texture and mild taste. It is also easy to find mozzarella in most grocery stores.
Use cheddar cheese to replace cheese curds when melting into mac and cheese or sauces. Cheese curds are a type of cheddar, after all! Ricotta cheese can replace cheese curds in your favorite poutine recipe.
Cheese Curds Substitute
Fried mozzarella cheese is a classic appetizer. Mozzarella sticks are on tons of menus and definitely a favorite of many people.
Mozzarella is very comparable to cheese curds. Both have a mild, salty taste and are bright white in color. Mozzarella has a similar texture to cheese curd when cold or when fried and melted. It is the perfect substitute cheese for cheese curds.
2. Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is quite delicious when pan-fried. You do not need to coat feta in breading, you can simply toss it right into oil to fry. Feta holds its shape, just like cheese curds.
Feta can be saltier than cheese curds. It is also a great replacement for cheese curds in fresh applications. Some feta on top of a salad is always a good idea!
3. Halloumi Cheese
Halloumi is a little different from cheese curds mainly because it is made from goat or sheep milk. This gives it a stronger taste than cheese curds but that can be a good thing!
The reason I like using halloumi in place of cheese curds is because it fries so well. Halloumi cubes can be tossed right into frying oil and it will turn golden brown and warm. The texture is very similar to cheese curds and it makes a delicious fried cheese.
4. Paneer Cheese
Paneer is a type of fresh cheese common in India. Cheese curds and paneer are made in a similar fashion. They also have a similar taste.
Paneer is delicious when fried. It melts and becomes stringy and gooey just like fried cheese curds. It is a great replacement cheese for cheese curds.
5. Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese is the classic cheese to use when making mac and cheese from scratch. It is always a good idea to toss some cheddar into your cheese sauce!
Remember that cheese curds are simply unaged cheddar. So real cheddar cheese is a very good replacement for cheese curds. It has a similar taste, will act the same when melted, and is much easier to find.
6. Colby Cheese
It is another cow’s milk cheese that can be used to melt into recipes in place of cheese curds. Colby is a mild tasting cheese and will not overpower your recipe. You can find Colby cheese in the cheese section of almost every grocery store.
7. Fontina Cheese
Fontina cheese is a delicious Italian cheese that will make your mac and cheese recipes come to life. It has a unique, buttery flavor that is delicious when melted.
Fontina cheese will add a lot more nutty flavor when compared to cheese curds. It is aged which makes it much sharper. However, this can be a very good thing for your sauce!
8. Cottage Cheese
Scoop a big helping of cottage cheese on top of your fries and you will not be disappointed. Cottage cheese is a little different than classic cheese curds but it is a great way to make poutine in a pinch.
The creamy texture of cottage cheese is great for poutine. Use the cheese as a dip for the fries. You will love the tangy taste of cottage cheese mixed with gravy!
9. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta is a surprisingly good substitute for cheese curds. You may think the texture of ricotta would be too different. However, the similar taste to cheese curds will make up for the texture difference.
A scoop of ricotta is perfect for adding amazing flavor to your foods. You can use ricotta in the same way you would use cheese curds to make poutine.
10. Vegan Cashew Cheese
Cashew cheese is a fantastic, vegan substitute for cheese curds. It is made with crushed cashews so it has a very nutty taste. It is surprising how creamy and cheese-like cashews can be!
Top your poutine with cashew cheese instead of cheese curds. Use a vegan gravy and you have yourself a full vegan dish!
What Are Cheese Curds?
Cheese curds are simply cheddar cheese that has not been aged. Think of cheese curds as baby cheddar! They are not some special type of cheese, just cheese that has yet to reach its most common form.
The cheese curd is separated from the whey during the cheesemaking process. Rather than being molded into a wheel or blocks and left to age, the curds are simply sliced and bagged to sell immediately. Cheese curds may be one of the most basic types of cheese ever!
How To Use Cheese Curd
There are so many fantastic ways to use cheese curds. I promise you that once you start using this tasty, cheesy ingredient, it will quickly become one of your favorite foods.
Melt cheese curds on top of a pizza in place of mozzarella. Fry cheese curds in hot oil and serve as a bite sized snack. Chop up some cheese curds and stuff them into olives. The possibilities are endless!
I love melting cheese curds into homemade mac and cheese sauce. They are also quite tasty wrapped in a basil leaf and drizzled with some balsamic vinegar. How fancy!
How To Make Cheese Curds
Learn how to make cheese curds and you will never run out of them again! It is actually a fun process and you may learn a lot about cheese making. Take a look at these simple steps and ingredients to make cheese curds.
- 1 gallon whole milk
- ½ teaspoon calcium chloride crystals
- ½ cup water
- ⅛ tsp mesophilic culture
- ¼ tsp liquid rennet
- Pour the milk in a large pot and heat to 90 degrees F.
- Add the calcium chloride and the mesophilic culture to the pot and stir. Cover and let the mix sit for about 35 minutes.
- Add the rennet and stir for one minute. Cover again.
- Let the mix sit for about 45 minutes. After this time, you should be able to cut the curds with a knife into small cubes. Cut them in the pot and then cover the pot and place the curds over low heat.
- Stir the curds every 10 minutes until they reach 98 degrees F. This should take about an hour and a half.
- Pour the mix through a cheese cloth to strain off the whey. The curds will stick back together, forming a slab.
- Cut the slab into pieces and place in a zippered plastic bag, Add ½ teaspoon of salt and shake the curds inside the bag. Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Doesn’t cheese making seem like a fun project? It may look a little tricky but once you master the recipe, making cheese curds will be easy.
Cream Cheese Vs Cheese Curd
Many people mix up cream cheese and cheese curd. They are actually very different things!
Cheese curds are the moist pieces of curdled milk that are skimmed from the milk and drained. The pieces are soft and mild.
Cream cheese is soft, rich cheese made from cooking unskimmed milk and cream. Cream cheese is not curdled and cannot form separate pieces. It is smooth and spreadable while cheese curds are best as finger food.
Do you still have questions about the best substitute for cheese curd? Hopefully, these straightforward questions and answers will clear things up!
Can I Use A Yogurt Starter To Make Cheese?
No. Yogurt starter is a little different from the mesophilic culture you need to start a cheese curd recipe.
Can You Make A Poutine Dish Without The Cheese Curds?
Yes. You can make great poutine using cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, or even vegan cashew cheese.
Is Curd Cheese And Cottage Cheese The Same?
No. Curd cheese is a type of very young, unaged cheddar cheese. Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese that has an acid added to curdle the milk. Both are types of fresh cheese but are made in slightly different ways.
What Can Substitute Cheese Curd?
Mozzarella cheese, paneer cheese, and ricotta cheese are our favorite cheese curd substitutes. Take a look at the article above for more options and more details.
Hopefully, you find a great cheese curd substitute on this list. While I wish I always had cheese curds on hand, that isn’t always the case! Luckily, these substitutes work well. Enjoy!
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.