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Port Wine Cheese Curds

Nathan Congleton/TODAY
Cook Time:
5 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins

Chef notes

These crispy, cheesy, flavorful morsels are sure to become your go-to game-day recipe! The port wine gives it that little extra something for a party in your mouth that is sure to please your guests.

Technique tip: Put one curd in the hot oil first to see how fast it cooks. If it looks like it's cooking too fast, adjust the temp down and if its soaking in the oil, you may need to turn it up or wait a little longer until the oil is ready.

Swap option: You can use the same batter for fry up chicken tenders as well.


  • 1 pound Wisconsin cheese curds, preferably Shullsburg Creamery
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2-3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 quart vegetable, canola, peanut or sunflower oil, for frying
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha



Place cheese curds in a shallow bowl. Pour the port wine over the curds and cover with plastic wrap. Allow curds to marinade for about 30 minutes to an hour. Remove the curds from the wine and set aside, reserve the wine.


In large, deep bowl, combine buttermilk, egg and port wine. Mix well so all ingredients are incorporated. Submerge curds in mixture for about 5 minutes then take them out and set back in the strainer and set aside.


In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, basil and Cajun seasoning. Whisk to combine. Set aside.


In large cast iron skillet, skillet or electric deep-fryer, pre-heat oil to 325°F.


In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup and sriracha. Set aside


When oil is ready; toss the curds in the flower mixture and then into the port wine buttermilk mixture. Strain well. A few at a time toss the cheese curds back into the flower, shaking to remove excess flour.


In 3 to 4 batches, fry curds about 2 minutes, or until curds turn golden brown. Remove curds carefully with a slotting spoon, hovering over the deep fryer a few seconds so the oil can drain. Place cheese curds on a large paper towel-lined plate to drain.


Serve fried curds immediately with ketchup dipping sauce on the side.