All about Frying Cheese (159)

fried cheese sticks2

Pictured above: Move over, mozzarella sticks! A new, cheesy, kid is going to take your milk money.

Fry the cheese, if you please.

OK, so it’s not “Fry-day”, but there’s no reason we can’t all be a bit of a Wisconsinite a few times per week. I was actually born in Milwaukee, lived in Sussex, Lannon, and West Allis, and I have a lot of family in Wisconsin. So even when I can’t revisit my relatives, I can go visit a little of the dairy goodness for which the state is so revered. 

Frying cheese is my Valentine! I am kissing it and hugging it.

I only just bought some recently at my new favorite organic crack outlet– I mean Sprouts– and just used it yesterday for the first time ever.

I then immediately swooned across three fainting sofas and fanned myself with the empty plastic cheese wrapper. And then, as is perfectly in keeping with my charms and with my femininity, I ended up sticking my elbow in the cheese while taking a picture. Welcome to my world.

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An example of a grilling cheese, labeled, ironically enough, “Grilling Cheese.”

 

What is frying cheese?

Queso blanco (white cheese, typically from cows) or queso fresco (fresh cheese, typically from cow–and sometimes with goat’s milk) are natural, creamy, soft, unaged cheeses that don’t melt into the long, lugubrious, stringy masses you’re likely used to when you make a grilled cheese sandwich from a more aged cheddar or a mozzarella.

Melting ever so slightly, grilling cheese largely retains its shape when frying, for so many possibilities. But more on that in a second.

Brands? Where can I find it?

I find queso blanco and queso fresco at most grocery stores, so ask your grocer. It’s refrigerated, but you won’t always spy it with the standard cheeses, so be sure to look near the Latino/ethic foods in the cheese/dairy section, too.

If you can’t find frying cheese, halloumi will also work.

Above is the picture of the label from Sprouts. I love the creativity: Yanni Grilling Cheese. It’s like they knew I’d be looking and tend to take things literally…

Make your own

You can make your own grilling cheese easily! Click for the recipe from The Kitchn.

How do you use it?

Now we get to the good stuff! I love the haloumi out of this cheese.

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Plain frying cheese, pan-grilled and ready for whatever you want to do with it. Go a little crazy. I won’t tell.

As plain, fried slices (pictured above):
Cut the cheese into 1/2″ slices. Heat a tablespoon of butter or ghee in a skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add the cheese and flip every 2 minutes, until golden brown on both sides (about 4 minutes). (Be careful to not wander away from the stove; the cheese goes from a lovely, golden brown to charred in a matter of seconds.) Serves 8 (or 8, 1-ounce servings)

As Gluten-Free Bruschetta (not pictured):
Cut the cheese into 1/2″ slices. Heat a tablespoon of butter or ghee in a skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add the cheese and flip every 2 minutes, until golden brown on both sides (about 4 minutes). (Be careful to not wander away from the stove; the cheese goes from a lovely, golden brown to charred in a matter of seconds.) Allow slabs to cool. Top with sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, fresh onion, and fresh basil leaves. Serve with garlic-infused olive oil. Serves 8 (or 8, 1-ounce servings)

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Paired with a store brand pizza sauce, you have cheap and easy (also quite possibly the names of your dorm-mates at college).

As Gluten-Free Mozzarella Sticks (above):
Cut the cheese into 1/2″ slices, and then cut each slice lengthwise in half to form two sticks. Heat a tablespoon of butter or ghee in a skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add the cheese and flip every 2 minutes, until golden brown on both sides (about 4 minutes). (Be careful to not wander away from the stove; the cheese goes from a lovely, golden brown to charred in a matter of seconds.)  Serve cooled sticks into a no-sugar-added pizza sauce (Store brand pizza sauces are not only more flavorful and cheaper, they tend to contain no added sugars). Serves 8 (or 16, 1/2-ounce servings)

As Gluten-Free Croutons (below):
Cut the cheese into 1/2″ slices. Heat a tablespoon of butter or ghee in a skillet over medium heat on the stove. Add the cheese and flip every 2 minutes, until golden brown on both sides (about 4 minutes). (Be careful to not wander away from the stove; the cheese goes from a lovely, golden brown to charred in a matter of seconds.) Let fried slices cool. Cut into cubes. Add to salads. (Each ounce makes roughly 8 croutons.)

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Frying cheese cooled and delightfully employed as chewy, crusty croutons on this spinach, basil, tomato salad.

Nutritional Information

Per ounce of queso fresco (typically 1/8 of the package): Calories: 80, Carbohydrates: 0 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 6 g

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  The back labeling, so you can check out the fabulosity for yourselves. 

If you haven’t tried frying cheese yet, you positively must!

You’ll never miss grilled cheese sandwiches or mozzarella sticks ever again.

Ever.

Never ever.

Now on to how I’ve been doing with my weight loss and continued sussing out of foods to which I’m intolerant or allergic to… Be sure to do your thing. I am thrilled share my progress and thoughts, but I’m not the person you should necessarily look to for dieting advice (I’m not a paid nosh-a-titian). Click the tab up top that says Mid-Year Resolution for regular updates.

Wednesday, February 6

I ate this:
Breakfast: Green olives on my way out the door
Lunch: Frying cheese in a spinach salad + frying cheese with marinara
Dinner: Pizza toppings and salad

Notes: I have been so busy today, but I love it! I am back in ketosis after my Sunday Madness, and my “end zone” is getting smaller again. Thankfully, water weight gain through inflammation is temporary. Whew.

Other Stuff:

I am working to combine posts so your inboxes aren’t filling up.

Please let me know what you think! Are posts that combine more helpful?

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Comments

  1. Wow! Memories for me. I’m Dominican and we eat queso frito all the time for breakfast. My mom taught me to lightly dust it in flour (you can do any starch of your liking or low carb friendly dust) and then fry in shallow oil. It’s delicious and we ate it with mangu which is mashed plantains covered in caramelized onions and avocado on the side. Mmmmmmm.

  2. Jamie, I absolutely love halumi and that is the brand I have been using for years! For those who have never tried it-jump in as you will love it! I make the fried cheesesticks and croutons but never though about other uses so thanks for the article.

  3. There is also another cheese that fries exceptionally well…called Halloumi.
    Widely available in better cheese shops and Middle Eastern Markets.

    Just plop a slice in a non-stick pan and brown it… Exotically served with sliced hot chilies and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil! Delicious…zero carb…makes an ultra elegant appetizer for a fancy sit down dinner.

    I love your idea of Wisconsin Cheese, Jamie, but here in Canada… It is simply not imported for us to purchase! Boo, hoo!

    Regards,
    Glad

  4. Christina says:

    Also works great on kabobs. Also, grill on one side in small skillet with a small amount of bacon fat. When you turn it over to brown the other side, add tomato slice and egg. Cover and cook until egg is done to your liking (try very hard to not lift the lid during cooking … use a clear glass lid if possible). ♥

  5. debby9972 says:

    I grew up in a suburb West of Chicago. Spent a lot of time in Wisconsin and my brother lives in Milwaukee! This sounds so good. I was just at Sprouts on Tuesday. I am definitely going to pick some up. Thank you.

  6. Hey Menomonee Falls resident here! This post was right up my cheesy alley. I know what I’m making today. Thanks for posting!

  7. I baked some goat cheese the other day…. didn’t look half as good as yours! The package said cook until it glistens. Well, it glistened! Yours, on the other hand glisten and glow!

  8. Wow! Thanks Jamie for reminding me that I must simply try frying cheese. It’s been a long time but here recently I’ve been craving cheese sticks, but refuse to eat even one carb laden, frozen, keto interrupting time bombs found in the stores.

  9. Definately appreciate the combined emails. I tried some of this yesterday and sadly it was more of a blob than a stick but then again the block had gotten hidden in the back of the deli draw. It was unopened but definately “aged”. Still yummy and I will try again!

  10. I don’t mind several emails/posts per day, as for me it’s a constant reminder to keep my low carbliness in the front of my mind instead of letting it slip to the back… :) and quick question – if you can’t see anything labeled “frying cheese” or the like, but find plain ol’ queso fresco, can you do the same thing? Thanks!

  11. I like the separate posts, personally! One topic per email is bliss.

  12. I luuuuurve fried cheese! It’s awesome with garlic and butter too… I can’t wait to try theses!!!

  13. This is great. I was just looking at the queso fresco in the store the other day and thinking of experimenting. I love fried cheese, these look like fantastic ideas.

  14. Off topic, but have you gotten around to a recipe for roasting or frying green beans? Meanwhile, I’m totally going to the grocery and scoping out grilling cheese! Mmmm can’t wait!

    • Hi, Mary! I think the Sprouts ones are freeze-dried and roasted commercially. I don’t think I can emulate that.

    • I’m not sure of your “fried beans”; but here is my family’s recipe. Fry up some bacon until nearly done, and add cooked or canned green beans (well drained!) and fry until they are to your liking! That may not be what you are thinking about, but it is sure good! :)

  15. OMG I am so excited for this sinful indulgence that is soooooo legal on my low carb mission!

  16. OH, that looks good. I don’t know if there’s such a thing in the east, but I will look. I like the separate posts too; but then, I spend lots of time at the pc and will read them either way. I look forward to each one that comes in because I like reading what you write! (maybe you can do it both ways…depending on the mood!)

  17. Croutons… I love it! I don’t miss them (much) but oh my yum… Yup local big box store sells queso fresco… I will see if it freezes, too

  18. christineshomecreations says:

    Oh my goodness this looks AMAZING!! And I’m totally gonna make my own cheese from the recipe link you posted in there! thank you!! :D

  19. I’ve loved queso fresco for a long time, but I can’t believe I never thought to use it for croutons! Genius idea, I’m so trying that tonight!

  20. Off to Sprouts tomorrow!

  21. I see queso blanco and queso fresco at Market Basket all the time & never thought it would be so perfect to fry, thank you soooo much for yet another amazingly brilliant idea!

  22. Sharon Palmer-Brownstein says:

    Hey Jamie. Gotta love Sprouts. We have them here in San Diego. Wait until after the first of the year when they have all their bulk foods and spices on sale for 25% off. You will go positively nuts!! Great time to stock up on protein powder, raw almonds and all the other low carb goodies we can’t live without.

  23. Maxine Johnson says:

    OMG!! That’s all I can say! I am going to Sprout tomorrow, salivating all the way! :-D

  24. I lived in the Middle East for three years and LOVED fried haloumi cheese, OH MY!!

  25. Drat…my Sprouts didn’t have the frying cheese.

  26. I loved grilling cheese in Germany! I’ve never seen it in the states but I’ll have to keep an eye out for it!

  27. I tried this last night and it was to die for! Thanks for the great idea.

  28. I did it! I made this tonight with queso fresco from the store, and it’s every bit as good as you said it was. YUM! I bought some Mezzetta’s sandwich spread (chimichurri flavor) and it was great on it. I’m laughing at Mezzetta’s, cuz they say it’s few calories and fat than mayo. I think it just makes a great dipping sauce. Ooh, maybe I’ll mix some into my homemade mayo to make it fattier!

    thanks, Jamie!

  29. Halloumi with some olive relish (tapenade) on top!!! Mmmmmm…Best treat ever!

  30. I am obsessed with this stuff! Whole Foods also carries the brand you have pictured. Trader Joe’s had the absolute best frying cheese EVER a few years ago, but of course they stopped carrying it. :( My next endeavor is to try this in the cauliflower crust pizza – with the way it crisps up it may be ridiculously good.

  31. Jenn Morandi says:

    Oh. My. GAWD!
    Made fried cheese over the weekend.
    My mouth was so happy! The combination of butter and slightly crunch cheese made me moan.

  32. I haven’t tried this yet, although it is in my refrigerator waiting for me. :)
    I was interested in the crouton idea, but is it possible to cook the whole package and save it somehow, or do you need to cook it as you need it?

    • Your Lighter Side says:

      I think you could cook and then use it as you need it so long as you keep it cold, but then you may run the risk of the cheese becoming less crispy.

  33. I make these with Golden Flax Seed and string cheese

    • Your Lighter Side says:

      Nice! I had been using pork rinds for “authentic” breaded cheese sticks. Does the flax come out crispy?

  34. I LOVE YOU!!!! I MUST find this cheese and make tonight!!! OMG, just looking at the pictures makes me want to leave work *cough, sniff..think I’m coming down with something boss* and go buy it and make it RIGHT NOW! From cheese lover in VA…..more cheese please :-)

  35. I fry mozzarella sticks (best ones IMHO are from Trader Joes). I cut it lengthwise in half, put some coconut oil in a pan and put the sticks flat side down. I sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, oregano and thinly sliced fresh basil.. and flip as in the recipe above. With this flavor included, you don’t even need the tomato sauce on the side!!

  36. Cheese sticks usually have fry and bake version. But I’ve always been in love with the fry one. haha

  37. Ok, tried this once with mozzarella sticks, they worked out ok. Tonight, I tried cutting my own sticks from a block of cheese – I got a melted mess!! I waited till I thought the pan was hot enough….but they just melted…..WHAT??? Still, tasted good….

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