Skip to Content

Top 10 Best Cheese Curds in Milwaukee

Top 10 Best Cheese Curds in Milwaukee

It is one of the great debates in the city: Where are the best cheese curds in Milwaukee?

It has been known to cause divides in families and friends and probably started a bar fight at some point. People here are passionate about their cheese.

We have taken on the task of seeking out the city’s cheesiest, crispiest, and gooiest cheese curds in Milwaukee. No less than 15 pounds of cheese was consumed on this first-hand quest to crown the king of Milwaukee cheese curds.

Here in Milwaukee, we fully embrace our dairy heritage and celebrate it in every gooey bite of cheese curds. You will find them in the appetizer section of many restaurants in Milwaukee, but some are better than others.

We are Milwaukee locals (born & raised) and consider ourselves cheese curd connoisseurs. Whenever someone asks or a friend comes from out of town, these are the places we send them. Here are the best restaurants for cheese curds in Milwaukee!

deep fried cheese curds with sauce in Wisconsin

What Makes the Perfect Deep Fried Cheese Curd?

To do them right, you need a nice light and crisp batter, not a heavy breading. The cheese should also be white cheese and a very ununiform size, ranging anywhere from thumb-sized pieces down to olive-sized nuggets.

Why is that important? I’m glad you asked. The best cheese curds are made from curds taken directly from the cheese-making process. If they fit the description above, you know they are fresh cheese curds, not some processed cheese chunks masquerading as cheese curds.

You are permitted to dunk these little nuggets of joy into your favorite dipping sauce. Here in Milwaukee, we prefer ranch dressing – save your marinara for mozzarella.

Lakefront Brewery Milwaukee Beer Hall restaurant with deep fried cheese curds, fries, and chicken tenders

1. Lakefront Brewery – Best Cheese Curds in Milwaukee

Widely regarded around the city as some of the best cheese curds in Milwaukee and our personal favorite. Lakefront Brewery’s Beer Hall does their curds in a classic style that is near and dear to Wisconsinites’ hearts (and stomachs).

High-quality cheese curds are coated in a light, crispy beer batter and fried to gooey perfection. No crazy flavorings, extra no fanciness, just melty cheese perfection. Clean and classic, where the main star is the delicious cheese.

Their curds are so good that they have started an onsite cheese curd food truck called the Curdwagon. You can get your cheese curd fix while enjoying a beer on the patio in the warmer months. If you are looking for gluten free restaurants in Milwaukee, you’ll be glad to know they now offer gluten free cheese curds.

On Thursdays, also known as Curdsday at Lakefront, you can get an order of special flavored curds (rotating menu) alongside 1/2 off 32oz crowlers.

Come for the cheese curds, and stay for the Brewery tour here (yeah, sure, you’ve done brewery tours before), but this one is actually fun. Looking for some beer to wash down all that cheese? Check out our full Milwaukee Brewery Tour guide!

2. Camino

A very close second place and just merely placing Camino not in the top spot are fighting words to some cheese curd enthusiasts in Milwaukee.

Camino’s cheese curds are locally sourced from Clockshadow Creamery, just a few blocks from their 2nd St. location. They take pride in their gooey nuggets of joy, even calling them “the best curds in town.” Each and every curd is hand-breaded with a very fine Italian breadcrumb that results in a crispy jacket that keeps your curds warm on the short journey to your face.

The only place where these curds lose any points for me is that they are served with a Russian dressing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad flavor combo, but Milwaukee cheese curd purists may want to order a side of ranch dressing.

There now are two locations, the original location in Downtown Milwaukee and another in West Allis. If you are up for eating more cheese curds, walk 2 blocks down the street to #6 on our list.

deep fried cheese curds in Milwaukee with Ranch

3. Dairyland

If you are after the crispiest curds in Milwaukee, you need these Central Waters Honey Blonde beer battered cheese curds in your life. Fresh, perfectly salty white cheese is pampered with a generous beer batter bath before heading to the frier.

The result is a slightly heavier than average extra crispy outside with perfectly stringy cheese inside. The bite is the real star with these curds, allowing the natural flavors of quality ingredients to shine. The last stop is a dunk into a buttermilk ranch before they find their way to your taste buds!

Dairyland is located in the 3rd St Market Hall in Downtown Milwaukee, a great place for food, drinks, and fun. If you are staying in downtown Milwaukee or in town for a festival or heading to the Fiserv Forum, 3rd St Market Hall is a great stop.

close up a gooey perfect cheese in Milwaukee

4. Crafty Cow

With cow in the name, you should expect their cheese curds to be on point! Crafty Cow starts with Ellsworth Creamery white cheddar cheese curds, then coats them in a beer batter.

When they return from the deep frier, they have a nice, thin, crispy coating that is soft to the touch. When biting in, you can taste the quality cheese used to craft these little gems.

They also have good burgers and beer selections. In the past, they had burger offerings adorned with cheese curds. While those currently miss the menu, one thing is for sure – cheese will always be a key ingredient at this Milwaukee favorite.

We like to visit the fun and quirky Bayview location. The restaurant has grown so much over the years that it now has two more locations in Wauwatosa and Oconomowoc.

sausages with Thai toppings along side cheese curds served at Vanguard restaurant in Bay View - One of City's Best

5. Vanguard

Known for their inventive takes on the classic sausage, Vanguard puts out some high-end cheese curds as well. These cheese curds themselves may not be flashy with fancy seasoning, but they are made with quality, flavorful cheese with a classic breading.

On the side is one of the best non-ranch offerings for dipping sauces with their bacon stein aioli. Even as a ranch-based cheese curd purist, I have to give it to them for this top-notch dip.

If you want to do a little cheese curd crawl in Milwaukee before or after Vanguard, walk one minute down the street to Crafty Cow.

6. Black Sheep

In line with the restauranta name, their Pancake Battered Cheese Curds are kind of the Black Sheep of Milwaukee cheese curds – in the best way possible.

They start with delicious Clock Shadow Creamery white cheese curds, and then they take a sharp left turn and a quick dip in pancake batter. These non-conforming curds are fried up with a medium-thickness batter and then dusted with powdered sugar with a side of maple syrup.

Known as the best brunch cheese curds in Milwaukee, they are, of course, on the breakfast menu, but you can get them anytime as well for $12. If you ask us, their cheese curds are a little pricey.

Milwaukee bar food the best fried cheese in Milwaukee

7. AJ Bombers

At AJ Bombers, besides peanuts dropping from the sky, they pride themselves in fresh quality cheddar cheese curds. This is solid curd with a good portion for the price.

These cheese curds are definitely a cut above most pub-style cheese curds, and they kick it up another notch with the chipotle ranch dipping sauce.

We suggest coming hungry and eating a whole meal, AJ Bombers has some of the best burgers in Milwaukee. AJ Bombers was featured on the Travel Channel’s Food Wars show and won Milwaukee’s Best Cheeseburger.

cheese curds on a plate on a bar with a beer in the background

8. Buckatabon Tavern & Supper Club

Buckatabon makes the list with their unique Munster-based cheese curds from Decatur Dairy. The Munster curds are rolled in a herby breadcrumb coating. While I am always hesitant when cheese curds try and go outside the box, the flavors here are on point.

the best cheese curds in Milwaukee in a basket with ranch

9. The Milwaukee Brat House

The Milwaukee Brat House is a classic go-to spot for cheese curds and all things Milwaukee comfort food.

The Brat House’s Authentic Wisconsin Cheese Curds start life as White cheddar cheese curds, and then they are beer battered and fried. The batter is slightly on the thicker and crispier side and holds together than a typical beer-battered curd.

When the curds arrive at your table, you’ll find they took the liberty to add more cheese to your fried cheese, sprinkling parmesan on top. For your dipping pleasure, it is a classic ranch, but if you want to spice things up, you can get the curds tossed in buffalo sauce for an extra buck.

They have two locations in the city, one in Downtown Milwaukee and another in Shorewood. It is our go-to place to grab a bite to eat and jump on a free shuttle.

Both locations offer free shuttles to Milwaukee Brewer games, Summerfest, State Fair, and special concerts & events in Milwaukee. The Shorewood location has a free shuttle to the Fiserv Forum for all Milwaukee Bucks & Marquette home games. The Downtown location is one block away from the Fiserv Forum, so you can easily walk.

10. Who’s On Third

At this classic sports bar, you’ll find classic Milwaukee Cheese curds. Traditional cheese curds battered in a Lakefront Riverwest Stein beer batter. No extra frills just good-quality cheese and a nice batter, you can’t go wrong with these.

If you are heading to the Fiserv Forum for a game, stop by Who’s On Third for a bite to eat & a drink beforehand. They also offer free shuttles to Brewer games & concerts at American Family Field. They are also located right next door to The Milwaukee Brat House #9 on our list and across the street from the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, where you can buy everything Wisconsin Cheese.

We hope we made you hungry by reading this list of the best places for cheese curds in Milwaukee Wisconsin. We also hope we showed you a few new spots to see how their cheese curds stack against your favorite.

The thing with cheese curds is it’s hard to have a bad order – so if you see them on the menu, order them!

bags of fresh squeaky cheese curds in Milwaukee

Squeaky Cheese Curds in Wisconsin

If you want to try fresh squeaky cheese curds, typically, you will only find these directly at the cheese manufacturer’s retail store. In order for cheese curds to squeak, they need to be super fresh. The best and squeakest cheese curds are less than 24 hours old and fresh straight from the manufacturer.

Are you ready for a science lesson? What makes a cheese curd squeak is the protein & calcium structure rubbing against the enamel on your teeth. After a few days, they lose the squeak because the calcium & protein bonds start to break down from the cheddaring process. Most fresh cheese curds will lose their squeak 3-5 days after being processed.

If you want to make cheese curds squeaky again, we suggest letting them sit out on the counter for a while, and if that doesn’t work, pop them in the microwave for 3-5 seconds. Apparently, the microwave will rebond that calcium & protein bond, bringing the squeak back to life. Wow, I am a cheese curd nerd for knowing all that!

The best place to buy fresh cheese curds in Milwaukee is at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, which is across the street from #9 & #10 on this list, so make sure to stop there for more curds. Or West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe in West Allis or their Third Ward location in the Milwaukee Public Market.

Didn’t see your favorite Milwaukee cheese curds on the list? Let us know in the comments, and we will give them a shot, and maybe they’ll make their way on the list of top curds.