Caesar Cocktail–Battered Cheese Curds

Tory Miller

L’Etoile and Deja Food Group, Madison, WI

Flavored with paprika, cayenne, and a kick of vodka, the batter for these cheese curds takes its inspiration from the Caesar cocktail, a Canadian riff on the Blood Mary. Tory Miller served these crispy, gooey bites with a creamy buttermilk ranch at the Beard House.


  • 1 cup rice flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soda water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 8 ounces fresh cheese curds


Combine 1/2 cup rice flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, paprika, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. Whisk the soda water, buttermilk, and vodka with the dry ingredients until combined. 

Pour 2 inches of peanut oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Heat to 350ºF on a deep-fry thermometer.

Toss the cheese curds in the remaining rice flour. Dip the curds in the batter. Add them one at a time to the oil. Fry until the batter is golden, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool slightly on a paper towel–lined plate before serving.


4 servings