Cheese fritters are mounds of creamy, spicy pimento cheese deep-fried to golden brown deliciousness for a mouthwatering treat. Enjoy this classic southern dish as a snack, appetizer, or side dish.
Cheese fritters are a bite-size appetizer with the perfect cheesy-to-crispy ratio. One bite in and you get the delectable crunch followed immediately by a rich, gooey center. I love a good fritter and these are the best cheese fritters, by far!
Why You'll Love this Pimento Cheese Fritters Recipe
- Perfect Party Appetizer. Serve this finger food on a platter at any social gathering and watch how quickly these babies disappear.
- Indulgent. Deep fried and cheesy. Do I really need to say more? And don't worry; they're not super greasy or dense.
- Easy to Make Ahead. These freezer-friendly fritters are made easily. Assemble in advance and cook from frozen for a quick snack.
What are fritters?
Fritters are battered or breaded mixtures fried in oil. They can be sweet or savory and filled with everything from meat to fruit.
Whip up a tangy, spicy, savory pimento cheese with just a few simple ingredients. The rest of the ingredients are for the crunchy panko coating and the sauce to go with it.
- Cheddar cheese. Use shredded cheese for easy mixing.
- Mayonnaise. This makes the center of the cheese balls creamy.
- Pimentos. This is essential for that spicy taste. It's not pimento cheese without it!
- Cream cheese. For a tangy flavor.
- Seasoning. Season it with salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder with parsley.
- Worcestershire sauce. Added for depth of flavor.
- Sugar. Believe it or not, this enhances the taste of the other ingredients. I promise the fritters won't be sweet.
- Flour. For coating.
- Panko breadcrumbs. For a nice crunch.
- Eggs. To get the breadcrumbs to stick to the cheese balls.
- Oil. For frying.
- Sweet jelly. (red pepper, etc)
- Calabrian Chili Paste. Added spicy quality.
How to Make Cheese Fritters
This recipe requires some patience. You'll start by making your pimento cheese balls, then letting them set in the fridge before frying them to crispy perfection.
Combine Ingredients for Cheese Mixture
Begin by shredding the cheddar cheese. Next, measure the mayo, cream cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire Sauce, sugar and pimentos (be sure to drain).
In a large bowl perfect for mixing, add the cheddar cheese. Add in the additional ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.
Marinate Pimento Cheese
Allow pimento cheese to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour (24 hours if time permits.
Form Cheese Balls
After the pimento cheese has marinated, begin forming pimento cheese balls into even 1 ½ inch balls. Dip the formed balls into the egg mixture, flour, back to the egg mixture and lastly the breadcrumbs. Repeat this step until all pimento cheese balls are coated, then place them back on the lined baking sheet. Place on a lined baking sheet and freeze for at least one hour.
While the pimento cheese balls freeze, prepare the sauce by the sweet pepper jelly and Calabrian chili paste until thoroughly combined, set aside.
Fry Pimento Cheese Fritters
In a shallow frying pan, add oil and allow oil to reach 365 degrees. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Tips and Tricks
- Ensure the pimento cheese balls aren't too big so they cook thoroughly.
- Don't skip the chilling process. If the cheese balls are too warm, they will fall apart in the hot oil.
- Do not freeze the cheese fritters longer than one hour to ensure they properly cook through to the center if you're preparing them right away. You can certainly allow them to freeze longer, be sure to allow the fritters to thaw for 10-15 minutes.
- Ensure the oil is very hot before adding the cheese balls to the pan.
- Cheese. Want to try this recipe with other cheeses? Swap the pimento cheese ingredients for your preferred cheese. For just a slight variation, try this recipe with white cheddar cheese. Alternatively, try mozzarella cheese or goat cheese.
- Add Meat. Dice up cooked bacon, ham, or chicken.
- Add Veggies. Want to add some nutrition to this recipe? Add finely chopped broccoli, zucchini (salted first to remove excess moisture), cauliflower, or corn.
- More Add-Ins. Add chopped and fully cooked potatoes and/or herbs.
- Dipping Sauce. Enhance the flavor of these cheese fritters with ranch dressing, hot honey, hot sauce, mustard, or sour cream.
How to Store Leftovers
Allow the fritters to cool completely before freezing them in a Ziploc bag for up to 2 months. To reheat them, add them to a toaster oven or air fryer until warmed through.
Can I make cheese fritters in advance?
Absolutely! Prepare the cheese balls and coat them in breadcrumbs. Then freeze them on a baking sheet before transferring them to a Ziploc bag. When you are ready to make them, fry them from frozen. It will save you some cooking time. Make certain the fritters are cooked through to the center.
What are cheese fritters made of?
Cheese fritters are made with cheese, seasonings, eggs, and breadcrumbs.
Why are my fritters falling apart?
If your cheese fritters are falling apart, they were not chilled long enough. Also, ensure the oil is hot enough to efficiently fry the cheese balls so they don't absorb the oil, get soggy, and fall apart.
Why is pimento cheese so popular in the South?
Although this delicacy originated in New York, it was popularized in southern states like North Carolina and Texas. During the early 20th century, pimento was a processed cheese but once it reached the South, people adapted it and made their own homemade versions.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS EASY CHEESE FRITTERS RECIPE!
Pimento Cheese Fritters
- 2½ cups Cheddar cheese shredded
- ½ cup Mayonnaise
- 4 oz Pimentos
- ½ cup Cream cheese
- ¼ teaspoon Salt more if needed
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- 2 teaspoon Garlic powder with parsley
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 1½ cups Flour
- 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 Eggs
- Oil for frying
- ¼ cup Sweet jelly (red pepper, etc)
- 1 tablespoon Calabrian Chili Paste
- Begin by shredding the cheddar cheese.
- Next, measure the mayo, cream cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire Sauce, sugar and pimentos (be sure to drain).
- In a large bowl perfect for mixing, add the cheddar cheese.
- Add in the additional ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Allow pimento cheese to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour (24 hours if time permits).
- After pimento cheese has marinated, begin forming pimento cheese balls into even 1 ½ inch balls.
- Dip the formed balls into the egg mixture, flour, back to the egg mixture and lastly the breadcrumbs.
- Repeat this step until all pimento cheese balls are coated, place back on the lined baking sheet.
- Place on a lined baking sheet and freeze for at least one hour.
- While the pimento cheese balls freeze, prepare sauce by mixing sauces until thoroughly combined.
- In a shallow frying pan, add oil and allow oil to reach certain degrees.
- Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.