Crispy Cheese Bites (Applebee’s Copycat Recipe!)

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My Crispy Cheese Bites are just like Applebee’s! Skip the restaurant and recreate them yourself at home for a fraction of the price. Made with just a handful of easy ingredients and about 30 minutes, you’ll have a hot batch of Applebee’s crispy cheese bites ready to serve and enjoy!

titled: Applebee's Crispy Cheese Bites


Crispy Cheese Bites

Fried cheese, is there anything better?! Mozzarella sticks, fried mac and cheese balls, fried mozzarella

I have a ton of options on the site already, but there’s always room for more!

The Crispy Cheese Bites at Applebee’s are one of my favorite apps to grab when Chad and I have a date night.

And, when we go as a family, Munchkin could honestly scarf down an entire plate! I usually limit her to a few because, well, we want some too!

As always, once I try a dish out at a restaurant, the first thing I want to do is recreate it myself at home.

I figured fried cheese balls couldn’t be too hard to make, and boy, was I right! 

After a bit of experimenting in the kitchen, I came up with the perfect copycat recipe. It’s quick, it’s easy, and comes together with simple ingredients. 

You guys are going to love this one!! I mean, who doesn’t love fried cheese?

ingredients for applebee's crispy cheese bites recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cheese Curds – If you’ve never worked with cheese curds before you’re in for a treat — these small, fresh chunks of cheese are perfect for this appetizer! 

    You should be able to find them in the specialty cheese section at your local grocery store. You can use fresh or slightly aged curds for this recipe!
  • All-Purpose Flour – To create the batter, you’ll have to set up your standard dredging station.

    I use all-purpose flour for frying because I always have some on hand. If you’re GF, use your preferred 1:1 flour.
  • Baking Powder – Helps create a light yet crispy outer crust on your crispy cheese bites like Applebee’s!
  • Milk – I like whole milk to create the batter as well as its higher fat content has better flavor and texture.
  • Egg – The final ingredient needed to set up your dredging station! An egg helps bind everything together.
  • Vegetable Oil – For frying. I usually use canola oil or peanut oil for their high smoke point and neutral flavor.
  • Dipping Sauces – Get creative here! Applebee’s crispy cheese bites are typically served with a side of marinara sauce and ranch dressing, but you can use your favorites! 
flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl

Tips and Tricks to Make Perfect Applebee’s Crispy Cheese Bites

  • Test the temperature.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you fry up your cheese curds.

First, the oil must be at the correct temperature to get the crispy results you’re aiming for. Plus, it helps ensure even cooking. 

Use a candy thermometer to test the oil. It needs to be 375°F.

  • Fry in batches.

You also need to fry the cheese curds in small batches.

If you overcrowd the pan, the oil temperature will go down, which can result in undercooked cheese bites that aren’t very crispy!

  • Drain excess oil.

Have a paper towel-lined plate handy. It’s important to drain any excess oil from the cheese bites to keep them light and crunchy. 

If you find the paper towel becomes too greasy, don’t hesitate to change it for a new one.

  • Double fry for an extra crunchy exterior. 

One of my favorite things about crispy cheese bites from Applebees is that extra crispy exterior.

The last time I was at the restaurant, I was racking my brain on how they did it when I realized… duh! They must double-fry them.

You can do the same at home! Let the cheese bites cool completely and then fry them again. You’ll get super crunchy results every time!

egg and milk in a large mixing bowl

Prep Ahead

  • Set up your dredging station
  • Place paper towels on a plate

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Mixing Bowls – I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • 4 Quart Stock Pot – Great for soups, roasts, frying, and more! This is a staple in my kitchen.
  • Candy Thermometer – To check the oil temp.
  • Slotted Spoon – To remove the crispy cheese bites from the hot oil.
adding cheese curds to batter

Serving Suggestions 

This crispy cheese bites Applebee’s copycat is best served hot with your favorite sauces. 

Remember that marinara and ranch are standard, but you can experiment with other flavors! Honey mustard or even copycat blooming onion or Big Mac sauce would taste great.  

To create an Applebee-inspired appetizer spread perfect for game day or the holidays, pair your cheese bites with spinach artichoke dip, spicy queso blanco, and a big bag of tortilla chips! 

frying cheese curds in a large pot

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Just like the crispy cheese bites from Applebees, my recipe is best enjoyed fresh. If you do have some leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Bring them back to life in your air fryer! 3-5 minutes at 350°F is all they need.

removing excess oil from applebee's crispy cheese bites

Crispy Cheese Bites FAQ

What type of cheese works best for crispy cheese bites?

I tried out a couple of different options for my copycat recipe, and cheese curds were the clear winner. They melt slightly when heated, but still maintain their shape. This type of cheese can withstand the heat of deep frying without turning into a melted mess!

How do I keep the cheese from oozing out during frying?

You need to make sure that the crispy cheese bites are fully coated in the batter before frying! If cheese leakage is a big concern, you can also freeze the cheese curds for 10-15 minutes before you get started. It’s a quick hack that can be super helpful!

Do I have to deep fry Applebee’s crispy cheese bites?

If you want that perfectly crispy exterior deep frying is your best bet. But, if you don’t want any of that excess oil,  you could use your air fryer! 

Preheat to 375°F and place the cheese curbs in a single layer in the basket. Air fry for 6-8 minutes, or until they turn golden brown.

They may not come out as crunchy as deep-fried, but they’re still just as good!

crispy cheese bites dipped in marinara

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gooey cheese pull from applebee's crispy cheese bites

closeup of a cheese pull from crispy cheese bites

Crispy Cheese Bites (Applebee’s Copycat Recipe!)

Donna Elick
Make Crispy Cheese Bites with my Applebee’s copycat recipe! Fried cheese curds are crispy, crunchy, and incredibly easy to make at home.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 4


  • 1 pound cheese curds
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • marinara sauce or ranch dressing, for dipping (optional)


  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and egg until well combined.
  • Pour the milk and egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until a smooth batter forms. The batter should be thick enough to coat the cheese curds.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot or skillet to approximately 375°F (190°C).
  • Drop a few cheese curds into the batter, making sure they are well coated. Use a fork or slotted spoon to transfer the cheese curds from the batter to the hot oil, allowing any excess batter to drip off.
  • Fry the cheese curds in small batches for about 2-3 minutes, or until they turn golden brown and crispy. Flip them occasionally for even cooking.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried cheese curds from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining cheese curds, ensuring the oil has returned to the proper temperature before adding each new batch.
  • Serve the batter fried cheese curds while they’re still warm and crispy. They can be enjoyed on their own or served with marinara sauce or ranch dressing for dipping. Enjoy!

Donna’s Notes

Cheese curds can be found in the refrigerated section of some grocery stores or at specialty cheese shops. You can use fresh or slightly aged cheese curds for this recipe.
Ensure the oil is at the correct temperature before frying to achieve crispy and evenly cooked cheese curds.
It’s important to fry the cheese curds in small batches to prevent overcrowding the pan and maintaining the oil temperature.
Drain excess oil from the fried cheese curds on a paper towel to keep them light and crispy.
For an extra crispy coating, allow the fried cheese curds to cool completely, and then fry them again.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 615cal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 1167mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 956mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Applebee's Crispy Cheese Bites - PIN

Originally published April 2024

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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was so easy to follow, I made these for a family lunch as an easy appetizer and let me tell you, I have never had anything like it before. The batter was delicious, the cheese was gooey and although I was afraid they would be oily, they were not at all. Thank you for such and easy and delicious recipe that my whole family loved!

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