Culver’s cheese curds are a popular appetizer at the Midwest fast food chain Culver’s. But like many fried foods, they can be high in carbohydrates. So how many carbs are actually in an order of Culver’s cheese curds?
The Basics of Culver’s Cheese Curds
Culver’s cheese curds are bitesized pieces of fried cheese. They use a special breed of Wisconsin cheese that allows the curds to keep their shape when fried. The hot oil crisps up the outside to a golden brown, while the inside remains stretchy and gooey.
An order of cheese curds at Culver’s consists of about 30-40 cheese curd pieces, depending on the location. The curds are served with a side of ranch or marinara dipping sauce.
Nutritional Information for Culver’s Cheese Curds
According to the Culver’s website, an order of cheese curds contains the following nutritional information:
- Calories: 510
- Total Fat: 32g
- Saturated Fat: 18g
- Trans Fat: 1g
- Cholesterol: 105mg
- Sodium: 1310mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 28g
- Dietary Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 22g
The key number here is that a full order of Culver’s cheese curds contains 28g of total carbohydrates. Since carbs contain 4 calories per gram, those 28 grams represent 112 calories just from carbs.
How the Carbs Add Up
Cheese curds get most of their carbs from the breading used to coat them before frying. Breading is generally made from carb-containing ingredients like flour, breadcrumbs, cornmeal, or potato starch.
When the breaded cheese curds are fried, the breading soaks up a good amount of oil, boosting the fat and calorie counts. But that starchy breading is still the source of most of the carbs.
The cheese itself also contains a small amount of carbohydrates, called milk sugars or lactose. But the majority of carbs in cheese curds come directly from that crispy, fried breading.
How Portion Size Affects Carb Count
It’s important to keep portion sizes in mind with a carb-heavy food like cheese curds. The nutritional information from Culver’s is based on their standard full-size order.
But you can also order a smaller size of cheese curds at Culver’s containing about half the curds. This would cut the carb count approximately in half, to around 14g of carbs.
Here’s a breakdown of the total carb counts for Culver’s cheese curd sizes:
|Cheese Curd Size
|Full Size Order
|Half Size Order
As you can see, the full size order contains twice as many carbs as the half size. So ordering a smaller portion is an easy way to reduce your carb intake if needed.
Tips for Lowering Carbs When Eating Cheese Curds
Here are some tips for reducing carbs if you want to enjoy Culver’s cheese curds but are watching your carbohydrate intake:
- Order a half size rather than a full size order
- Avoid dipping in sugary marinara sauce, use ranch instead
- Remove the breading by scraping curds with a fork
- Pair with a low carb vegetable like a side salad instead of fries
- Split an order with a friend
- Opt for a lower carb main course to balance out the carbs
With smart customizations and portion control, you can still enjoy the tastiness of cheese curds while limiting carbs per meal!
How Cheese Curds Fit Into a Low Carb Diet
For people following a low carb or keto diet, cheese curds may not make the best menu option. A single full order contains 28g total carbs, which could use up a big chunk of your daily carb allowance.
On keto, people generally aim for under 50g net carbs per day to stay in ketosis. And for very low carb diets, aiming for under 20-30g total carbs daily. In both cases, cheese curds may not fit easily into these carb ranges if you eat a full order.
But there are still ways you could potentially enjoy cheese curds occasionally on a low carb eating plan:
- Order a half size
- Scrape off the breading
- Pair with very low carb foods the rest of the day
- Save for an occasional “treat day” when carbs are higher
While cheese curds aren’t the best low carb option out there, with some adjustments they can be worked into an overall low carbohydrate way of eating once in a while.
Comparing Cheese Curds to Other Fried Appetizers
Cheese curds have a carb count on the higher side compared to other popular fried appetizers at fast food chains. Here’s how they compare:
|Culver’s Cheese Curds (full order)
|McDonald’s Mozzarella Sticks (6 pieces)
|Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets (8 pieces)
|Arby’s Potato Cakes (3 cakes)
In general, cheese curds have more carbs than protein-based fried foods like chicken nuggets or mozzarella sticks, but fewer carbs than starchy sides like potato cakes. Order size also varies the totals.
The Bottom Line
So in summary, here’s the total carbs in Culver’s popular appetizer:
A full size order of Culver’s cheese curds contains about 28g total carbohydrates.
This gives them one of the higher carb counts for fried fast food appetizers. But with modifications like getting a half size, removing the breading, or pairing with low carb foods, cheese curds can still be enjoyed occasionally even on a low carb diet.
Knowing the carb counts allows you to make informed choices to meet your own dietary needs and preferences when ordering off the Culver’s menu.