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Mastering the Art of Fried Cheese:

The Ultimate Czech Comfort Food


a close up of a plate of traditional Czech fried cheese with a side of French fries


In the heart of Czech culinary tradition lies a dish so comforting and universally loved that you’ll find it served from the bustling streets of Prague to the cozy nooks of family kitchens: Czech Fried Cheese, or Smažený Sýr. This dish, affectionately known as “smažák” by locals, is a testament to the simple joy of cheese, transformed into a golden, crispy delight that’s hard to resist.


What Makes Czech Fried Cheese Special?

Czech Fried Cheese is a marvel of simplicity and taste. It involves slices of semi-hard cheese, such as Edam or Gouda, enveloped in a crispy coat of flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, then pan-fried to perfection. Picture a main course that’s both satisfyingly crunchy on the outside and deliciously melty on the inside, typically accompanied by a side of French fries or potatoes in various forms.

The crowning touch? A generous serving of “tatarská omáčka”, the Czech version of tartar sauce, tying all the flavors together. Rumor has it that a good serving of fried cheese is the best cure for hangover!


a little bowl of home-made Czech-style sauce tartare to go with fried cheese


Where to Taste the Best Fried Cheese in Prague?

While mastering the art of Czech fried cheese at home offers a rewarding culinary adventure, there’s something special about enjoying this beloved dish in the heart of Prague itself. For those seeking the ultimate smažený sýr experience, the restaurant chain Lokál stands out as a must-visit destination. Renowned for its commitment to traditional Czech cuisine, they serve up some of the city’s most authentic and delicious fried cheese, perfectly crispy on the outside and meltingly soft inside. Accompanied by their homemade tartar sauce and a side of perfectly cooked potatoes, Lokál’s rendition of this classic dish captures the essence of Czech culinary tradition.


Getting Ready

Choosing the Right Cheese for Frying

While the classic choices include Eidam (Edam) or Gouda, for their ideal melting points and flavors, don’t hesitate to experiment with Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, or Swiss Gruyère. These varieties also excel in coating and frying, promising a delightful eating experience.

Useful Tips for the Perfect Smažený Sýr

You don’t need to dine out to savor this Czech classic. Whether it’s a quick snack of fried cheese in a bun or a full meal with tartar sauce, preparing this dish at home brings a piece of Czech street food culture to your table. Remember, the key to a great smažený sýr is to have the tartar sauce ready, allowing you to dive right into the meal once the cheese is beautifully golden brown.


What You’ll Need:

  • 4 slices of hard cheese (Gouda, Edam, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Swiss Gruyère), about 1/3-1/2-inch thick
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (43 g)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (120 g)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • A pinch of salt
  • Oil for frying


a person gently beating eggs with a whisker in the process of preparing Czech fried cheese


The Magic of Preparing a Fried Cheese:

  1. Begin by heating a generous amount of oil in a pan.
  2. Prepare the eggs by beating them lightly with a pinch of salt.
  3. Ready the cheese slices by first coating them in flour, then dipping them in the beaten eggs, and finally covering them in breadcrumbs.
  4. Fry the cheese slices over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes on each side, until each piece is a perfect golden brown.
  5. Serve hot with your choice of potato side and a dollop of tartar sauce for the full experience.


Serving Your Fried Cheese Perfection: I know that together with French fries, this might sound like too much fried stuff on one plate, but they go surprisingly well together! And if you really must have something more fresh, let’s  do it with a traditional Czech potato salad.

There’s something about Czech Fried Cheese that makes it an irresistible comfort food. Its appeal crosses borders, with our southeastern neighbors, the Slovaks, enjoying their version known as “vyprážaný syr”. Whether it’s the crunch of the breadcrumb coating or the warm, gooey center, Smažený Sýr is a dish that brings joy and satisfaction to any table.

This recipe not only introduces you to a staple of Czech cuisine but also invites you to create a space for international culinary exploration right in your home. So, the next time you’re pondering what to prepare for a meal that promises both comfort and a dash of adventure, remember the humble yet magnificent Smažený Sýr. Enjoy crafting this classic, and most importantly, enjoy every bite!


Czech fried cheese in its most common presentation - with french fries and sauce tartare


For those intrigued by the rich tapestry of Czech cuisine and eager to explore more, remember that there is a plethora of tasty dishes, each telling a story of culture, tradition, and the simple pleasures of life. Bon appétit, or as the Czechs say, Dobrou chut’!


February 27, 2024