You’d think, coming from an Italian family, I would have heard about cheese crisps sooner. The cheese crisps, also called frico, are pieces of lacy fried cheese that can be formed into bowls, chips or a crunchy garnish. Hailing from Northeast Italy, the dish—along with a softer version carrying the same name—has been passed down from one generation to the next.
Where have I been?!
You can use any hard cheese, like Parmesan, Asiago or aged cheddar, that will retain enough of its shape to maintain a “lacy” texture, but melt enough that the crisp will hold together.
How to make cheese crisps
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of finely shredded or grated cheese to create circles about 4 inches across. Make sure the cheese is spread evenly. Leaving about 2 inches between each circle, bake until the crisps barely begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
For the skillet method, you’ll make the cheese crisps one by one. Spread 2 Tbsp. of finely shredded or grated cheese to create a 4-inch circle and cook until the edges are a light golden brown, about 1 or 2 minutes.
Either way, I usually err on the “well done” side when baking because I like things to be a toasty brown. But frico is the exception—too-brown cheese tends to have an unpleasant charred flavor.
(Can’t get enough cheese? You’ll want to check out the cheesiest recipes we’ve ever made.)
What can you do with them?
Better to ask what you CAN’T do with them. The frico has nearly endless potential depending on the type of cheese you use, any herbs or spices you to add and their shape.
- Make simple coin-sized disks to toss on a salad
- Roll them into tubes to create an appetizer
- Drape them over glasses to make Pringles-style chips
- Shape them inside muffin tins or over inverted bowls to make cups
You can also elevate your Taco Tuesday by shaping frico into carb-free taco shells. Keep readymade cheese crisps handy and add them to a bowl of soup for a crispy-then-melty treat.
The crisps should keep in an air-tight container for a couple of days, so prep a batch in advance!