Inquiry-based, student-centered projects were designed and implemented in a food microbiology laboratory setting. Students work in groups (3 to 5 people) to ask a researchable question, design and complete experiments, analyze data, prepare a scientific poster, and defend their research in a public poster presentation. Groups are organized based on topic interest and guided to complete successful projects through a series of assignments and structured and open discussions during and outside of class time. Instructors guide students through the scientific method. Inclusion of projects in curriculum has increased students' interest in the food microbiology course and in this area of research.