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Crispy Homemade Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

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Did you know you can make homemade mozzarella sticks in the AIR FRYER? That’s right, you totally can!

It’s a slightly healthier version of your favorite cheesy crunchy appetizer. These homemade Mozzarella Sticks are full of flavor without all the guilt!

Serving of mozzarella sticks straight from the air fryer

What Is Air Frying?

Air frying is not really “frying”, but rather it’s a fast and efficient way of baking using convection cooking.

Basically, the air fryer uses hot air to mimic the way hot oil would cook food if you were deep-frying. The air fryer uses a fan to circulate the heat from the heating element, which cooks the food on all sides, top to bottom.

If you want even more info about air fryers, I found a great article from Good Housekeeping that goes into a little more depth about air frying. The article provides some really helpful tips too!

How To Make Homemade Mozzarella Sticks In The Air Fryer

Makes 8 mozzarella sticks

Ingredients:

  • 8 sticks of mozzarella string cheese
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups of seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese

In a shallow dish, beat the eggs with a fork or a whisk until well blended and set aside.

Beaten eggs for breading

Add the flour to large freezer bag or bowl, and set that aside too.

Pour your Panko breadcrumbs into another shallow dish and drizzle on the olive oil. Toss until the crumbs are well coated.

Next add the garlic powder, salt, and parmesan cheese to the Panko crumbs and whisk until well combined.

If you haven’t already done so, unwrap your mozzarella string cheese sticks. 

Toss the string cheese in the bag with the flour and shake around until they’re completely coated.

Toss the sticks in the flour to coat

Working with 2-3 sticks at a time, remove them from the flour mixture, and shake off any excess flour back into the bag.

Add the sticks to the egg mixture and roll around until completely coated in the beaten egg.

Next, transfer the sticks to the Panko mixture. Roll and press the sticks in the breadcrumbs to get them as evenly coated as possible.

Add the breaded cheese sticks back to the egg mixture. Roll to coat all sides well and coat any spots that may have been missed the first time.

double bread the mozzarella sticks

Then roll them again in the Panko breadcrumbs, making sure that absolutely no cheese is visible. Take the time to really mold and pack the breading around the cheese stick-this will prevent any cheese leakage!

Place breaded cheese sticks in a single layer on a sheet pan or in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Repeat the above process until all the sticks are completely double breaded.

Once all the string cheese has been breaded, move the baking dish or sheet pan to the freezer and freeze the sticks for at least an hour until the breading is firm.

Cooking the Mozzarella Sticks In The Air Fryer:

Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes at 390º.

Once the fryer is preheated, spray the fry basket with cooking spray (I prefer olive oil) and spray the tops of your frozen mozzarella sticks too.

Quickly add 4-6 sticks (depending on the size of your fryer’s basket) in a single layer. You may need to work in batches–don’t stack the sticks!

Add the mozzarella sticks to the air fryer

Cook your mozzarella sticks for 5-7 minutes until they are golden brown and some cheese starts to bubble out.

Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and enjoy!!

Can I freeze mozzarella sticks?

Yes!

You actually NEED to freeze these.

By popping the sticks in the freezer for at least an hour, you ensure that the breading will cook and set before the cheese starts melting out.

But wanna know the best part about freezing mozzarella sticks? You can make a big batch at one time and just keep them there for months! They’ll be ready anytime your heart calls for them.

When you’re ready to cook, just pop the sticks right into a preheated air fryer and you’ll have crunchy, golden brown, and delicious mozzarella sticks in less than 10 minutes!

How To Freeze Mozzarella Sticks

After breading all the string cheese, move the sticks to the freezer and allow to chill for at least an hour to firm up the breading.

Once the breading is a bit frozen, transfer the sticks to a freezer safe bag. Leave in the freezer for months!

When you’re ready to cook, just preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes, give the fryer basket and the frozen sticks( do not thaw!) a spray of cooking oil, and cook for 5-7 min at 390º.

How Long Do You Air Fry Frozen Mozzarella Sticks?

Air frying your mozzarella sticks directly from the freezer takes less than 10 minutes! So these make the PERFECT party snack.

To cook the frozen sticks, preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 390º. Spray the fryer basket and sticks with olive oil cooking spray.

Plop your mozzarella sticks (do not thaw) in the air fryer and in 5-7 minutes you’ll have a perfectly golden, crunchy snack on your hands.

How to serve your air fryer mozzarella sticks

How To Serve Mozzarella Sticks

These mozzarella sticks are best served fresh from the air fryer while they’re still melty and gooey. Sprinkle with a little extra grated parm, a sprinkle of basil, and a side of dunkable sauces.

My favorite dipping sauce is marinara, but ranch and/or salsa would be delicious too!

Tips for making the best Mozzarella Sticks From Scratch:

Make sure the mozzarella sticks are frozen and firm. You want the outer breading to cook and set first before the middle starts melting.

Preheat the air fryer before cooking the sticks. This will start cooking the breading instantly–instead of thawing as the fryer heats up.

Cook your sticks in a single layer. By frying the sticks in an even layer, we’re ensuring that the hot air is cooking the sticks on all sides. This will give us an even, golden brown crunch, without a cheese explosion!

Double bread the sticks! This not only makes the most delicious crunchy crust, but it also gives you the insurance that cheese is safe and snug and won’t melt out during cooking.

Dipping the mozzarella stick in marinara sauce

Variations:

The best part of making your own homemade mozzarella sticks is that you have the power to customize the seasoning however you want!

We add parmesan cheese and olive oil to the breading to make it extra flavorful and extra golden brown delicious. But why not add a couple of mix-ins to take these sticks over the top?

  • Make it spicy! Add some cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes to the panko
  • Take these sticks south of the border! Spike the breading with taco or fajita seasoning and serve with salsa and sour cream
  • Cajun seasoning would be SO TASTY too
  • Toss in some chili seasoning for a chili cheese mozzarella stick situation–YUM

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Air Fryer Zucchini Chips

Air Fryer Nachos

Crispy Tofu With Hoisin Sauce

Chili Cheese Tater Tot Nachos

The Air Fryer I use:

I use a Phillips Air Fryer and I’ve had it for years now. It’s taken a beating, but we love it!

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Serving of mozzarella sticks straight from the air fryer

Crispy Homemade Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Yield: 8 Mozzarella Sticks
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 37 minutes

Homemade golden brown and delcious mozzarella sticks made in the air fryer!

Ingredients

  • 8 sticks of mozzarella string cheese
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups of seasoned Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a shallow dish, beat the eggs with a fork or a whisk until well blended and set aside.
  2. Add the flour to large freezer bag or bowl, and set that aside too.
  3. Pour your Panko breadcrumbs into another shallow dish and drizzle on the olive oil. Toss until the crumbs are well coated.
  4. Next add the garlic powder, salt, and parmesan cheese to the Panko crumbs and whisk until well combined.
  5. If you haven't already done so, unwrap your mozzarella string cheese sticks. 
  6. Toss the string cheese in the bag with the flour and shake around until they're completely coated.
  7. Working with 2-3 sticks at a time, remove them from the flour mixture, and shake off any excess flour back into the bag.
  8. Add the sticks to the egg mixture and roll around until completely coated in the beaten egg.
  9. Next, transfer the sticks to the Panko mixture. Roll and press the sticks in the breadcrumbs to get them as evenly coated as possible.
  10. Add the breaded cheese sticks back to the egg mixture. Roll to coat all sides well and coat any spots that may have been missed the first time.
  11. Then roll them again in the Panko breadcrumbs, making sure that absolutely no cheese is visible. Take the time to really mold and pack the breading around the cheese stick!
  12. Place breaded cheese sticks in a single layer on a sheet pan or in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  13. Repeat the above process until all the sticks are completely double breaded.
  14. Once all the string cheese has been breaded, move the baking dish or sheet pan to the freezer and freeze the sticks for at least an hour until the breading is firm.

Cooking the Mozzarella Sticks In The Air Fryer:

  1. Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes at 390º.
  2. Once the fryer is preheated, spray the fry basket with cooking spray (I prefer olive oil) and spray the tops of your frozen mozzarella sticks too.
  3. Quickly add 4-6 sticks (depending on the size of your fryer's basket) in a single layer. Don't stack the sticks, you may need to work in batches.
  4. Cook your mozzarella sticks for 5-7 minutes until they are golden brown and some cheese starts to bubble out. 
  5. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and enjoy!!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 741mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 15g

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5 Comments

  1. Mmmmm… these look delicious! I wish I had an air fryer. I have also made mozzarella bites, perfect for fondue night!

  2. I wasn’t a fan of this recipe. None of the batter would stick to the cheese so I had gaping areas where there was visible cheese. From experience, I know the mozzarella would ooze out when cooked so I trashed everything after multiple attempts to save it.

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