These homemade air fryer mozzarella sticks are a dream come true. Crunchy, savory and filled with gooey, soft cheese, these homemade air fryer mozzarella cheese sticks are a winner every time
Okay, time for a pop quiz! Name a better comfort food than mozzarella sticks. No answer? That’s what I thought!
Who can turn down a plate of warm, cheesy, mozzarella sticks? I know I can’t! That being said, this mozzarella sticks recipe is without a doubt one of my favorites. They’re crispy, savory, and filled with deliciously stretchy mozzarella cheese. What more could you want?
If you’re not yet sold, consider the fact that this is probably one of the simplest homemade mozzarella cheese sticks recipes ever. To make it that way, I used an air fryer! I love air fryers because they make it totally possible to fry foods without the mess of a regular deep fryer. Plus, air fried recipes are a great alternative health-wise. Check out this page to find the perfect air fryer or find all of my vegetarian air fryer recipes here!
“I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out perfect. So yummy!! We had them with pizza sauce and ranch. 🤤” —Ali
The secret to successfully making crispy, crunchy breaded cheese sticks is to freeze the unwrapped cheese strings for 30 minutes before breading! Without freezing, the cheese melts too early. Once ready, the panko-breaded cheese sticks cook for just 6-8 minutes in the air fryer. Ready? Let’s make them.They’re crunchy, savory, and filled with gooey cheese (step-by-step guide!)
Ingredients for Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
This easy air fryer appetizer idea calls for just four ingredients and four spices. Since the ingredients are super simple, you most likely already have most of them on hand!
- Mozzarella Sticks: For this recipe, mozzarella sticks are the name of the game! You can use actual pre-cut cheese sticks, or you can cut sticks from a block (I personally love these homemade mozzarella sticks using string cheese!)
- All-Purpose Flour: We will be using flour for the breading process.
- Egg: We will use an egg wash to help make the breadcrumbs stick!
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs will be used to coat the mozzarella sticks. Panko crumbs are made without crusts, making them great for breading fried foods.
- Spices: To make these mozz sticks extra yummy, we’ll be adding flavor with onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt.
- Dipping Sauce: Choose your favorite sauce for dipping, such as marinara or ranch!
How to Air Fry Mozzarella Sticks
The directions may look intimidating at a glance, but trust me. These mozzarella sticks are so easy to make! Be sure to follow each step carefully, remembering to freeze the mozz sticks when called for.
- Freeze cheese to help it hold its shape while cooking
- Prep the breading station
- Bread cheese once then return to the freezer
- Bread cheese twice for that extra crunch
- Cook in the air fryer until ooey and gooey!
Tips for Cooking Healthier Mozzarella Sticks
Here are some extra tips to make your mozzarella stick experience even better!
- Air frying from frozen: If you’re wondering how to air fry frozen mozzarella sticks, keep reading! It’s totally possible to air fry mozz sticks from frozen (as in, frozen store-bought mozzarella sticks). To do so, simply toss into the air fryer and follow the temperature and time instructions as listed in the recipe.
- Don’t skip freezing: When cooking from scratch, freezing between breading takes a bit of extra time. But, it’s so worth it! Without freezing, the cheese melts too early and and will spill out before the coating has time to cook.
- Cook in single layers: If all mozzarella sticks don’t fit in a single layer on your air fryer rack, cook in multiple batches. I do not recommend double stacking.
How long to air fry mozzarella sticks
- Homemade Mozzarella Sticks should be air fried for 6 to 8 minutes – just the right amount of time to brown the outside and melt the inside (without them rupturing!)
- Store Bought Mozzarella Sticks generally advise to air fry for 5 minutes – likely because they contain oils in the coating that will burn if cooked longer.
After trying out a bunch of different air fryers, this is my favorite!
Check out more of my favorite healthy appetizers!
We love apps around here. A recent favorite air fryer app of mine are these air fryer spring rolls. Hungry for more? Try one of these!
- Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas
- Air Fried Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Fried Pickles
- Quick Air Fryer Kale Chips
- Crispy Air Fryer Pizza
- Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Florets
- 8 mozzarella sticks
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg whisked
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt
- Freeze Cheese: Unwrap mozzarella sticks (or cut into sticks if starting from a block of cheese). Set on a parchment-lined plate and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Prep: Meanwhile, set up your breading station. Place flour in a ziploc baggie. Whisk egg in a shallow bowl. Combine panko and seasonings in a separate shallow bowl.
- Bread Once: Toss mozzarella sticks into the bag with the flour, zip it shut, and shake to evenly coat the cheese. Working one at a time, roll the mozzarella sticks in the egg, then in the panko. Return to the plate and freeze for 30 more minutes.
- Bread Twice: Lightly grease your air fryer basket or rack, and preheat to 390°F (200°C). Coat the mozzarella sticks in egg then panko one more time, then transfer to the air fryer.
- Cook: Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce, like marinara or ranch.