Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Make your own homemade air fryer mozzarella sticks that are perfect gooey and crispy! This classic snack is always a crowd-favorite, great for any and every occasion.

Fried potato wedges on a plate with sauce and garnishes.

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Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks Recipe

Cheesy mozzarella sticks are my kryptonite, I’ll readily admit it! I mean, who wouldn’t have a weak spot for melty cheese housed in a panko breadcrumb mixture and fried to crisp perfection.

While this is one of my favorite appetizers, it’s not necessarily the healthiest thing ever. So, I figured out a way to make this delicious food without all the oil and frying! Enter air fryer mozzarella sticks.

They are every bit as good as deep fried mozzarella sticks but have a fraction of the oil used. Plus, it’s so much easier to make something in the air fryer than it is to heat up a big pot oil.

I make these with air fryer chicken wings for game day parties and gatherings all the time. It’s just the easiest thing to do and everyone loves fun appetizers like these! Once you learn to make your own homemade mozzarella sticks, you’ll never want to grab those frozen box kind again.

More appetizer recipes: Sausage BallsWhipped Feta DipCranberry Brie Bites

Why you’ll love this recipe

This great recipe is so easy to love! Pair them with your favorite dipping sauce and dig in:

  • Make these gooey cheesy snacks in under an hour. They’re so easy to prep and even easier to cook since the air fryer does all the hard work for you!
  • These are fabulous to prep ahead of time, freeze, and then cook when needed. You could prep a large batch and then you’ll always have an appetizer ready to be popped in the air fryer at the drop of a hat.
  • Homemade mozzarella sticks have a much better flavor than store-bought. Plus, you can be sure that there are no extra preservatives and additives like there are in the frozen stuff.
Air fryer mozzarella sticks on a plate with dipping sauce.

Tools Needed

To make this easy mozzarella sticks recipe, you’ll need a few different kitchen tools. Use a sharp chef’s knife and cutting board to cut the block of mozzarella if you are not using cheese sticks. You’ll also need at least two shallow bowls and a bowl for the breading mixture.

Make sure you’ve got measuring cups and spoons to properly measure the ingredients and a whisk to beat the egg. You’ll also need parchment paper for the air fryer basket and, of course, an air fryer!

The crave-worthy combination of air fryer mozzarella sticks with melted cheese and a hint of fiery peppers.

Ingredients

These simple ingredients are all that you need to make the perfect mozzarella sticks. Here’s what to add to that grocery list before you go shopping:

  • mozzarella cheese block
  • chili flakes
  • Italian seasoning
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • panko bread crumbs
  • all-purpose flour
  • large egg

Substitutions & variations

I typically cut sticks from a block of whole milk mozzarella, but you can use sticks of string cheese too. Both will work great!

You can use homemade breadcrumbs instead of store-bought panko breadcrumbs if you want. The regular bread crumbs will work, or you can swap it out for Italian breadcrumbs.

Fried potato sticks on a plate with dipping sauce.

Chili flakes won’t really make the breading mixture spicy, but it does add just a bit of heat. Leave it out if you prefer!

Feel free to experiment with gluten-free options! There are gluten-free breadcrumbs out there and tons of gluten-free flour.

Add tons of flavor to the dry breadcrumbs with various different spices and herbs. Use things like garlic powder, dried rosemary, dried parsley, dried basil, onion powder, dried oregano and so much more.

How to Make Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Air frying mozzarella sticks is a healthier alternative to deep frying them. You’ll find it’s incredibly easy too! Here’s how to make this recipe:

Begin by cutting the block of mozzarella into 16 – ½ inch thick sticks. If you are using string cheese, then cut them in half.

A white plate with spices and seasonings on it.
Three bowls with flour, eggs and oil on a white surface.

Then mix together the chili flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper and bread crumbs on a wide plate.

Put all-purpose flour into a shallow bowl and then beat an egg into another separate shallow bowl.

A bowl of powder next to a bowl of liquid.
A bowl of eggs, a bowl of flour, and a bowl of oil.

Grab one mozzarella stick at a time, then coat it in flour, dip in the egg wash, and then coat it well at the breading station. Make sure that all sides are covered and coated thoroughly.

A bowl of spices and a spoon next to a bowl of oil.

Arrange the coated cheese sticks on a plate and then place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

A white plate with a few pieces of bread on it.
The air fryer is filled with rice sticks.

When you’re ready to cook you creation, preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350°F (180°C). Then line the basket with parchment paper and place each coated mozzarella stick inside without overcrowding it.

Fried potato sticks in an air fryer.

Cook for 5 minutes then toss and cook for 3-4 more minutes until golden brown.

Serve with marinara sauce or ranch dressing and enjoy!

Tips & tricks

These simple tips and tricks will ensure you make the most crispy and gooey cheese sticks ever:

  • Keep the coated cheese stick in a single layer in the basket so that the hot air can circulate around all sides of the sticks. This will ensure that all sides get crispy and golden brown!
  • If you do not have parchment paper, use some non-stick cooking spray before cooking the mozzarella sticks. It’s best to have something to prevent sticking so that the breading doesn’t get peeled off.
  • Make sure that you evenly coat each cheese stick and don’t make the panko coating layer too thick. It’ll crisp up best when it’s not too thick and will stick better to the cheese stick.
A person grabbing a piece of fried potato sticks.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

In my opinion, fresh hot mozzarella sticks are best dipped in a homemade marinara sauce. But creamy ranch dressing is also so tasty for this perfect appetizer. I love to serve this dish alongside other great food like fried pickles, queso fundido, and popcorn shrimp.

This hearty appetizer is always a blast to serve at parties and gatherings! I pair it with cocktails like a classic bloody mary or a gin and tonic. Sangrita and mezcal margaritas are also perfect with the cheesy snack. It’s the best appetizer for so many different cocktails.

FAQ

Do you have to freeze mozzarella sticks before frying?

It is essential to freeze mozzarella sticks before popping them into the air fryer. If you do not, you will have a mess of melty cheese on your hands once they’re cooked. Freezing the sticks helps to keep the cheese cold enough while the breading cooks and only makes the cheese melt to be gooey and stringy instead of liquidy.

How do you store cooked mozzarella sticks?

Place leftovers into an airtight container and allow to fully cool before putting the lid on. This is important because any condensation build up will make the breading soggy. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, place them back into a preheated air fryer or the oven until warmed through and crispy. You can also freeze the coated and uncooked sticks for up to 3 months.

Fried potato sticks on a plate with dipping sauce.

More Cheesy Recipes

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Fried mozzarella sticks on a plate with sauce and garnishes.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
Make air fryer mozzarella sticks for your next party and listen to your guests rave!
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 12 oz Mozzarella cheese block or you can also use mozzarella string cheese sticks
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg

instructions

  • Cut the Mozzarella cheese block into approximately 16 – ½ inch thick sticks. Or if you’re using string cheese sticks then cut them in half.
  • Mix chili flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper powder with the panko bread crumbs on a wide plate.
  • Take two shallow bowls; take all-purpose flour in one, and beat the egg in the second bowl.
  • Working with one stick of mozzarella at a time, coat it in flour, then dip it in egg, and finally coat it in panko mixture making sure all sides are covered and coated well.
  • Arrange the coated mozzarella sticks on a plate and place them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 350°F (180°C). Line the basket with parchment paper and arrange the coated mozzarella sticks without overcrowding. Cook for 5 minutes then toss and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve warm with marinara sauce or ranch dressing.

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nutrition information

Yield: 4 servings

amount per serving:

Calories: 120kcal Carbohydrates: 21g Protein: 5g Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0.01g Cholesterol: 41mg Sodium: 397mg Potassium: 70mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Vitamin A: 216IU Vitamin C: 0.02mg Calcium: 39mg Iron: 2mg
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