Discover how easy it is to make homemade mozzarella sticks, easily cooked in either the oven or an air fryer, for a healthier version. With their crispy, golden coating and gooey melted mozzarella interior, these twists on a classic favorite are great for quick snacking or appetizers.
My 5-year-old calls these ‘monster-ella’ sticks, and he ate about nine of them…does that make me a bad mom? I say no way! He loved them, along with the rest of the family! Plus, I will show you how to make mozzarella sticks the healthy way so you can let your family indulge without the guilt! But you know what they loved even more than these steaming logs of crispy cheese?? Helping make them! Kids love to get messy, and this is a perfect way to get them involved in the kitchen.
- Mozzarella Cheese Sticks: Mozzarella string cheese sticks will work perfectly for this recipe. Cut them in half to make a nice bite-sized mozzarella stick.
- Breadcrumbs: Use a mix of breadcrumbs and Panko breadcrumbs, seasoned with Italian seasonings to get the most flavorful breading.
- Parmesan cheese: Parmesan cheese will add a nice nuttiness to the breading.
- Coconut oil or Butter: I love adding coconut oil! It not only makes them crispier, but it adds a nutty sweetness. If you aren’t into that though, feel free to add an equal amount of melted butter.
- Eggs: Beaten eggs will help the breading stick to the mozzarella sticks and prevent the melted cheese from oozing out.
- Flour: All-purpose flour, or any other type of flour, is used to dredge the mozzarella sticks before dipping them in the beaten eggs.
Step #1. Start by making your crumb mixture. Combine italian bread crumbs, italian Panko breadcrumbs and finely grated parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil and mix with your fingers until it is equally absorbed.
Step #2. Prepare your dredging station. Flour in one bowl, well beaten eggs in another, and your breadcrumb mixture in the third. You will dip your cheese in this order.
Step #3. Working with one cheese stick at a time, dredge in the flour. Coat well with the egg mixture, it may take several rolls to get it coated. Put immediately into the breadcrumb mixture and thoroughly coat.
Step #4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and flash freeze! **NOTE: Make sure the baking sheet fits in your freezer…not like I’m talking from experience or anything [looks away].
Oven vs. Air Fryer
You can make these easy homemade mozzarella sticks with two different cooking methods: using the oven or an air fryer, each with its own set of advantages! Here are the main differences and cooking times for each:
When baking in the oven, a preheating time of around 10-12 minutes is needed at 400°F (200°C). The sticks are placed on a baking sheet and flipped midway for even browning. Oven baking is well-suited for larger quantities and is a straightforward option that doesn’t require special equipment.
On the other hand, air fryers provide a quicker alternative, preheating in just 3-5 minutes. Cooking time spans approximately 6-8 minutes without the need for flipping. The outcome is a noticeably crunchier exterior due to the air circulation, resembling the texture of deep-frying without excessive oil. Air fryers are particularly efficient for smaller batches and offer the convenience of quicker cooking times.
Mozzarella cheese is the best choice, due to its meltability and mild flavor. Using other cheeses might affect the texture and taste of the final product.
Yes! Freezing the sticks before cooking helps them hold their shape during cooking, preventing excessive melting.
Yes, you can often substitute beaten eggs with alternatives like buttermilk, yogurt, or even non-dairy milk for a vegan option.
Preparing and freezing the mozzarella sticks ahead of time is a common practice. You can cook them straight from the freezer; just adjust the cooking time slightly.
Freezing is THE most important step. They must be frozen for at least an hour. If you do not do this, then when you bake them, the cheese will melt before the coating has time to harden and you will have a flat (albeit delicious) mess!
Once frozen you can then place into a large ziploc freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. When you are ready to bake some up, place the frozen cheese sticks on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Yum!!
How to serve Mozzarella Sticks
Don’t forget the marinara sauce for dipping! If you are more of a ranch fan, try my copycat homemade Hidden Valley Ranch Mix recipe!
If you like these delicious mozzarella sticks, you should try these other freezer meals recipes too:
If you enjoyed this recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment and a star rating!
How to Make Mozzarella Sticks
- 2/3 cup italian breadcrumbs
- 2/3 cup italian Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil or butter melted
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup flour
- 24 mozzarella cheese sticks cut half
- Combine the breadcrumbs, Panko and parmesan cheese in a bowl
- Add melted coconut oil or butter and mix with fingers until it is equally absorbed, set aside
- In another bowl crack three eggs. Whisk thoroughly, set aside.
- In a third bowl, add 1/2 cup flour.
- Make sure cheese sticks are unwrapped and cut in half
- Working one at a time, dip cheese stick into the flour first, then into the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- When finished, put in cheese sticks in the freezer for at least an hour.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400°F. Keep cheese sticks frozen until ready to put in the oven.
- Place desired amount on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes.
- Flip the them over and cook another 3-5 minutes.
- Alternatively, preheat the air-fryer to 380°F. Place in the air fryer basket in a single layer, not touching, and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until golden.
Once frozen, place extra cheese sticks in a freezer safe ziplock bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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The next time you make this Mozzarella Sticks recipe, I would love to see it! Snap a picture and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #happymoneysaver and tagging me @happymoneysaver!
Food is my love language. But so is saving money. So I like to combine the two a lot and make thrifty make ahead and freeze meals to save time. Because life is busy, and freezer meals can come to the rescue for all of us. And yes, they actually CAN taste good. Read more...