I have a slight obsession with cheese, okay a huge obsession. Cheese is one of my favorite things to eat. And my favorite appetizer to make or order is mozzarella sticks. This homemade air fryer mozzarella sticks recipe is amazing and turns out so much better than the frozen store-bought kind, although I will still eat those as well, haha.
If you are a fan of appetizers, if you like making food for game day or board game nights try these out! Or maybe you just love cheese like me, you can’t go wrong with these air fryer mozzarella sticks. They are so easy to make, if I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
In order to make air fryer mozzarella sticks you need just a handful of ingredients:
- Cheese – I like to use mozzarella string cheese or the Babybel round snack cheeses. Both melt really well and taste amazing. But you can pretty much use whatever cheese that you want!
- Doritos – Yes! I said Doritos. They make an excellent breading.
- Breadcrumbs – I use either traditional Italian style breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs. Panko are my favorite out of the two.
- Flour – Just use normal flour/all-purpose flour
- Garlic powder
- Ground pepper
NOTE: The spices are purely optional, and you can certainly use other spices if you like.
- Air fryer
- Sheet pan
- Parchment paper
- Cutting board
Step 2: How to make mozzarella sticks in air fryer
Start by removing the wrappers from the cheese. I usually use either string cheese or the Babybel little round individually wrapped cheeses. But you can use whatever kind of cheese that you want.
Then I like to cut the string cheese in half, although you could leave them whole if you wanted. I just prefer the small pieces, in my opinion, the smaller pieces make better mozzarella sticks or cheese sticks.
Place the cheese on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and then freeze them for 30 to 45 minutes.
Take the eggs and add them to a small bowl and whisk. You can add about a tablespoon of water as well if you like. The eggs act as a binder to help keep the breading on.
Then add the flour and spices to another bowl and whisk until combined.
NOTE: You can add the spices to the flour or the breadcrumbs. But I usually add it to the flour.
For the breading, you can use breadcrumbs, either classic Italian style or Panko. Panko gives them a wonderful crunch. And is probably what I use the most often.
Another breading option is Doritos. Take the chips and place them in a bag and mash them up. You can use all kinds of different flavors of chips if you like. This creates a great opportunity to mix different types of cheeses with different types of breading. So many cool flavor combinations you can come up with.
Your air fryer mozzarella sticks will be the envy of every game day, game night, movie night, family gathering, etc.
Step 3: Dip and Freeze those mozzarella sticks
Now take the cold cheese and dip it into the flour mixture. Then dunk it into the egg wash, followed by rolling it in the breadcrumbs or chips.
Next, go back into the egg wash one more time, and then finish it off by rolling once again in the breadcrumbs or chips. The double-dipping helps create a better outer shell.
Set the breaded cheeses on the sheet pan lined with parchment paper and once again freeze for 30 to 45 minutes.
NOTE: DO NOT skip the freezing step, if you do, the cheese will ooze out much more than you probably would like. Freezing them helps the cheese melt slowly, giving time for the outer shell to cook.
Step 4: Cook those air fryer mozzarella sticks
Time to cook those mozzarella cheese sticks.
Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or better yet use a spritzer with canola oil, vegetable oil, coconut, or avocado oil. There is research that shows the aerosol sprays can harm the nonstick spray on the basket causing it to peel prematurely. Then place several of the cheese sticks in the basket, but don’t overcrowd them.
Put the basket in the air fryer and set the temp to right around 375F/190C. Set the time for 4 to 5 minutes and let them cook.
When the timer goes off, remove the basket and then take some tongs and turn the cheese sticks over. Then cook for an additional minute or minute and a half. Just until you see a little cheese oozing out. If you froze them, there shouldn’t be a ton of cheese oozing out, just a little bit, which is what we want.
Once cooked, place them on a plate with a bowl of marinara sauce or this amazing homemade pizza sauce or ranch dressing or whatever else you may want to dip them in. Enjoy!
And there you go, amazing homemade air fryer mozzarella sticks.
How long do the air fryer cheese sticks last?
Right after freezing the air fryer mozzarella sticks for the second time with the breading, you can then store them in a freezer bag. Keep them frozen until you want to cook them. They will last a few months in the freezer. Other than that, they taste best when eaten hot right after being cooked and the cheese is nice and stretchy.
Do I have to use eggs for the dredge?
No, you can use a substitute like buttermilk, tomato paste, melted butter, and even olive oil as the dredge to help keep the breading on.
Here are some other recipes you may like:
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
- sheet pan
- parchment paper
- Cutting board
- 8 string cheese sticks or Babybel cheese or whatever you like or a combination of a few kinds of cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup smashed Doritos 50g
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 50g
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 60g
- 1/2 tsp salt 2g
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder 2g
- 1/4 tsp black ground pepper 1g
- Unwrap and cut the string cheese in half then place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and freeze them for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Take the eggs and add them to a small bowl and whisk. You can add about a tablespoon of water as well if you like.
- Then add the flour and spices to another bowl and whisk until combined.
- You can use either bread crumbs or smashed chips like Doritos for the breading. I recommend doing a variety.
- Dip the cheese in the flour, then into the egg wash, allow the excess to drip off. Then dip the cheese in the bread crumbs or crushed chips. Then go back into the egg wash, finally back into the bread crumbs or chips. Place on the pan and freeze for 30 to 45 minutes. Don't skip the freezing step.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Then place several of the cheese sticks in the basket, but don't overcrowd them.
- Cook at 375F/190C for 4 to 5 minutes. Then remove the basket and turn them over, then cook for an additional minute or two, until golden brown. A bit of cheese may ooze out, that is common.
- Once cooked, place them on a plate with a bowl of marinara sauce or ranch dressing or whatever else you may want to dip them in. Enjoy!
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