Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks – WellPlated.com


Breaded, fried cheese? YES PLEASE! Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks give you the pleasure of the state fair/frozen food aisle favorite, but made with simple ingredients and baked, not fried!

A basket of homemade air fryer Mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce

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With its intense convection heating capability, the air fryer excels at creating healthy versions of fried food favorites that are magnificently crispy-crunchy.

From Air Fryer French Fries (or Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries) to Air Fryer Pickles (another of my favorite fair foods) to ridiculously crispy, juicy Air Fryer Chicken Wings, this appliance earns its cabinet space.

An air fryer Mozzarella stick being dipped in marinara

When I’m craving a bite of nostalgia (or I’m hosting a game watch and really want to make my friends go crazy), baked Mozzarella Sticks are always the right choice.

Since we love them in the oven, I thought—why not try them in the air fryer?

Even better.

Crispy outside, gooey-inside; my inner-kid is loving this!

How to Make Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Making fried mozzarella cheese sticks in the air fryer is easy, but it does take some planning!

To keep mozzarella sticks from exploding in the air fryer, you MUST freeze them first.

  • Freezing cheese sticks for 1 hour both before and after breading them ensures that the cheese doesn’t explode before the filling has a chance to turn golden and crisp.
  • Good news: healthy mozzarella sticks can last in your freezer for months.

Prep and freeze a big batch, then all you need to do is pop them in the air fryer when a craving strikes!


The Ingredients

  • Mozzarella String Cheese. So simple, yet SO delicious! Mozzarella cheese sticks are a crowd-pleaser that’s packed with calcium and probiotics. I used part-skim Mozzarella to lighten things up a little.
  • All-Purpose Flour. Coating the cheese sticks in flour first helps the egg stick.
  • Egg + Milk. Helps the breadcrumbs adhere to the cheese sticks.
  • Breadcrumbs. A mix of Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs creates the best texture. The Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs add flavor and the panko adds crunch.
  • Spices. Italian seasoning gives the Mozzarella sticks an herby, Italian flair. Garlic powder adds some beloved garlicky flavor.

The Directions

Pieces of Mozzarella cheese on a parchment lined baking sheet
  1. Slice the cheese sticks in half crosswise, then lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid.
Eggs being whisked in a bowl
  1. Prepare the flour mixture in one bowl. Whisk the egg mixture together in a separate bowl.
Breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl
  1. Prepare the breadcrumb mixture in a third bowl.
Cheese being coated in a breadcrumb mixture
  1. Dredge the cheese sticks in the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.
Breaded pieces of cheese on a parchment lined baking sheet
  1. Transfer the finished cheese sticks to a parchment-lined baking sheet. FREEZE FOR AT LEAST 1 HOUR.
Mozzarella sticks in an air fryer basket
  1. Air fry mozzarella sticks at 390 degrees F for 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining sticks. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. DIG IN!
A photo of a homemade air fryer Mozzarella stick being pulled

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Mozzarella sticks are best enjoyed immediately after making. You can try saving the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm the Mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet in a 350 degrees F oven until warmed through with melty cheese. Or, reheat in the air fryer.
  • To Freeze. I recommend freezing the cheese sticks before baking if possible. If you’d like to freeze them after baking, place the Mozzarella sticks on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen sticks to an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the air fryer.

Meal Prep Tip

For an easy snack or appetizer, prep these Mozzarella sticks ahead of time. Bread the sticks as directed, then freeze until hardened. Transfer to a ziptop bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. Bake directly from frozen in the air fryer, adding to the baking time as needed.

A basket of air fryer Mozzarella sticks with marinara

What to Serve with Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

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Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Air Fryer

With dishwasher-safe parts and multiple settings, this air fryer will help you prepare healthier versions of your favorite fried foods.

A basket of homemade air fryer Mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce

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Step aside, state fair cheese sticks.

Air-fried is the new deep-fried!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Cook Frozen Mozzarella Sticks in the Air Fryer?

Whether you use store bought mozzarella sticks, or freeze this recipe for later, you can make them in the air fryer! For air fryer frozen Mozzarella sticks, place the frozen Mozzarella sticks in the basket of a preheated air fryer (390 degrees F) that’s been coated with nonstick spray. Keep them in a single layer. Spray the tops of the sticks with additional nonstick spray, then cook for 6 to 8 minutes.

Can I Make Gluten Free Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks?

Yes, you can make these cheese sticks gluten free. Use gluten free Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and gluten free panko. Swap the all-purpose flour for a 1:1 gluten free flour.

  • 12 sticks part-skim Mozzarella string cheese*
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk or milk of choice
  • 2/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs whole wheat if possible
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil spray
  • Marinara sauce or ranch dressing for serving

  • Slice each piece of cheese in half crosswise so that you have 24 shorter pieces. Arrange the cheese in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cutting board, or plate, then freeze until completely solid, about 1 hour.

  • Once the cheese is frozen, place the flour in a pie dish or similar shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk the egg and milk.

  • In a third shallow bowl, combine the Italian breadcrumbs, panko, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Arrange the plates in an assembly line: flour, eggs, breadcrumbs. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Working to 2 to 3 cheese sticks at a time, dredge the frozen cheese sticks in the flour, shaking off excess. Next, dip into the egg, then place in the bowl with the crumbs and lightly pat to coat (don’t be tempted to tackle too many cheese sticks at a time; the egg will freeze right onto the cheese and no longer be sticky enough for the crumbs to adhere).

  • Place the breaded cheese on the prepared baking sheet, then repeat the process until all of the cheese sticks are coated. Place cheese back into the freezer for at least 1 hour (this is a MUST or the cheese will melt before the crumbs are golden).

  • When ready to bake, preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F. Generously coat the basket with nonstick spray. Arrange the frozen cheese sticks in a single layer on top, ensuring none are touching (you will need to cook them in batches). Coat the tops of the sticks with more spray.

  • Air fry mozzarella sticks for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cheese is heated through and the crumbs are golden. Remove to a plate and let stand for 3 minutes (they are HOT; you’ve been warned). Repeat with remaining batches. Serve warm with marinara sauce (heat the sauce first for the best experience) or ranch for dipping.

  • *You can also prepare this recipe with a block of mozzarella cheese rather than string cheese. Simply cut the block into 4-inch by 1/2-inch sticks.
  • TO MAKE AHEAD AND FREEZE: Bread the sticks as directed, then freeze until hardened. Transfer to a ziptop bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. Bake directly from frozen in the air fryer, adding to the baking time as needed.
  • TO STORE: Mozzarella sticks are best enjoyed immediately after making. You can try saving the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm the Mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet in a 350 degrees F oven until warmed through.
  • TO FREEZE: I recommend freezing the cheese sticks before baking if possible. If you’d like to freeze them after baking, place the Mozzarella sticks on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen sticks to an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
  • Nutritional information has been calculated with half the amount of flour and bread crumb mixture, as not all of it sticks to the cheese.

Serving: 1(of 24) Mozzarella sticks, without marinaraCalories: 54kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 4gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 15mgPotassium: 11mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 0.2gVitamin A: 19IUVitamin C: 0.05mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 0.2mg

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