Crispy, cheesy, and oh so savory, these homemade Mozzarella Sticks have a habit of disappearing quickly. Make a batch to keep in the freezer, or enjoy right away. Keep scrolling for my take on how to make mozzarella sticks–including options for baking and air frying! Recipe includes a how-to video.
Your favorite restaurant appetizer is about to become your go-to guilty snack. No more grabbing a frozen bag from grocery store; we’re making homemade mozzarella sticks that are browned to perfection and filled with warm, stretchy cheese.
Today we’re going to put those store-bought sticks to shame. This recipe is simple, quick, and guarantees stellar cheese pulls. With 15 servings, you’ll have enough for a satisfying snack or appetizer. Or, if you want to pair them with a salad–topped with my ranch dressing, of course–and call it dinner, I won’t judge. Whatever you decide, I highly recommend dipping these bad boys in my marinara sauce.
This recipe includes instructions for how to make mozzarella sticks by frying, air-frying, and baking, so you can use whatever equipment you have on hand. And trust me, making them is a lot simpler than you might think. Let’s get into the ingredients.
What You Need
- Panko. This is the key to achieving a crispy exterior. Panko has more texture than your standard breadcrumb, so it is the best choice for getting that perfect bite. To make sure the coating will evenly stick to the cheese, use a rolling pin to crush the panko down a bit before adding the seasonings.
- Italian Seasoning. In addition to a few other spices, I am using Italian seasoning to give the coating some flavor. Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs (no salt) and typically consists of spices like basil, marjoram, oregano, etc. I use just enough to add some oomph, but not too much that it masks that classic taste. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can make your own from spices in your cabinet.
- Salt. A flavor-enhancing staple in fried foods, salt is an essential component of our seasoned coating. Because it’s not included in the Italian seasoning or the panko, you’ll add it separately. This also allows you to control how much salt goes into this dish.
- Flour. This is the first ingredient in our dredge. Flour will help our liquid (eggs) cling to the mozzarella cheese. No need to get fancy here; all-purpose flour works just fine.
- Eggs. As step two in the dredging process, whisked eggs simply help our crispy coating stick to the cheese.
- Mozzarella. The most important ingredient! I highly recommend using a block of whole milk mozzarella that you can cut up yourself, but you can use string cheese too. Whole milk mozzarella has a better flavor (don’t use part-skim!), and it typically yields more sticks than your standard package of string cheese.
- Vegetable Oil. My preferred oil for frying is vegetable oil, but any neutral cooking oil (like canola, corn, or peanut oil) will work. If you are planning to bake or air fry instead, you will use cooking spray instead.
SAM’S TIP: Make sure you buy plain panko, otherwise your mozzarella sticks may be over-seasoned and salty.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Homemade Mozzarella Sticks
- After you’ve prepared your dredge components, prepare your mozzarella by cutting it into sticks. You can skip this step if you are using string cheese.
- Begin the dredging process by dipping your cheese sticks first into the flour, then the eggs, and then the panko mixture. Put a cooling rack on a baking sheet and place your coated sticks there until you’ve finished coating them all.
- Once all of your sticks are coated, place them in the freezer for an hour. DO NOT skip this step. If you’re not frying/cooking right away, you’ll need to transfer your sticks to a sealed container in the freezer. Keep them there until your oil is hot and ready to fry.
- Fry your sticks two at a time until golden brown. Serve warm with marinara sauce.
SAM’S TIP: Do not skip the chilling step! Freezing for an hour is important, otherwise the breading will disintegrate and the cheese will leak out when you start frying.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, but the flavor will be much better with block mozzarella.
There could be several reasons for this (very unfortunate) circumstance. The most common causes are cooking too long or at too high of a temperature; however, not chilling long enough or not fully coating can also result in empty sticks.
Some may argue that they are (especially when served with marinara sauce), but research indicates that the concept of frying breaded cheese may have actually originated in France. Regardless, the modern day mozzarella stick we all know and love is more American than anything else.
More Recipes You Might Like
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Homemade Mozzarella Sticks
- 1 ½ cups plain Panko (106g)
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (63g)
- 1 lb whole milk mozzarella block or 15 whole milk string cheese
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Marinara sauce for dipping (click the link to make my homemade marinara)
- Place panko crumbs in a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin or mallet to crush until you have fine crumbs.
- Pour crushed panko into a shallow dish and add Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, pepper, and salt and stir to combine.
- In a separate, shallow bowl, crack 2 large eggs and beat with a whisk or the tines of a fork until scrambled.
- Pour all-purpose flour in yet another shallow bowl.
- If using a mozzarella block, cut widthwise into 15 sticks.
- Working with one at a time, dip the stick in the flour and shake off any excess flour. Then dip in the beaten egg and let any excess drip off. Finally, dip in panko crumb mixture, making sure the entire mozzarella stick is coated with panko.
- Place a wire cooking rack on a baking sheet and place breaded mozzarella sticks on rack. Once all sticks have been dipped, transfer to the freezer and chill for at least one hour. If you are chilling for longer than 1 hour, after 1 hour remove from freezer and place in an airtight container then return to freezer.
To Fry (please see notes section below for instructions for the oven or in the air fryer)
- While mozzarella sticks are still in the freezer, fill a medium-sized saucepan 3” deep with vegetable oil. Attach a thermometer to the side and make sure it is suspended about halfway into the oil (and that it is not touching the bottom of the pot). Heat oil over medium heat until you reach a temperature of 350F (175C) then remove mozzarella sticks from freezer.
- Fry mozzarella sticks, 2 at a time, until golden brown (about 1 minute) then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Make sure oil returns to temperature before frying next batch.
- Enjoy while still warm dipped in warmed marinara sauce.
Preheat oven to 415F (210C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Arrange mozzarella sticks on baking sheet, spacing at least an inch apart, and bake 10-15 minutes or until they are beginning to turn golden brown (they will not get as dark as they would if deep fried). Enjoy warm dipped in warm marinara. Instructions for air fryer:
Heat air fryer to 390F (200C). Spray the basket of your air fryer with cooking spray. Add mozzarella sticks and spray lightly with cooking spray. Cook for 6-8 minutes, tossing halfway through, until are golden and crispy. Enjoy warm with warm marinara.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.