Homemade mozzarella sticks are easy to make and taste so much better than store-bought! My recipe can be fried, baked, or air-fried right away, or you can freeze them for later. Recipe includes a how-to video!
The Best Mozzarella Sticks Recipe
No more grabbing a frozen bag from the grocery store…today we’re making homemade mozzarella sticks! You know I’m a huge advocate for making recipes from-scratch, but this really holds true with anything fried (like my donut holes or funnel cake). There’s just something about fresh, golden brown, still warm fried food–especially when it’s filled with cheese and dunked in marinara sauce (though my son dips his in ranch dressing, is that weird?)!
My mozzarella sticks recipe is simple, quick, and guarantees stellar cheese pulls. If you choose to fry your sticks and you’re new to frying, definitely take a look at the video below before getting started; I include lots of tops for frying success!
Why use my mozzarella sticks recipe:
- Makes perfectly crispy golden sticks, thanks to my breading technique.
- Uses block-style mozzarella for the best flavor and cheese pulls.
- Can be enjoyed right away or frozen for later.
- Includes instructions for how to make mozzarella sticks by frying, air frying, and baking
What You Need
Just a few ingredients come together to make this ooey gooey snack:
- 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 in homemade mozzarella sticks! 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 to coat your sticks very well; if there are any areas missing breading, the cheese will use that spot as a way to escape during the frying process…and no one wants that!
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 Mozzarella Sticks
Frying isn’t as intimidating as it may seem, and you don’t need any special equipment. I use this method of frying in a pot with everything from donuts to fried pickles, follow the steps and you’ll have no trouble at all!
- After you’ve prepared your dredge components, prepare your homemade mozzarella sticks by cutting the cheese into, well, 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: It is SO important that you use a thermometer to monitor your oil temperature! Remember to make sure your oil comes back to temperature between batches, or your sticks could turn out greasy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this is actually a great air fryer recipe! I provide instructions for how to do to this in the recipe notes below.
Assuming you didn’t eat it all beforehand 😉, there are several legitimate causes for this very unfortunate circumstance. The most common 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.
You can, but I find the flavor and texture to be better with the block mozzarella. Plus, you’ll get more sticks out of the block–yay!
Golden brown, breaded, and deep fried–this is by far the best way to eat cheese! 🤤
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 (106 g) plain Panko
- 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 (63 g) all-purpose flour
- 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.1 ½ cups (106 g) plain Panko
- Pour crushed panko into a shallow dish and add Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, pepper, and salt and stir to combine.½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon dried parsley, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon table salt
- In a separate, shallow bowl, crack 2 large eggs and beat with a whisk or the tines of a fork until scrambled.2 large eggs
- Pour all-purpose flour in yet another shallow bowl.½ cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
- If using a mozzarella block, cut widthwise into 15 sticks.1 lb whole milk mozzarella block
- 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 cheese 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 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 sticks from freezer.Vegetable oil
- Fry 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.Marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 415F (210C) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Arrange 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 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.