Homemade Mozzarella Sticks {Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer Methods}

5 from 10 votes

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Make your own Homemade Mozzarella Sticks with this easy recipe! Try dipping them in marinara sauce or ranch dressing.

Mozzarella stick being pulled apart to show cheese

Mozzarella Sticks

We LOVE this Homemade Mozzarella sticks recipe! Just when you think nothing can possibly be better than fried cheese sticks, this recipe brings out so much flavor. The crisp coating is packed with seasonings and flavors. And the great thing is these are easier to make than they seem. You can fry them in canola or vegetable oil, or even air fry them! When it comes to dipping, we love either dipping them in homemade ranch dressing or marinara sauce. Which is your favorite?

Ingredients in Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

These mozzarella sticks are surprisingly easy to make, and with very few ingredients! Here’s all you need:

  • String cheese sticks – String cheese cut in half is a perfect size for this recipe. Or you can use about a pound of mozzarella cheese cut into strips.
  • Eggs – Start with three, well beaten with about 2 tablespoons of water. You’ll want to put the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs in shallow dishes so it’s easier to roll the cheese sticks in each ingredient.
  • Flour – Start with one cup, then add more if you need to for covering the cheese sticks.
  • Bread Crumbs – you can use Italian bread crumbs, or panko breadcrumbs and add some Italian seasoning to the panko crumbs for flavor.
  • Garlic salt or garlic powder – Use about a teaspoon, give or take.
  • Pepper and extra salt, to taste
  • Parsley – for garnish if you like
Mozzarella stick being dipped in marinara sauce

Deep Fryer vs Air Fryer (Pros and Cons)

Let’s be honest, nothing really beats the taste and texture of a deep fried mozzarella stick. However, deep frying in canola oil or vegetable oil may not be the best choice if you are in a hurry or if you are trying to watch things like trans fat or cholesterol. Here are some pros and cons for each preparation method:

Deep Fryer Method (included in the recipe below):

Pros: The mozzarella sticks are crispier, the coating stays on better, and the cheese doesn’t melt out of the crispy coating.

Cons: Deep frying in oil is just not healthy. The temperature of the oil can be dangerous if it splatters up on you while frying, even if using tongs. Also, clean up is a pain with oil splattering everywhere.

In conclusion, deep frying is obviously the best choice if you prefer your mozzarella sticks deep fried and perfectly crispy, golden, and melty. Cleanup can be a bit of a hassle and deep fryers can be a pain to work with sometimes, but some might argue if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!

Mozzarella stick being lowered into a deep fryer

Air Fryer Method: 

Pros: The Air Fryer is a healthier option, no oil required. Clean up is easier. In addition, the mozzarella sticks cook up in about 5 minutes.

Cons: Contrary to those pretty pictures you see on Pinterest or Facebook, the coating isn’t quite as crispy as it is on fried mozzarella sticks. Also, the cheese can melt out of the crispy shell sometimes.

In conclusion, it’s up to you! If you are looking for a healthier alternative to deep frying, air frying is the way to go! They don’t quite crisp up as nicely as deep frying but they still taste great and you still get the gooey cheese (which is the best part anyway). This is an excellent choice if you want a healthier alternative and are willing to sacrifice the true deep fried texture. See how below!

How To Make the Sticks Extra Crispy

This recipe is for a single coating because that’s what most people will have time for, but if you want to make the extra effort to apply a second coating you’ll get much crispier sticks. The trick to the perfect outer crust is the freezing method. After you dip each stick in egg, flour and bread crumbs, lay the sticks on a baking sheet or cookie tray with parchment paper or wax paper and stick it in the freezer for about an hour.  Then, repeat the process one more time. This applies to any cooking method you decide to do (deep fried or air fried). After freezing the first time, just dip in the egg batter and then the breadcrumb mixture once more and freeze again for about 40 minutes.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Can you bake mozzarella sticks? Yes. Should it be done? Mmmmm I wouldn’t recommend it. The oven just doesn’t cook them fast enough. The cheese will melt before the coating will have time to crisp up and hold it all in. You will end up with a globby mess. I have learned this from experience. I have tried every possibly way to make it work and it just doesn’t. If you want to make it healthier, opt for the air fryer method.

How to make Mozzarella Sticks In an Air Fryer

Making mozzarella sticks in an air fryer really is the easiest way to go. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Prepare mozzarella sticks as mentioned below through step 4.
  2. When it is time to freeze, you will want to freeze them for at least 90 minutes. 
  3. Preheat air fryer to 400-degrees F.
  4. When air fryer has pre heated, spray the basket with cooking spray and add mozzarella sticks (don’t overcrowd).
  5. Air fry for 5 minutes. 
  6. Store leftover mozzarella sticks in the refrigerator covered in aluminum foil.
Mozzarella stick being pulled apart to show long string of cheese

Make It a Meal

We love dipping these mozzarella sticks in marinara sauce or ranch dressing. This is a great one to whip up for a quick lunch for the kiddos. They devour these things. I like to serve them with some raw veggies that they can dip in the ranch as well. I don’t know what it is about dipping foods, but kids LOVE them (at least mine do)! They’ll get a healthy amount of calcium and protein in the cheese sticks. So it’s a rather healthy snack for your kiddos!

If you want to round these out to be part of a meal, add a salad on the side or serve them with some grilled chicken and veggies. To be honest, mozzarella sticks serve as a great appetizer with almost anything.

More Kid-Friendly Fare

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy mozzarella sticks, and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy any of these other great recipes. But we’re pretty sure your kids will like them as much as you.

  • Oven Fried Chicken – Think KFC but healthier. Your kids will never know the difference!
  • Easy Chicken Flautas – Great as an appetizer or as a meal! Whip these up in less than 20 minutes.
  • Easy Homemade Calzones – You will love how easy these are to make. Like a pizza pocket but better!
  • Baked Potato Wedges – Skip the deep fryer with these easy baked potato wedges. You won’t even be sad they aren’t fried!

How To Make Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella stick being pulled to show cheese

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

5 from 10 votes
You can make your own Mozzarella Sticks appetizer at home! My kids love to dip them in pasta sauce and Ranch dressing.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 8




  • Mix flour and cornstarch in a medium-sized bowl. Mix bread crumbs and garlic salt in a separate bowl. 
    Mozzarella sticks ingredients laid out
  • Dip each stick in egg, then roll in flour. Dip in egg again then roll in bread crumbs. Place on wax paper and chill for about an hour. 
    Frozen mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet
  • In a large pan or skillet, heat oil to about 375 degrees (you can also use a deep fryer). Fry chilled cheese sticks in oil until they turn a nice golden brown color. 
    Mozzarella stick being lowered into a deep fryer
  • Drain on paper towels. Serve with pizza sauce or ranch dressing.
    Fried mozzarella sticks on a plate with marinara sauce


To make Mozzarella sticks in an Air Fryer, see directions in the post content.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 323kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 18gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 871mgPotassium: 117mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 501IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 325mgIron: 2mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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    1. Hi Rebecca- we actually haven’t attempted to air fry this recipe. We will experiment with it and either update this recipe or link a new recipe! Thanks for the suggestion!

      1. If using an air fryer, do not use flour or cornstarch and lower temp to 350F. Other than than the recipe is great!

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