Homemade Mozzarella Sticks are deliciously seasoned with breadcrumbs on the outside and hot, gooey melted cheese on the inside. Serve them with marinara sauce for dipping at your next party or game night! Air fryer, oven, and traditional frying method instructions all work and these are great for making ahead and storing in the freezer so you can enjoy mozzarella sticks whenever you want!

crispy mozzarella sticks on a plate with a cup of marinara sauce for dipping


Table of Contents
  1. The Best Homemade Mozzarella Sticks
  2. Ingredients for Mozzarella Sticks
  3. How to Make Mozzarella Sticks
  4. Tips for Homemade Cheese Sticks
  5. How to serve Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
  6. How to store Homemade Cheese Sticks
  7. Mozzarella Sticks Recipe FAQs
  8. More like this Mozzarella Stick Recipe
  9. Mozzarella Stick Recipe Recipe

The Best Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

When we go to a restaurant, I always love to peruse the appetizer menu. Appetizers are the best! Sometimes my husband and I will even order a couple different appetizers and just make a meal out of them instead of getting entrees!

These homemade mozzarella sticks are my favorite appetizer made at home, which is definitely more cost-effective. And frankly, they taste better than any mozzarella sticks I've ever had a restaurant!

We love fun appetizers and finger foods! If you are planning a party, some of our other favorites are Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers, Slow Cooker Little Smokies in Honey Garlic BBQ Sauce, and Corn Dog Mini Muffins.

hands pulling apart a mozzarella stick

They are great for making in advance and freezing to have on hand whenever the craving strikes or so you have less to prepare before a party. Then all you have to do is fry them up and serve them hot when guests arrive!

While I prefer the prepared the classic way by frying them in hot oil, these mozzarella sticks are also pretty darn delicious made in the air fryer or even baked in the oven. The air fryer is my second favorite approach since I can make just enough for our family of four without the mess and hassle of heating oil. Plus, it's faster than the oven.

melted cheese oozing out of crispy fried coating

Ingredients for Mozzarella Sticks

  • Mozzarella cheese: While I love fresh mozzarella, it's too soft to hold up when making mozzarella sticks. Instead, you want to pick up a block of firm whole milk low moisture mozzarella cheese. I have even cheated and used my kids mozzarella sticks before and they work pretty well too.
  • Italian-Style Breadcrumbs: These seasoned breadcrumbs are a little more fine than the Panko-style breadcrumbs, which actually makes for a better coating on these mozzarella sticks. I tried them with a Panko version and Italian seasoning, but didn't like the texture nearly as well.
  • Eggs & milk: These are beaten together to create an egg wash that you will dip the sliced sticks of cheese into so the crumbs will stick to them.
  • Parmesan cheese: This deliciously salty, nutty cheese adds depth of flavor to the breading that coats the outside of the mozzarella sticks.
  • Salt: We want to season our breadcrumbs so they crispy outside coating doesn't taste stale or bland.
  • Vegetable oil: This is only used if you are planning to fry your mozzarella sticks.
  • Marinara sauce: You can either make homemade marinara sauce for dipping, or pick up your favorite brand from the store. We love the Rao's brand of marinara sauce and always keep a couple of jars in the pantry for nights when I don't have time to make it from scratch.
breading stations for making mozzarella sticks

How to Make Mozzarella Sticks

  1. Prep for success! Set up two shallow dishes - one with the eggs and milk whisked together, and another with the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and salt. Slice the block of cheese into 16 sticks and set them to the side. Each stick will roughly be 3 ½" long by about ½" wide, which is just about perfect size-wise.
a block of low moisture mozzarella cheese sliced into sticks
  1. Coat the mozzarella in the breading: First, dip a cheese stick in the egg wash first, then roll it in the breadcrumbs so they coat the outside. Repeat the process again by dipping the coated mozzarella stick back into the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs for a solid coating that will help hold in the cheese as it melts during the cooking process. Repeat with the remaining cheese, egg wash, and breadcrumbs, transferring the finished mozzarella sticks onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze the breaded mozzarella sticks for at least 1 hour.
breaded mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet ready to be frozen
  1. For frying: If you want to fry your mozzarella sticks, add enough oil to a large skillet for fill it at least 1" deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches between 350 and 365 degrees F. I find it helpful to use a digital thermometer to keep tabs on the temperature of the oil so it doesn't get too hot or cool down too much while frying. Add 5-6 mozzarella sticks to the hot oil and fry for 1-2 minutes until crispy and golden brown on the outside. You will want to carefully turn them partway through using tongs if there isn't enough oil in the pan to completely cover them.
  2. Drain: Transfer the cooked mozzarella sticks to a plate lined with paper towels to drain while repeating with the rest of the sticks.
  3. Serve: These are best enjoyed piping hot with marinara sauce for dipping.

How to Air Fry Mozzarella Sticks

This is my second favorite way for making mozzarella sticks, if I'm not frying them.

Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F. Arrange your mozzarella sticks in a single layer in the basket and spray or brush them with cooking spray or olive oil for that crispy, fried effect.

Air fry for 6-8 minutes until golden brown on the outside and the cheese is hot and gooey in the middle.

How to bake Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

If you would like to bake your mozzarella sticks, follow all of the same instructions for prepping and freezing them. When you are ready to cook them, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the mozzarella sticks in a single layer and spray or brush them with cooking spray or olive oil to help them crisp up a bit in the oven.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown on the outside and the cheese is molten in the middle!

a plate full of fried mozzarella sticks next to a cup of marinara sauce

Tips for Homemade Cheese Sticks

  • Use a block of the firm mozzarella cheese, rather than fresh mozzarella cheese, which is softer. The firm mozzarella is better for cutting and frying.
  • We tested this recipe with both Panko-style bread crumbs, and the smaller classic Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs. The finer breadcrumbs made for a better coating that held to the cheese and provided better coverage.
  • Don’t skip the second coating of breadcrumbs. It’s hard to get enough coating to create a shell to hold in the cheese while it fries with just one dip in egg wash and breadcrumbs.
  • Leftovers will keep for 1-2 weeks in the fridge and can be reheated in the oven or microwave, although they won't be as crisp as when they are first fried.

How to serve Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Once the mozzarella sticks are cooked, arrange them on a serving plate and sprinkle some chopped parsley over the mozzarella sticks for a pop of color. Marinara sauce is the classic dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks, but you could also serve them with ranch dressing, garlic aioli, or any other favorite dipping sauce. Pour some marinara sauce into a small bowl or ramekin and place it next to the mozzarella sticks on the serving plate.

Homemade mozzarella sticks are best served hot and fresh. Once they're arranged on the plate with the marinara sauce, serve them immediately while they're still warm and gooey.

What is the best sauce for Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

Our favorite choice is a classic marinara or pizza sauce for dipping these crispy-on-the-out-side, melty-on-the-inside sticks.

You can serve the marinara sauce cold for a contrast, or heat it up on the stove top or in the microwave if you prefer.

But I also love these with ranch dressing. Because everything goes with ranch, doesn’t it? They would also be good with my Remoulade Sauce, Homemade Aioli, or Outback Blooming Onion Sauce.

How to store Homemade Cheese Sticks

If you're making a larger batch of mozzarella sticks, you can keep them warm in a low oven (around 200°F) while you finish cooking the rest.

If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days once they have cooled. I recommend reheating them in the air fryer until hot and gooey all the way through and crisp on the outside again.

Mozzarella Sticks Recipe FAQs

How do you keep mozzarella sticks from bursting?

Use my double-coating technique when breading the mozzarella sticks. Dip each stick first in flour, then in beaten egg, and finally in breadcrumbs. Repeat the egg and breadcrumb coating step to create a thicker breading layer, which helps to seal the cheese inside.

Before cooking, freeze the mozzarella sticks for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. This helps solidify the cheese inside and prevents it from melting too quickly during frying or baking.
Also, be sure to fry the mozzarella sticks in small batches to prevent overcrowding in the fryer, which can lead to uneven cooking and possible bursting.

Why are my mozzarella sticks rubbery?

If your mozzarella sticks are rubbery it’s probably because they are starting to cool down. Once the cheese melts and then starts to recongeal, the mozzarella sticks can get rubbery instead of stretchy and molten.

How do you know when mozzarella sticks are done?

You can tell the mozzarella sticks are done when the breading on the outside of them is crisp and golden brown. As long as your oil temp is right around 350°F, the cheese in the middle should be melted when the outside crust is that color.

a hand dipping a mozzarella stick into marinara sauce

More like this Mozzarella Stick Recipe

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

Stay in the know

Mozzarella Stick Recipe

4.84 from 6 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 17 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 16 mozzarella sticks
Homemade Mozzarella Sticks are deliciously seasoned with breadcrumbs on the outside and hot, gooey melted cheese on the inside. They are absolutely perfect dipped in marinara sauce and served for your next party or game night! Air fryer, oven, and traditional frying method instructions all work and these are great for making ahead and storing in the freezer so you can enjoy mozzarella sticks whenever you want!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound mozzarella
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 ½ cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Marinara sauce, for dipping

Instructions
 

  • Slice the brick of mozzarella cheese into 16 sticks that are each about 3 ½" long.
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a separate shallow dish like a pie plate (affiliate link), stir together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and salt.
  • Working one at a time, dip each mozzarella stick into the egg wash, let the excess drip off, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Repeat the process for each mozzarella stick for a double coating of bread crumbs by dipping again in the egg wash and breadcrumbs before transferring to a sheet pan. Continue until all of the cheese is coated and the breadcrumbs have been used up.
  • Transfer the mozzarella sticks to the freezer and freeze for at least 1 hour.
  • Fill a large skillet at least 1"-2" deep with vegetable oil, or use a deep fryer if you have one. Heat the oil to between 350°F and 365°F over medium-high heat. The temperature will drop when the frozen mozzarella sticks are added, so use a thermometer to monitor the oil temp and keep it in range.
  • Working in batches, fry 5-6 mozzarella sticks at a time for 1-2 minutes, carefully turning with tongs halfway through, until crispy and golden brown on the outside. Remove the fried mozzarella sticks to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
  • Continue to fry the remaining mozzarella sticks, then serve hot with marinara sauce for dipping.

Nutrition

Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 461mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 289IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 206mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This recipe first appeared on The Recipe Critic where I am a contributor.

Share This With the World

PinYummly

Related Recipes

About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Reader questions and reviews

  1. Nicole says:

    4 stars
    It was easy and fun with the kids. I think it need more flavoring in the breadcrumbs but overall turned out really well.

  2. Alexis says:

    Can I use cheese sticks?

    1. Kitty says:

      5 stars
      Yes! the average size for a cheeseheads cheesestick is 6 inches, so you'd just cut them in half when doing the recipe ^-^

  3. Michelle Criswell says:

    If I make ahead of time, do I just freeze them until ready to make? Or make them and then freeze them? Thanks 🙂

    1. Amy says:

      Freeze them first until you are ready to cook and eat them. 🙂

  4. Sarah Jane Efird says:

    Can you airfry these?

    1. Amy says:

      Yep! Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F. Arrange your mozzarella sticks in a single layer in the basket and spray or brush them with cooking spray or olive oil for that crispy, fried effect.

      Air fry for 6-8 minutes until golden brown on the outside and the cheese is hot and gooey in the middle.