Although mozzarella sticks may not be bite-sized like their cheesy nugget brethren, the fried cheese curd, these ooey-gooey, savory treats always hold their own as an all-time favorite go-to appetizer.
Affordable and relatively simple to prepare with many kitchen staple ingredients on hand in the pantry, a tasty plate of cheesy mozzarella sticks for the family is never difficult to whip up.
Yet, many mozzarella stick recipes call for deep-frying, which for many of us can be a hassle. Truthfully, deep-frying doesn't take that long, but it does create a greasy mess no one wants to deal with, not to mention cooking with that much oil is anything but healthy. Luckily, you can make restaurant-worthy mozzarella sticks with an air fryer!
Air fryer mozzarella sticks are just as good as deep-fried, if not better! Crispy, crunchy, and cheesy, air-fried mozzarella sticks have that sinfully delicious deep-fried mozzarella stick taste without the excess fat and oil.
Begin by cutting the mozzarella sticks in half, so you're left with 12 smaller pieces instead of six whole large sticks.
Place the 12 mozzarella pieces into a Ziploc freezer bag, and put them in the freezer for about an hour until frozen.
Meanwhile, place three small bowls on the counter. In the first bowl, mix flour with salt and pepper. In the second bowl, using a fork, whisk one egg until lightly beaten. In the third bowl, mix one cup of the Italian bread crumbs with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Set all three bowls aside.
Next, prepare a small baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
Remove the frozen mozzarella sticks from the freezer. One at a time, coat each mozzarella stick with the flour mixture, then dip in the egg, followed by the bread crumbs until they are completely covered. Place the coated mozzarella sticks onto the prepared baking sheet and place them into the freezer for an additional 30 minutes.
While the breaded mozzarella sticks are in the freezer, prepare for the second coating. Beat the second egg in the second bowl, and add the remaining breadcrumbs and garlic powder to the third bowl.
Again remove the mozzarella sticks from the freezer. Skip the flour step this time and only re-dip the sticks in the egg mixture, followed by the bread crumbs. After each mozzarella stick has had the second coating adhered, place them back into the freezer for an additional 30 minutes.
Finally, remove the mozzarella sticks from the freezer and place them in the bottom of the air fryer basket in a single layer. If your air fryer basket is not large enough to accommodate all of the mozzarella sticks at the same time, prepare in batches to avoid overcrowding. Spray the sticks with canola or olive oil spray.
Heat the air fryer to 400 degrees and air fry for five minutes or until the mozzarella sticks are golden and crispy. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
We know, it's hard to wait. But trust us—it's worth it. Freezing this tasty finger food makes them prepare. It also allows ample time for the breadcrumbs to transform into that crispy, crunchy coating that we've all come to expect when biting into a warm cheesy mozzarella stick before the cheese has had a chance to melt.
If you skip the freezing process, you'll end up with plenty of cheese oozing on the outside. Although this is prone to happen in trace amounts, it's far more more likely you'll have something that doesn't come close to a restaurant-worthy mozzarella stick. Take our advice, freeze them first!
Truthfully, you don't have to bread these air fryer mozzarella sticks twice, but you'll be happier if you do. Once you get that second coating on the mozzarella stick, you'll notice the difference almost immediately.
The second coating kicks these homemade mozzarella sticks into overdrive, providing them with more substance, more flavor, and more crunch! Don't miss out on the double irresistibly crispy layer, which encases warm, ooey-gooey mouth-watering cheese!
Mozzarella sticks are the ideal party food that pairs well with an array of dips that will have everyone begging you to make a second batch! Besides marinara, try dipping your air fryer mozzarella sticks in salsa, pesto, Thai sweet chili sauce, honey mustard, ranch dressing, bbq sauce, or hot sauce.