It is officially “Game Day” season! What better way to feed your guests than with a delicious, easy-to-make snack like mozzarella cheese sticks?
What’s more, once you make them in the air fryer, you’ll never want to make them any other way. Air-fried food is healthier than foods prepared in a traditional deep fryer. Plus, it’s so easy to do!
Frozen mozzarella sticks are a tasty snack that makes a great appetizer or side dish. The following outline everything you need to know about air frying this favorite dish for your next gathering!
Mozzarella Sticks: Air Fryer vs. Deep Fryer
If you’ve never had these savory snacks complete with cheesy goodness, you are in for a treat.
Generally speaking, mozzarella sticks are elongated pieces of mozzarella cheese coated in panko breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning. Once they are heated, the mozzarella inside turns into a gooey cheese, but you can still dip them into your favorite dipping sauce.
Traditionally, mozzarella sticks are fried. However, many believe that the best way to make them nowadays is to use modern air fryer technology.
The air fryer cooking process yields the best results because it cooks food to taste like it has been fried. But it does it without the excess oil and less fat that usually accompanies fried food, cutting calories by 70-80%.
If they haven’t already, air-fried mozzarella sticks may replace french fries and chicken nuggets as your new favorite appetizer or kid-friendly snack.
While there are delicious scratch recipes to make your mozzarella sticks, many brands sell ready-made, frozen mozzarella sticks. They are still very yummy and can be found in the freezer section at your local market.
How Long to Air Fry Frozen Mozzarella Sticks
In most air fryers, frozen mozzarella sticks take 6-7 minutes at 350 degrees F. Shake the basket or flip them at the 5-minute mark. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until their middles are a bit squishy to the touch. Squishy means the cheese has melted inside.
Here are step-by-step instructions with a couple of extra tips…
How to Air Fry Frozen Mozzarella Sticks
Air frying frozen mozzarella sticks is as easy as 1-2-3-Eat! The following explains the easiest way to make this quick snack!
Six frozen Mozzarella Sticks (for a smaller air fryer, more for a large air fryer)
1. Place the frozen mozzarella sticks in the air fryer basket. Spread them into a single layer to ensure that each stick gets cooked evenly.
TIP: You do NOT need to add any cooking spray.
2. Set the air fryer to 350 degrees F. Air fry for 5 minutes.
TIP: You can use a higher temperature, from 360-380 degrees F, if you know that your air fryer cooks at a lower temperature than others.
3. Once you reach the 5-minute mark, open the air fryer and gently turn or shake the air fryer cheese sticks. Then continue to air fry at 350 degrees f for 1-2 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted. If needed, add one-minute air fry increments until the cheese is melted.
4. Serve hot, but be sure to let the cheese cool a bit since it can be scorching.
Best Frozen Mozzarella Sticks
There is no single best cheese sticks brand, but Farm Rich & Petite Cuisine are popular choices. My favorite is Sprout’s organic mozzarella sticks but, of course, everyone’s tastes differ. The following are some tried and true brands…
- Farm Rich
- Petite Cuisine
- Great Value
- Market Pantry
- Sprouts brand (my personal favorite)
- Trader Joe brand
- TGI Friday’s (comes with marinara sauce)
Whichever frozen mozzarella sticks you choose, most can be easily used in easy air fryer recipes.
What Sauce to Eat with Mozzarella Sticks
Mozzarella sticks are traditionally dipped into marinara sauce. Some frozen mozzarella sticks even come with packets of it. But mozzarella sticks go great with some non-traditional sauces, too. So, feel free to mix it up!
- favorite marinara sauce
- spaghetti sauce works, too! (marinara vs. spaghetti sauce)
- honey mustard
- ranch dressing (check out our copycat Wingstop ranch recipe!)
- bbq sauce
- raspberry or blackberry sauce (I haven’t tried this yet but friends swear by it)
- garlic aioli
- salsa (yep!)
- chili (ok, this isn’t really a sauce but Mmmmm!)
What to Serve with Mozzarella Sticks
Aside from the various sauces I just mentioned, you can serve mozzarella sticks as a side or even the main element of a dish. Mozzarella sticks have certainly been a main course for my kiddos a few times. Fruit and veggies (especially carrots & celery) work well. Or…
As a side, mozzarella sticks go well with any meat entree, like chicken breasts, steak, or even fried bratwurst. And remember how I mentioned chili as a dipping “sauce”? Well, serving mozzarella sticks with chili is scrumdiddlyumptious.
If you’re doing an appetizer spread for game day or the like, try to go with other appetizers that work well with whatever dipping sauce you chose for your mozzarella sticks. Here are the favorite go-to’s for dipping snacks:
- tater tots
- potato skins
- french fries
- frozen chicken tenders
- chips and dip or salsa
- chicken nuggets (you can air fry chicken nuggets, too!)
While air frying is a much healthier option than deep frying to cook frozen cheese sticks, they still have a high-fat content and contain gluten. Check the box for specific nutritional information for the cheese sticks you purchase.
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As a mom of three little eaters, I am excited to share my love of cooking, smoking, and baking with you. My love of food started when I went to college in Berkeley, and has followed me ever since! When I am not “momming,” writing, or cooking, you can find me reading, traveling, or hiking.