Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

These air fryer mozzarella sticks make a delicious, healthier game day snack or appetizer. All the gooey cheese and crispy breading without the extra grease and calories. You can’t beat it! (P.S. There are instructions to make them oven baked and gluten-free, too!)

melted cheese from a mozzarella stick being pulled and stretched

Why Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks Are SO Good

  • They’ve got all the melty, gooey cheese and crispy exterior without the extra grease from deep frying.
  • Since there’s no deep frying, they’re lower in calories and fat than traditional mozzarella sticks.
  • They cook very quickly in the air fryer (which is also a more energy-efficient cooking method).
  • Keep them frozen, then just make a couple whenever you feel like it.
  • They’re crazy delicious! Absolutely kid and family-approved. 😉

Ingredients

ingredients to bake oven baked or air fryer mozzarella sticks

Ingredients you need to make this snack include:

  • part-skim mozzarella sticks
  • flour
  • egg
  • bread crumbs
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper

Gluten-Free Mozzarella Sticks

To make them gluten-free, all you have to do is use gluten-free all purpose flour (I usually use King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour or Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 Gluten Free Flour) and gluten-free bread crumbs.

Kitchen Equipment

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To make these air fryer mozzarella sticks, you need:

Which Air Fryer Is Best?

My general philosophy is whichever one you have! That said, if you’re in the market for one, my personal preference is for a larger air fryer (i.e. a 6-quart air fryer). These not only hold more, but typically have a larger base of the “frying” basket, which is great for recipes that require food to be placed in a single layer.

I have the Instant Pot Vortex 6 quart Air Fryer and I love it. It’s insanely easy and intuitive to use and I’ve been so impressed with everything I’ve made!

How to Make Them

steps for how to make air fryer mozzarella sticks: coat in flour, egg wash, seasoned bread crumbs, freeze, air fry!
  1. Cut cheese sticks in half to get 24 pieces.
  2. Prepare your breading station: Place flour in the sandwich bag, whisk the egg in a small, shallow dish, then combine bread crumbs and spices in another small, shallow dish.
  3. Place cheese sticks (just a few at a time) in the sandwich bag with the flour. Toss to lightly dust the cheese sticks with flour. Tap off any excessive flour.
  4. Transfer flour-dusted cheese stick to the egg wash and completely coat the cheese stick with egg wash.
  5. Transfer the cheese stick to the bread crumbs and entirely cover. It may be helpful to use a small spoon to help ensure bread crumbs have been poured over every surface.
  6. Place on a silicone mat lined baking dish, then freeze for at least an hour (can be frozen weeks in advance).
  7. Preheat air fryer to 385°F. Place frozen mozzarella sticks in a single layer, not touching. Spray the tops with nonstick spray, then cook for 5 minutes.

Oven-Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Follow the same preparation instructions, then bake (from frozen) on a silicone mat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Be sure to place them in a single layer, not touching, and spray the tops with nonstick spray.

Then bake at 400°F for 9-10 minutes.

Top Tips to Best Make This Recipe

  • I’ve seen many other recipes (baked, fried, or air fried alike) that suggest freezing the mozzarella sticks before breading. I tested this recipe multiple times freezing before breading and not, and I found it absolutely, completely unnecessary! There were zero differences in the finished product. So save yourself some time, bread the fresh cheese, then freeze.
  • It is IMPERATIVE to freeze the breaded cheese sticks before cooking. I wouldn’t recommend freezing any less than an hour, as freezing even just 30 minutes led to more cheese escaping the breading during the cooking process.
  • Be sure to spray the tops with nonstick spray before cooking – it helps them crisp up just a slight bit more.
  • If you want them very crisp, I highly recommend the air fryer method. Oven baked work, and is still crispy and delicious, just not quite as crisp as using an air fried.
dipping an air fried mozzarella stick into marinara

Tips to Make in Advance

Prepare the recipe as is, but just leave in the freezer (yes, uncooked – the egg will cook whenever you do cook them!). Once they are frozen at least an hour, you can remove them from the tray and transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container.

They can be frozen like this up to 3-4 months, or longer in a deep freezer.

Serving Suggestions

Serve as an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce, like marinara. You could also try dipping in something like my hummus-based pizza dip!

These also make a delicious snack or side to be served alongside something like my gluten-free turkey chili or turkey avocado veggie sandwiches.

Nutrition Highlights

Compared to traditionally fried mozzarella sticks, this recipe (either air fried or bake) results in significantly less calories, total fat, and saturated fat.

And being primarily part-skim cheese, they also contain protein and calcium!

a close up of crispy, golden brown mozzarella sticks with a dipping bowl of marinara sauce in the background

Are these healthy?

As with anything, I wouldn’t recommend eating these (or any one food) all day, every day, but these are far healthier than their deep fried counterparts. They 100% can fit into a balanced, healthy diet (even with weight loss!).

Know, too, that “healthy” is subjective. The foods that help one maintain their health may or may not work for you – and that’s okay! Honor the body you have. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I suggest eating a variety of nourishing foods that help you feel good and achieve or maintain your health, balanced with the foods you love. Remember – an election isn’t won with every vote, but the majority. Your health is the same way – the overall dietary pattern is what matters most.

Related Recipes

Want more appetizer recipes? Try these:

Looking for more air fryer recipes? Try these:

Did you make this recipe? Give it a 5★ rating below! For more balanced nutrition and no fuss, balanced recipes, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

melted cheese from a mozzarella stick being pulled and stretched

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

These air fryer mozzarella sticks make a delicious, healthier game day snack. All the gooey cheese and crispy breading without the extra grease and calories. You can't beat it!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Freeze Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 99kcal
Author: Lindsey Janeiro, RDN

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 12 part-skim cheese sticks
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 large egg
  • cup bread crumbs (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • nonstick spray
  • Optional sauces or dips for serving, like marinara

Instructions

To Prepare:

  • Cut cheese sticks in half to get 24 pieces.
  • Prepare your breading station: Place flour in the sandwich bag, whisk the egg in a small, shallow dish, then combine bread crumbs and spices in another small, shallow dish.
  • Place cheese sticks (just a few at a time) in the sandwich bag with the flour. Toss to lightly dust the cheese sticks with flour. Tap off any excessive flour.
  • Transfer flour-dusted cheese stick to the egg wash and completely coat the cheese stick with egg wash.
  • Transfer the cheese stick to the bread crumbs and entirely cover. It may be helpful to use a small spoon to help ensure bread crumbs have been poured over every surface.
  • Place on a silicone mat lined baking dish, then freeze for at least an hour (can be frozen weeks in advance).

To Air Fry:

  • Preheat air fryer to 385°F. Place frozen mozzarella sticks in a single layer, not touching. Spray the tops with nonstick spray, then cook for 5 minutes.

To Oven Bake:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Place frozen mozzarella sticks on a silicone mat or parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer (not touching). Spray the tops with nonstick spray, then cook for 9-10 minutes.

To Serve:

  • Serve immediately and enjoy while warm. Serve with any of your favorite dipping sauce, like marinara sauce.

Notes

Recipe makes 24 pieces; 1 serving is 2 pieces.
Note: nutrition information reflects amount of flour, bread crumbs, and egg wash ingredients actually used, based on weight before and after breading. There will be leftover bread crumbs, flour, and egg wash, but those leftover ingredients were removed from the nutrition calculations.
Nutrition information is for 2 mozzarella sticks, without any sauces or dips.

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.4g | Protein: 7.6g | Fat: 6.3g | Saturated Fat: 3.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 31.5mg | Sodium: 214.7mg | Potassium: 6.5mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 225.4IU | Calcium: 151.8mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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6 Comments

  1. I made this recipe yesterday and it was a hit! Had to do in batches to fit my air fryer basket, but it worked brilliantly. So tasty! Definitely recommended.

  2. These are amazing!!! Thank you so much fit the incredible recipe, so much better than oily mozzarella sticks!

5 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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