Mozzarella Sticks are a classic finger food treat. Crunchy and flavorful on the outside, and ooey gooey cheesy on the inside. Whether served as an afternoon snack, tailgate treat, party starter or even Friday night dinner (guilty!), they are impossible to resist. Let me show you step by step how easy it is to make your own homemade mozzarella sticks.
Mozzarella sticks have long been a restaurant favorite, but you can easily make them at home as well! Your family will cheer when you whip up a batch that taste every bit as good, if not better, than your favorite restaurant version. I’m excited to share this recipe and show you how to make mozzarella sticks!
Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe
- Crispy, crunchy on the outside, melty cheesy on the inside, mozzarella sticks are a flavor combination that can’t be beat.
- From snacks for the family to game day eats, they are always a crowd pleaser.
- They pair perfectly with dipping sauces, from marinara to ranch dressing.
- Finger food fun! There is no denying that in addition to their great taste, kids love that stretchy mozzarella cheese filling!
This is an overview of the ingredients you will need to make homemade mozzarella sticks with string cheese. Important notes and substitutions for certain ingredients are discussed. The full printable recipe, with amounts and specific details, can be found at the bottom of the page.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Cheese Sticks – Traditional string cheese sticks are perfect for this recipe, and are ideally sized when cut in half. You can however cut your own cheese sticks from a block of cheese. Just make sure that you cut them into uniform sizes, as close to that of the string cheese sticks as possible.
- Breadcrumbs – This recipe calls for both traditional breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs. The traditional breadcrumbs help give the coating a lighter texture and recognizable flavor, while the panko breadcrumbs help give it a bit more crunch, without absorbing as much oil than traditional breadcrumbs. The combination of both bread crumbs really creates the ideal mozzarella stick.
- Canola Oil – I prefer to use canola oil when frying foods for a couple of reasons. It has a very neutral flavor and thus won’t change the taste of the mozzarella sticks, it’s smoke point is high enough for the temperature needed for frying, and it’s an affordable and readily available choice. Other oil options include vegetable oil, peanut oil and corn oil. I do not recommend using olive oil or coconut oil.
How To Make Mozzarella Sticks
Let’s discuss the ingredients you’ll need, and the steps you’ll take, to whip up a batch of homemade mozzarella sticks. If you want to skip my discussion, tips, information and answers to frequently asked questions, just scroll to the bottom of this post for the printable recipe.
1. Mix the panko, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a bowl.
2. Stir ingredients to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and water together.
4. Place flour in a third bowl. Place bowls side by side starting with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Use tongs to place each mozzarella stick into the flour mixture.
5. Next, dip the cheese stick completely into the egg mixture.
6. After that, completely cover it with the bread crumb mixture and set onto prepared tray.
7. When all of the mozzarella sticks have had one coat of breading we are going to give them a second coating. This time, flour is not needed. Once again, using tongs, place each cheese stick in the egg mixture.
8. Then dip into the crumb mixture, making sure all sides and ends are well coated.
NOT SHOWN: At this point, breadsticks are placed into the freezer for at least an hour.
9. Heat oil in a heavy skillet, or dutch oven, to a temperature of 325-350 degrees. Fry mozzarella sticks for a minute or 2 per side, or until golden brown.
Mozzarella cheese sticks are best served immediately after they are cooked.
Tips and Advice
While delicious on their own, I always pair mine with dipping sauce. My favorite one is my Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce recipe. That said, for a time saver I just open a jar of our favorite marinara sauce.
I am also a big fan of mozzarella sticks with ranch dressing (a late night Denny’s favorite!). You can use your favorite bottled ranch, or the best ever homemade ranch dressing recipe over on my friend Mary’s site. If you are so inclined, you can even enjoy them with my easy Copycat Cane’s Sauce.
As mentioned, homemade mozzarella sticks really are best when eaten immediately. That said, if you have leftovers, place them in an airtight container, or a sandwich bag will work, and place in the refrigerator for up to five days. They can be frozen up to two months.
If you have an airfryer, it is hands down the best way to reheat mozzarella sticks. Set the airfryer for 375 degrees and cook the mozzarella sticks for 4 minutes, turn them and cook for another 4 minutes.
If you don’t have an airfryer, place them on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until hot and crispy.
Take Care When Frying
It’s important to take care when frying foods. Checking the temperature of your oil is extremely important. If you don’t have one, an inexpensive thermometer is incredibly helpful when making this, or any other recipe where frying is involved.
When frying, stay focused on the task at hand. This isn’t the time to multi-task, just watch your oil, your temperature and your mozzarella sticks. Don’t overcrowd the pan and use dry utensils – because as the saying goes, oil and water do not mix. I also keep the kids and pets away from the stove when I’m frying, just in case of the occasional splatter.
Yes, you really do. If you don’t freeze mozzarella sticks prior to deep frying they are likely to leak out of the breading before it has a chance to brown.
Freezing is one factor that helps prevent this, and the other is double breading them as we do in this recipe. The additional coating helps seal the cheese in, which is what you want.
Yes, you can make mozzarella sticks in advance. After your mozzarella sticks are frozen, simply move them to freezer bags to be fried at a later time.
More Recipes To Try
If you love appetizers and snack foods like these mozzarella cheese sticks, here are some additional recipes I think you’ll enjoy!
- Easy Nachos – While traditionally an appetizer, I often turn to this for a quick and easy dinner.
- Chicken Parmesan Meatballs – These are great on their own, or paired with spaghetti.
- Homemade Pretzels – Chewy and salty, these are always a hit, especially when served with Beer Cheese Dip.
- Bang Bang Shrimp – While you’re at it, fry up some delicious Bang Bang Shrimp.
- Frozen Favorites – If you have an air fryer, it is the BEST for making your frozen appetizers and snacks. Check out my instructions for making Frozen Onion Rings, Tater Tots, Chicken Tenders and Pizza Rolls, all in the air fryer.
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 mozzarella cheese sticks cut each in half to create a total of 16 smaller sticks
- Mix the panko, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and water together. Place flour in a third bowl. Place bowls side by side starting with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.
- Prepare a tray lined with parchment paper and set this next to the bowl with the bread crumb mixture.
- Use tongs to place each mozzarella stick into the flour mixture (cover completely), then dip it into the egg mixture, then completely cover it with the bread crumb mixture and set onto prepared tray.
- When all of the mozzarella sticks have had one coat of breading we are going to give them a second coating. This time, flour is not needed. Once again, using tongs, place each cheese stick in the egg mixture and then coat completely with the breadcrumb mixture (sides and ends as well). Place back onto the tray.
- Freeze the coated mozzarella sticks for at least 1 hour.
- Heat oil in a heavy skillet, or dutch oven, to a temperature of 325-350 degrees. A thermometer is extremely helpful. Place a plate lined with paper towels next to the deep frying station, this will be used to transfer the cheese sticks to when they come out of the oil.
- Fry mozzarella sticks for a minute or 2 per side, or until golden brown. Do not crowd the pan as it will drop the temperature of the oil. Pay close attention to how quickly they are browning and adjust your temperature if needed.
- Remove mozzarella sticks from oil and place on prepared plate lined with paper towels. Serve with marinara sauce or ranch dressing on the side if desired.