Homemade Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

This homemade Mozzarella Sticks recipe is perfect for parties, game days or even for a fun family dinner. They are super simple to make, can be frozen or made ahead of time for easy prep. Pair with a hearty marinara sauce or spicy marinara for the perfect finish!

Close up of fried mozzarella sticks


 

There really is nothing better than some glorious fried mozzarella sticks dunked in sauce. This easy recipe is easily customized with different cheese, breading or dipping sauces.

Both kids and adults will go wild for these golden, crispy and delicious motz sticks.

Ingredients for Mozzarella Sticks

  • Mozzarella cheese- You can purchase a large block and cut it into sticks yourself or use individual string cheese sticks.
  • Flour- used in the breading as a binder.
  • Breads crumbs- We used two different types of bread crumbs, both a finely ground plain crumb and a larger grain panko. Using both gives good coverage and nice crunch.
  • Garlic powder- For flavor. Feel free to also use onion powder or swap this out with another favorite seasoning blend.
  • Classic Italian seasoning- Add flavor to your cheesy sticks.
  • Paprika- Smoked paprika or sweet paprika give subtle flavor. A hot paprika will give an undertone of spice.
  • Eggs- Part of the binder because bread crumbs alone won’t stick to cheese.
  • Milk- Also part of the wet ingredients to use as the “glue” that holds the bread crumbs on.
  • Peanut or Vegetable Oil – This recipe uses a high smoke point oil for a quick flash fry. The trick is to brown the breading without the cheese totally melting out.

Mozzarella Sticks Breading

For this mozzarella stick recipe I like to use the holy trio for breading: breadcrumbs, Panko and flour. I find this combination makes the perfect crispy shell and keeps the cheese from oozing out. You can use this exact combination, or use a combination of two.

cheese pull from mozzarella stick

For a more traditional and smooth mozzarella stick use flour and breadcrumbs. For a more crispy and crunchy shell use Panko and flour.

Double Dip: When breading the homemade mozzarella sticks you will need to run them through the egg and bread crumbs twice to get a nice thick coating. Also, make sure you get all the edges and sides so the cheese does not seep out.

How to Make Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella sticks are very easy to make, but there are some important steps to follow to ensure success.

  1. Combine your dry ingredients and spices in one large shallow bowl and stir to combine. In a separate shallow bowl add in your eggs and milk and whisk until combined.
  2. Slice a block of mozzarella cheese into even ½ inch sticks. Try and make them as even as possible so they all fry evenly. If using store bought cheese sticks skip this step.
  3. One at a time dip the cheese stick in the egg mixture, then the breadcrumbs, then repeat. Do this until all the sticks are well coated and place on a large plate or cookie sheet.
  4. Place the plate of coated cheese sticks in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  5. Once frozen, heat vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until the oil has reached 350 degrees F or is shimmering.
  6. Add homemade mozzarella sticks in the oil and fry until golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip the sticks with tongs and repeat on the other side.
  7.  Once the cheese stick is fried carefully remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat this until all the mozzarella sticks are fried. Serve warm with marinara sauce or sauce of choice.

How long to fry mozzarella sticks?

Mozzarella sticks fry quickly and will only take 2-3 minutes to brown.

how to make mozzarella sticks

Homemade Cheese Sticks variations

Air Fryer Option

Preparing homemade mozzarella sticks in an air fryer is simple to do and cleaner and healthier compared to the traditional frying method. When air frying mozzarella sticks you will need to follow the same prep instructions including the 2 hour freeze time. Once the mozzarella sticks are frozen, proceed with air frying them.

air fryer mozzarella stick dipping into sauce

Start by preheating your air fryer to 375 degrees F. This is important for the cheese not getting too hot and seeping out of the breeding.

Oil Temperature: When heating to oil you want to heat it until 350-365 degrees F. The easiest way to achieve this is by using a candy thermometer. If you do not have this or something similar, no worries. Try and add the sticks into the oil when it is shimmering and start with one at a time to test the temperature.

Spray the basket of your air fryer with cooking spray and add in mozzarella sticks making sure not to crowd them. Spray the tops of the sticks with cooking spray then close the air fryer.

fried mozzarella sticks

Press start, then set the temperature to 375 degrees F and cook for 6-8 minutes (or until golden brown) flipping halfway through. Once cooked remove and serve warm with marinara sauce, or sauce of choice.

Other Cheese Options

Traditional mozzarella sticks are obviously made with mozzarella cheese. I mean come on it is in the name! If you want to mix up this mozzarella sticks recipe some other great cheeses to try are cheddar cheese, colby jack cheese, or pepper jack cheese.

marinara sauce for mozzarella sticks

No need to change up the breading when swapping out the cheese, it will blend with them all well. You can, however, add a few other spices or herbs that complement like chili powder with pepper jack for spicy fried cheese!

Also, you can use either cheese sticks or buy a block of cheese and slice it yourself. Both work great, but buying the cheese sticks will save on some prep time/work.

This is also the one time I highly suggest against homemade mozzarella or the super artisanal kind sitting in a brine bath. For cheese sticks you don’t want excess moisture, so the dry, hard kind is actually better. Lucky for you, it is also cheaper!

breading for mozzarella sticks

How to serve Fried Mozzarella Sticks

What sauce goes with mozzarella sticks?

The classic sauce pairing for mozzarella sticks is of course marinara sauce. You can make your own from scratch, or use your favorite store bought brand.

overhead shot of marinara in a jar

Some non-traditional ideas for dipping the sticks in would be salsa, ranch dressing, BBQ Sauce, cheese sauce, Queso, or meat sauce.

What pairs well with mozzarella sticks?

In my opinion, mozzarella sticks can be paired with nearly any meal as an appetizer, but can also be served as an entree. If you are going for an array of appetizer foods, pair this with Fried Ravioli or Calamari.
As an entree, I like to pair them with a protein like homemade Italian meatballs and a nice leafy green kale salad.

How to make Fried Mozzarella ahead of time

Mozzarella sticks from scratch are perfect for making ahead of time. Simply bread the mozzarella sticks and store in the freezer until you are ready to fry them.

serving platter of mozzarella sticks

I love prepping a large batch at one time then keeping half in the freezer for up to 3 months. This way I can have fresh, homemade mozzarella sticks whenever I want.

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks storage

Store leftover fried cheese sticks in an airtight container in the fridge from up to 4 days. Reheat in either the microwave or oven until just warm. Make sure to watch them when reheating so that they do not get too hot and the cheese begins to seep out the sides.

Can you freeze cheese sticks?

Freezing mozzarella sticks from scratch is a must, and they need to be frozen after breeding them for at least 2 hours. If you skip the freezing, or cut it short then your cheese will more than likely seep out and no one wants that.

homemade mozzarella sticks for pinterest

Mozzarella Sticks FAQs

How long are cheese sticks good for?

Cheese sticks are best straight out of the fryer, but will stay good frozen (before frying) for up to 6 months and about a week in the fridge in an airtight container.

Can you fry mozzarella cheese without breading it?

Yes, you can fry mozzarella cheese without breading it. When mozzarella cheese is heated, it becomes soft and melty, making it a popular choice for frying.
Keep in mind that mozzarella cheese can melt quickly, so it’s important to monitor it closely while frying to prevent it from completely liquefying. Additionally, using a non-stick pan or adding a bit of flour or breadcrumbs to the pan can help prevent sticking and create a slightly crispy texture.

Should I freeze mozzarella sticks before frying?

Yes, if you skip the step of freezing them before frying, the cheese will immediately melt before the breading has time to brown.

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close up of fried mozzarella sticks
platter of fried mozzarella sticks

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

4.72 from 7 votes
Easy mozzarella sticks from scratch make the perfect party appetizer for a crowd or kid friendly family dinner. Cheese, breading, traditional frying and air fryer instructions included.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Freeze Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 24 sticks

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine the Panko, flour,breadcrumbs and spices in a large shallow bowl and stir to combine.
    breading for mozzarella sticks
  • In a separate shallow bowl add in your eggs and milk and whisk until combined.
  • Slice a block of mozzarella cheese into even ½ inch sticks. Try and make them as even as possible so they all fry evenly. If using store bought cheese sticks skip this step.
  • One at a time dip the cheese stick in the egg mixture, then the breadcrumbs, then repeat. Make sure the cheese sticks are well coated on all sides and eggs. Once all the cheese sticks are breaded, place on a large plate or cookie sheet.
  • Place the plate of coated cheese sticks in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  • Once frozen, heat vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until the oil has reached 350 degrees F or is shimmering.
  • Add mozzarella sticks in the oil and fry until golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip the sticks with tongs and repeat on the other side.
  • Once the cheese stick is fried carefully remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat this until all the mozzarella sticks are fried. Serve warm with marinara sauce or sauce of choice.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments and/or ratings.

Nutrition

Calories: 157 kcal, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 39 mg, Sodium: 167 mg, Potassium: 40 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 174 IU, Calcium: 114 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Author: Caitlyn Erhardt
Calories: 157
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fried mozzarella sticks, homemade mozzarella sticks
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
fried mozzarella dipping into tomato sauce
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Why are these mozzarella cheese sticks so darn good?! I will get in trouble if I make this recipe too often 😂

  2. 5 stars
    I love mozzarella sticks, especially when they’re homemade! Bookmarked for this weekend and I can’t wait to make it!

  3. 5 stars
    These mozzarella sticks were a home run with the family! Came out perfectly crisp on the outside and the cheese pulled beautifully.

  4. 5 stars
    What a fabulous crust you’ve got going on for this recipe! I love mozarella sticks, especially dipped in a tangy sauce. Thanks for sharing such an easy recipe for any party!