These crispy air fryer mozzarella sticks are easy to make plus perfectly gooey and crunchy every time. Just a few minutes in the air fryer gives you a lightened up mozzarella stick that is a healthier take on party time classic. Use skim milk string cheese dipped in panko, flour, egg and a mix of Italian spices for a delicious snack to share.
The BEST Skinny Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
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Anyone else go round and round about buying an air fryer? I did until eventually, my husband picked up this little beauty.
We love our air fryer, it makes just about anything crispy in a few minutes. My only wish is I had gotten this air fryer with the bigger basket!
I don’t know what it is about football season that always has me thinking about making gooey and crunchy mozzarella sticks. After seeing how the air fryer crisps things up fast I knew it was the perfect way to make a skinny mozzarella stick with much very little oil.
These mozzarella cheese sticks didn’t take very long and the air fryer was the clear champion! Served with warm marinara this recipe is practically irresistible with its super gooey cheese and crunchy outside!
How Do You Add The Coating To This Mozzarella Stick Recipe?
I’ve made this recipe multiple times at my family’s request and after the first round I found the breading was sticking to my fingers a lot.
The trick was to use a fork. A fork helped to only transfer minimal amounts of egg to your dry ingredients.
Once your mozzarella sticks re all coated, freeze them on cookie sheet for an hour or two. You can then transfer them to a freezer container or cook them up crispy.
How Do You Cook Mozzarella Sticks In The Air Fryer?
Cooking this skinny mozzarella sticks recipe in the air fryer is super easy! Preheat your air fryer, then slide your now frozen homemade mozzarella sticks into the basket for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees. These cheese sticks don’t take long at all!
Keep the frozen mozzarella cheese sticks from touching each other in the air fryer and they will be even crispier.
How To Prevent The Cheese From Melting Through The Coating
TIP 1: Freezing- One of the tricks to keeping the cheese from melting through the coating is to have your mozzarella sticks completely frozen and your air fryer super hot for this recipe. This gives the outside time to become a golden brown before the cheese gets too hot and turns to liquid.
TIP 2- Coating – The other thing I’ve found that can make or break your mozzarella sticks is making sure both the flour and egg coating are completely covering your mozzarella sticks as you are coating them. Spots where the flour and egg aren’t coating the mozzarella completely tend to be where they later potentially melt out.
TIP 3- Time and Temperature– My air fryer works best when you heat the mozzarella sticks at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes and flip them after about four minutes. Air fryer temperatures can vary between the models, so if your cheese is melting out try reducing the temperature by 10-15 degrees.
This is a great recipe to make ahead and then keep in the freezer. You’ll be ready for tailgating or game day or unexpected guests.
I pulled a batch of these mozzarella sticks made with this recipe out from the freezer when my father in law came to visit. These cheese sticks were a big hit and cooked fast.
Do you Have To Preheat an air fryer?
Preheating the air fryer takes only a minute or two compared to the oven, but you don’t have to preheat it. If you chose not to preheat your air fryer your first batch of mozzarella cheese sticks may need to be cooked for an additional minute or two.
If your mozzarella sticks aren’t quite cooked and gooey enough, throw them back into the machine for a minute or two extra.
Can You Use Pan Spray In Your Air Fryer?
You can use PAM and similar sprays in your air fryer, but over time the oil will buildup on your machine.
This is normal as cooking sprays contain propellant which will build up on any cooking surface over time.
Do You Have To Use Panko In This recipe?
You can use any type of plain breadcrumb you prefer in this recipe. Panko is my personal favorite as it tends to make a crunchier outside.
You could also go wild with the coating, trying ground up pretzels, tortilla chips, or whatever else crunchy you have around that could be made into crumbs.
Can I put Aluminum Foil In My Air Fryer?
You technically can put aluminum foil in your air fryer but I don’t recommend it. You aluminum foil must be waited down by your food when you make and cook it or it might move around the machine.
The air fryer is designed to circulate warm air quickly, and those little holes in the basket help allow the air to move around the machine. It’s the technology that makes it hot fast without having to cook food very long.
If you use aluminum foil, you are blocking some of the airflow in your machine. Your results may end with mozzarella sticks recipe that is not as crunchy.
Can You Cook Boxed Frozen Mozzarella Sticks In The Air Fryer?
Yes, you can cook boxed mozzarella sticks in the air fryer by following the directions below!. Typically boxed frozen mozzarella sticks are fried, so I like to make my own homemade so they have less oil.
If I’m going to throw a boxed product in the air fryer instead of use a recipe? I like most of the options I’ve tried from Alexia foods. The sweet potato fries are a house favorite around here!
How Do You Cook these Mozzarella Sticks In an Oven?
I’ve baked mozzarella cheese sticks before in the oven. They often end up slightly flatter and less crispy then in the air fryer but are tasty.
Start by following the directions to coat and add the breadcrumbs to the cheese sticks, then freeze them.
If you are baking these mozzarella sticks in the oven, bake them at 400 degrees for 4-5 minutes on each side. Make sure to preheat the oven or it will take longer.
Spray them with little oil both before you put them in the oven, and when you flip them to help them get more crispy.
Other Party Snacks You’ll Love
Ham and Cheese Sliders– This includes instructions for both the air fryer or the oven.
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
- 8 part-skim string cheese sticks
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
Preping The Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
- Slice all cheese sticks in half so you have 16 equal pieces.
- In a small bowl combine panko, paprika, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.
- In a second small bowl add one egg and beat with a fork (or whisk).
- In a third small bowl add the flour.
- Using a fork to help you dip each piece of cheese first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the panko and spices mixture. Once covered place on your cookie sheet.
- Continue coating all pieces of cheese, lining them up on the cookie sheet.
- Place cheese sticks in the freezer for a minimum of two hours or until frozen solid. Cheese sticks can then be placed in a freezer bag to be stored or cooked in the air fryer.
Cooking The Cheese Sticks In The Air Fryer
- Set air fryer to 400 degrees. Allow to preheat for a minute or two until warm.
- Spray air fryer basket with a light mist of oil spray.
- Add frozen mozzarella cheese sticks to air fryer basket so they are not touching. ( I was able to fit 7-8 in my basket)
- Heat cheese sticks for 3-4 minutes, then open the air fryer and shake them around the basket or flip them with tongs. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes on the other side until crispy, brown, and gooey inside. If they aren’t quite crispy enough, pop them in for an additional minute, easy peasy!
- Serve while hot with a side of marinara for dipping!
- Freezing these mozzarella sticks ahead of time is important so they get the right texture that is crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.
- Add a little more pan spray lightly in between batches to ensure all batches are evenly crispy. Spraying the mozzarella sticks lightly also helps to keep them extra crispy.
- Air fryers can vary in temperature. On my air fryer, 400 degrees works best but temperatures can vary between air fryers. If your cheese continues to melt out, try lowering your temperature by 10-15 degrees.
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Did you make these air fryer mozzarella sticks? Give this recipe a star rating and tell us in the comments how it went! Also ask any questions you have for all things air fryer and/or this yummy mozzarella sticks recipe.