When I got my first Air Fryer, I had zero doubt what the most important thing would be for me to master: how to make Air Fryer mozzarella sticks.
I have had a lifelong obsession with mozzarella sticks, but I almost never order them out because they are FULL of fat from deep frying, and I never would make them at home due to the mess of the frying.
The Air Fryer solved both of these issues for me, and now I only get fat from the delicious cheese, and not all the oil.
However, there are a few tips and tricks to making the best cheese sticks in the air fryer, and I've compiled them for you below.
How do you make Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks Crispy?
There are several steps/tips to get crispy cheese sticks from the air fryer:
- Spray them thoroughly with cooking spray or olive oil before cooking them
- Make sure they are in a single layer in the air fryer and are NOT touching each other. Crowding results in sogginess!
- Cook them at a high temperature so that the outside crisps at the same rate the inside melts. I like 400 F for this.
- Freeze them before cooking
How Long do you Air Fry Frozen Cheese Sticks?
The easy answer is to cook them for 5 minutes at 400 degrees F.
The more complicated truth is that cooking frozen mozzarella cheese sticks in the air fryer can depended on both the type of air fryer you have and how your air fryer runs. 400 F for 5 minutes is a good start though. You might need to cook them for as long as 8 minutes! Luckily, if you open the air fryer after 5 minutes and they don't look done yet, you can close them right back in and cook for another few minutes until they are ready!
How do you keep mozzarella sticks from exploding?
Ahhhh yes, but if you overcook cheese sticks in the air fryer, you run the risk of them bursting open and all that cheesy goodness leaking out. The best defense against this is to bread your cheese sticks TWICE.
I don't break all of mine twice, only the ones that didn't get completely coated the first round through. This both saves on calories from extra breading, and time and effort!
Do you HAVE to freeze cheese sticks before cooking them in the Air Fryer?
Sigh. Well ... no. You don't HAVE to. If you are desperate for cheese sticks ASAP - you can cook them without freezing. HOWEVER - know that it is VERY likely you will lose some cheese in the cooking process.
If you insist on cooking without freezing first, cook them for 4 minutes at 400 F as a start, then only cook one more minute at a time if they need more time.
Make sure you check out my other Air Fryer Recipes!
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
- 12 skim milk mozzarella cheese sticks removed from their plastic wrapping
- ½ cup All Purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup breadcrumbs see notes
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- cooking spray or spray olive oil
- Large Sealable Baggie
- Large Sheet Pan or Freezer Safe Dish/Plate
- Line up all of the unwrapped cheese sticks and cut them in half so that you now have 24 shorter pieces of string cheese. Place the flour into a large sealable baggie. Dump all of the cheese sticks into the bag, seal the bag, and shake to coat them in flour.
- You can also coat them one by one by placing the flour in a small dish and rolling each mozzarella stick around in the dish, but this is significantly slower and messier.
- Beat the two eggs in a small bowl and set it next to the baggie with flour coated string cheese in it. Mix the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and salt together in another small bowl and place it next to the egg bowl. Place your sheet pan next to the breadcrumb bowl.
- You should now have a complete breading station set up, with the bag of flour coated string cheese, beaten eggs, seasoned breadcrumbs, and a freezer safe sheet pan or dish lined up.
- Open the flour and cheese bag. One at a time, remove a cheese stick from the flour bag, give the cheese stick a shake so that any loose/excess flour falls off. Drop the flour coated cheese stick into the egg bowl. Use a fork to roll it around in the egg and make sure it is entirely covered in egg, with no flour exposed. Lift the egg coated cheese out of the bowl with the fork, and allow any loose egg to drip off. Drop it into the breadcrumbs. Use another fork, spoon, or your fingers to cover the stick in breadcrumbs, pressing them into the sides. Place the coated cheese stick onto the pan. Repeat until no string cheese is left uncoated.
- If there are any cheese sticks that have exposed cheese or flour, dunk them in the egg and breadcrumbs again to make sure every bit is completely coated.
- Place the sheet pan full of cheese sticks ( with no sides touching each other ), into the freezer. Freeze for at least one hour. After an hour, you can either carefully place the cheese sticks into a sealable freezer baggie or container to cook at a later time, or you can make them right away.
To Cook Frozen Cheese Sticks in the Air Fryer:
- Spray the cheese sticks with cooking spray. Place the cheese sticks in a single layer, with no sides touching, in the Air Fryer. Air Fry at 400 F for 4 - 5 minutes.
To Cook Frozen Cheese Sticks in the Oven:
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Spray the cheese sticks with cooking spray. Bake for 7 - 8 minutes.