These air fryer mozzarella sticks are a healthier take on a favorite snack classic! Skim string cheese sticks dipped in whole wheat flour, egg, panko breadcrumbs and spices: onion powder, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, and smoked paprika!
I’m not gonna lie.
I reeeeeeally went back and forth about buying an air fryer.
- Um. What the heck is an air fryer?
- Do I really need another gadget?
- Will it actually work?
- Is it going to be hard to use?
I’m guessing you guys are having/had the same thoughts.
Here’s the thing though.
I freaking LOVE my air fryer. And no, this isn’t sponsored, I’m just genuinely impressed with it.
So to answer my own questions . . .
- Um. What the heck is an air fryer? Think deep fryer without the oil.
- Do I really need another gadget? Do you ever really NEED another gadget? No, but we’ve already used this 6 times since we had it!
- Will it actually work? YES. It’s actually really cool. You often can find recipes for “oven baked ‘fried’ xyz” and it comes out ok, but it’s often not as good and crispy. The air fryer, while still not as good as deep frying, DEFINITELY gets food crispier and more like the traditional recipe minus a HUGE chunk of the calories.
- Is it going to be hard to use? Nope! Surprisingly easy. WAY easier (and far less messy) than deep frying.
So what did I make first?
Air fryer mozzarella sticks, duh!
I freaking LOVE mozzarella sticks, but I never make them at home, because helllooooo I only deep fry when absolutely necessary, because it’s kind of a pain in the butt.
I HAVE tried baking mozzarella sticks, but to be totally honest, they didn’t turn out that great. They were ok, because helloooo, gooey melty cheese, but the outsides were not crispy at all!
Enter: air fryer mozzarella sticks.
Now. They’re still not AS crispy as the real deal, but beggars can’t be choosers, and these air fryer mozzarella sticks are
- Significantly quick and easier than deep frying mozzarella sticks
- WAY healthier. Like, there’s no comparison. You don’t use ANY oil in today’s recipe.
So. How DO we make air fryer mozzarella sticks?!
Step One: Grab a package of mozzarella string cheese and cut each of the sticks in half. Place them into a baggie and freeze.
Step Two: Shake. Dunk. Dip.
- Place frozen cheese and whole wheat flour into another baggie and shake ’em up until they’re completely coated in flour.
- Dunk each cheese stick in egg.
- Dip into the outer coating: breadcrumbs, panko, and spices: onion powder, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, and smoked paprika
Step Three: Freeze! You really do need to freeze these, so the outside has a chance to get crispy before the cheese melts too much.
Step Four: Air fry! All you do is pre-heat, place the mozzarella stick into the air fryer, and “fry” for 5 minutes.
Boom! Air fryer mozzarella sticks.
Some cheese *will* escape out of the outer coating, but have no fear, they’re still delish.
I LOVE dipping these in marinara sauce and ranch and I love that these can be made in advance and air fried at a moment’s notice!
Easy. Healthier. Yummy.
Air fryer mozzarella sticks for the win!
Do you have an air fryer yet? What should I make next? Show Me the Yummy!
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (10 oz) package part skim mozzarella string cheese each stick cut in half
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon onion powder*
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic powder*
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt*
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon chili powder*
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon smoked paprika*
- Marinara sauce for dipping
- Ranch for dipping
- Place halved cheese sticks into a ziplock baggie and place in freezer until frozen, at least 30 minutes.
- Place egg into a shallow bowl and whisk until broken up. Set aside.
- Place breadcrumbs, panko, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, and smoked paprika in another shallow bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Place frozen cheese sticks and flour into another ziplock baggie (the one from the freezer will have too many ice chunks) and shake until the cheese sticks and fully coated in the flour.
- Discard excess flour.
- Dunk one cheese stick in egg until fully coated and then in panko mixture until fully coated.
- Place on lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining cheese sticks.
- Place baking sheet in freezer until all the cheese sticks have re-frozen, at least an hour.
- Hit “ON” on the air fryer.
- Then hit “PRE-HEAT”. Set the temperature to 370 degrees F and set the timer to 5 minutes.
- Hit “START”.
- The air fryer will beep at you when it’s finished preheating.
- Open up the air fryer and spray the basket with cooking spray.
- Place in the mozzarella sticks, work with about 6 at a time, so you don’t over crowd them.
- Close the air fryer. It will beep at you when it’s finished cooking.
- Repeat with as many mozzarella sticks as you’d like. Store uncooked leftovers in the freezer!
- Serve with dipping sauces and enjoy!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.