Air Fryer Cheese Sticks are an easy appetizer filled with cheesy goodness covered in a golden brown crunchy crust.
Who doesn’t love homemade mozzarella sticks? These are easy to make and serve for a quick snack or game day appetizer. Just add your favorite sauce for dipping and enjoy!
Air Fryer Cheese Sticks have come a long way from the well-known frozen variety. With 4 main ingredients and a quick toss in the air fryer, these gooey mozzarella sticks are sure to become your prized choice for a cheesy appetizer.
Plus with the amount of calories saved, you’ll rethink ever buying store-bought mozzarella sticks again! Just think of them as the rescue plan to your wallet and jeans (seriously, have you noticed the price of appetizers lately?).
If you’re going for an all Italian night, you can add these yummy Air Fryer Toasted Ravioli to your appetizer offerings. Combine these two appetizers for a serious cheese lover delight!
Air Frying Benefits
Why should you use the air fryer instead of deep frying or oven-baking? Air frying breaded cheese sticks have several benefits over using other cooking methods.
Delightfully Crispy: These air fryer cheese sticks will be much crispier than if you were to bake them in the oven.
Healthier: Well, it’s a healthier recipe than deep frying. I’m not saying that gooey cheese covered in a bread crumb mixture is actually a healthy recipe, but it is healthier than frying cheese sticks in oil that is full of saturated fats.
Easier to Clean Up: Thankfully, there’s no messy hot oil to clean up and dispose of, unlike deep frying.
Easy To Cook: Using an air fryer is so much easier than deep-frying because you don’t need to stand over it and pay attention. In the air fryer, you set the temp and cook time, then go about doing other things for a few minutes.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Cheese Sticks
The best part about learning how to make air fryer mozzarella sticks is that there are really only 4 main ingredients. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
Here’s what you’ll need to make Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks:
- 6 Frozen String Cheese Sticks
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
- Non Stick Cooking Spray
- If you’re feeling fancy, you can make your own breadcrumbs. I love premade Italian bread crumbs, but if you’d prefer to make your own, here’s a delicious recipe for homemade Italian breadcrumbs.
- You can also substitute Italian breadcrumbs with Panko breadcrumbs and add Italian seasoning.
You don’t need a dipping sauce to enjoy air fryer mozzarella sticks, but they are sure delicious served with one of these sauces:
- Favorite Marinara Sauce
- Pizza Sauce
- Ranch Dressing
No time to make air fryer cheese sticks right now? Save this recipe for later and pin it!
Can I Air Fry Cheese Sticks Without Breadcrumbs?
One of the main reasons why people have to come to enjoy eating mozzarella sticks is the crunchy taste of the outside crust. Breadcrumbs, along with the flour, play a large part in that.
However, if you are opposed to using breadcrumbs or simply want to switch it up from time to time, then you can definitely try something new!
Other good options to choose from are gluten-free flours like Almond Flour or Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour.
These alternative bundled with a few spices will get the job done and give you a light crunchy outer layer. You’ll need to watch the cook time closely with less batter on the outside.
- Air Fryer
- 3 Medium Shallow Bowls
- 1 Plate or Baking Sheet
Ready to make some delicious air fryer cheese sticks? Here are the step-by-step instructions:
Step 1: You’ll need to start with frozen mozzarella sticks before making this air fryer recipe. Simply place entire cheese sticks in the freezer (without the wrapper).
Step 2: Once frozen, remove the cheese sticks from the freezer and cut the them in half cross-ways. Set cheese stick halves aside.
Step 3: Grab a medium-sized shallow bowl and place 1/2 cup of flour inside. Set aside.
Step 4: In a 2nd shallow bowl, fill it with 1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Step 5: With your 2 large eggs, crack them open into a 3rd medium-sized bowl and beat until well blended. Allow the egg mixture to rest for approximately 2 minutes.
Step 6: Take your string cheese halves, and dip them into the beaten egg, completely coating them.
Step 7: Once coated, transfer the cheese stick into the bowl with the flour and coat them completely as well.
Step 8: Now transfer the flour coated cheese sticks back into the egg wash, being careful not to lose all the flour in the dip.
Step 9: Next, dip each cheese stick into the seasoned breadcrumbs and give it a good roll. It should be thickly coated on all sides with little flour showing.
Step 10: Arrange all the cheese sticks on a plate or small baking sheet, lining them up so they are not touching. Place them in the freezer to harden for 15 minutes.
Tip: Place a piece of parchment paper over the baking sheet to keep any of the coating from sticking to it.
Step 11: Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees. Allow it to heat for approximately 2-5 minutes to warm up (depends on your air fryer model, your manual will have preheating instructions).
Step 12: Add a light coating of olive oil spray of to the air fryer basket just to make sure they don’t stick. Remove the cheese sticks from the freezer and place them into your heated air fryer basket in a single layer.
Tip: It’s important that the hot air circulates around the entire cheese stick. If you have a smaller basket, you can insert one of these air fryer basket racks to utilize the vertical space! These are brilliant. It allows you to cook more air fryer cheese sticks at one time.
Otherwise, if you can’t fit them all in a single layer, cook them in multiple batches.
Step 13: Air fry for 4-6 minutes or until the exterior is golden and crispy.
Serve with marinara sauce (or your favorite dipping sauce!).
Can you Line the Air Fryer Basket with Foil?
I know… you’re worried about cheese escaping and melting into your air fryer.
One option is to place aluminum foil on the bottom of the basket, but this really isn’t the best idea. The hot air needs to circulate around all sides of the cheese sticks and the foil will block the air flow to the bottom.
If you go this route, you’ll need to rotate the fried cheese sticks several times and you may need to increase the cook time. See the next section on how this recipe keeps a coated cheese stick from oozing cheese so you don’t need to use aluminum foil.
How do You Keep Mozzarella Sticks from Exploding in the Air Fryer?
If you follow the above recipe steps, you shouldn’t have any problems with exploding cheese sticks! By coating the cheese sticks twice (once with flour and once in the breadcrumbs) it will keep the melted cheese inside the crust.
The flour coating really is the key in holding a gooey mozzarella stick together. Otherwise, the cheese would easily escape through the bread crumbs.
Of course, overcooking them will make them explode no matter what you do. For best results, when you’re cooking them the first time keep a close watch on the air fryer cheese sticks.
All air fryer models cook a little differently and there’s no harm in opening the air fryer to check on their progress. When you make them a second time, you’ll know exactly how long to cook them to avoid any cheese from escaping through the crust.
Have a few leftovers? You can store the remaining cheese sticks in the refrigerator in an airtight container for later use, however, I wouldn’t recommend going past two days. After day 3 I’ve found that the crust has lost its luster.
Alternatively, you could freeze them to keep the crust crispy for cooking up later.
The best method for reheating air fryer cheese sticks is to pop them back in the air fryer. Microwaving or oven baking won’t crisp them up again. In fact, microwaving will make them rubbery. Ewww!
To reheat, preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F and set a cook time of 4-5 minutes. Double check them by 4 minutes just to make sure they aren’t overcooking.
More Air Fryer Recipes to Love
Air Fryer Cheese Sticks are such a fantastically delicious treat and a healthier alternative to traditional mozzarella sticks. These are the perfect gooey-to-crunchy combination without the worry of any extra grease and fat that comes from deep frying.
Give these babies a try for your next appetizer or a late-night snack and see how quickly you fall in love with them!
- 6 Mozzarella string cheese sticks (frozen)
- 2 Large eggs
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
- Non Stick Olive Oil Cooking Spray
- Dipping Sauce (Marinara, Pizza Sauce or Ranch Dressing)
- Start with frozen mozzarella sticks.
- Cut string cheese sticks in half.
- In a shallow bowl add flour.
- In a second shallow bowl add breadcrumbs.
- In a third small bowl, beat 2 large eggs.
- Dip mozzarella sticks into the egg mixture and coat it completely.
- Take egg coated cheese sticks and dip in the bowl of flour, covering them completely.
- Dip flour coated cheese sticks back in the egg mixture.
- Roll mozzarella cheese sticks in Italian breadcrumbs, covering completely.
- Freeze cheese sticks for 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Spray air fryer basket with non stick cooking spray and place cheese sticks in a single layer in air fryer basket.
- Air fry for 4-6 minutes until golden brown.
See recipe post for extra tips on how to make the best air fryer cheese sticks.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 283mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g
Nutritional values are estimates and not exact.