Mozzarella sticks are one snack food you can enjoy all year long. I mean is there a more delicious snack? I just love the gooey cheese and lightly battered coating. Even better when dipped in a zesty marinara or cool buttermilk ranch. These frozen snacks are incredibly easy (and fast) to cook in my air fryer just taking 5-7 minutes – so it got me wondering what is the best way to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryer time.
The way the cheese melts, combined with the light breading and some classic marinara sauce, is just a recipe for success in my book! However, there’s a big difference between making mozz sticks for yourself and serving them as appetizers to guests in your cool backyard.
Call me a perfectionist, but when I do something, I like to make sure I get it right! Fortunately, mozzarella sticks aren’t very hard to make from scratch or frozen, and they often pair great with a main dish. Nonetheless, there are still some simple ways you can easily take this savory snack/side to the next level.
Today, we’ll be looking at a few easy air fryer recipes that you can try the next time you want to enjoy some mozzarella sticks. Just like when you’re making other dishes (such as chicken), cooking mozzarella sticks in an air fryer is way healthier than using a deep fryer and generally faster than using the oven.
Whether you’re just trying to take your boxed goodies to the next level or want to learn how to make mozzarella sticks from scratch, I’ve found a few recipes I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Ready to learn all the tips & tricks about these tasty treats? Let’s get started!
Three Different Ways to Prepare Mozzarella Sticks
Preparing mozzarella sticks is super easy if you’re using an air fryer. Whether the sticks are prepackaged or homemade, the process stays relatively the same. These are my favorite frozen mozzarella sticks. However, I was able to find a few different variations—and one made-at-home recipe—for y’all to enjoy.
Even if cooking isn’t one of your strengths, there’s no need to worry. All of these recipes are so simple that even the most novice of cooks can easily prepare them. Let’s dive in.
This first recipe is the simplest way to make this snack. Of course, you can always spruce these up with a festive garnish such as parmesan, or rosemary, but I’m keeping it simple for ya on the first go.
Frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryer time: 5-7 minutes
- Frozen Mozzarella Sticks
- Your favorite dipping sauce (Optional)
Step One: First, you’ll need to start preheating your air fryer to 390 degrees F. Some people don’t bother with this step, but I find that preheating the air fryer every time is the best way to guarantee consistency.
If you decide to skip preheating then be aware that your sticks may be slightly undercooked (which won’t give you the gooey cheese you’re after!).
You can also spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray if you wish. I usually don’t bother since my air fryer only takes a minute or so to clean, but this might be helpful for harder-to-clean models.
Step Two: Once the air fryer is preheated—after three to five minutes—you can place the mozzarella sticks in the air fryer. Make sure that the sticks are evenly spaced throughout the pan in a single layer; don’t let them touch each other.
Be careful when placing the pan back inside the air fryer, as mozzarella sticks have a tendency to roll around. While it probably won’t ruin them entirely, sticks that cook while touching can have noticeable soft spots!
Step Three: Let the mozzarella sticks cook for three minutes on one side, then flip them and cook for an additional three minutes. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly, depending on your air fryer and the number of sticks you’re cooking at once.
However, you should aim to cook the sticks for roughly 5-7 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Step Four: Remove the mozzarella sticks from the air fryer, plate them, and serve with your favorite marinara sauce (or other choice of sauce)! If you have any leftovers, put them in an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator to be reheated later on.
Pro Tip: If you’re throwing a party, save money by purchasing frozen mozzarella sticks in a bulk order!
This next recipe will take your frozen Mozzarella sticks to the next level. While they’re not made-from-scratch Mozzarella sticks, these garnished Mozzarella sticks have an elevated kick.
Frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryer time: 5-8 minutes
- 12 Frozen Mozzarella Sticks
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Marinara Sauce
Step One: Like before, preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F. Ensure that the hot air is properly circulated before placing the mozz sticks inside of the pan.
If you’re using a smaller air fryer then you may not be able to cook all 12 sticks at once (without them touching each other). In that case, cook the sticks in batches.
While it may be tempting to turn your air fryer to a higher temperature to cook the mozzarella sticks faster, avoid doing this. Remember, consistency is key!
Step Two: Cook the sticks for five minutes before removing and inspecting them. Different brands may take longer, which is why it’s important to check.
You’ll know that they’re done when the outside is golden brown. If they’re not quite there yet, additional cook time is needed. Cook them for 1-3 more minutes, depending on how close they are to being done.
Step Three: Remove and plate your mozzarella sticks. Using grated Parmesan cheese and parsley (or Italian seasoning), garnish as desired. Serve with marinara sauce.
So far, we’ve only gone over how to prepare premade mozzarella sticks. However, prepacked foods from your local grocery store are rarely as good as the food you’ve made yourself! Preparing food yourself is almost always a healthier method than simply heating the prepackaged options!
Grab your storage containers (for any extras) and set aside a few hours to cook: it’s time to make mozzarella sticks from scratch! I’m screaming. These are so much fun and so delicious to eat.
Total time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryer time: 15 minutes
Homemade Mozzerella Sticks
- 1 baking sheet
- 3 bowls
- 5 oz Mozzarella cheese cut to 1/2 strips
- 1 can cooking spray
- 1/2 cup water for batter
- 1/4 cup flour for better
- 5 tbsp cornstarch for batter
- 1 tbsp garlic powder for batter
- 1/2 tsp salt for batter
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs for coating
- 1/2 tsp salt for coating
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper for coating
- 1/4 tsp onion powder for coating
- 1/4 tsp dried orgeno for coating
- 1/4 tsp dried basil for coating
- 1 tbsp flour for coating
- Prepare batter: Place all of the batter ingredients (water, flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, garlic powder, salt) in the first bowl and mix until thickened.
- Make Coating: In a second bowl, combine all the coating ingredients (panko, salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil) and stir until evenly mixed. Place flour in a third bowl.
- Prepare Mozzerella: Take your 5 oz. mozzarella sticks and lightly press them into the flour in the third bowl. After this, take the mozzarella cheese sticks and dip them into the batter in the first bowl. Finally, place your battered sticks in the coating—second bowl—and toss them until they’re sufficiently covered.
- Freeze: Now it’s time to place your homemade mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet (I recommend covering the baking sheet in aluminum foil for easy cleaning!). Once you’ve transferred all of the sticks over to the sheet, place them in the freezer for a minimum of one hour. This will give you frozen cheese sticks that are ready for air frying!
- Prepare to Air Fry: When you’re ready to cook your tasty snack, turn on your air fryer and preheat the unit to 400° F. Once it’s preheated, you can place the mozzarella sticks inside the air fryer basket. As before, don’t leave the sticks touching each other while they cook for the best results.
- Air Fry: Spray your sticks lightly with cooking spray before closing the air fryer. Cook for six minutes before flipping the sticks. Cook for an additional seven to nine minutes before removing and serving. Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce. I prefer homemade ranch.
- Mozzarella cheese (5 oz., cut to ½ strips)
- Cooking spray
- Baking sheet
- Bowls (3)
- Water (½ cup)
- Flour (¼ cup)
- Cornstarch (5 tbsp.)
- Cornmeal (1 tbsp.)
- Garlic powder (1 tsp.)
- Salt (½ tsp.)
- Panko bread crumbs (1 cup)
- Salt (½ tsp.)
- Ground black pepper (½ tsp.)
- Parsley flakes (½ tsp.)
- Garlic powder (½ tsp.
- Onion powder (¼ tsp.)
- Dried oregano (¼ tsp.)
- Dried basil (¼ tsp.)
- Flour (1 tbsp.)
Step One: You’ll first need to make the batter. Place all of the batter ingredients (water, flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, garlic powder, salt) in the first bowl and mix until thick.
Step Two: Next, you’ll need to make the coating. In a second bowl, combine all the coating ingredients (panko, salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil) and stir until evenly mixed. Place flour in a third bowl.
Step Three: Take your 5 oz. mozzarella sticks and lightly press them into the flour in the third bowl. After this, take the mozzarella cheese sticks and dip them into the batter in the first bowl. Finally, place your battered sticks in the coating—second bowl—and toss them until they’re sufficiently covered.
Step Four: Now it’s time to place your homemade mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet (I recommend covering the baking sheet in aluminum foil for easy cleaning!). Once you’ve transferred all of the sticks over to the sheet, place them in the freezer for a minimum of one hour. This will give you frozen cheese sticks that are ready for air frying!
Step Five: When you’re ready to cook your tasty snack, turn on your air fryer and preheat the unit to 400° F. Once it’s preheated, you can place the mozzarella sticks inside the air fryer basket. As before, don’t leave the sticks touching each other while they cook for the best results.
Step Six: Spray your sticks lightly with cooking spray before closing the air fryer. Cook for six minutes before flipping the sticks. Cook for an additional seven to nine minutes before removing and serving.
Frequently Asked Question
How long do frozen mozzarella sticks cook for?
The exact time required to prepare these simple snacks like a microwave hot dog will vary depending on the temperature you’re cooking them at, the number of sticks you’re cooking at once, and the overall efficiency of your air fryer.
You can generally expect to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in 5-10 minutes.
How long to air fry mozzarella sticks at 400?
At 400° F, the required frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryer time will usually be between six to eight minutes.
How do you keep mozzarella sticks from exploding in the air fryer?
If the melty cheese keeps escaping and dirtying the insides of your air fryer, there are a few different solutions you can try.
Regardless of if your sticks are premade or homemade, it’s important to make sure that they’re entirely frozen before cooking. If the best part of this savory snack keeps escaping, try keeping your sticks in the freezer for longer before cooking them.
If your homemade mozzarella sticks keep exploding despite the extra freezer time, you can try recoating the sticks with more batter and breading. Prepare as instructed, freeze, then repeat the steps and freeze again before cooking.
If—despite following these steps—your mozzarella sticks keep exploding, try reducing the cooking time.
How do you know when mozzarella sticks are done?
You’ll know that your mozzarella sticks are ready to place on the perfectly sized kitchen table when the outside breading is golden brown.
Can you overcook mozzarella sticks?
You can overcook mozzarella sticks in two ways: by “exploding” them or by burning them. While the latter needs no explanation, the former might.
Basically, when you “explode” a mozzarella stick, the cheese inside of the sticks starts to ooze out of the snack. This doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy them, but it could make cleanup a challenge.
Although it might take a bit of trial and error to figure out the perfect frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryer time, it’s surely worth it. Having to consistently remove burning, sticky cheese from your fryer basket isn’t much fun.
Are frozen mozzarella sticks precooked?
Usually, but not always! If you buy premade frozen mozzarella sticks, you can be nearly certain that they’ve already been cooked. However, if you’re cooking homemade mozzarella sticks, then you’re likely cooking them for the first time.
What temperature do you cook mozzarella sticks in an air fryer?
The exact temperature you use will depend on the recipe—or boxed instructions—that you’re following. Most recipes will recommend a temperature between 350° F and 400° F. Remember, the cooking temperature will affect the required frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryer time, so adjust the cooking time as needed to compensate for the temperature change(s).
Are frozen mozzarella sticks healthy?
Not particularly. While they are excellent sources of protein, they are also full of salt, saturated fat, and calories. You should choose more healthy options if you’re looking for an everyday treat, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying mozzarella sticks occasionally.
A Delicious Snack without the Downsides of a Deep Fryer!
If you’ve made it this far, then it’s fair to assume that you know everything you need to know about making this easy snack in an air fryer. The simplicity of mozzarella sticks is one of the things that makes them a great snack for nearly any occasion (although the amazing taste certainly helps!).
When in doubt, you can always just use the frozen mozzarella sticks in air fryer time printed on the box. However, I usually find that a little experimentation can turn the average mozz sticks into the best appetizers. In other words, don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit! Want something a bit healthier? Try these air fryer zucchini chips or my strawberry caprese salad. Both are great all year long.
I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post! If you try the from-scratch recipe, I’d love to hear how your homemade mozzarella sticks turned out. If you have any tips and tricks yourself, feel free to leave them in the comments below. See ya in the kitchen. Love ya. xoxo