Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

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Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce — Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Air Fryer Mozzarella Cheese Sticks Recipe

Everyone I know loves mozzarella cheese sticks! With an air fryer, you can enjoy these cheese sticks with their crispy-crunchy exterior, and the cheese inside is melted to gooey perfection and no actual frying involved.

To give the air fryer mozzarella cheese sticks tons of flavor, I dredge them in mixture of Parmesan, herbs, and spiced bread crumbs to coat them before they’re fried to perfection.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

I love to dunk them in my semi-homemade Herb Marinara Dipping Sauce which takes these cheese sticks to the next level.

Ranch or blue cheese dressing are also great dipping options.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Whether you want to whip these cheese sticks up for a game day party, after school snack, for a casual get-together you’re hosting, or just because you love cheese as much as I do, everyone will devour them.

Another favorite cheesy snack is this Cheesy Garlic Bread also with a marinara dipping sauce. When it comes to cheese and carbs, more is more, and you may as well make them both!

Wondering if you can make this mozzarella cheese sticks recipe without an air fryer? Yes you can. Keep reading to find out how!

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Ingredients in Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

To make these easy air fryer cheese sticks, you’ll need the following easy-to-find and very common ingredients including:

Mozzarella Sticks:

  • Mozzarella string cheese sticks
  • All-purpose flour
  • Corn starch
  • Large eggs
  • Bread crumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Marinara Dipping Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Marinara sauce
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

How to Cook Mozzarella Sticks in an Air Fryer

Making cheese sticks in your air fryer is a cinch. Follow these straightforward steps:

  1. Cut the mozzarella string cheese sticks in half.
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 
  1. In one bowl, add the flour and cornstarch. In another bowl, add and beat the eggs. And in a third bowl, add the breadcrumbs, Parm, garlic and onion powders, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
  2. Dip each stick into the bowl with the flour, then the eggs, and then into the breadcrumb mixture.
  1. Place the breaded sticks on a plate and freezer for 30 minutes. DO NOT SKIP!
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 
  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400F, spray the bottom with cooking spray, add the chilled cheese sticks evenly in a single layer to the air fryer basket, lightly spray with cooking spray, and air fry until done.

How Long Do You Cook Mozzarella Sticks in the Air Fryer?

Air fry mozzarella sticks for 6 yo 8 minutes total, flipping them once halfway through the cooking time.

Can I Make Mozzarella Cheese Sticks Without an Air Fryer?

Did you know that an air fryer is really just a mini convection oven? If you have a convection oven – although a regular oven will work – set your oven to 400F (convection setting if you have it) and bake for about 8 minutes or until golden, flipping once midway through.

Before baking, prepare the sticks the same way with the various dipping bowls, and don’t forget to chill them. Spray them with a bit of cooking spray too for the most golden-colored results and bake them on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

How to Make Marinara Dipping Sauce for Mozzarella Sticks

While marinara sauce is optional for dipping, I highly recommend it and it only takes a few minutes of prep time.

Doctoring it up this way with herbs adds to much flavor and is so much tastier than just using it straight from the jar – but that works in a pinch, too.

  1. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a small skillet.
  2. Add the marinara, seasonings, spices, salt, pepper, and simmer for about 5 minutes before serving.

Make-Ahead and Freezer Directions

If you like cheese sticks as much as we do, I suggest that you make a double batch, or you can split a single batch in two.

  1. Slice the cheese the same as above.
  2. Then follow the same dipping into the flour mixture, egg mixture, and breadcrumbs.
  3. At this point place the coated cheese sticks into a freezer-safe zip top bag or container and freezer for up to 2 months.
  4. Follow the same instructions to air fry, but you’ll want to add 2-3 minutes additional cooking time, or as needed until the cheese is melted and the sticks are golden brown before serving your melty cheese sticks with warm marinara sauce!
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Storing Leftover Cheese Sticks

Cheese sticks are best enjoyed hot, warm, and fresh – just like any other recipe with melted cheese! Leftovers are not as good, to be perfectly honest. So eat up right away!

In the Refrigerator: Extras will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

In the Freezer: This recipe will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you’re planning to freeze them, make sure to read the above section and freeze BEFORE you air fry them, not the other way around. They will turn out just as good as if freshly made by doing it this way.

To Reheat: To reheat, I use my microwave for quickness and ease and reheat extra cheese sticks for about 30 seconds on high, or as needed. However, you will LOSE the crispy-crunchy factor. If that’s important, you can reheat them in the oven at 350F or in the air fryer.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Tips For the Best Air Fryer Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Italian Seasoning Shortcut: If you don’t have the various spices and seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil), you can also use 3-4 teaspoons of Italian seasoning. Paprika is also a nice spice to add if you have some on hand.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Bread Crumbs: When coating the string cheese in flour, egg, and the breadcrumb mixtures, make sure to really get a nice even coat especially with the breadcrumbs. This will keep the cheese from exploding in the air fryer and will keep it in the stick shape. If there are a lot of patches then the cheese will ooze out.

Chill Time: You MUST chill the cheese sticks for at least 30 minutes. This ensures that when you’re frying them that the cheese won’t be too warm and so that it won’t leak out all over, before the exterior is crisped to perfection.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

Cooking Spray: When air frying these mozzarella sticks, make sure to spray them with cooking spray all over and not just the top. This will ensure a nice “fry” all over.

Air Frying From Frozen: When air frying frozen sticks, you will need to add a little extra cooking time, usually 2-4 minutes.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

What To Serve With Cheese Sticks

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks FAQs

what kind of air fryer is best?

I have an older model of this XL Cosori Air Fryer. The basket on mine is 5.8 liters but the newer ones are a bit larger at 6.8 liters. Even an “extra large” basket isn’t all that big and you’ll likely need to air fry in two batches if making 24 cheese sticks.
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

what type of cheese is best for making air fried cheese sticks from scratch?

Using a mozzarella cheese that’s a low-moisture string cheese tends to be the best.

What brand of cheese is best for cheese sticks?

I like the Sargento mozzarella string cheese when making these, but really it’s personal preference. I find that each different brand of cheese has a unique and distinct taste so you’ll need to experiment.
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce - Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 

can I make mozzarella cheese sticks if I don’t have an air fryer?

Yes you can! I discussed this above so make sure to reread how to bake them in your (convection) oven. I was making Baked 2-Ingredient Cheese Sticks long before air fryers were a thing, so it’s definitely possible!

can i make homemade frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer?

Yes you sure can. Bread, batter, and dredge the cheese sticks, freeze them, and then when you’re ready to air fry them, do so as directed, adding about 2-3 minutes to the total time since you’re cooking frozen mozzarella sticks in the air fryer rather.

can i air fry store-bought mozzarella sticks?

Rather than making your own cheese sticks that you dip in the various mixtures and bread crumbs, if all you’re trying to do is air fry frozen mozzarella sticks, yes that’s easy. I would go with about 8 mins, flipping once, but keep an eye on them of course.

should i use panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs?

I used basic bread crumbs, but if you want to use panko breadcrumbs to really up the crunch factor on the outside of the air-fried mozzarella sticks, you can do that.

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5 from 1 vote

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Dipping Sauce

By Averie Sunshine
Soft, gooey, melted mozzarella cheese inside a crispy and lightly crunchy golden brown exterior is what you have with this quick and EASY mozzarella cheese sticks recipe! Pair them with my herb-flavored marinara sauce for dipping! The perfect appetizer for your next game day party, casual entertaining event, or just a tv night at home because everyone LOVES these! 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 48 minutes
Servings: 24
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Ingredients  

Mozzarella Sticks

  • 12 mozzarella low-moisture string cheese sticks, halved (I like the Sargento brand)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, I use regular, panko may be substituted for extra crunchy sticks
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Cooking spray

Marinara Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Instructions 

Mozzarella Sticks

  • Unwrap the cheese sticks and cut them in half so you have 24 pieces.
  • To a medium shallow bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, and mix to combine; set aside.
  • In a separate medium shallow bowl, add the eggs, and lightly beat them; set aside.
  • In a separate medium shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and stir to combine.
  • Take one piece of cheese and dip it through the flour mixture to coat all sides, then a brief dip in the egg, and then dip in the breadcrumbs mixture. Tip – Make sure to really get a nice even coat especially with the breadcrumbs. This will keep the cheese from exploding in the air fryer and will keep it in the stick shape. If there are a lot of patches then the cheese will ooze out.
  • Place the coated piece of cheese on a plate and repeat with the remaining 23 pieces.
  • Place the plate in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. Tip – Do not skip this step because if you try to air fry without doing it, the cheese will become so warm it will melt so much it will ooze out before the outer coating would have a chance toc crisp up to a nice golden browned color, so do not skip chilling! Make-Ahead and Freeze – If you want to make a double batch and freeze half (or are putting half of one batch into the freezer rather than air frying all 24 pieces), simply add the cheese sticks to a ziptop freezer bag or freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Remember, you should freeze cheese sticks that have NOT yet been airfried. When you do go to air fry them, you'll want to add 2-3 minutes of total air frying time, or as necessary, since they will be very cold.
  • When you're ready to air fry, preheat your air fryer to 400F, spray the air fryer basket well with cooking spray, place the chilled cheese sticks in an even, single layer (do not crowd), spray with cooking spray, shut the basket drawer, and air fry for about 6 to 8 minutes, stopping to check and flip once midway through. Tips – Since all air fryers have a slightly different heat output, cooking time will vary. You will likely need to air fry in TWO batches because even an XL air fryer basket likely isn't large enough to accomodate all 24 pieces at once. If you crowd them, the air can't circulate, and then the cheese sticks won't crisp up nicely. Make sure to use cooking spray, sprayed generously, because that little bit of oil is necessary to really allow the breadcrumbs and cheese coating mixture to turn golden and crispy. If in doubt, give another spray, and remember to spray again when flipping.
  • While the cheese sticks are air frying, optionally (but recommended), make the herb marinara sauce.

Marinara Dipping Sauce

  • To a small saucepan, add the olive oil, garlic, and saute over medium-high heat for about 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant; stir nearly continuously.
  • Add the marinara sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and simmer over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and slightly thickened.
  • Serve the cheese sticks warm and fresh with the warm herb marinara dipping sauce, or as desired. Ranch or blue cheese dressing are also good options for dipping.

Notes

Storage and Reheating – Cheese sticks are best warm and fresh. Leftovers will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. I reheat them in the. microwave on high for about 15-30 seconds. However, note that they will not stay crispy and crunchy after sealed in a container and then reheated. You can try to "revive" them and re-crisp them by placing them in the air fryer again for a few minutes, or oven-baking them at 350-400F for a couple of minutes, or as necessary. Extra marinara sauce will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Making Without an Air Fryer – Please read the blog post but you can do it, and if you have a convection oven, that's preferred to a regular oven, but both will work. Dredge, batter, and chill the cheese sticks exactly the same. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F, and bake on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet for easier cleanup. Spray both the baking sheet and the cheese sticks with cooking spray, and baked for about 8 minutes, or as necessary. Flip once halfway through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 102kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 309mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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