Can you do mozzarella sticks in an air fryer?

Mozzarella sticks are a delicious appetizer or snack made of mozzarella cheese coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried until golden brown and melted. With the recent popularity of air fryers for making fried foods with less oil, many people wonder if you can make mozzarella sticks in an air fryer. The short answer is yes, you absolutely can make mozzarella sticks in an air fryer!

Benefits of Making Mozzarella Sticks in an Air Fryer

There are several benefits to making mozzarella sticks in an air fryer versus deep frying them:

  • Uses significantly less oil – Air fryers require just a tablespoon or two of oil to lightly coat the food whereas deep frying can require cups of oil.
  • Healthier – With less oil, air fried mozzarella sticks have fewer calories and less fat and are generally considered a healthier cooking method.
  • Less mess – Deep frying can be messy with oil splattering, while air frying contains oil splatters.
  • Quick and convenient – Air fryers cook food very quickly and don’t require heating up a pot of oil.
  • Crispy results – Air fryers can achieve a very similar crispy, golden, crunchy exterior as deep frying.

For those watching their fat or calorie intake or who want a quick and easy appetizer without the mess and splatter of deep frying, air fried mozzarella sticks are an excellent alternative.

How to Make Mozzarella Sticks in an Air Fryer

Making mozzarella sticks in an air fryer is simple but there are some tips to follow for getting the best results:


  • Mozzarella cheese sticks
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Oil or cooking spray
  • Herbs, spices, garlic powder, etc. for seasoning (optional)


  1. Cut mozzarella cheese into stick shapes approximately 1/2 inch thick and 3 inches long.
  2. Set up a breading station with flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs seasoned with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Coat cheese sticks in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs.
  4. Place breaded cheese sticks in air fryer basket lightly sprayed with oil. Do not overcrowd.
  5. Air fry at 370°F for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown.
  6. Serve immediately with marinara sauce for dipping.

The key steps are cutting uniform mozzarella sticks for even cooking, fully coating in the breading, and not overcrowding the air fryer basket. Air flow is crucial for getting crispy breaded foods when air frying. Flip the mozzarella sticks halfway through cooking to get an evenly golden crust.

Tips for the Best Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Follow these tips for crispy, melty, delicious air fried mozzarella sticks:

  • Use block mozzarella rather than pre-cut cheese sticks for uniform size and shape.
  • Chill mozzarella sticks before breading so the cheese doesn’t melt during cooking.
  • Use fresh, dry breadcrumbs rather than panko for crisper results.
  • For extra crunch, double bread by coating in flour, egg, breadcrumbs, egg, breadcrumbs.
  • Spray mozzarella sticks lightly with oil before air frying for even browning.
  • Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket. Air flow is crucial.
  • Flip mozzarella sticks halfway during cooking to prevent soft spots.
  • Check for doneness a minute or two early to prevent overbaking.
  • Let cool 1-2 minutes before serving to allow cheese to set.

Common Air Fryer Mozzarella Stick Problems and How to Fix Them

While air frying mozzarella sticks is fairly straightforward, there are a few common problems that can occur:

Breading falling off

If the breading is falling off the mozzarella sticks during frying, the cheese likely wasn’t chilled before breading or the breading wasn’t adhered well enough. Make sure cheese sticks are chilled and properly coated in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.

Bursting cheese

If the cheese is bursting out, the mozzarella sticks may have been overcrowded or overcooked. Use block mozzarella cut to uniform size and don’t overcrowd the basket. Cook just until golden brown.

Not crispy

For crisper mozzarella sticks, use fresh breadcrumbs rather than panko, double bread the sticks, and make sure the basket isn’t overcrowded impeding air flow. Spraying with oil before cooking also helps.

Cheese not melted

If the cheese isn’t properly melted, the mozzarella sticks may have been undercooked. Check for doneness early and cook until the cheese is fully melted inside.

Uneven cooking

Flipping the mozzarella sticks halfway through cooking prevents one side from overcooking. Cutting the cheese evenly and not overcrowding the basket will also improve even cooking.

Best Cheeses to Use for Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

While mozzarella is the classic choice, you can experiment with different cheeses when making air fryer mozzarella sticks:

  • Mozzarella – Fresh mozzarella or low moisture mozzarella are ideal for the classic gooey mozzarella stick experience.
  • Provolone – For a sharper, more pronounced flavor.
  • Swiss – Melts well while adding nutty, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Cheddar – A more pungent, sharp cheddar flavor.
  • Pepper jack – If you want to add a kick of heat.
  • Gouda – For a creamy, rich taste.
  • Monterey Jack – Another melty option like mozzarella.
  • Fontina – An Italian cheese that melts smoothly.

Mix and match different cheeses too for your own custom cheese stick blend!

Mozzarella Stick Cooking Times for Different Air Fryer Models

Air fryer cooking times can vary slightly depending on the model. Here are general mozzarella stick cooking times for popular models:

Air Fryer Model Cooking Time
NuWave Brio 6-8 minutes at 400°F
Instant Vortex Air Fryer 7-9 minutes at 390°F
COSORI Air Fryer 5-7 minutes at 370°F
Ninja Air Fryer 5-6 minutes at 400°F
Philips Avance Digital Airfryer 6-8 minutes at 360°F
GoWise USA Air Fryer 5-7 minutes at 400°F

No matter what model you have, always check mozzarella sticks early and adjust cooking time for your perfect doneness. Smaller air fryers or overloaded baskets may require longer cooking.

Serving Suggestions for Air Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Air fried mozzarella sticks are delicious on their own but pair them with any of these options for a complete appetizer or snack:

  • Marinara or pizza sauce for dipping
  • Ranch, blue cheese, or other creamy dressings for dipping
  • Sliced Italian meats like pepperoni or salami
  • Warm pretzel bites
  • Crispy breaded vegetables like zucchini sticks or green beans
  • Stuffed cherry peppers
  • Olives, pickled vegetables
  • Fresh vegetables and hummus or baba ganoush
  • Focaccia bread or flatbread

You can also take air fried mozzarella sticks to the next level by using them on dishes like:

  • Caprese salad skewers with mozzarella sticks, tomatoes, and basil
  • Mozzarella stick sandwiches with tomato sauce and parmesan
  • Inside stuffed breads or garlic knots
  • On top of cooked pizzas before broiling
  • Cut up over salads or pasta dishes


Air fried mozzarella sticks are a quick and easy appetizer that deliver on the crispy, gooey, melty goodness you expect from traditional fried mozzarella sticks. By using just a tablespoon or two of oil, you avoid the mess, splatter, and excess grease from deep frying. Follow the proper preparation, breading, and cooking guidelines for perfectly baked cheese inside a crunchy, golden air fried crust. Experiment with different cheese varieties and serve mozzarella sticks alone or pair them with complementary appetizers. In just 5-8 minutes, you can enjoy this tasty snack or appetizer without heating up a pot of oil.

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