How to Make Mozzarella Sticks

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
February 8, 2023 | Updated on March 15, 2023

Learn how to make mozzarella sticks; strips of mozzarella cheese coated and fried to crispy, golden, gooey perfection. Served with a delicious side of homemade vodka sauce dip, this easy mozzarella sticks recipe is the perfect snack, side, or appetizer!

If you’re craving more cheesy recipes, try my Giant Cheese Stuffed Shells and this Detroit-Style Pizza recipe.

overhead view of plated mozzarella sticks with a side of vodka sauce dip

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Get ready for the ultimate cheese pull because these are the best mozzarella sticks! This ultra-cheesy appetizer has the crunch you love, and the melty goodness you need; the crunchy-creamy combo we all want in a delicious cheesy stick.

Mozzarella sticks are made for dunking, so pair them with my savory vodka dipping sauce for a truly mouthwatering experience!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy to Make Simply assemble, freeze, then fry. The hardest part is waiting for the cheese sticks to freeze so you can fry them.
  • Perfect Make-Ahead Snack – Since these need time in the freezer, you can prepare an entire batch and store them in a Ziploc bag until you’re ready to fry. It’s so convenient!
  • Better than Storebought – Skip the freezer aisle at the grocery store because these fried mozzarella sticks are restaurant-quality.
overhead view of plated mozzarella sticks with a side of vodka sauce dip

Tools You’ll Need

Ingredients You Will Need for Mozzarella Sticks

  • Avocado oil – For frying.
  • Mozzarella – Cut into 24 (3 x ½ inch) sticks. Although I prefer block cheese, string cheese is also a convenient alternative as they are a perfect size, simply cut in half and you you are ready to dredging.

Egg Mixture

  • Large eggs –  Whisked.

Flour Mixture

  • Flour
  • Seasoning – I use salt and garlic powder to give the mixture a little flavor.

Panko Mixture

Mozzarella sticks are simple to make. The key to an awesome tasting mozzarella stick is a flavorful coating. After all, we are dealing with mozzarella, a mild cheese, so best to use a highly flavorful coating mixture to compliment the cheese.

  • Panko – These large Japanese-style breadcrumbs create the ultimate crunchy exterior, much better than traditional breadcrumbs.
  • Seasoning – I use a blend of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt.
  • Freshly grated parmesan – For a toasty, cheesy crunch.
overhead view of ingredients for cheese sticks

Vodka Sauce Dip

Your mozzarella sticks are only as good as your

  • Olive oil – Use one of high quality.
  • Salted butter – When coupled with olive oil for sautéing, increases the flavor and smoke point of butter..
  • Shallot – Finely chopped.
  • Garlic – Finely minced.
  • San Marzano tomatoes – My go-to type of tomatoes whenever I make pasta or pizza sauce. Go for crushed.
  • Heavy cream – Add for a rich, creamy consistency.
  • Vodka – There’s no alcohol taste; it simply enhances the other flavors.
  • Parmesan – Freshly grated, not pre-shredded.
  • Kosher salt – Add to taste.

How To Make Mozzarella Sticks

The process of making homemade mozzarella sticks is very simple: dredge each stick in flour, coat them with eggs and then the panko mixture. Repeat until all of the sticks are coated a second time. Then freeze them for at least two hours before frying. And while the mozzarella sticks form in the freezer, you can whip up a delicious tomato-based sauce to serve them with.

Prepare

Prepare 3 separate bowls, one with whisked eggs, another with the flour mixture, and the last bowl containing the flour mixture. Be sure the panko and flour mixtures are whisked so the seasonings are evenly distributed.

Use one hand specifically for dipping cheese sticks in the dry mixtures and the other hand for the (wet) egg dip so as to keep your hands from getting too messy. Take one mozzarella at a time and dredge into the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Dip into the egg mixture, then into the panko mixture, then repeat for a second time through each mixture. Transfer to a wired rack.

cheese in flour
cheese in egg
cheese in panko

Once all pieces are coated, place the rack in the freezer for 2 hours. While the mozzarella sticks freeze, start making the vodka dipping sauce.

close up view of frozen mozzarella sticks on a baking sheet

Fry Mozzarella Sticks

Pour enough oil into a 4-quart dutch oven so that you have 1½ inches in depth. Heat oil over medium-high heat until the thermometer register 350°F. Carefully cook the mozzarella sticks in small batches, taking care to not overcrowd the pot. Fry for 1½-2 minutes until golden brown, occasionally turning.

Transfer to a wire racked and season with kosher salt. Repeat until finished. Serve with warm vodka dipping sauce.

fried mozzarella sticks scattered on a rack

Vodka Dipping Sauce

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, then cook until softened, 6 minutes. Be careful to not let the mixture brown.

Add butter and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute then add a generous pinch of salt and stir. Pour in vodka and cook until liquid reduces, about 4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens.

Turn heat to low and slowly add cream. Stir until sauce is smooth and creamy in texture. Stir in cheese until cheese is fully melted. Season to taste with more kosher salt.

mozzarella sticks dipped in vodka sauce

Tips and Tricks

  • Stay organized by assembling the mozzarella sticks one by one. If you try to coat them all at once, it will get pretty messy.
  • Completely coat each stick. Handle them carefully because if you grip them too tightly, you may remove the coating and they won’t be as crisp.
  • Remember to double coat! For the crispiest crunch, you want at least two coats of that crunchy panko coating. This also helps to ensure the cheese will not ooze out during frying.
  • Do not skip or shorten the freezing time. Patience is the key to this mozzarella sticks recipe. If you try to fry them too soon, the breading will disintegrate and you’ll be left with greasy globs of cheese.

Variations

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks. Prepare the mozzarella sticks and freeze them. After they are frozen solid, cook them in the air fryer at 400°F for about 7 minutes.

Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Sauce. If you don’t have the ingredients or want to save some time, you can use a premade marinara sauce instead of the vodka sauce.

Cheese Sticks. Mozzarella is the top choice because it melts so well but you can try this recipe with a variety of cheeses including pepper jack cheese and American cheese.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Mozzarella sticks are best served immediately, fresh from the pan so only fry as many as you intend to eat. (You can always store uncooked mozzarella sticks in the freezer.)

But if you happen to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you are ready to reheat them, put them in a preheated oven set to 350°F for about 5 minutes.

overhead view of plated mozzarella sticks with a side of vodka sauce dip

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to freeze mozzarella sticks before frying?

Yes, freezing the mozzarella sticks before frying them is essential. If they aren’t completely frozen, the cheese will ooze out of the flour and panko coating before it’s gotten the chance to crisp up.

What temperature do mozzarella sticks fry at?

For the best results, the frying oil should reach 350°F. Use a food thermometer to check.

How long do frozen mozzarella sticks last in the freezer?

Frozen mozzarella sticks can be stored for up to 3 months.

Looking for More Appetizer Recipes?

Loving this Recipe?

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how-to-make-mozzarella-sticks

How to Make Mozzarella Sticks

Learn how to make mozzarella sticks; strips of mozzarella cheese coated and fried to crispy, golden, gooey perfection. Served with a delicious side of homemade vodka sauce dip, this easy mozzarella sticks recipe makes the perfect snack, side, or appetizer!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Freeze Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 24 sticks
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Kitchen Thermometer
  • Baking Sheet
  • Wire Rack
  • 4 quart dutch oven

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mozzarella, cut into 24 (3 x ½ inch) sticks
  • Avocado oil, for frying

Egg Mixture

  • 4 large eggs, whisked

Flour Mixture

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Panko Mixture

  • 2 cups panko
  • 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan

Vodka Sauce Dip

  • 2 tablespoons quality olive oil
  • tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • cup vodka
  • cups parmesan, freshly grated, not pre-shredded
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

Mozzarella Sticks

  • Prepare 3 separate bowls, one with whisked eggs, another with the flour mixture, and the last bowl contaning the flour mixture. Be sure the panko and flour mixtures are whisked so the seasonings are evenly distributed.
  • Use one hand specifically for dipping cheese sticks and one hand for the egg dip so as to keep your hands from getting to messy. Take one mozzarella at a time and dredge into the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Dip into the egg mixture, then into the panko mixture, then repeat for a second time through each mixture. Transfer to a wired rack. Once all pieces are coated, place the rack in the freezer for 2 hours. While the mozzarella sticks freeze, start making the vodka dipping sauce.
  • Pour enough oil into a 4-quart dutch oven so that you have 1½ inches in depth. Heat oil over medium-high heat until the thermometer register 350°F. Carefully cook the mozzarella sticks in small batches, taking care to not overcrowd the pot. Fry for 1½-2 minutes until golden brown, occasionally turning.
  • Transfer to a wire racked and season with kosher salt. Repeat until finished. Serve with warm vodka dipping sauce.

Vodka Dipping Sauce

  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, then cook until softened, 6 minutes. Careful to not let the mixture brown.
  • Add butter and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute then add a generous pinch of salt and stir. Pour in vodka and cook until liquid reduces, about 4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens.
  • Turn heat to low and slowly add cream. Stir until sauce is smooth and creamy in texture. Stir in cheese until cheese is fully melted. Season to taste with more kosher salt.

NOTES

Mozzarella sticks can be made up to four days in advance. Transfer coated sticks to a refrigerator-safe bag and keep frozen.
If making for a party, best if mozzarella sticks and vodka dipping sauce are made the day before, to cut down on prep time.
Keywords easy mozzarella sticks recipe, fried mozzarella sticks, homemade mozzarella sticks, how to make homemade mozzarella sticks, how to make mozzarella sticks, mozzarella sticks, mozzarella sticks recipe
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Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

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