Yes! It is possible to make and bake homemade mozzarella sticks that are not just crispy, but extra crispy!
The Secret to Crispy Baked Mozzarella Sticks
Here’s the thing: everyone says you can bake mozzarella sticks if you want, but they’re better fried.
And I’m not against fried food though, I admit, I prefer baking things because 1.) It’s healthier and 2.) I don’t enjoy the process of frying. It’s a bit messy when it splatters, the hot oil makes me nervous and then you have to clean up the fryer, all surrounding surfaces and figure out how to store or toss all the leftover oil. And that’s a LOT of oil!
So, I was bound and determined to find a way to bake mozzarella sticks that are just as crispy as fried mozzarella sticks without a bazillion steps.
And good news: It can be done.
The secret? What you’re going to do is fry just your breadcrumbs. Then layer them onto your mozzarella sticks and bake them just long enough to melt the cheese on the inside and bind the bread crumbs to the cheese using egg and flour.
You don’t need to freeze the cheese sticks first.
You may have seen other recipes that call for this step. And it makes sense, you don’t want the cheese to cook faster than the breadcrumbs and be left with a big oozy mess.
But the beauty of frying just the breadcrumbs first, is that you only need to heat the mozzarella sticks just enough to fuse the breadcrumbs onto the cheese and also melt the cheese. It doesn’t take long.
So, NO FREEZING of cheese sticks required for this recipe. Super easy. Super quick. Not super messy. Absolutely delicious.
What type of cheese works best?
String cheese. Remember those commercials that went something like, “I’ll have a pizza but hold the toppings, the sauce and the crust!”? Ha! I loved those. But anyway, that’s the kind of cheese you want. String cheese. Doesn’t matter the brand, but just make sure it’s mozzarella string cheese for best results.
To prevent oozing cheese, it is best to keep the cheese sticks refrigerated until you’re ready to coat them in bread crumbs.
What goes well with these crispy baked mozzarella sticks as a dipping sauce?
I love marina sauce but you could also use spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, ketchup or even ranch dressing! I sometimes serve these crispy cheese sticks with a side of marinara and another side of ranch and I alternate between the two. Both are so good!
What kind of oil is best?
Olive oil will give you a delicious and more authentically Italian flavor. We use grape seed oil as a substitute since hubby is intolerant of olive oil. But you can also use any kind of cooking oil for frying the bread crumbs.
Make your own bread crumbs!
You can make your own bread crumbs pretty easily using toast. I like to collect the ends of bread or any leftovers and make bread crumbs out of those pieces no one seems to want. Just season them with Italian herbs and you have Italian bread crumbs. Check out my How to Make Bread Crumbs from Toast tutorial.
Helpful Tools for Making This Recipe
• Three pans or bowls (I use bread pans):
A Helpful Tip for Evenly Breading the Mozzarella Sticks:
Use a fork! Puncture the cheese stick with a fork and dip it into each station — flour, then egg, then finally bread crumbs — without touching it or rubbing off any of the layers. It works like a charm!
Want more delicious appetizer ideas?
This recipe for crispy baked mozzarella sticks was featured on The Country Cook!