Learn how to make homemade Cheesy Mozzarella Sticks in the air fryer! Full of tips and tricks for the best results.

Man, I love mozzarella sticks. I’m notorious for sneaking them onto our carryout orders. Do I ever *need* them?

No, of course not! But the not-so-complicated truth is that I want them, bad. If they’re on the menu, they’re in my order.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Air Fried Mozzarella Sticks are a brilliant way to get all of that crunchy, cheesy goodness without deep frying! I really think this is the best way to make cooked mozzarella sticks.

It’s SO much crunchier than using a conventional oven and eliminates the grease of the deep fryer.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

So, how does the air fryer work? It works by circulating hot air around your food at a high temperature. The hot, high-speed air is what crisps up the food.

Air fryers are an amazing piece of technology for all of us cheese addicts, saving our hearts from the need for deep fried oil and grease without sacrificing flavor or crunch!

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

How to Make Nuwave Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

  • First, we halve mozzarella cheese sticks (yes, string cheese!)
  • Next, we’ll dredge with flour, then egg wash with seasonings, and finally, panko breadcrumbs.
  • Next, we’ll quickly freeze the mozzarella sticks. We do this to minimize cheese loss, something I think we can all agree is very important. 😉
  • Finally, a quick stint in the air fryer, then they’re ready to serve with your favorite marinara sauce or tomato sauce!

Substitutions and Modifications

  • You can use either whole milk or low moisture mozz sticks for this recipe, but whole milk will be more delicious.
  • You can substitute normal breadcrumbs for panko breadcrumbs, but they will be less crunchy.
  • You can use cheese curds instead of mozzarella sticks for make Air Fryer Cheese Curds.
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Tips for the best Air Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

  • When coating, try to keep one hand dry to help the panko stick better.
  • Freezing for 15 minutes IS REQUIRED, but you can freeze longer or overnight if you’re making these ahead of time.
  • Check halfway through cooking time for doneness. If you overcook them, the cheese will start to ooze out of the breading. We want to minimize cheese loss, once you see any evidence of this happening, they are DONE!
  • DO NOT line the air fryer basket with aluminum foil! While this helps with easy clean up, it keeps the hot air from circulating properly, which is what gets your cheese sticks nice and crispy! Proper air circulation is an important part of the cooking process.
Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Serving Suggestions:

Serve these crunchy mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce for dipping! Add some ranch dip and Homemade Popcorn Chicken to the mix and your guests will be so happy.

If you need more air fried snack ideas, consider these Air Fryer Ham and Cheese Sliders, Buffalo Air Fryer Chicken Wings or French Onion Air Fryer Sliders!


Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Re-heating for too long will cause the cheese to bubble out of the breading.

Cooked mozzarella sticks should NOT be frozen, but you can prep extra, and freeze them uncooked for up to 2 months. Allow the prepped mozzarella sticks to freeze on a paper plate or half baking sheet then place in a freezer bag or other freezer safe container.

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks


Of course, you’ll need an air fryer for this recipe! I have several air fryers because it’s my job to test and experiment in the kitchen, but I do have favorites.

My favorites are this NuWave Air Fryer (which is also a toaster oven), or this Ninja Air Fryer, which allows you to air fry two different things at once.

For a more standard, budget option that will take up less counter space, try this COSORI air fryer!

a photo of a mozzarella stick being pulled apart

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Yield: 8 sticks
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes

Learn how to make homemade Cheesy Mozzarella Sticks in the air fryer!


  • 4 mozzarella string cheese sticks, cut in half
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup marinara sauce for dipping (optional)


  1. Preheat air fryer for 5 minutes on 390. 
  2. Cut mozzarella sticks in half to make 8 sticks total.
  3. In a shallow dish, combine panko, garlic powder, and salt.
  4. Add beaten egg to a second shallow bowl, and then add flour in a third bowl. 
  5. Roll mozzarella sticks in flour.
  6. Then, dip cheese sticks in egg wash, turning to cover all sides. 
  7. Place cheese sticks into panko breadcrumbs, covering with a spoon and pressing cheese firmly into panko to form an even layer.
  8. Repeat this process twice with each mozzarella stick.  
  9. Place on paper plate or parchment paper lined, freezer safe dish in a single layer and freeze for 15 minutes.
  10. Grease air fryer basket with a light coating of nonstick spray.
  11. Place mozzarella sticks into basket.  Cook 4 minutes or until golden brown. Check before time is up., if cheese is starting to ooze out, they are done!
  12. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce as a dipping sauce (optional).
Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 137Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 35mgSodium 473mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 7g

The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app, and may be incorrect.

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Love this recipe? Check out my other favorite air fryer recipes.