No store-bought substitute can match the deliciousness of Homemade Mozzarella Sticks, freshly made in your kitchen. These are a very simple to make, wonderfully ooey gooey snack! The secret is to freeze the cheese sticks before frying, which ensures that the cheese doesn’t overcook or leak out before the shell gets golden and crispy.

Dipping a Mozzarella Cheese Stick Into marinara Sauce

I’ve always loved the ooey gooey stretchiness of a mozzarella stick, and admit that the frozen boxes of pre-made cheese sticks were a nostalgic part of my childhood.

Store-bought ready-made food is convenient, but cheese sticks made from scratch are unmatched. They are really easy to make yourself, but there are a few essential techniques to incorporate when making these. I’ve included these steps in this method and recipe, including a minimum double coating, and freezing before cooking.

Why This Recipe Is the Best

 No leaking cheese during cooking – We will bread these enough that the shell protects the cheese from the hot oil. We’ll also freeze the cheese sticks before frying to bring the temperature of the cheese down before cooking.

 Freezing for even cooking – We will freeze the breaded mozzarella sticks for two hours before cooking, which will get the cheese super cold before frying. This allows the shell to properly brown and crisp before the cheese gets overcooked.

✅ Make-ahead friendly – Every time I make a batch of these, I always leave half of them in the freezer for another time. Then all you have to do is deep fry a batch when you want to enjoy them. They are completely make-ahead friendly.

 Simple, delicious, no nonsense – The only ingredients here are mozzarella cheese, Italian bread crumbs, and egg. Fry it in tallow, or your favorite frying fat, and they are ready to go. I love serving them with marinara for dunking.

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks on a Plate with Ramekin of Marinara

How to Make Them Step-by-Step:

  1. Cut a block of mozzarella cheese into sticks.
  2. Bread the cheese sticks with egg and Italian bread crumbs.
  3. Freeze for 2 hours.
  4. Fry.

Let’s break it down!

Cut the cheese 😉

Slice a block of whole milk mozzarella down through the center:

Cutting the Cheese Block Down the Center

Then cut those halves into sticks a few inches tall and about 1/2″ thick:

Cutting the Cheese Block Into Sticks

Tip: You can also use string cheese

I have tested this recipe using string cheese, and it worked well. Personally, I prefer the texture of block mozzarella cheese, as it’s a bit more “stretchy” while the string cheese was more of a wet gooeyness. Block cheese is also easier to bread. But an advantage of string cheese is you have pieces that are already uniform in size. Just cut them in half in the center to create smaller pieces.

Bread the Cheese

Whisk an egg with salt and a touch of water, then dip each cheese stick into the egg to coat:

Dipping a cheese stick into egg

Then dip each piece into a bowl of Italian bread crumbs:

Breading a piece of cheese with dry bread crumbs

I like to buy Italian bread crumbs that are already seasoned, but if you only have plain bread crumbs, I have instructions in the recipe box for adding your own seasonings.

How many coats?

Repeat this breading process at least twice, so you get a thick enough coating on the outside. I actually prefer to do three coats for a really robust crispy shell, and to ensure that no cheese oozes out during cooking.

Here is a photo from left to right of 1 coating, 2 coatings, and 3 coatings:

Breaded Mozzarella Sticks with One, Two, and Three Coats

Freeze them for later

Freeze the mozzarella sticks right on the tray for at least two hours. This is absolutely essential and this step should not be skipped, otherwise the cheese will melt too quickly in the fryer, before the shell has a chance to set.

Make-ahead: I always bag some of the frozen mozzarella sticks and save them for later. Write the date on the bag, and store them for up to 2 months. Simply deep fry them whenever you’re ready to eat.

Frozen Mozzarella sticks in a Ziploc bag for storage

Deep Fry to Cook

Heat a few inches of your frying fat of choice in a saucepan or a dedicated fryer. I used to own a deep fryer, but I found it annoying to clean and now simply use a heavy-bottomed saucepan, checking the temperature with a thermometer. This is what I do for all my deep fried recipes, like Homemade French Fries, Fried Chicken, Coconut Shrimp, and Homemade Corn Dogs.

For the cooking fat, I highly recommend tallow, which will give you a far better flavor than industrial oils like soybean oil, and is also much healthier. Tallow is a more stable fat that tolerates high heat frying with the least amount of oxidation (I discuss this at length in my podcast, in episodes 12 and 13).

Once the fat is 365F, deep fry the mozzarella sticks, lowering them gently but quickly, one-by-one:

Deep frying a mozzarella cheese stick in tallow

Cook for about 2 minutes, until golden brown. You’re really going for color here, more than anything. This golden color is perfect:

Deep fried mozzarella cheese stick in tallow

Let the mozzarella sticks drain on a paper towel briefly:

Freshly Deep Fried Cheese Sticks on a Paper Towel

Then serve promptly with a ramekin of marinara sauce on the side. Time is of the essence for enjoying these, as you want them to be hot and crispy on the outside, and gooey in the middle.

Homemade Cheese Sticks Plate with Marinara and parsley

Marinara is the best flavor here because it’s like pizza in another form, but you can also try Nacho Cheese Sauce or Aioli.

What to do with the used cooking oil?

One benefit of using tallow instead of fats like soybean oil or peanut oil, is it’s stable enough that it can be reused again and again. I simply filter it to remove the crumbs and sediment from the cheese sticks, then use it for another deep fried recipe, such as Fried Calamari or Potato Croquettes. Enjoy!

FAQ and Expert Tips

Can you freeze homemade mozzarella sticks?

Yes, store in an airtight container for up to 2 months in the freezer.

How do you reheat mozzarella sticks?

Place them in a 350F oven for 10 minutes, until hot and crisp. Because the cheese sticks have already been fried, they actually reheat nicely.

How do you store leftover mozzarella sticks?

You can keep them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Can you bake mozzarella sticks instead of frying?

Technically yes, but the texture will be wildly different. They will not have the same crunch if you don’t deep fry them. Most of the reason deep frying is unhealthy is because junky oils like soybean oil or corn oil are used. You can fix this by using a healthful and stable frying fat like tallow.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks on a Plate with Marinara

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

Homemade Mozzarella Sticks are an easy, wonderfully ooey gooey snack! Freezing them before frying is the secret for even cooking and no cheese oozing out.
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Ingredients

  • 16 oz block whole milk mozzarella cheese*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups Italian style bread crumbs**
  • salt
  • tallow (beef fat)*** (or other deep frying fat of choice)

Instructions 

  • Cut the block of cheese into 1/2 inch thick sticks, a few inches tall (see blog photos). I had 20 pieces.
  • Place the eggs in a bowl with 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tablespoon of water, and whisk to combine. Place the bread crumbs in a second bowl next to the eggs.
  • Take a cheese stick and dip it into the egg, letting the excess drip off. Then coat it in the bread crumbs, shake off the excess, and place on a tray.  Repeat with the remaining cheese sticks.  
  • Once each cheese stick has been breaded, take each one through the egg and bread crumbs again for a second coating, at a minimum. I prefer to bread the cheese sticks three times for a more robust shell, but two coats is sufficient to prevent the cheese from leaking during cooking.
  • Freeze the mozzarella sticks, on the tray, for at least for two hours.
  • Heat the tallow or frying fat of choice to 365F, using either a deep fryer or a heavy bottomed 8" saucepan monitored with a thermometer. You want the fat to come a few inches up the sides of the pan.
  • Fry the mozzarella sticks in batches**** for about 2 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Let the cheese sticks drain briefly on a paper towel, then serve promptly with marinara or your favorite dunking sauce. Enjoy!

Notes

*You may also use string cheese, if you prefer. I think block cheese is better because it has a more “stretchy” texture whereas string cheese has a more wet gooeyness. Block cheese also coats better than string cheese. But either cheese works well. Cut each string cheese piece in half to make smaller pieces.
**If you only have regular bread crumbs, you may season them yourself by adding 1.5 tsp garlic powder, 1.5 tsp onion powder, 1.5 tsp dried oregano, 1.5 tsp dried thyme, and 3/4 tsp black pepper. The bread crumbs will likely already have salt.
***I add enough fat to come up the side of my frying pot or fryer by a few inches. This amount will vary depending on the size pan you use. For an 8″ wide saucepan you will likely need about 4 cups of tallow or cooking fat.
****Do not overcrowd the pot. If using an 8″ saucepan, I don’t fry more than 6 or so at a time.
Freezing: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months, either fried or unfried.
Storing leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheating: Place them in a 350F oven for 10 minutes, until hot and crisp. Because the cheese sticks have already been fried, they actually reheat nicely.

Nutrition

Calories: 143kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 277mg, Potassium: 64mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 178IU, Calcium: 200mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated with new photos, copy, and tips in September 2021. Originally published February 2013.