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Homemade Cheese Sticks

Homemade cheese sticks are delicious finger foods that are crispy with ooey gooey cheese all in the same bite!

pile of cheese with one broken in half and a small bowl of red sauce

They are everyone’s favorite appetizer and a super easy recipe to make at home. Perfect for GAME DAY!

What are Mozzarella Sticks?

Mozzarella sticks, also known as fried cheese sticks, are breaded pieces of cheese that are deep fried and served with a dipping sauce. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Usually they are make with mozzarella cheese because it melts so easily but can be other types as well. I mean, what is not to LOVE about FRIED CHEESE?!?

These are my favorite of all the cheesy appetizers out there, and I love them with a spicy tomato sauce to dip them in.

You can buy these at your favorite restaurant and even already cooked in the freezer section of your grocery store but making them at home is so much better!

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is that you need string cheese sticks NOT regular cheese sticks. The pull apart string cheese sticks are made so they tear easily which means they melt easily too.

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labeled picture of ingredients

Ingredients Needed

String Cheese – Be sure to use string cheese and not snack cheese sticks. They will not melt the same. I prefer to use mozzarella cheese sticks but you can also use Colby Jack.

Panko – These make the best crispy coating. You can use seasoned or regular bread crumbs if you prefer.

Seasonings – Garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper.

Pantry Staples – Milk, eggs, all purpose flour.

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How to Make Mozzarella Sticks

First: Unwrap the cheese. Prepare the 3 dredging stations in shallow bowls. Flour, Panko plus seasonings, and milk & eggs.

Second: Dip the piece of cheese in the flour mixture. Then into the milk & egg mixture. Roll the sticks that was dipped in egg into the Panko breadcrumb mixture to coat. Repeat this step for a double coating.

Third: Place them on a baking sheet and freeze the mozzarella sticks for 30 minutes to set. While these are setting, heat the oil for frying.

Fourth: Deep fry in hot oil for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Enjoy warm!

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

pile of cheese with one broken in half and a small bowl of red sauce

How do you keep Mozzarella Sticks from exploding?

The best way is to make sure that you completely coat the stick twice. Patting the Panko into the cheese can help it stick. Just make sure there aren’t any holes in the coating.

Freezing the cheese sticks helps them hold their shape while cooking and keep them from overheating which can cause leaking.

Deep frying the best and tastiest way to cook mozzarella sticks because you get that fried flavor, but also because it only takes a minute or two in the oil to cook.

You can bake them in the oven or you can use an air fryer! They take longer to cook but you won’t have as much as a mess.

How long do they last?

I like to enjoy mine while they are fresh or I freeze them for later. Separate them on a baking sheet on parchment paper. Freeze until solid.

Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until ready to fry, bake, or reheat.

stack of mozzarella on a wood cutting board

Air Fryer Version

Prepare as before but instead of deep frying, air fry them! Place the breaded mozzarella sticks in the air fryer basket, in a single layer. Spray with vegetable oil or nonstick spray.

Air fry for 5-8 minutes, turning once, until the outside is crispy and golden brown. Remove to a cooing rack and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy these with the traditional marinara sauce or go crazy with you dipping sauces.

Try Ranch DressingBuffalo SauceBBQ, or my favorite, Honey Mustard!

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • For best results, freeze them before adding to the deep fryer. They will hold their shape and not overcook.
  • You can try this with thick slices from block cheese if you want to switch up the shape.
  • Add Parmesan cheese to the panko mixture or use Italian bread crumbs for more flavor.
  • Be sure to coat completely. Any holes can mean leaks.
  • Panko is the bests coating but you can use cracker crumbs, croutons, chips, and even pretzels for coating.
  • Keep the oil between 350-365F. Use a frying thermometer so they don’t burn.
  • Switch the milk for buttermilk for a little bit of tang.
  • Make a large batch and freeze for later!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

overhead picture of pile of cheese sticks with one broken in half and a small bowl of red sauce and a stack of plates

These homemade cheese sticks are a fun and delicious appetizer the whole family will love. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce during the week or the next time you throw a get together!

stack of fried cheese sticks on a white rectangle with a small bowl of sauce

Homemade Cheese Sticks

Homemade cheese sticks are delicious finger foods that are crispy and cheesy and gooey all in the same bite!
4.64 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Easy Finger Foods
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 109kcal
Author: Jennifer Stewart


  • 1 package 16 oz string cheese
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Oil for frying


  • Add about 2 inches of oil to heavy skillet and heat to 350 degrees F
  • Add breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning to shallow bowl or plate and mix with fork
  • In another shallow bowl or plate, add flour
  • In a small bowl whisk together egg, salt, pepper and buttermilk, then add to shallow bowl or plate
  • Dip cheese stick into flour, then into the egg mixture, then into the Panko crumbs. Press crumbs into cheese gently. Repeat for double coating.
  • Freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Add the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown, turning frequently.
  • Drain on paper towels and enjoy while still warm and gooey with your favorite dipping sauces.


  • String Cheese – Be sure to use string cheese and not snack cheese sticks. They will not melt the same.
  • Freeze – The cheese will hold it's shape and not over cook in the oil.
  • Coat completely – Really press the Panko crumbs on the sticks and fully coat. Holes means leaks!
  • Panko is best – But regular bread crumbs are good. Just be sure to season them. Try cracker crumbs, croutons, chips, and even pretzels for coating.
  • Check Oil – You want your hot oil to be 350F-365F. Anything higher and they will burn too quickly. Use a frying thermometer.
  • Buttermilk – Buttermilk adds a little extra flavor but regular milk will work too.
  • Make Ahead – Make a big batch and keep in the freezer. You need to freeze them anyway so why not have them ready to go?
  • Nutrition

    Serving: 1stick | Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 177mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

    {Originally Posts 6/15/2020 – Photos and notes updated 08/29/2022}

    © Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

    4.64 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)
    Recipe Rating

    Rob Creutzburg

    Saturday 27th of November 2021

    Do you need to start heating the oil before preparing and freezing the food?


    Monday 29th of November 2021

    I usually start about five minutes after freezing starts.

    Dee Hanz

    Wednesday 20th of January 2021

    I'm confused. Breading directions are different in step TWO says to dip cheese in flour, then egg mix, then Panko, but "recipe" at bottom of page says egg, then FLOUR, then egg, then breadcrumbs (then repeat). What is correct order for breading


    Thursday 21st of January 2021

    Sorry about the confusion. The order is flour, egg, panko, and repeat. I will make the changes in the recipe card. Thanks for letting me know:)