This super easy homemade air fryer mozzarella sticks recipe is the best appetizer or tailgating recipe! Crispy, gooey, and delicious, they are a make ahead recipe to store in the freezer then quickly cook in the air fryer. Coated in crunchy panko, egg wash, and herbs, this hot finger food is always a hit and healthier than traditional mozzarella cheese sticks. Perfect for New Year's Eve, the Super Bowl, or any occasion!
Remove cheese from the wrappers and cut each one in half to create two shorter sticks.
Create a dredging station with three shallow containers. Place the flour in the first container. In the second container, beat the egg until frothy. In the third container, stir together the Italian breadcrumbs, panko, and seasonings. (See dredging note below.)
Roll each stick in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumb mixture. Place the breaded stick on the prepared baking sheet.
Freeze the breaded cheese sticks until completely frozen, at least two hours but preferably overnight.
To cook the cheese sticks
Preheat your air fryer to 370ºF. Spritz the air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the frozen cheese sticks in the basket in a single layer, making sure that none of them are touching. Spritz them with cooking spray.
Air fry cheese sticks for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the wattage of your air fryer, until they are golden.
Serve with marinara or pizza sauce.
How to bread the cheese sticks:
Make a dredging station by putting the flour in a shallow dish, the whisked eggs in a small bowl, big enough to submerge the cheese but not so big that the egg spreads out, and the breading mixture in a larger dish, preferably with a flat bottom. If you're right handed, you'll want the cheese on the far left, then the flour next, then the egg in the middle, and the bread crumbs mixture on the right. If you're left handed, do the opposite.
When you are breading food, you will want to have a wet hand and a dry hand. In other words, you will take the cheese out of the flour and dip it into the egg with one hand, then remove it from the egg and drop it into the flour mixture with that same wet hand. Then, use your dry hand to coat the cheese with the bread crumb mixture, trying to avoid getting egg on the dry hand. Remove the breaded cheese and put it on the baking sheet with your dry hand. If your dry hand gets goopy, wash your hands and dry them very well. I hope that makes sense. It's an easy process, but if you get both wet and dry on the same hand, you'll end up with a big clumpy mess.