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I have always loved mozzarella cheese. It is one of those foods that finds its way onto my table so often, in so many different forms. All that melted, cheesy deliciousness can be eaten in so many different ways. One of my favorites is breaded mozzarella sticks.
One of the reasons I love them so much is that they are readily available in the freezer of any supermarket, and it is so quick and easy to cook them. If you have an air fryer, once you know how to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in the air fryer, you will never want to do them any other way.
In the days before I discovered the wonders of the air fryer, I always used to cook my frozen mozzarella sticks in a dish or on a baking tray, in my regular oven. This works reasonably well, but it takes ages. It also often hardly seemed worth going to the trouble of preheating the oven, just to cook a few frozen mozzarella sticks.
But then my life changed when I got my air fryer (see also ‘31 Healthy And Nutritious Air Fryer Recipes‘). It literally only takes a few minutes to cook frozen mozzarella sticks. One of my favorite foods, always just a few minutes away from being ready to eat, with minimal effort. What more could I ask for?
I have always considered my freezer to be my best friend in the kitchen. It is such a lifesaver on so many levels. It saves money, by enabling me to buy in bulk whenever I see a great special.
It also saves me time, and that is not only the time I would have spent shopping for things if I didn’t already have them in the freezer. I love to plan ahead, and when I am cooking, I often cook double and freeze, so that I can have a meal ready in minutes, on those days when I know that I just won’t have time to cook.
Lately, though, my freezer has some competition in the ‘best friend’ stakes in my kitchen. My air fryer is in close running for the title. The air fryer is a fairly new invention and is fast becoming one of the most popular items to have in the kitchen. And when it comes to cooking frozen foods, like frozen pierogies or frozen mozzarella sticks, my air fryer and my freezer are my joint besties!
The air fryer is so easy to use. It not only saves time and effort, but it is also a very economical way of cooking. It saves electricity because cooking times are so much shorter than using a regular oven.
Of course, it is also a much healthier way of cooking. Instead of frying everything in loads of oil, the air fryer is much better for heart-health, and for the waistline. This little machine can do so many things! You can dehydrate food, or even reheat pizza with an air fryer!
When you need a quick lunch for the kids, what could be easier than popping a couple of frozen mozzarella sticks in the air fryer? With a slice of warm toast and a yummy dipping sauce, that’s lunch for the kids taken care of.
In this article, I will not only give you some simple step-by-step instructions for cooking your mozzarella sticks in the air fryer. Watch out, also, for our ultra scrumptious dipping sauce recipes later on. But here are a few basic air fryer tips that I find helpful, to get you started.
- Always preheat your air fryer for the best results. This will ensure that the food cooks evenly. Preheating the appliance also speeds up the actual cooking time.
- Avoid using cooking spray on your air fryer basket. The basket is already coated with a non-stick coating. It doesn’t need cooking spray, and over a period of time, the spray may even damage your air fryer basket if you use it regularly. But I will tell you more about this later.
- Always place food in a single layer in the air fryer basket, with a tiny space in between each piece. This will prevent the pieces from sticking to each other and will allow the air to circulate, making your food crispy on all sides.
- Clean your air fryer basket and base pan after every use, by rinsing in warm water with a mild soap, and wiping with a soft cloth. This will prolong the life of your air fryer.
- Only use silicone utensils, or a wooden spoon, when turning food in the air fryer basket. This will prevent scratches and damage to the non-stick surface.
- Always make sure that there is enough space for air to circulate behind the air fryer. I like to place mine in front of an open window, to avoid the kitchen steaming up.
- Depending on what kind of surface you have in your kitchen, it may be a good idea to place your air fryer on a board to protect your kitchen surface from the heat source. The underneath of the appliance can get very hot.
How Do You Cook Frozen Mozzarella Sticks In An Air Fryer?
Cooking frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer honestly couldn’t be easier.
- One pack of frozen breaded mozzarella sticks. Do not defrost them before cooking. They can be cooked straight from the freezer.
- A little olive oil for spraying.
- Preheat your air fryer to 380° Fahrenheit.
- This next step is optional, but it will make your mozzarella sticks extra crispy, golden, and delicious. Earlier I cautioned against spraying your air fryer basket with cooking spray. Rather, using a spray bottle, spray a little olive oil very lightly, directly onto the frozen mozzarella sticks.
- Place the mozzarella sticks into the air fryer basket. Do not stack them on top of each other. Arrange them in a single layer. This will prevent them from sticking together, and will also stop them from getting soggy.
- Set the timer and cook for 3 minutes.
- Using silicone tongs, gently turn the mozzarella sticks over, taking care not to break open the bread coating, and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Allow them to stand for 2-3 minutes before eating. The cheese inside will be very hot and could burn your mouth.
- Serve with your favorite dip.
- Tuck in and enjoy.
How Can You Tell If The Mozzarella Sticks Are Done?
When you cook frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer, the cooking time may vary, depending on the brand of air fryer, the thickness of the mozzarella sticks, the number of sticks you are cooking at once, and other factors.
In order to check if they are done, let the mozzarella sticks stand for a minute or two to let it cool slightly, and then squeeze one gently. It should feel soft and spongy. If it still feels a little hard, put them back into the air fryer for 2 minutes.
How Can You Stop The Mozzarella Sticks From Bursting Open?
If your air fryer is too hot, or you leave your frozen mozzarella sticks in for too long, the breaded coating will crack and burst open. All the melted cheese will ooze out and drip down into the pan.
Firstly, this is a terrible waste of all that yummy cheese. Secondly, it makes the pan a little more difficult to clean. So you want to avoid this happening at all costs.
- Make sure that your air fryer temperature is set correctly, to 380°. If it is any hotter than this, your mozzarella sticks are likely to burst open and the cheese will leak out.
- Do not overcook the mozzarella sticks. If you leave them in for too long, this may cause the coating to crack and burst open. Six minutes is usually enough, turning halfway.
- Be sure not to pierce the coating when turning the mozzarella sticks. This will cause it to crack and open, allowing the cheese to seep out. This is why we recommend using silicone tongs. They have a soft, rubbery texture, and are therefore less likely to pierce the mozzarella sticks.
What If I Want To Cook A Big Batch Of Frozen Mozzarella Sticks?
It is important not to stack the frozen mozzarella sticks on top of each other. For the best results, they need to be cooked in a single layer. This can be a little frustrating if you want to cook more than your air fryer can accommodate in a single batch.
You will need to cook them in separate batches. But then, of course, the first lot will get cold while the second lot is cooking, and we all know that mozzarella sticks have to be eaten piping hot in order to enjoy them fully. That lovely melted cheese cannot be allowed to harden.
Once the first lot is done, place them in a dish and leave them to stand while the second batch is cooking. As soon as the second batch is done, remove them from the basket and put them on a plate.
Put the first lot back in the air fryer for 1 minute, just to reheat them. Take them out and serve them all together. They will all be piping hot and crispy, ready for you to dip and enjoy.
See Related Topic: How to Make Banana Chips In an Air Fryer
What Are The Best Accompaniments To Mozzarella Sticks?
Once you have cooked frozen mozzarella sticks in the air fryer, there is nothing better than dipping them in a delicious, tangy sauce. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!
Earlier on, I promised you some recipes for great dips. Here are two of my all-time favorites.
You may have already guessed that I love all things cheesy. So it will come as no surprise to you that my favorite dip is a creamy blue cheese dip. The tangy flavor will stay with you, and leave your tastebuds begging for more.
This dip does not have a long fridge life and needs to be eaten within 2-3 days. However, I am sure that you will find that this is not a problem, as you will seldom have left-overs.
Creamy Blue Cheese Dip
- 1 cup good quality blue cheese
- ¼ cup fresh cream
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 small onion, diced
- I tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- ½ a cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Crumble the blue cheese and place it in a blender jug. Add all the other ingredients, and blend to a smooth consistency.
Serve with piping hot mozzarella sticks as they come out of the air fryer. You will find yourself licking your lips!
In the unlikely event of having any of this dip leftover, place it in a sealed container in the fridge. Use up within 2-3 days.
Now, I know I said that I love all things cheesy. But if you are looking for something healthy, and also a little bit more unusual, how about trying this Red Lentil Dip?
It will also make your taste buds tingle and is simple to make. The kids won’t even realize that you are feeding them something healthy and packed with protein.
Red Lentil Dip
- 1 cup red lentils (the flavor of the lentils will be different if you use green or yellow)
- Water to cover
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley
- Place the lentils in a pot and cover with water. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
- Drain and leave to cool for a few minutes.
- Place the lentils in a blender jug, or a food processor, together with the rest of the ingredients.
- Blend or pulse to a smooth consistency. If the mixture is too thick, you can add one or two spoons of water to thin it slightly.
- If it is still warm, allow the sauce to cool completely before serving.
- Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and serve with freshly fried mozzarella sticks.
Now that you know how easy it is to cook frozen mozzarella sticks in an air fryer, I’ll bet you will never want to do them any other way.
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