Homemade mozzarella sticks are crispy on the outside, but cheesy on the inside breaded mozzarella cheese sticks; baked/ fried; a fun appetizer or finger food. Serve these with tomato ketchup, red chilli sauce, chilli mayonnaise or my homemade marinara sauce at your next party or snack time.
My freezer and refrigerator is always stocked with a variety of cheeses; be it a huge mozzarella block (as toppings for pizzas, in lasagnas or eggplant parmesan etc.), cheddar cheese (for all my Mexican dishes) or even slices of cheese for sandwiches. My favorite is of course, mozzarella because of its oozy stringy texture once it is melted!
The first time I came across crispy mozzarella sticks was as an appetizer in an Italian restaurant. The crispy seasoned exterior with the oozing melting cheese on the inside was to die for, especially for a cheese lover like me! The foodie in me could not wait to make these at home so that I could enjoy them anytime, without burning a hole in my pocket!
Most mozzarella sticks served in restaurants are deep fried. I was wary of the mess it might create while frying, so I decided to bake them first.
Making them is not difficult as it sounds. I cut the mozzarella block into sticks of approximately ½ inch by 4 inch sticks.
I then mixed bread crumbs with some crushed cornflakes (for extra texture and crunch; totally optional) and seasoned it with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, chilli flakes and Parmesan powder (optional again). Play around with your favorite spices.
Instead of egg, I preferred to use milk as I did in my Spicy Eggplant Bites.
Make an assembly line of flour, milk and bread crumbs mixture.
Mozzarella sticks were then dredged in the flour to coat each piece of mozzarella with it completely.
Next, a quick dip in the milk and then in the crumb mixture to coat it fully; make sure you coat the ends of the cheese stick. Press the crumbs onto the cheese stick to form a good coating.
Repeat the process of coating again to give it a good thick breaded coating.
The thickly breaded mozzarella sticks were arranged on a plastic lined plate and placed the in the freezer overnight. This helps in hardening the cheese so that it does not melt and ooze out even before the breading starts to brown.
When ready to bake, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and placed a few of the frozen sticks on a greased foil-lined baking pan. I drizzled some oil over the sticks and baked it for 15 minutes, turning over half way. You have to keep an eye on the sticks while baking; each oven is different, so it could take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
Now, even though I loved the baked version, the adventurous cook in me wanted to fry and see how they turn out. So, I proceeded to deep fry them. I removed some more frozen breaded mozzarella sticks about 30 minutes before I was ready to fry them.
Once the oil for deep frying was fairly hot (do not overheat, it could burn the crust before the cheese could start to melt), I gently slid the mozzarella sticks into the oil and continued to fry them on medium hot oil, constantly drizzling hot oil over the sticks. In a matter of 2 to 3 minutes, the outer crust became beautifully brown and I could see that the cheese was sufficiently soft enough.
Out they came and what do you know? They were so crispy, delicious and oozing with hot, melting cheese. I could not wait for them to cool a bit before I could take a bite. They were as delicious as the baked ones, albeit a bit crunchier and darker in color.
We enjoyed these baked and fried versions of crispy oozing with cheese mozzarella sticks with chili mayonnaise (mayo plus red chilli sauce) and tomato ketchup. You can dip them in my homemade marinara sauce or homemade pizza sauce, the way they serve in Italian restaurants. They will go great with homemade curried beet ketchup too!
So, skip the deep frying and go for these baked mozzarella sticks, spiced your way at your next snack time or next party or throw caution to wind and enjoy the fried version too. Either way, both kids and adults will love them!
- 250 gm mozzarella
- 1 cup all purpose flour/whole wheat flour
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup crushed cornflakes
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- Oil for deep frying
- Take a small bowl and mix breadcrumbs, crushed cornflakes, Italian seasoning, red chilli flakes, Parmesan cheese powder, garlic powder and salt.
- In a second bowl, place the flour.
- In the third bowl, take some milk.
- Cut mozzarella into approximately ½ inch by 4 inch sticks.
- Make an assembly line of flour, milk and breadcrumbs mixture.
- Take one mozzarella stick, dredge in flour. Dust off excess.
- Next, dip it in the milk and then place in bowl with bread crumbs mixture.
- Coat evenly with the crumb mixture; pressing the crumbs into the mozzarella with your fingers.
- Repeat the process again to form a thick coating on the mozzarella. Make sure the cheese is thoroughly coated and pressed well onto the cheese.
- Place the thickly coated or breaded mozzarella sticks on a plastic wrap lined plate and keep them in the freezer for at least one to two hours or even overnight. This is absolutely necessary or the cheese will start to melt even before the coating starts to turn golden while baking.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Centigrade.
- Place a few of the frozen breaded mozzarella sticks on a greased foil-lined baking pan in a single layer.
- Drizzle or spray the breaded cheese with oil and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until the crust turns golden and the cheese has started to melt, turning over the sticks half way.
- Keep an eye on the sticks closely so they do not melt completely. Depending upon your oven and thickness of the cheese, these mozzarella sticks may be ready anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Once the cheese has started to melt and the crust has turned golden, remove from oven and serve hot.
- For fried mozzarella sticks, remove the frozen sticks from freezer about 30 minutes before frying.
- Heat oil for deep frying and once the hot is fairly hot, gently slide the breaded mozzarella in and fry on medium heat, constantly drizzling hot oil over the cheese stick. Once the crust turns golden brown (in about 2 minutes), remove from oil and serve them hot. Make sure you do not fry them too much that the cheese melts into the hot oil.
- Enjoy them (baked or fried) right away with marinara sauce or tomato ketchup or even chilli mayonnaise.
- As like any cheese, it loses its oozing gooeyness as it cools, so serve them immediately!
- Adjust the spices and seasoning according to your taste.
- Save a batch of these in the freezer to serve to unexpected guests or when you get the urge to bite into a crispy, cheesy and gooey stick of melting mozzarella
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