Homemade Cheese Sticks are one of the crispy finger foods I crave the most (along with Oven Baked Potato Skins)! The first bite begins with a deliciously crispy outer coating followed closely with a surprisingly soft, gooey and cheesy middle. Serve them with homemade marinara sauce for an appetizer the whole family will love!
Be sure you’re using cheese strings (and not cheese sticks) for this recipe. It melts better and helps keep the cheese from leaking out.
How To Make Cheese Sticks
Making homemade cheese sticks could not be easier! It is important to purchase cheese strings and not just mozzarella as the cheese strings will not melt as quickly as regular cheese will. The cornstarch mixture is a bit messy and can feel like a lot but this really keeps the cheese inside.
- Peel open the cheese strings, cut them in half and freeze.
- Dredge the cheese strings first in beaten egg, then a flour/cornstarch mixture, back into the egg and finally in the bread crumbs.
- The flour mixture will be a thick coating and sometimes needs to be rolled a bit to get the egg to soak into the flour mixture.
- Press the breadcrumbs into each cheese string to ensure even coating.
- Be sure to follow the order of – Egg – Flour Mix – Egg – Bread Crumbs –
- Freeze for later or place each in hot oil and cook until just browned. Serve immediately.
How to Cook Cheese Sticks
These Cheese Sticks will have the best results deep fried, it makes them crispy and delicious. They can be baked in the oven or cooked in the air fryer but the best results come from frying! When baking or air frying, a bit of the cheese may leak out, this is normal and they’ll still be delish!
- To Bake Cheese Sticks: Spray cheese sticks with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake 9-11 minutes or until crumbs are crisp and cheese is melted.
- To Cook Cheese Sticks in the Air Fryer: Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Cook cheese sticks in small batches for 4-6 minutes or until crumbs are crisp and cheese is melted.
Cheese Stick Do’s & Don’ts
- Cheese: Purchase cheese strings and not just mozzarella as they melt differently.
- Freeze: Completely freeze your cheese before you begin, this keeps it from leaking out during cooking.
- Crumbs: Take extra care to press the breadcrumbs into each cheese stick. You want the oil to get at the breadcrumbs, not the cheese inside!
- Cook Time: Do not overcook your cheese sticks, you just want the breading to get crispy. If they cook too long, the cheese will melt and begin to ooze out.
WARNING: If the cheese is not fully coated (or you use cheese sticks and not strings) the cheese can leak out of the coating causing hot oil to splatter.
What dipping sauces go well with crispy fried Cheese Sticks?
Many people enjoy a classic marinara sauce with their cheese sticks, but you could use a bolognese sauce for a meatier option. Another delicious dipper is homemade ranch.
I love to eat cheese sticks as an appetizer along with ‘pub grub’ food like loaded nachos, chicken wings, potato skins, sausage balls or Ham and Cheese Sliders! I also enjoy these crispy cheesy bites as a side dish with a tomato soup for a fun lunch or dinner!
More Snack Recipes
- Crispy Zucchini Fries (oven baked) – healthy and delicious!
- Pizza Grilled Cheese – comfort food HEAVEN
- Pigs in a Blanket – 2 ingredient finger food!
- Honey Garlic Chicken Wings Recipe (Oven Baked) – so crispy
- Baked Buffalo Wings – hot and spicy!
- Jalapeno Poppers – Party Favorite!
Gooey Cheese Sticks (Fried or Baked)
- 16 Mozzarella string cheese sticks must be string cheese
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- ¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- oil for frying
- Open the cheese strings and cut each in half. Cover and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours or until completely frozen.
- Combine flour and cornstarch in a small bowl. Combine the Italian and Panko bread crumbs in a separate shallow dish. In third small bowl, whisk eggs and olive oil until well combined.
- Dip each cheese stick half into the egg mixture and then gently roll into the flour mixture.
- Put back into the egg mixture and roll until coated. Finally, place into the bread crumbs pressing the crumbs on each piece of cheese to make sure it's coated all around so the cheese doesn't leak out.
- Place in the freezer while the oil preheats. Preheat oil to 350°F. It should be hot enough that a few crumbs dropped into the oil will bubble.
- In small batches, place breaded cheese sticks into the hot oil for about 2 minutes or just until browned. Do not overcook or the cheese will leak out.
- Serve hot with warm pasta sauce.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)