Nothing's better than a crispy, cheesy snack at the end of a long day. You don't have to go out to a restaurant to find quality mozzarella sticks, though. Instead, you can make some in the comfort of your home. Before you reach for your fryer, it's important to know what kind of effort goes into making the perfect at-home cheese stick. For example: should you freeze your cheese sticks before you fry them? We're here to bring you the answer.
You should always freeze your cheese sticks before frying them. The cheese sticks that you don't freeze will dissolve or explode in both a traditional deep fryer and an air fryer.
There are a few different ways to successfully transform store-bought cheese sticks into easy, gooey snacks. Whether you have a deep fryer or an air fryer on hand, though, you'll want to make sure that you follow the appropriate recipes to get the results you want.
Should You Freeze Cheese Sticks Before Frying?
You wouldn't think that freezing cheese would make it taste better. When you carefully prepare your cheese sticks in the freezer, though, you actually ensure their structural integrity.
Cheese is a relatively finicky food. You need to treat it carefully when you start to heat it, or else it may start to rebel. Cheese that isn't adequately frozen by the time you want to fry it can rapidly crumble in your oil. If you choose to put your unfrozen cheese sticks in an air fryer, you'll quickly find yourself trying to peel melted cheese out of your basket.
When you freeze store-bought cheese sticks, however, you give the cheese time to firm up. The cheese, in turn, will still melt when it's exposed to heat, but it will also retain some of its form.
In turn, the cheese won't react as violently when it comes into contact with hot air or oil. You then will have a better chance of enjoying your fried cheese sticks instead of having to clean up the mess they'd otherwise leave behind!
Can You Deep Fry Frozen Cheese Sticks?
You can deep fry your frozen cheese sticks. Deep frying exposes your cheese sticks to a substantial amount of oil. As a result, the flavor you get from your deep-fried cheese sticks is rich, as the oil amplifies the spices you included in your breadcrumb batter.
To effectively deep fry frozen cheese sticks, you'll want to:
- Add one quart of oil to your deep fryer while your cheese sticks are still freezing
- Raise the temperature of your oil up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Once your cheese sticks have solidified, remove them from your freezer
- In batches, add your cheese sticks to the oil for up to a minute and a half
- Once your cheese sticks look golden brown, remove them from the deep fryer
- Place your cheese sticks on a wire rack or on paper towels before adding another batch to your fryer
Hot oil will rapidly cook your cheese sticks, but you will need to watch your pot to ensure that your breadcrumb batter doesn't burn. You can agitate your cheese sticks with a skimmer spoon to ensure an equal fry all the way around the stick.
Can You Cook Frozen Cheese Sticks in an Air Fryer?
You can, in fact, fry frozen cheese sticks in an air fryer. The method is much healthier than frying cheese sticks in a deep fryer, though both means have their merits.
Air fryers work similarly to convention ovens. The fryer will circulate hot air around your cheese sticks, cooking them from the outside in at rapid speeds. Unfortunately, you'll need to take extra precautions while preparing your cheese sticks. If you don't make a point to batter your sticks well or to spray your frying basket with non-stick spray, then there's a risk that your sticks won't just dissolve, but that they'll also explode.
With that in mind, you can prepare your frozen cheese sticks for a turn in the air fryer by following these steps:
- Double-coat your to-be-cooked sticks in a breadcrumb batter
- After battering your sticks, place them in the freezer for two hours
- Warm your air fryer to 390 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cook your mozzarella sticks in batches for between six to eight minutes, or until the batter has turned golden brown
- Remove your cooked mozzarella sticks from the fryer and set them aside long enough to slightly cool
- Find your favorite marinara sauce (or other dip of choice) and dig in!
How Long Do You Leave Mozzarella Sticks in the Freezer?
To successfully fry cheese sticks, your sticks need to be frozen all the way through. After battering your sticks, you'll want to place them uncovered in your freezer for a minimum of an hour. If you're in a rush, that hour should prevent the worst of your potential cooking mishaps. However, it's often in your best interest to freeze your mozzarella sticks for two hours or up to overnight if you want them to fry effectively.
After you've cooked your mozzarella sticks to your liking, you can just as easily return them to the freezer for long-term storage. Fully-cooked mozzarella sticks can last in your freezer for up to three months.
How Do You Fry Store-Bought Mozzarella Sticks?
Freezing your cheese sticks is just one part of creating the perfect homemade mozzarella stick. If you want store-bought mozzarella sticks to satisfy your craving, you'll want to consult the following recipes.
Traditional Mozzarella Stick Recipes
Whether you're making traditional or unconventional mozzarella sticks, it's in your best interest to purchase full-fat mozzarella. This mozzarella not only tastes better than its low-fat peers, but it also holds up more effectively when exposed to heat.
To fry the perfect, traditional mozzarella stick, you'll also want to gather the following ingredients:
- One egg, beaten
- 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1 Cup panko breadcrumbs
Note that the above quantities should create enough batter to cover eight mozzarella sticks. You can modify the recipe to suit your needs.
Once you have the proper ingredients on hand, you can begin making your sticks. To get started, you should:
- Line a baking tray with non-stick aluminum foil.
- Combine the egg, Italian seasoning, and panko breadcrumbs in a small bowl.
- Unwrap your cheese sticks.
- One at a time, dunk your cheese sticks in the aforementioned batter. Set them aside on the aluminum foil for a minute at a time.
- Once you've battered all of your cheese sticks, reapply a second coat of batter to ensure the sticks' stability and crunch.
- Take your double-battered cheese sticks and place them in your freezer for between one and two hours, or overnight.
- Once your cheese sticks are frozen, remove them from the freezer and prepare for cooking.
- If deep-frying your cheese sticks, fill your deep fryer with a quart of oil and heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook your cheese sticks in batches until the batter is golden brown, usually between one and two minutes.
- If air frying your cheese sticks, heat your air fryer to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower your cheese sticks in batches into the basket and cook for between 6 and 8 minutes.
Note that you can use the time during which your cheese sticks are freezing to make your own marinara sauce or other additional snacks. Once you bring your cheese sticks out of the freezer, the cooking process moves rather quickly. Be prepared, then, to serve your piping hot mozzarella sticks to guests - or yourself - as soon as they've cooled to a reasonable temperature.
Check out this video for another tasty recipe:
What Happens if You Don't Freeze Mozzarella Sticks Before Frying?
If you're in a rush, you may be tempted to stick your mozzarella sticks straight into your deep fryer or air fryer. Unfortunately, this rarely works out in a chef's favor. Unfrozen cheese sticks tend to respond poorly to oil and hot air. Because cheese melts so quickly, unfrozen cheese sticks tend to dissolve before their casing manages to fry completely.
Put another way: if you try to fry mozzarella sticks without freezing them beforehand, you'll be left will little more than half-fried breadcrumbs and the bare remnants of a stick of cheese. To make the most satisfying fried cheese sticks you can, either freeze the battered cheese overnight or give yourself at least two hours to complete your frying preparations.
Make The Perfect Mozzarella Sticks Today
Mozzarella sticks are delicious snacks to have during a big game, during a night with the girls, or even after a long day at work. You'll want to look at all of the available cheese stick recipes, though, before you start frying your own. Above all else, make sure that you prepare your cheese sticks before putting them in your fryer. It doesn't matter whether you're using a deep fryer or an air fryer - if you don't freeze your cheese sticks, they will dissolve.
With that in mind, prepare your cheese sticks well and give yourself plenty of time to cook. When you make a point to follow a cheese stick recipe to the letter, you'll be rewarded with some of the crispiest, cheesiest snacks around.