Enjoy these healthy baked mozzarella sticks with zero guilt! This slimmed-down version is made with part-skim cheese, breaded with Panko crumbs, and baked in the oven. A blend of chili powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning adds the perfect amount of flavor. This recipe will quickly become your favorite appetizer for game day!
Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner! For those of us with healthy eating New Year's resolutions, navigating the snacks at your Super Bowl party might feel like somewhat of a minefield. While I'm not opposed to bringing my s'mores chocolate chip cookies to a party, I'm trying to keep things on the lighter side this January. Enter these slimmed-down mozzarella sticks. Are you with me on this?!
Why This Recipe Works
Taste & Texture: Served right out of the oven; these baked mozzarella sticks are truly decadent. In this recipe, we use reduced-fat cheese sticks and bake them— instead of deep-frying. The taste is just as good, if not better, in my opinion. So if you're looking for a healthier option for munching during game day, be sure to give these a try!
Level of Difficulty: This recipe requires a little more prep work but nothing unmanageable. I'd say this is a medium/easy recipe in terms of time spent in the kitchen. We use the dredging and coating techniques, which are super easy, but it can be a little messy!
Key Ingredients And Why We Use Them
- Mozzarella Cheese: I like the flavor of mozzarella cheese, but you could easily swap in another type for this recipe. See more in the recipe variations section below.
- Flour: By first dredging our mozzarella sticks in four, we seal in the moisture and protect against our high cooking temperature.
- Egg: Our egg serves as a liquid that is a sticky surface for the final coating to cling to. Use only one hand to dip into the egg, and keep the other dry (and less messy)!
- Breadcrumbs + Panko: Aside from being delicious, this mixture prevents the cheese from sticking to the pan while it is baking. Make you get a nice even coating before placing the cheese on the pan to bake.
- Garlic + Chili Powder + Italian Seasoning: I like this blend of seasoning because it has a nice flavor and a little kick at the same time. This isn't an exact science, so feel free to swap out with spices you enjoy.
- Cooking Spray: cooking spray helps the mozzarella sticks from browning too much and gives them a little more moisture right before baking.
Make Ahead Tips
This recipe actually lends itself really well to advance preparation. Once you've coated your cheese sticks in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, you can put them on a baking sheet and transfer them into the freezer. Leave them on the baking sheet for up to 24 hours. Then, when you're ready to bake, simply take them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven. This way, you can do all your Super Bowl prep the day before!
Heather's Helpful Hints
- When baking your mozzarella sticks, it’s easy for them to melt before the crumbs get golden. To solve this problem, place your cheese in the freezer beforehand. Then, after coating the cheese with flour, egg, and bread crumbs—place the cheese back in the freezer until you are ready to bake.
- When dredging your mozzarella sticks in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs, use one hand for the dry ingredients (flour and breadcrumbs) and the other hand for the wet ingredients (eggs). This will help ensure your hands don't get quite as messy during the process.
- If you bake these for a little too long, the cheese will start to ooze out onto the baking sheet. Don't worry... you can still save them! Wait 1 minute after they come out of the oven, and then use your fingers to reshape them. Voila, crisis averted!
Step By Step: How to Make These Baked Mozzarella Sticks
1. Cut cheese sticks in half and place in the freezer until completely frozen—about one hour.
2. In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg and set it aside. Place flour in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
3. In another bowl, mix breadcrumbs, panko, garlic powder, chili powder, and Italian seasoning.
4. Working in batches of 4 at a time, roll the sticks around in the flour, until completely coated on all sides. Dip into the egg, and then coat with the crumbs.
5. You may need to press the coating on firmly to make sure it sticks. Shake off any excess crumbs.
6. Spray the tops of the cheese sticks lightly with the olive oil spray.
7. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, until crisp. Keep a very close eye on them to make sure the cheese doesn't start to ooze out!
Once out of the oven, you want to serve these baked mozzarella sticks right away. That way, you can embrace all the gooey goodness while they're still warm. Once they have been sitting out for 30 minutes or so, they begin to firm back up. Bottom line? Enjoy these straight away for the best results.
There are a number of different ways to switch up this recipe according to your taste!
- You could try making these mozzarella sticks in an air fryer as well! We don't have one (yet), but I think it'd be perfect!
- Not a fan of part-skim mozzarella? Use your favorite brand and flavor of a cheese stick and swap it in! I'd love to give this recipe a whirl using Colby jack cheese. Just be sure to note that the nutritional value will change.
- Also, feel free to get creative with the spices in the coating. Not a fan of chili powder? Swap in another spice! I think these would be tasty with onion powder and paprika!
Other Recipes You'll Enjoy
Baked Mozzarella Sticks
- 12 pieces part-skim mozzarella string cheese each stick cut in half
- 1 egg large
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup panko crumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- olive oil cooking spray
- marinara sauce for dipping
- ranch dressing for dipping
- Cut cheese sticks in half and place in the freezer until frozen completely—about one hour.
- Place a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 20 minutes before baking your mozzarella sticks. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat, parchment paper, or aluminum foil.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg and set it aside. Place flour in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix breadcrumbs, panko, garlic powder, chili powder, and Italian seasoning.
- Working in batches of 4 at a time, roll the sticks around in the flour until completely coated on all sides. Dip into the egg, and then coat with the crumbs. You may need to press the coating on firmly to make sure it sticks. Shake off any excess crumbs.
- Place coated mozzarella sticks on your prepared baking tray. Spray the tops of the cheese sticks lightly with the olive oil spray.
- Bake for approximately 8 minutes, until crisp. Keep a very close eye on them to make sure the cheese doesn't start to ooze out! Serve immediately while warm.
Notes and Tips
- For best results, serve these mozzarella sticks immediately after coming out of the oven.
- Make sure that your cheese sticks are frozen completely (1 hour in the freezer) before baking them. If not, your cheese will melt too quickly while baking at such a high temperature.
- Make these ahead by coating a day in advance and returning to the freezer before baking the next day.
This recipe was originally posted in January 2013. It was updated in January 2021 with new pictures and a few updates to the recipe