You are in luck, because today I have an easy and delicious appetizer recipe for you: fried mozzarella cheese sticks! Not only are these fried bites of goodness tasty, they also only contain 3 ingredients and they happen to be gluten free!
Made with dehydrated Idaho® potatoes, these fried appetizers are sure to please!
If you’re a fan of fried deliciousness, you may also like my cheesy fried polenta. Really good! And if you love snacks and smackerels, browse all my appetizer recipes in one place.
Thank you to the Idaho Potato Commission for partnering with me on this post. All opinions are my own.
What Makes These The Best?
First of all, they only contain 3 ingredients. Three!
They’re also gluten-free, so you can serve them to gluten-free friends and family members without worry.
I mean, who wouldn’t want cheese outside and inside?
The dehydrated potato fries up super crispy, so it’s almost like eating tubes of potato chips stuffed with gooey, melty cheese!
It does not get much better than that, friends!
How to Make
These are not at all hard to make, although there is a bit of a process.
If you’ve never deep fried before, worry not because I will walk you through it.
And if you have an air fryer, don’t hesitate to air fry these in a single layer. They will turn out almost as crispy as if you deep fry, I promise!
- beaten eggs: this is what adheres the coating to the cheese. If you cannot have eggs, you can substitute buttermilk or a thicker, plant-based milk such as oat milk
- string cheese: I like to use full fat cheese sticks, but you can also substitute part-skim mozzarella sticks
- dehydrated Idaho® potatoes: This is the fun part: use any flavor you like! One caveat: it’s probably best not to choose the versions with bacon bits in them, because they will probably burn in the hot oil. Otherwise, choose your favorite flavor or flavors of dried potatoes and have fun with it
- salt: I always add a pinch of salt to my egg mixture. This is optional
As I said, this is a bit of a process, but I will walk you through all the steps and also give you some tips and tricks to make sure your delicious fried cheesey goodness comes out perfectly!
First, set up your breading station:
- Put eggs and a pinch of salt in one dish and whisk with a fork until blended.
- Put your dehydrated potatoes in the second dish and spread it out in a thick, even layer.
- Put a cooling rack over a pan (to catch drips) and place it near your “breading.” (potato-ing?)
Now that you have all that set up, here’s how it goes:
- Cut your mozzarella sticks in half to make them easier to deal with.
- Roll each half in the beaten egg, and then roll them really well in the dehydrated potatoes. Cover the whole stick, especially the ends.
- Place on the rack to set up.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 with all the cheese sticks so you end up with a thick double-coating of potato.
- Freeze for at least 30 minutes. If you’re freezing them for a longer amount of time, place them in freezer bags.
Heat at least 3″ of oil to 350F.
Fry 4-5 cheese sticks at a time, but don’t crowd the pan or the oil temperature will take too long to recover and you may end up with greasy fried cheese.
Keep the cheese sticks moving so they turn an even deep golden brown color all over, about 4-5 minutes.
NOTE: If you have frozen your cheese sticks for longer than 30 minutes or are frying a week later or something, heat the oil to 325F. This will allow the centers to melt without the potato coating getting too dark.
Alternatively, take them out of the freezer 30 minutes before frying so they can temper a bit on the counter.
What To Dip These In
The sky is the limit.
Since you’re essentially breading these cheese sticks, it’s nice to have 2 wide and shallow dishes to work with, one for your dehydrated potatoes and another for your egg.
If you do lots of breading and frying, you might even consider investing in an inexpensive “breading station” setup.
You’ll also want a wire cooling rack (or something similar) set over a tray for your guys to sit on to set up between breading sessions.
Tips for Success
- Double dip these guys. Don’t feel like it? Do it anyway. Make sure you get two really good, complete coats of potato all over the cheese sticks.
- Don’t skip the freezer step. Don’t feel like it? Do it anyway. Letting the sticks set up between coatings and then in the freezer once they’re double coated helps to ensure your guys don’t leak and/or fall apart in the fryer.
- Fry in batches. Don’t feel like it? Do it anyway. Do not crowd the pan or the oil temperature will drop too far, allowing your lovely fried cheese to soak up oil. Not so lovely.
- Keep your fryer at the correct temperature. Keep the temperature as close to 350F as possible. Don’t go under 325F and don’t go over about 365F. Use a fry thermometer or an instant read.
- Between batches, use a skimmer to skim out any bits of potato coating that fall off during frying.
Q & A
If you are allergic to eggs or don’t like them (or don’t have any), substitute buttermilk or even aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) for the egg. You’re really only looking to dip them in a “heavy liquid” that will help the dried potato to adhere to them, so the egg isn’t strictly necessary.
If you use Idahoan dehydrated potatoes, all flavors are gluten free. Check your cheese to make sure it’s not made on shared equipment, and you should be good to go.
I never have, but only because I don’t have an air fryer. I’d spray them with a touch of oil or olive oil pan spray, put them in a single layer in your air fryer basket so they’re not touching, and fry at 400F for 5-7 minutes. Caveat: make sure you freeze your cheese sticks for a good 45 minutes before air frying, and make sure they’re well and truly double coated with the potato mixture.
They will be fine in the freezer for up to 3 weeks or so. I wouldn’t go much longer than that so they don’t pick up any off flavors. To fry from frozen solid, keep your oil at 325F so the centers have a chance to melt before the outsides burn. You can also take them out of the freezer for 30-45 minutes before frying to give them a chance to come closer to room temperature and then fry at 350F.
Yes, I reheat them in the toaster oven at 350F on non-stick foil until they begin to sizzle, about 5-6 minutes. You can reheat them in the microwave, but they won’t be as crispy.
As long as it hasn’t smoked while frying and you’ve only made cheese sticks, you can reuse it once. Maybe twice depending on how clean the oil is. Strain the cooled oil to get out any bits of breading and store at cool room temperature until you decide to fry again.
Sure. You can cut any cheese that melts nicely into sticks that measure about 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 3″, or use low-fat mozzarella string cheese or cheddar cheese sticks. For the best “cheese pull,” use full fat mozzarella cheese sticks.
To Dispose of the Oil
Don’t just pour your used oil down the drain, friends. It’ll wreak havoc on your pipes or worse, your septic system if you have one.
To safely dispose of cooking oil, pour it into non-recyclable rigid containers (old bottles would work) and put it in your trash.
You can also pour it over cat litter, saw dust, old newspapers, etc, and then seal that up in non-recyclable containers and put in the trash.
You can also check your area to see if anyone will take it off your hands to use in making biofuel.
Here’s a great article I found about all the ways you can use your used cooking oil or safely get rid of it.
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- 12 whole milk mozzarella string cheese sticks (I used Galbani)
- 2 eggs
- pinch of kosher salt
- 2 packets Idaho®dehydrated potatoes, any flavor
- oil for frying, 2-3 quarts, depending on the size of your pan
- PREP: In a shallow baking dish or pie pan, beat the two eggs together with a pinch of salt. Pour the dehydrated potatoes in a thick layer in another baking dish or plate. Set a cooling rack over a pan (to catch any drips) nearby.
- Cut each mozzarella stick in half.
- Working with 3-4 at a time, roll the sticks in the egg. Allow excess to drip off for 3-4 seconds.
- Place in the pan with the dehydrated potato and coat well, rolling each stick firmly in the potatoes and making sure each end is well coated. Set on rack to set up.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 a second time so all the sticks get two dips in egg followed by two generous coatings of potato.
- Place the rack in the freezer for 30-45 minutes.
- Heat at least 3" of oil in a large, deep saucepan. Bring to 350F.
- Fry the cheese sticks, a few at a time, until deeply golden brown all over, about 4-5 minutes. Keep them moving and use a skimmer to roll them around, gently dunk them under the oil, and make sure the fry on all sides.
- Place them back on the rack.
- Make sure your oil temperature rebounds to 350F and continue frying in batches until they're all done.
- Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
How Much Oil?
The amount of oil you need depends on the size of your pan. You want a good 3" of oil in your pan, so count on somewhere between 2-3 quarts of oil. I usually buy it in gallon jugs knowing I will have some leftover.
- Double coat all your mozzarella sticks with egg and dehydrated potato. Pack in on really well.
- Freeze for 30-45 minutes before frying to make sure the breading stays on the cheese sticks and doesn't all flake off into the oil.
- Keep your oil at a consistent 350F.
- Skim the oil between batches to keep any potato bits that have fallen off from buring in the hot oil.
Heat at 350F, uncovered and on non-stick foil, in the toaster oven or regular oven until sizzling on the outsides, about 5 minutes.
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Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 3 half sticks
Amount Per Serving Calories 309Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 80mgSodium 305mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 12g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
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Enjoy the fried mozzarella sticks, friends.
Thanks for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.