Crispy on the outside, cheesy and ooey gooey on the inside, these Air Fryer Mozzarella Bites are super easy to make and even easier to eat!
Serve them as an appetizer or as a side dish, and since they’re made in the air fryer they have fewer calories and less fat, and no guilt. These are a must try!
Recipes like my Nacho Cheese and Pizza Tarts are great for when you want a delicious and easy appetizer. I love a big appetizer spread (even if it’s just for my family), and this is one of my Appetizer Recipes you’ll want in your recipe box!
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask. The comments can be easily found using the orange circle on the lower left, then Join the discussion!
Air Fryer cooking
I love the idea of cooking with less oil and fat. And, the added bonus of not having to turn on the oven especially during the heat of summer, really appeals to me.
Other Great Air Fryer Recipes
Review of the COSORI Air Fryer 5.8-quart
I have many people ask me about my favorite Air Fryer. And, my answer is always, the COSORI 5.8 quart.
I have two styles of air fryer, this drawer COSORI one, and a Breville counter top toaster oven style. Though I love them both, I do think that if you just want an Air fryer, the COSORI is the way to go!
For starters, this countertop appliance is a sturdy and sizeable tool, with a sleek elegant brushed matte black finish. This heavy-duty machine can accommodate 5.8 quarts inside, making servings for 3-5 people, and has temperature settings from 170° to 400° F.
The COSORI Air Fryer 5.8-quart has an easy to read and use control panel
Game day grub!
This air fryer will be a lifesaver when the football starts again. I mean, delicious crispy foods with 85% fewer calories than deep-frying.
How to adapt oven recipes
It’s easy to adapt oven recipes to the Air Fryer. Simply lower the temperature by 25° F, and cut the cooking time down by 20%.
For example, if a recipe calls for 350° F for 20 minutes, simply air fry at 325° F for just 16 minutes.
Of course, you’ll want to check this and make sure your food is done to your liking.
The drawer that you see open in this photo is where the food goes. Nice and easy to use.
Air fryer tater tots
I did a second test of the COSORI Air Fryer with store-bought tater tots. The package directions called for 425° F for 20 minutes. I set the Air Fryer to 400° F and cooked the tots for only 10 minutes. They were crispy, crunchy, and delicious! Amazing!
The air fryer is a 1700 watt machine, whereas my oven is a 7800 watt machine. That’s a significant difference in electricity usage. Plus the fact that I only had to cook the tots for half as long as I would’ve in the oven.
Another significant electricity savings. And, the air fryer definitely doesn’t heat up the house the same way the oven does.
With rapid air circulation both preheating and cooking are faster than the oven.
Air Fryer Mozzarella Bites as my first test
I decided that the best way to test out the appliance was to cook a recipe from the cookbook that’s included with the machine.
I chose the “Fried” Mozzarella Bites from page 64.
They were amazing. Crunchy on the outside. Cheesy on the inside. Not greasy at all (like so many you get at restaurants).
I actually prefer these homemade air fryer mozzarella bites to those that you get at restaurants. These were way better!
After spending some time with the COSORI air fryer I can confidently say that I’m in love with this machine! This 5.8-quart model is a great product at an affordable price.
You can buy this (affiliate link) COSORI 5.8-quart Air Fryer on Amazon.
Back to those Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
Who doesn’t love a good stringy crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside Mozzarella Cheese Stick!
And, when they’re made in the Air Fryer with no mess, way less fat and calories, and no greasy taste, this is a win-win!
This recipe is an easy to make, super tasty side dish, appetizer, or snack that your whole family will love!
These are also a great make ahead recipe. Simply cut up the cheese, bread it, and pop them in the freezer. They can hang out there until you’re ready to cook them up.
This makes them great for serving at parties!
They make a great cheesy treat for tailgating, game day, birthday parties, summer pool parties, or holiday gatherings.
I’ve placed some of the breaded mozzarella bites in the drawer of the COSORI Air Fryer 5.8-quart. In the background you can see additional bites still on the tray waiting to be cooked.
How to make Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
These are really easy.
Just grab a handful of those packaged cheese sticks, (you know the ones you toss into the kids’ lunches) and cut them into thirds.
I always have the low-fat string cheese sticks around for my husband to snack on, so that’s what I went with for this recipe!
Mix up the bowls of coatings
Mix up three bowls of coatings. One for the flour mixture. One for the egg mixture, and a third bowl for the Panko breadcrumbs.
Panko is Japanese breadcrumbs. Panko is lighter and flakier than regular breadcrumbs, and they absorb less oil. They are perfect for the air fryer, because after “frying” they result in an incredibly crunchy texture.
Dip the cheese
Dip the cheese in the flour, then in the egg, in the breadcrumbs, and then double dip into the egg and breadcrumbs again.
Set the coated cheese on a parchment lined baking sheet immediately after coating it, and set the coated cheeses in the freezer while you preheat the air fryer, or until you’re ready to cook them.
And air fry
Then simply use the Frozen foods setting on your COSORI air fryer, and cook up some delicious and impressive Air Fryer Mozzarella Bites!
The simple answer is that I find Mozzarella bites work best in a preheated air fryer to 350° F.
Cook them for about 8 minutes, until golden and crispy. And don’t forget to shake them halfway through so they cook evenly.
Cook them in batches if desired or necessary, as space permits, making sure that you only have a single layer of mozzarella bites in the air fryer at one time.
The more complicated answer is that cooking time may depend on what type and brand of air fryer you have, and how big the cooking area is.
The great thing about air fryers is that you can check for doneness at any time. You can pop the Air fryer mozzarella balls back in and cook longer if needed, and you can cook for a shorter time if desired too.
A good double breading will help keep your Air fryer cheese sticks from exploding while cooking. Make sure you get the egg wash and the bread crumbs on all parts of the mozzarella stick in each dip.
That’s why I suggest double breading them in the instructions. This will help keep all the ooey gooey cheese inside the mozzarella ball.
Placing them in the freezer while the air fryer preheats will also help to keep all the cheese from exploding. Keep that cheese as cool as possible so that the breading gets golden as the cheese gets melty.
Place them in a single layer in the basket of the air fryer so they aren’t touching. If they touch, they may leak more.
Spray them thoroughly with cooking spray before cooking them. This will help keep all the cheese inside the coating.
Make sure to shake the basket halfway through cooking too. This will help the Mozzarella bites cook evenly, and allow you to check the doneness before they explode.
Occasionally, some leaking may occur still. Those are the ones that I get to eat the cheese from the bottom of the air fryer. So yummy! All crispy and golden, like the edges of a good lasagna. Yum!
What is “string cheese”?
Some people from other countries may not have or be familiar with string cheese. Manufacturers package mozzarella into one ounce packages so they are a single serving. And, most kids peel the cheese apart making it “string” cheese.
Here’s a link to Amazon that hopefully will work in your country so you can see what I mean.
But basically it’s just mozzarella sticks. If you can’t find those prepackaged sticks, just chop a block of mozzarella into about 1 or 2 inch cubes.
Air Fryer Babybel cheese
I’ve had several readers ask if they could use Babybel cheese in the air fryer instead of mozzarella. So, I decided to do some testing. Ya’ll, I really love that I get to test fried cheese for work!
First off, what is Babybel?
Babybels are mini rounds or balls of Edam cheese. Edam, which is of Dutch origin, is a creamy semi-hard cow’s milk or sometimes goat’s milk cheese, with a nutty grassy flavor.
Mini Babybel comes in a net bag, with each piece wrapped in red wax coating. Side note, when I was a kid and got Babybels in my lunch box I always saved the red wax and molded it into little figures; the heat from your hands melts the wax so it’s nicely moldable.
There’re more than seven different flavors of Babybel cheese: Original, Sharp Original, Light, Bonbel, White Cheddar, Cheddar, Gouda, ones with added vitamins and minerals, and they even have a plant-based one now!
My grocery store carries them in the deli section with the fancy cheeses. They may also be on the dairy aisle in your store.
I grabbed the original flavor at the store. The net bag has six balls of cheese in the 4.5-ounce bag, and I followed the recipe as it was.
I am very impressed with the fried Babybel cheese in the air fryer. That soft creamy cheese inside the crunchy bread coating was amazing. These were perfect! I suspect that any of the flavors would work well in this recipe.
So, yes, you can air fry Babybel, and with great success! I’ll be making these again and again. I think it’d be fun to try all the Babybel flavors.
Other appetizers that would be great for Super Bowl
Looking for other great appetizers for your Super Bowl watching? Some of my all time most popular are Mexican Corn Salad (which can be served as a salad, an a salsa for chips, or as a taco filling), Mac & Cheese Bites, Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad, and Garlic Dipping Oil.
These mozzarella balls are great when they’re first made. I don’t recommend pre-air frying mozzarella sticks. They are just so much better fresh.
However, these can be premade for a party by coating the cheese pieces in breading, set the coated cheese on a parchment paper, and pop them into the freezer.
The cheese pieces can be cooked from frozen when you’re ready for them.
Can you air fry frozen mozzarella bites?
I’ve been asked by readers if you can air fry those pre-made frozen mozzarella bites. I hear that the most popular brand is Farm Rich mozzarella bites. And, yes, you can cook those frozen premade ones in the air fryer from frozen.
Preheat the air fryer to 350° F.
Simply arrange the mozzarella balls in a single layer in the air fryer. This should be anywhere from 4 to 8 pieces depending on the size of your air fryer. And cook at 350° F for 6-7 minutes.
That’s of course, if you want to go with the pre-made ones, and not make air fried mozzarella balls from scratch. I love them made from scratch at home. They’re so easy and good!
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Air Fryer Mozzarella Bites
- Cut the string cheese into thirds, making 18 pieces.
- Mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk together the eggs and milk in a separate bowl. Combine the Panko breadcrumbs and parsley flakes in an additional bowl.
- Coat each piece of cheese with flour, then dip in egg, and then roll in breadcrumbs. Dip in egg and breadcrumbs again, pressing the breadcrumbs into the egg wash.
- Select Preheat on the Cosori Air Fryer, adjust to 350° F, and press Start.
- Set the mozzarella bites in the freezer while the air fryer is preheating.
- Place the coated mozzarella bites into the preheated air fryer, and spray liberally with cooking spray.
- Select Frozen Foods and 350° F, set time for 8 minutes, and press Start.
- Shake the basket halfway through cooking (the shake reminder function will let you know when!).
- Serve with a side of your favorite marinara sauce, or even better, ranch.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.