This article was updated on 27th August 2023 for clarity and freshness.
You feel a bit peckish and decide to raid the refrigerator. There, behind the pickles, you spot a box of leftover mozzarella sticks. Score!
The problem comes when you try to revive those bad boys – how do you get a crispy coating with a gooey center? I did an experiment to find out!
The best ways to reheat mozzarella sticks are in the oven, air fryer, or skillet. To use the oven, preheat it to 400°F (200°C) and bake the sticks for 5-10 minutes. In a skillet, cover the base with oil and fry the sticks on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes.
How I tested reheating mozzarella sticks
One exhilarating Friday night, I ordered a few batches of mozzarella sticks and (after scoffing more than I intended to) put them in the fridge overnight.
The following day, I experimented with five different reheating techniques. I tested:
- Oven: Good results and reliable.
- Skillet: Nice and crispy.
- Air fryer: Best option if you have one.
- Microwave: Avoid this method.
- Deep fryer: Extra crisp, but bit oily.
I was looking for a method that delivered a crispy coating without drying out the cheese inside. A delicious cheese pull was a bonus!
Reheating mozzarella sticks in the oven
Time: 5-10 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) for refrigerated mozzarella sticks or 425°F (220°C) for frozen mozzarella sticks.
- Lightly coat the mozzarella sticks with oil (optional).
- Place the mozzarella sticks on a wire rack (or preheated oven tray, in which case you need to turn them halfway through heating).
- Reheat the mozzarella sticks for 5-10 minutes, or 10-20 for frozen ones.
If you’re using a toaster oven, the sticks will be closer to the heat source so they’ll warm quicker.
I recommend using a wire rack in the oven because this allows air to circulate around the sticks, crisping the bottom and the top. On a baking tray, the bottom of the mozzarella sticks can get soggy if you forget to turn them, although preheating the baking tray in the oven helps to prevent this.
Results: The oven is one of the better options when it comes to reheating mozzarella. It’s not the fastest method, but it doesn’t require any effort. The mozzarella sticks were crunchy (although not as crunchy as the day before), and they tasted good.
Reheating mozzarella sticks in a skillet
Time: 4-5 minutes
- Set your stovetop to medium-high heat and add some oil to a skillet, making sure to cover the entire bottom.
- Wait until the oil starts to shimmer (indicating it’s hot enough) before adding the mozzarella sticks.
- Fry the mozzarella sticks for 4-5 minutes, turning frequently to ensure an even cook.
- Rest the mozzarella sticks on a paper towel for 30 seconds to remove excess oil before serving.
If you’re not sure if the oil is hot yet, drop a breadcrumb into the pan. If it sizzles right away, the oil is ready. You can use as much or as little oil as you want, but I tend to go for the less-is-more approach to make sure the breadcrumbs don’t soak it all up.
The first time I tried this method, I used high heat and ended up burning the outside of the mozzarella sticks before the cheese melted. Hence why I recommend a medium heat. This allows the coating to crisp up gradually, allowing the cheese plenty of time to melt.
If you find the cheese has already melted, but the outside isn’t crispy enough yet, simply blast the mozzarella sticks for a few seconds on high heat.
Results: The coating was super crispy using this method; however, if the mozzarella sticks have already been fried, frying them again can make them a little greasy. You can combat this by using less oil, but you’ll have to accept a little less crunch.
Reheating mozzarella sticks in the air fryer
Time: 3-5 minutes
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and optionally spray each mozzarella stick lightly with oil.
- Place the mozzarella sticks in the basket leaving a small space between each one.
- Heat refrigerated mozzarella sticks for 3-5 minutes or frozen ones for 8-10 minutes.
Larger portions may require a longer cooking time, and the size of the mozzarella sticks will also have an impact, so some judgment is needed here.
Keeping the mozzarella sticks nicely spaced will ensure that the air can circulate and cook each side evenly. Adding oil helps the sticks crisp up, but it’s totally optional. If your mozzarella sticks were previously fried, there’ll already be some oil residue on the coating, so adding more might be unnecessary.
Results: This is, without a doubt, the best option when it comes to reheating mozzarella sticks. The mozzarella sticks were just as good as the night before, with crunchy outsides and gooey insides. But not everyone has an air fryer! Psst… if you don’t have one yet, this is your sign to get one.
Reheating mozzarella sticks in the microwave
Time: 30-60 seconds
- Place your mozzarella sticks on a microwave-safe plate in a single layer.
- Heat in 15-second intervals – the more sticks you’re reheating, the longer they’ll need.
- When the cheese is warm and melted, the mozzarella sticks are ready.
- Allow the mozzarella sticks to rest for 30 seconds before serving.
Be very careful when you’re removing the sticks from the microwave. The cheese can get extremely hot, and you can burn your mouth if you bite straight into them.
The microwave makes the mozzarella sticks very mushy, but there is hope. You can get some crispiness back into the coating by heating the mozzarella sticks under the broiler at a high heat. However, this pretty much cancels out the convenience aspect of the microwave.
Top tip: If your mozzarella sticks seem greasy, line the plate with a paper towel to soak up any oil that seeps out.
Results: This was my least favorite method of reheating mozzarella sticks. Not only are the sticks very soggy and soft, but the cheese was rubbery and tasted cheap. Avoid unless it’s your only option.
Reheating mozzarella sticks in a deep fryer
Time: 30-45 seconds (not including time to heat the oil)
- In a deep fryer or a pan suitable for shallow frying, preheat your oil to 350-375°F (175°C-190°C).
- Place one mozzarella stick in the oil to test the heat and fry for 30-45 seconds. This time increases for frozen mozzarella sticks to 2 minutes max.
- If the mozzarella stick comes out how you want it, continue to fry the other mozzarella sticks. If not, adjust the time and temperature.
- If you’re shallow frying, flip the mozzarella sticks halfway through.
- Rest the sticks on a paper towel for 60 seconds to remove excess oil before serving.
For best results, don’t overfill the pot. This will lower the overall temperature of the oil, and the mozzarella sticks won’t fry properly.
I only recommend this method if you have a thermometer to measure the oil temperature, as using the wrong temperature oil will wreck your mozzarella sticks. However, if you want, you can also use the wooden spoon trick.
Dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If small bubbles form quickly around the handle, the oil is ready. If the bubbling is too intense, the oil is too hot. If no bubbles form, the oil isn’t hot enough.
Results: I have to admit that this method produced the crunchiest coating, but for me, it simply doesn’t justify the effort involved. And it can go wrong very easily (especially if you’re not used to deep frying). I also found using so much oil gave the mozzarella sticks an unpleasant oily aftertaste.
How to store mozzarella sticks
To store mozzarella sticks, place the sticks in an airtight container lined with paper towel and keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. The paper towel will soak up any excess moisture and help keep the coating crunchy.
Always wait until the mozzarella sticks are completely cool to store them. Otherwise, condensation will build up in the container and drip down onto the sticks, leaving them soggy.
Can you freeze mozzarella sticks?
Mozzarella sticks freeze really well and you can freeze them for up to six months. Make sure to keep them in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. You can also cook them straight from frozen without thawing them, so they’re perfect for a quick snack.
How to freeze mozzarella sticks:
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (to avoid sticking) and spread the mozzarella sticks out on the tray.
- Put the tray in the freezer for an hour, or until the mozzarella sticks are frozen solid.
- Once frozen, move the sticks to a freezer bag.
- Remove excess air from the bag by squeezing it out.
- Freeze the mozzarella sticks for up to six months.
The first three steps are what’s known as flash freezing. Flash freezing means you can keep all the mozzarella sticks in one bag without worrying about them sticking together.
If you don’t want to flash freeze the sticks, you can use parchment paper or plastic wrap to separate them instead.
Removing the air from the freezer bag is a really important step in preventing freezer burn. You can squeeze it out or use a straw to suck it out. But the most effective method (excluding a vacuum sealer) is to dunk the open freezer bag in water. This forces all the air out so you can seal it.
When it’s time to eat the mozzarella sticks, I recommend reheating them straight from frozen instead of defrosting them. Defrosting them will leave you with a mushy outside. You can reheat them in the oven or the air fryer.
To use the oven, preheat it to 425°F (220°C) and place the mozzarella sticks on a wire rack or preheating baking tray then heat for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and cooked all the way through.
How To Reheat Mozzarella Sticks [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion mozzarella sticks
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) or 450°F (230°C) for frozen mozzarella sticks.
- Lightly coat the mozzarella sticks with oil (optional).
- Place the mozzarella sticks on a wire rack (or oven tray, in which case you need to turn them halfway through heating).
- Reheat the mozzarella sticks for 5-10 minutes (10-20 for frozen ones).
- Serve immediately.