Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks with stretchy, melty mozzarella cheese on the inside, and a golden, "fried-like," crunchy texture on the outside!
If using a block of mozzarella, cut the cheese crosswise into 1/4" slices. You should have about 14 pieces). If using cheese sticks, cut them in half. Set the cheese aside while you prepare the breading stations.
Have ready three shallow bowls or trays for a dredging station. In the first tray, mix together the flour and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. In the second tray, whisk together the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water. In the third tray, combine the Italian breadcrumbs, panko bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and garlic powder.
Fully coat each piece of cheese in the flour and shake off the excess. Submerge in the egg mixture, allow excess to drip off, and then transfer to the tray of breadcrumbs. Coat thoroughly, applying gentle pressure as needed to ensure the coating adheres. Do not discard of the egg or the breadcrumb mix.
Have ready a small pan, tray, or container lined with wax or parchment paper. Place the cheese sticks in the container, separating each layer with a sheet of wax paper and transfer to the freezer for 30-45 minutes.
Return the cheese sticks to the breading station and submerge each one in the egg mixture, allow excess to drip off, and then transfer to the tray of breadcrumbs. Apply gentle pressure to make sure the crumb adheres and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour more.
Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 10 minutes. Remove the cheese from the freezer and mist the tops and sides with the nonstick cooking spray. Flip and mist the other side.
Line the basket with parchment paper and spritz the paper with cooking spray. Add a single layer of cheese sticks to the basket of the air fryer and cook at 400°F for 6 minutes. Remove the cheese and repeat twice more with the remaining cheese.
The Anthony Kitchen