Make Air Fryer Fried Mozzarella for Melty, Gooey Cheese

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Love the golden, gooey fried mozzarella appetizer at Olive Garden? Now, you can recreate that magic at home with your air fryer! It is crispy outside with melty, ooey, gooey cheese on the inside.

It’s the perfect finger food for any gathering, guaranteed to disappear in no time and become your new favorite appetizer. Using the air fryer means it is lower in fat, calories, and guilt!

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The secret that makes this such a delicious treat is that it uses fresh mozzarella instead of cheese sticks. Fried mozzarella has a very gooey, melty center with a lightly crisp exterior. Mozzarella sticks have a chewier texture and usually have more breading.

If you’ve never tried frying fresh mozzarella, you will be amazed at the difference! In this post, I’ll explain simple steps for making fried mozzarella. Keep reading to learn how to turn a block of mozzarella into something truly magical. 

If you like gooey cheese, check out my recipes for homemade mozzarella sticks, Cheeto-coated cheese bites, or garlic cheese balls.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy.

🥘Ingredient Notes

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

  • Mozzarella log
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Eggs
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
Ingredients for a fried mozzarella laid out on a kitchen surface, including eggs, garlic powder, italian seasoning, mozzarella, and panko bread crumbs.

🥣How to Make Fried Mozzarella

  1. Start by slicing the mozzarella log into 16 slices. Then, put them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Use another paper towel to pat each one dry. A dry cheese slice means a better crunch.
  2. Now, let’s set up the breading station. In one shallow dish, whisk the eggs. In another, add the Panko, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning and stir to mix.
  3. Dip each mozzarella slice in the egg, then the panko mixture, and then do it again. The double coating makes it stick better.
  4. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F. Then add a layer of parchment paper to the basket and lay your breaded cheese medallions inside, keeping them spaced apart. You may have to cook them in batches.
  5. Set your air fryer to 390 degrees F and cook the cheese slices for 5 minutes. Flip them over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
mozzarella cheese dipped in eggs
Dip the mozzarella into the egg.
fried mozzarella
Put in Panko crumbs.
Breaded fried mozzarella placed on parchment paper inside an air fryer basket.
Air fry for five minutes.

🍴Serving Ideas

Once you’ve mastered the art of air-fried mozzarella, it’s time to think about presentation. These golden beauties are versatile and are the perfect appetizer for any party.

Serve them as an appetizer with warm marinara sauce, ranch dressing, or your favorite dipping sauce. Or drizzle them with a balsamic glaze and a sprinkle of fresh basil for a fancy twist.

For a party, create a mozzarella platter. Add these crispy medallions, some cherry tomatoes, and olives for a quick and easy caprese-inspired appetizer. 

💭How to Store

To store leftovers, let them cool completely, then place them in a single layer in an airtight container; this will help prevent sogginess. You can store them in the fridge for up to two days.

Just reheat them in the air fryer at 350° for a few minutes until they’re warm and crispy again. Microwaving is not a good idea because you will end up with a rubbery cheese disk. These won’t be as crispy when reheated as the first time you served them.

fried mozzarella


Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • Fresh mozzarella has more moisture than mozzarella sticks. So make sure you pat it dry so the breading sticks.
  • When breading, make sure each slice is thoroughly coated. Pressing the Panko onto the cheese helps it stick better.
  • Don’t skip preheating your air fryer.
  • Make sure you don’t overcrowd the basket. You may have to cook these in two or three batches.

📝Reader Questions

Can I use regular breadcrumbs instead of Panko? 

Sure, you can, but Panko will give these a lighter, airier crunch. Regular breadcrumbs will work in a pinch, but they might not have the same texture.

What if my mozzarella sticks to the air fryer basket? 

Use parchment paper in the bottom of the air fryer basket to keep them from sticking. Just make sure not to have parchment paper in the air fryer while it preheats. It can fly up into the heating element.

Can I make these in advance and reheat them later? 

Yes! They’re best when fresh, but if you want to make them ahead of time, you can reheat them in the air fryer for a quick crisp-up.

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Golden-brown fried mozzarella served on a white plate.
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Fried Mozzarella

Published By Anne
This Air Fryer Fried Mozzarella recipe delivers crispy, gooey perfection made with fresh mozzarella. Ready in under 15 minutes, these melty bites are the perfect party appetizer .
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Total Time13 minutes
Servings: 16
Print Save Rate Pin


  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese log
  • 8 ounces plain Panko crumbs
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning


  • Slice your mozzarella log into 16 slices. Transfer the slices to a paper towel-lined plate and use another paper towel to dab to remove moisture.
    16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese log
  • In a shallow bowl, break the eggs and whisk them to combine. In a separate bowl, mix the Panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
    8 ounces plain Panko crumbs, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • Place your mozzarella rounds into the egg mixture and make sure it is fully coated on each side. Then, put them in the Panko crumbs. Repeat these two steps one more time.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F.
  • Add a sheet of parchment paper to the bottom of the air fryer. Transfer your medallions to the basket. Make sure that they are not touching one another.
  • Set your air fryer to 390 degrees F and cook for five minutes. Flip them over and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. They should be crispy and brown.
  • Eat as is, or a dip in your favorite marinara sauce.


  • The time given is for one batch. You will probably have to cook these in two or three batches, depending on the size of your air fryer.
  • Fresh mozzarella has more moisture than something like mozzarella sticks. So make sure you pat them dry so the breading sticks.
  • Don’t skip preheating the air fryer. Also, never preheat the air fryer with parchment paper inside.

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Nutrition Information

Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 290mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 232IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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A plate of fried mozzarella drizzled with a light sauce.

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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