They are gooey, crispy, and delicious; they must be mozzarella sticks! You can eat them alone, share them with friends, and dip them in a lot of sauces to add flavor to this beautiful gooey cheese. But if firing up the oven and cleaning the baking tray is too much hassle for you, you will be interested to find out if mozzarella sticks can be heated from frozen in the microwave.
Did you know that mozzarella sticks are one of America’s most selected appetizers? To prove the point, mozzarella sticks were the most ordered NFL game days snack during 2020/21. That’s a lot of mozzarella sticks!
This article will delve into the cooking techniques of mozzarella sticks and answer many frequently asked questions so you can decide if to oven-cook or microwave your frozen mozzarella sticks.
Let’s get into it.
How do you cook frozen mozzarella sticks?
The conventional way and recommended way to cook mozzarella sticks are to place them in the oven. Why the oven? It heats the mozzarella slowly and provides a tremendously crunchy outer coating for the sticks.
If you cook mozzarella sticks in the oven, you would simply follow these steps:
- Remove the mozzarella from the packaging and place it on a baking tray, so there is space between each mozzarella stick.
- Cook for ten minutes.
- Allow to cool.
It is a simple process that anyone can follow, but there are occasions when it seems like the universe has conspired against you. You have forgotten to take the mozzarella sticks from the freezer, and now your appetizer looks like a distant notion.
However, all is not lost, and your appetizer can reach the table ready for the family meal.
Can you microwave frozen mozzarella cheese sticks?
Fortunately, you can with some care. Although it is not the preferred cooking choice and is not recommended on mozzarella stock packaging, it is more to do with the burn risks than the quality of the food.
When heated in a microwave, Mozzarella can become like molten lava spewing from a volcano, so care needs to be taken if you choose this cooking method.
Try this method to cook your frozen mozzarella sticks in the microwave:
- Remove the mozzarella stickers from the packaging and place them individually on a suitable plate that is microwave safe.
- Leave a gap around each mozzarella stick to allow for an eruption of mozzarella cheese. Do not stack or overlap the cheese sticks. This will cause uneven heating of the product creating cool and hot spots.
- Microwave on medium power in 30-second bursts. Flipping the mozzarella sticks with each burst of microwave energy is essential.
- When cooked through, place the microwave sticks on a paper towel on a plate and allow them to cool as you would do with conventionally cooked mozzarella sticks.
If you take this slow but easy way of microwaving mozzarella stickers, you will not compromise the quality of the cheese, and the coating should remain crispy.
If the coating has become soggy, it’s the perfect opportunity to place the mozzarella sticks in a shallow oil pan to crisp the outer breadcrumb coating before serving.
Are frozen mozzarella sticks pre-cooked?
The mozzarella inside the sticks is not pre-cooked, but why would you? It is delicious just as it is and does not require cooking. Cooking mozzarella gives it that stringy, gooey texture that is loved so much on pizzas and cheese sticks.
Mozzarella straight from the fridge is unctuous and superbly delicious with its mild creamy flavor and texture.
However, it would be natural to assume that the bread crumb coating has some cooking process to make the bread crumbs brown.
How do you know when mozzarella sticks are done?
It usually is evident as the mozzarella cheese starts to erupt from the out breadcrumb coating, but they usually are golden brown and hot to the touch.
There is no need to check the internal temperature of mozzarella sticks. The internal temperature is not critical, and eating undercooked mozzarella sticks will not make you sick.
If you are unsure and like your mozzarella sticks to be piping hot, leave them in the microwave for another 30 seconds to wait for the cheese to ooze out of the outer casing of the breadcrumbs.
What happens when you overcook mozzarella sticks?
You will make a mess of the plate or baking tray. When you overcook mozzarella sticks, they erupt, and cheese pours from the original crisp casing. It is not pretty, but it is perfectly safe to eat in this manner.
This is how mozzarella is cooked on pizza and does not lose any of its flavor or charm. If the oven is very hot, the outer breadcrumbs may burn, and the cheese may start to separate from the fats and become brown. Again, it is OK to eat.
Can you pan-fry frozen mozzarella sticks?
They can come out with a beautiful crispy breadcrumb coating from frying. However, there are some safety precautions to take.
When you remove frozen mozzarella sticks from the packaging, they can have a coating of frost. This is not a problem but be aware that placing a mozzarella stick covered in frost in hot oil could be a recipe for disaster.
The frost will instantly turn to weather and cause the hot oil to spit furiously. Over a naked flame on the gas hob, the resulting fury inside the pan caused by water and hot oil could cause a fire in the kitchen.
Assuming the mozzarella sticks are in the pan, you need to use the same spacing method as conventional and microwave cooking, leave space around the cheese sticks, and don’t stack or overlap them.
Flip the cheese sticks frequently until cooked through.
Can you air-fry frozen mozzarella sticks?
Yes. It is the perfect way to cook mozzarella sticks, and they cook in just 7 to 8 minutes. However, the term air fryer is somewhat of a misnomer, air fryers are fan-assisted ovens on a smaller scale, but they are very effective.
Select your cooking temp in the mid-range and cook at 5 minutes intervals. Erupting mozzarella in the air fryer can leave an awkward mess to clean.
How long will cooked mozzarella sticks last in the fridge?
Suppose you have friends and family over for a meal or sporting event. In that case, you will likely be preparing the ever-popular mozzarella sticks as an appetizer or just as a snack to go with a few drinks as the event plays out.
Invariably you will cook packs and packs of mozzarella sticks only to be left with a pile of these delicious cheesy sticks.
Your mozzarella stick will only last for a week in the fridge, even if packed in an airtight container. Mozzarella will turn sour because of its high milk content, and once the mozzarella turns, the cheese sticks should be placed in the garbage.
Can you freeze cooked mozzarella sticks?
It is possible to freeze mozzarella sticks. They should be allowed to cool fully before being placed in a single layer on a baking sheet, covered, and frozen for several hours or overnight. After the sticks have frozen, place them in a zip-top bag and mark the bag with the date.
How long can cooked mozzarella sticks be left out on the side?
A USDA governing food safety standards rule states that perishable foods should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
After two hours, or to be precise, two hours, the proliferation of bacteria in the food is so high that the food should be tossed in the garbage.
This will apply to all foodstuff left during your event, except condiments.
However, this is not such a bad thing, and it will allow you to serve hot mozzarella sticks by cooking in batches which is a better way to feed your guests.
By the way, cooked mozzarella sticks in the fridge are pretty yummy.
Is it safe to reheat mozzarella sticks?
If the cheese sticks are frozen solid, you should cook them at 450°F for eight to fifteen minutes. The reheating of mozzarella sticks is another excellent use for a toaster oven. Bake your sticks for eight to nine minutes, checking to see whether they’re done. Heat it to around 450°F.
How do you know when mozzarella sticks go bad?
Mozzarella has a high milk content, it’s made from milk, so it goes sour and has a particular odor of sour milk that is easy to recognize.
Bread attracts mold, so if you see mold on the outside of the mozzarella stick, they are bad, regardless of whether they smell fine.
Mold can bloom in different colors, such as black spots, green, brown, and even white, so visually inspect your mozzarella sticks if you have any doubt about their shelf life.
If you are in a pickle and have forgotten to defrost the mozzarella stick for your appetizer, it’s no big sweat. You can microwave mozzarella sticks and have a perfect product. But be aware you should heat them in small bursts of microwave energy to prevent creating an eruption in the microwave of molten mozzarella.
Freezing cooked mozzarella sticks is a good way of extending the life of this yummy cheese stick, and they will last for three months in a freezer if packaged in an airtight container.