Crispy fried mozzarella balls are a delectable vegetarian appetizer or snack served with roasted tomato sauce. Any cheese lover’s dream!
I don’t know about you but crunchy, gooey fried mozzarella balls are most definitely the most dreamy appetizer to me. I mean, who could say no to that? It’s a showstopper of note. I love serving it with roasted tomato-basil sauce to cut through the richness of the cheese. But word of warning: double on this recipe because these have a knack of disappearing pretty quickly.
Full recipe and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Mozzarella balls. I used bocconcini but any baby mozzarella balls can be used.
- Breadcrumbs. I used panko but you can use fresh or dried breadcrumbs too.
- Garlic powder.
- Onion powder.
- Italian herbs.
- Oil, for frying. Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point like canola oil, sunflower oil, etc.
How to make fried mozzarella
- Mozzarella cheese: I prefer using bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls) as they are easy to work but you could absolutely use low moisture mozzarella cut into sticks to make mozzarella sticks instead. The method is 100% the same whichever you choose. Pat the cheese dry with paper towels then place on a plate/chopping board and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Breading: The breading is a simple flour, egg and breadcrumbs situation. I like to flavor the breadcrumbs with garlic powder, onion powder and Italian herbs but feel free to use any seasoning of your choice. I also double up on the flour – egg step to make sure the cheese is well covered. You could do the same with the breadcrumbs but this will result in a thick coating.
- Frying: Fry the breaded mozzarella in hot oil. You don’t want the mozzarella to melt too much as this can cause bursting/oozing. Hot oil will prevent this. You’ll know the oil is hot enough when the oil bubbles around the mozzarella as it is lowered in.
- Serving: Drain the fried mozzarella on a paper towel-lined plate before serving with roasted tomato sauce/marinara sauce. The tomato sauce cuts through the richness of the fried cheese and is the perfect accompaniment.
Freezing and making ahead
- Freezing: Freezing wouldn’t be my number one recommendation. However, the breaded, un-fried mozzarella can be frozen in a single layer until solid then transferred to a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Fry from frozen until golden brown and crisp.
- Make ahead: The mozzarella can be breaded up to an hour in advance. Keep on a wire rack in the freezer until ready to fry.
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- Mushroom arancini with mozzarella and roasted tomato sauce
- Farmers market salad with buffalo mozzarella
- Roasted Caprese tomatoes
Crispy fried mozzarella
- 400 g (14oz) Bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
- 1½ cups flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 4 extra-large eggs beaten
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp Italian herbs
- oil for frying
- tomato sauce for serving
- Dry the mozzarella with paper towels.
- Place the breadcrumbs in a large, flat bowl then season with the garlic and onion powder, salt and Italian herbs. Mix well.
- Place the seasoned flour and beaten egg in separate bowls.
- Coat the cheese first in the flour, then in the egg. Repeat this step to make sure the cheese is well covered.
- Roll the mozzarella in the breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs onto the mozzarella to ensure good coverage.
- Place on a sheet pan and place in the freezer for 20 minutes - 1 hour.
- Heat the oil in a large pot.
- Remove the mozzarella from the freezer then fry in batches until golden brown and crisp.
- Remove with a slotted spoon then place on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Serve with tomato sauce for dipping.