The Best Frozen Mozzarella Sticks, According to True Cheeseheads
Who knows cheese better than Wisconsinites? Our team of pro cooks and resident cheeseheads sampled cheese sticks in a blind test to find the best frozen mozzarella sticks on the market.
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Searching for the Best Mozzarella Sticks
When you’re having folks over for the big game or inviting your besties over to binge-watch the latest season of Stranger Things, some frozen snacks always seem to hop in the cart. Frozen chicken tenders and onion rings may be on your list, but we all know there’s nothing like a great mozzarella stick.
So which frozen mozzarella stick brand should you be crisping up in your air fryer? Our Test Kitchen sampled all the big brands they could get their hands on to find out.
How We Tested Frozen Mozzarella Sticks
For this taste test, we gathered up the most popular brands of frozen mozzarella sticks. Each was prepped according to package instructions and then sampled blindly by our Test Kitchen team. Every one of the eight brands we sampled was judged according to these standards:
- Appearance: Before you even take a bite, a basket of mozzarella sticks should beckon you in with a tempting appearance. We’re talking golden brown with maybe just a smidge of cheese emerging from inside (not too much, though!).
- Texture: With mozzarella sticks, we’re talking two textures. First is the exterior; it should be crisp. The inside should be gooey with that cheese pull we’re all looking for in cheesy snacks like fried cheese curds, grilled cheese and poutine.
- Flavor: The cheese in mozzarella sticks should be mild and creamy with a hint of salt. The breading should be toasty and flavorful. Some brands may lean toward the Italian seasoning side and others may be a bit milder; as long as the coating is seasoned well, that’s OK with us!
Just three made it on our list of Test Kitchen-Preferred frozen snacks. Check out our favorites!
Best Classic Mozzarella Sticks
Market Pantry Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
When you think of mozzarella sticks, you likely think of the gooey snacks you’d order at the stadium, bar or even bowling alley. There’s nothing wrong with that! Those treats are super nostalgic and downright tasty. For an at-home experience that parallels the snacks at these venues, get Market Pantry Mozzarella Cheese Sticks.
Before we get into the taste, it’s worth noting that these “are a picturesque mozzarella stick,” per Ellie Crowley in the Test Kitchen. “These have a nice golden brown exterior and no cheese oozed out.”
Beyond appearances, which are winning, these sticks are worth going in for seconds. “These have just the right amount of coating on them and have a balanced flavor,” says the Test Kitchen’s Mark Neufang.
Biting into these sticks, you’ll get a distinct crunch, just the right amount of salt and just the right proportion of stretchy mozzarella. Simply put by Mark, “This is what I expect of a mozzarella stick.”
Mozzarella Sticks with the Best Gooey Cheese
Crav’n Flavor Mozzarella Sticks
Are you all about the cheese? Stock your freezer with Crav’n Flavor Mozzarella Sticks. These frozen apps had the best cheese flavor and the most satisfying pull of ooey gooey cheese of any we tried.
If ooey gooey, creamy mozzarella wasn’t enough, these Crav’n Flavor sticks also had a satisfyingly crisp exterior. “These are nice and crunchy,” says Mark. The coating doesn’t have a prominent Italian seasoning flavor—just a nice dose of black pepper—so they’re great for pairing with any of your favorite condiments like hot sauce or even MustKetch.
One word of advice from our Test Kitchen: Keep an eye on these as they bake or air fry. A minute too long and you’ll find these may split open or ooze a little too much cheese.
Best Mozzarella Sticks with Sauce
TGI Fridays Mozzarella Sticks
A frozen mozzarella stick is nothing without a good dipping sauce. It’s often a marinara, though we know there are lots of ranch fans out there! With TGI Fridays Mozzarella Sticks you get that dip right in the box—no need to crack open a jar from the pantry.
Let’s start with the mozzarella sticks first before we get into the sauce, though. These sticks were noticeably different than any other option we tried. They’re much flatter—more of a mozzarella slab than a stick. Perhaps it’s the shape that allowed these sticks to melt more evenly giving the team the stringy cheese pull moment they were all looking for.
The mozzarella in these frozen apps is very creamy and pairs well with the golden brown breadcrumb coating which is lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of garlic. When combined with the sauce—a handy package of tangy tomato sauce layered with Italian seasoning—you get a snack worthy of any watch party.
Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products
Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing food, kitchen gadgets and cleaning gear looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
If you want to fill your pantry and fridge with the best products, check out these tests:
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