Happy Fryday, friends! Today’s is a baked Fryday, as most will need to be from here on out (again, wedding), but it’s still shaping up to be a delicious one thanks to these here crunchy and cheesy Baked Mozzarella Bites. No frying necessary.
Mozzarella sticks are everyone’s favorite appetizer, and if you haven’t already noticed, the baked kind are all the rage on Pinterest. These babies are in that same vein, but even better because I prepared them as bite-sized pieces that make the awkward double-dipping dilemma a non-issue. I love my condiments, so the more surface-area breading for dipping, the better. I hope you feel the same way.
The major ingredient is mozzarella string cheese. To start, I used 8 sticks that I cut up into 5 pieces each for a total of 40. To help with the coating process, it’s better to start with frozen pieces, so throw them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before getting started.
The other things you’ll need: ¾ cup flour, ¾ teaspoon garlic salt, 1 beaten egg, ¾ cup panko bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ⅓ grated parmesan cheese, olive oil spray for baking, and all-important marinara sauce for dipping.
Check out the recipe instructions at the bottom for the full play-by-play, but I do want to mention how I took already shredded parmesan cheese and chopped it up even more to mix into the panko bread crumbs. This way, the cheese and panko crumbs were similar sizes to help make a better, more even breading. Plus, the parmesan gives the bites a little something extra with a nice nutty kick, and you can just never have too much cheese.
Once coated in flour, eggs and panko and parmesan, line each bite up on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil spray. Give them another once over before baking in the oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
After just a few short minutes, you’ll end up with perfectly gooey and crunchy cheese bites rich in mozzarella, parmesan, garlic and Italian flavors.
I kept my bites in the oven just a tad too long because some of the mozzarella burst right through the coating, but I don’t know, I think I preferred them that way.
Enjoy these warm and gooey with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. Bite-sized is the best size. TGIFryday.
I hope you have a lovely weekend! Brian and I are headed to Cleveland to check out wedding venues which will be both fun and overwhelming. Wish us luck!
- 8 mozzarella string cheese sticks
- ¾ cup flour
- ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ⅓ grated parmesan cheese
- olive oil spray for baking
- marinara sauce for dipping
- Cut mozzarella sticks into bite-sized pieces. Place them in the freezer until frozen, about 30 minutes.
- Once you're ready to start coating and baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
- In three shallow bowls, mix flour and garlic salt in the first, the egg in the second, and in the third bowl, mix together the panko bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.
- One at a time, dip the frozen cheese bites into the flour mixture, shake off excess, then into the egg, then into the panko mixture. Set on baking sheet.
- Once they're all on there, spray with olive oil spray.
- Bake for 4 minutes, then flip each one over and bake for another 4 minutes until browned.
- Enjoy warm with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.