These Low FODMAP Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks are a delicious, kid-friendly low FODMAP appetizer, snack, or side dish you need at your next game day, super bowl, or holiday party!
Savory and crisp on the outside with ooey gooey mozzarella cheese in the middle, these homemade mozzarella sticks are even more appetizing when dipped in my easy homemade recipe of Low FODMAP Pizza Sauce! Conveniently prepared in advance and frozen until you're ready to serve, these low FODMAP mozzarella sticks are also Keto, low carb, gluten-free, and grain-free.
Please note: although low FODMAP, this mozzarella sticks recipe is high in fat, which can be an additional symptom trigger for some people with IBS.
Is mozzarella low FODMAP?
For individuals who malabsorb lactose, Monash University's Low FODMAP Diet App lists mozzarella cheese as low FODMAP in small servings of up to ¼ cup or 40 grams per serving. Each mozzarella stick contains about 10 grams of mozzarella, allowing a low FODMAP serving of 4 sticks. Personally, I have no problem tolerating lactose or fat and can enjoy up to 8 sticks in a single serving.
Low FODMAP Appetizer, Snack, or Side Dish
An eternity ago when I was a teenager, I worked at Arby's. One of my favorite Arby's menu items was mozzarella sticks.
While not nearly as easy as just ordering off the Arby's menu, this low FODMAP, air fryer version of a favorite fast food appetizer, snack, or side is made from healthier ingredients and air fried. I was inspired to create them while developing my low FODMAP pizza sauce recipe, which also makes a great dip for things like breadsticks and these mozzarella sticks.
Make Ahead, Freeze, and Air Fry Later
These low FODMAP air fryer mozzarella sticks can be made in advance of your party or movie night, frozen for up to 3 months, and then thrown in the air fryer when you're ready to serve them. I highly recommend making these in advance as they are a bit of a labor of love. Once made and in the freezer, it's so easy to just throw them in the air fryer as they only take 4 minutes to cook (plus the time to preheat the air fryer).
If you prefer to serve them the same day you make them, you will need at least two hours to allow them to freeze before cooking them in the air fryer.
The equipment I use to make these Low FODMAP Air Fryer Mozzarella sticks includes:
- Air fryer (I use a Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-quart Air Fryer)
- Food processor (unless you use pre-crushed pork rinds / pork panko)
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- Large mixing bowls x 2
- Large zip top freezer bag (if freezing for longer than 2 hours)
Ingredients & Instructions
Mozzarella string cheese
For this mozzarella sticks recipe, I use eight sticks of mozzarella string cheese, cut in half. This creates 16 mozzarella sticks in the end, four of which are a low FODMAP serving if one malabsorbs lactose.
To my knowledge, these string cheese mozzarella sticks do not come in lactose-free versions; however, if you happen to see lactose-free string mozzarella cheese somewhere, please leave a comment below to let our community know!
Breading: Dry Ingredients
For the main parts of the breading, I use a mixture of blanched almond flour and crushed pork rinds, also known as pork panko. Pork panko is a common breading ingredient in Keto recipes as it is very low carb. I also season the breading mixture with low FODMAP Italian seasoning (homemade or store-bought) and salt, the quantity of which will vary depending on the saltiness of the pork rinds.
Add the almond flour, pork panko, low FODMAP Italian seasoning and salt to a large mixing bowl.
Whisk the breading ingredients together until combined.
How to make Pork Panko
Add whole pork rinds to a large bowl of a food processor. About 1 ⅓ cups whole pork rinds equals ⅓ cup crushed (the amount this recipe calls for).
Process for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed with a spatula. Spatula pork panko into a measuring cup to ensure you have correct quantity. Repeat with additional pork rinds if needed.
Breading: Wet Ingredients
To adhere the breading to the mozzarella sticks, I use a mixture of egg and garlic-infused olive oil.
Add the egg and garlic-infused olive oil to a separate large mixing bowl.
Whisk together until combined.
Breading the Mozzarella Sticks
To bread the mozzarella sticks, I dredge them in the egg mixture and then the breading mixture twice to leave as few holes for the mozzarella to drip through as possible. To make make this as clean as I can, I designate my left hand as my "egg bowl hand" and my right hand as my "breading bowl hand" and try to use only the designated hand in each of their respective bowls. This reduces the amount of breading that gets stuck to my hands and subsequently wasted.
Use your "egg bowl hand" to coat the mozzarella stick in egg. Once coated, lift and shake the stick to allow as much excess egg to drip back in the bowl as possible. Drop the egg-coated mozzarella stick into the breading bowl. Gloves are optional (I had a cut on my hand that day, so I wore a glove).
Using your "breading bowl hand," bury the mozzarella stick in breading. Try not to touch the stick with your "breading bowl hand" until the stick coated in breading. Once coated, lift and shake off the excess breading. Still using your "breading bowl hand," drop the stick back into the egg bowl and repeat the steps.
Top tip: If you see a bare spot, redredge the spot in egg and breading until it is covered. Some oozing through the breading will inevitably occur no matter what, but the fewer bare spots there are, the less this occurs.
Place breaded mozzarella sticks on prepared baking sheet. Stick in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours.
Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Place mozzarella sticks on the cooking tray so they are not touching.
Air fry the mozzarella sticks in a preheated air fryer for 4 minutes at 400°F, gently flipping the mozzarella sticks with tongs halfway through. Do not squeeze them too hard with the tongs or they will lose their shape. Cooking times may vary by air fryer.
Hint: mozzarella sticks should be removed from the air fryer just after they start to ooze.
Precooked mozzarella sticks can be stored in a zip top bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. I suggest only cooking as many as you plan on consuming as they do not stand up well to reheating.
Low FODMAP Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks (Low Carb, Grain-Free)
- 8 sticks of mozzarella string cheese, cut in half
- ⅓ cup blanched almond flour
- ⅓ cup crushed pork rinds, a.k.a. pork panko*
- 1 ½ teaspoons Low FODMAP Italian Seasoning, homemade or store-bought
- ¼-½ teaspoon salt*
- 1 large egg
- ½ tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil
- Avocado oil cooking spray, or your cooking spray of choice
Dipping Sauce (Optional):
- ½ cup of Low FODMAP Pizza Sauce, or your preferred dipping sauce
- Prepare baking sheet: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Prepare dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, crushed pork rinds, Italian seasoning, and salt until combined.
- Prepare wet ingredients: In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together egg and garlic-infused olive oil until combined.
- Bread mozzarella sticks: Designate your left hand as your “egg bowl hand” and your right hand as your “breading bowl hand.” Using your “egg bowl hand,” dredge a piece of mozzarella in egg. Once coated, lift the stick and allow as much excess egg to drip back into the bowl as possible. Then, drop the coated stick into the breading bowl, and using your “breading bowl hand,” bury the stick in breading until lightly coated, lifting it up and shaking off the excess breading. Drop the stick back into the egg bowl, using your “egg bowl hand” to dredge it again in egg. Drop it back into the breading bowl, using your “breading bowl hand” to bury it in breading until coated, ensuring there are no bare spots. Place breaded mozzarella stick on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the mozzarella sticks are breaded.
- Freeze: Place baking sheet in the freezer and freeze a minimum of two hours. Optional: transfer frozen sticks to a large, zip top freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Prepare dipping sauce (optional): if using it for dipping, about a half hour prior to cooking the mozzarella sticks (while they're still freezing), prepare my Low FODMAP Pizza Sauce. You will only need up to half of it for these mozzarella sticks, so save the other half for a future batch mozzarella sticks or to make my Low FODMAP Keto "Meatza" (Pizza with a Meat Crust).
- Air fry: Once ready to cook, if your air fryer doesn’t have an internal preheat function, preheat air fryer for 10 minutes at 400°F. If using an Instant Pot Vortex Plus 10-quart Air Fryer (what I use), place the drip tray in the bottom of the air fryer and close the door. Hit the “Air Fry” button, set the temperature to 400°F, the timer to 4 minutes, and press "Start." The Vortex will start preheating. During the preheat, place the mozzarella sticks on one of the cooking trays so they are not touching and spray the tops lightly with cooking spray.
- Once prompted to “Add food,” set the tray with the mozzarella sticks on the center rung and close the door. Air fry for 4 minutes,* gently flipping with tongs and lightly spraying the other side with cooking spray once prompted to “Turn Food” or simply halfway through the cooking time. Remove promptly from the air fryer.
- Serve: Serve mozzarella sticks immediately, on their own or dipped in my homemade Low FODMAP Pizza Sauce. So good!
- Store: I suggest only cooking as many mozzarella sticks as you plan to consume as they do not keep well or reheat easily. Store precooked mozzarella sticks frozen in a zip top freezer bag for up to 3 months.
- Serving size: Low FODMAP in 4-stick servings for those who malabsorb lactose. I don’t have a problem tolerating lactose or fat and can consume up to 8 sticks in a single serving.
- Crushed pork rinds (a.k.a. pork panko) – while they haven’t been tested for FODMAPs, unflavored pork rinds are generally believed to be low FODMAP, although they are high in fat, which can be an additional symptom trigger for some people with IBS. It is possible to buy pork rinds / pork panko pre-crushed; however, I make my own with a food processor using whole pork rinds. About 1 ⅓ cups of whole pork rinds equals ⅓ cup crushed. I would not recommend crushing by hand. See "How to Make Pork Panko" section above for more details and tips on making own pork panko.
- Salt – Some pork rinds are saltier than others. If the pork rinds you use are on the salty side, you may want to only add about ¼ teaspoon salt. I am a salt fiend and always add ½ teaspoon, even if my pork rinds are incredibly salty!
- Cooking times will vary by air fryer model. The best time to remove the mozzarella sticks is when you see the cheese for one or two just start to ooze through the breading.
- Nutritional information below does not include data for dipping in low FODMAP pizza sauce. See that recipe for its nutritional details.