Mozzarella sticks have long been one of my favorite appetizers. In fact, on one of my very first dates in high school, I was too nervous to choose a meal, so all I ordered was a basket of mozzarella sticks. Really.
While I still love those mozzarella sticks at a restaurant…ooey…gooey…crispy! Ah! I just simply can’t bring myself to fry them at home. Something about actually seeing and smelling all of that oil gives me the heeby jeebies.
So of course, it then came time to bake some! And oh my gosh! These were so delicious! They’d be super fab on their own, but paired with marinara or tomato soup they are Ah-mazing!
*Beware of the time on these! You must freeze the cheese overnight for this recipe to be a success!
Baked Mozzarella Balls
Recipe from Peas & Crayons
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut in chunks
¼ cup flour
1-2 egg whites, whisked
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
½ tsp Italian seasoning (or a dash each basil, oregano, marjoram, & garlic powder)
Place the mozzarella chunks, spaced apart on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1-2 hours, then move to a freezer bag and continue freezing overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet (the mozzarella chunks should still be in the freezer at this time).
Set three small, shallow bowls, side by side, next to the prepared baking sheet. In the first bowl, place the flour. Egg whites in the second bowl, and panko crumbs and Italian seasoning combined in the third.
Take the mozzarella chunks from the freezer. Working quickly, dunk each chunk into the flour, followed by the egg white (let the excess drip off) and lastly into the panko mixture. Place each coated cube onto the prepared baking sheet (on top of the cooling rack). Once the mozzarella balls are all coated, place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes or until the mozzarella balls are browned and the cheese is melted.
Serve as an appetizer or atop a delicious bowl of tomato soup.