Healthy Fried Cheese Sticks

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I used to love fried cheese sticks in high school and college and would even order these as my meal in restaurants. Something about the crispy breadcrumb fried exterior of mozzarella sticks combined with a warm, melty center is the ultimate comfort food. They go really well as an appetizer with these crispy Korean chicken wings too.

Since we don’t eat grains, all-purpose flour, or vegetable oils anymore, I decided to find a healthier way to fry food at home. I started with homemade chicken tenders and moved on from there. My kids quickly requested fried cheese sticks so I gave it a try. Several tries, actually. The end result was delicious, grain-free, and much cheaper too!

Homemade Fried Cheese Sticks

My quest to make cheese sticks healthier included using a grain-free coating. From other recipes, I knew that almond flour worked great, so I decided to go with that. I added some salt and a good amount of Italian seasoning and called it good.

By dipping the cheese into at least two layers of beaten egg and seasoned almond flour to double coat I get pretty good results.

In my cheese stick experimentation, the two most important things I learned were:

  • Make sure there’s enough almond flour on the cheese sticks or the cheese will leak out.
  • Make sure that the cheese is frozen to start or it will be too melty before the coating cooks and seals it in.

Freezing Tip: If you don’t want to fry (and potentially eat!) a whole batch of these mozzarella sticks at once, you store them in the freezer after breading and just fry a couple at a time as needed.

Frying the Mozzarella Sticks Recipe

The other key step to making healthier fried cheese sticks is to use a healthy fat source for frying. I don’t like to use peanut oil or canola oil, so I usually use tallow (rendered beef fat) or coconut oil. Both contain healthy fats and have a high smoke point, making them excellent for frying. Olive oil is a healthy oil, but not the best for frying (unless you want a smoky kitchen!).

If you haven’t used tallow before, don’t be afraid to try it! I like its mild flavor and healthy fat profile. Not familiar with tallow? I write more about it in my post for parsnip fries (which are delicious!) and get it from Thrive Market. You can re-use tallow or lard several times — just store it in the fridge.

An Alternative to Frying: the Air Fryer!

Since I originally published this post, air fryers have become a thing. I’ve experimented with mine quite a bit and have enjoyed making healthy recipes like zucchini fries. Also, air fryer sweet potato fries are waayyy tastier than oven-baked.

When I decided to update this post I figured I’d try cooking them in the air fryer, which worked beautifully. They’re nice and crispy, just like the deep-fried ones. I did learn though, that since they don’t cook quite as rapidly in the air fryer, the cheese tends to leak out more easily. So keep an eye on them. Once they’re browned and the cheese starts to drip out, take them out.

If you’re interested, this is the air fryer I have.

Healthy Cheese Sticks Recipe

A grain-free homemade take on mozzarella cheese sticks that uses almond flour for breading.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Freezing time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 47 minutes
Calories 142kcal
Author Katie Wells


20 cheese sticks


Oil for frying


  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper and set aside.
  • Cut the block of cheese into sticks. I like mine about ½” x ½” x 3”.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and water.
  • In a medium-size shallow dish, stir together the almond flour, Italian seasoning, and salt.
  • Dredge each cheese stick first into the beaten egg and then into the almond flour mixture, setting the breaded sticks onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat the above step, dipping each cheese stick into the beaten egg and almond flour a second time. Make sure the cheese is completely covered or it will leak out when you cook it.
  • Place the baking sheet of cheese sticks into the freezer and freeze for about 3-4 hours or until the cheese is completely frozen.
  • In a medium-sized skillet add enough tallow, lard, or coconut oil to reach a depth of 1½-2 inches.
  • Preheat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. If you drop a bit of the almond flour into the hot oil and it bubbles and starts to float, the oil is ready.
  • Remove the cheese from the freezer and fry 3 or 4 at a time in the heated oil for a couple of minutes until they turn golden brown.
  • Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the fried cheese sticks from the skillet and onto some paper towels to drain.
  • Repeat frying with the remaining cheese sticks until they're all cooked.


Nutrition Facts
Healthy Cheese Sticks Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cheese stick)
Calories 142 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 0.003g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 42mg14%
Sodium 210mg9%
Potassium 29mg1%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 192IU4%
Vitamin C 0.004mg0%
Calcium 139mg14%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


To air fry: Spritz the breaded, frozen cheese sticks with oil, then air fry at 400°F for about 5 minutes.
Serve these with homemade marinara or pizza sauce!

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What was your favorite “bad” food before switching to a real food diet? Do you like cheese sticks? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


38 responses to “Healthy Fried Cheese Sticks”

  1. Belita Avatar

    These were also my favorite before making the changes in our diet this past year!! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  2. Sierra Avatar

    Could you do all the preparations before cooking them and then freeze them? I thought it might be nice to prepare a bunch of them to cook at a later period.

  3. Jane Rattray Avatar
    Jane Rattray

    I made these using string cheese…no messy goo! They were salty though, will omit next time! Thanks go sharing!

  4. Michele Avatar

    Where do you get your almond flour? I looked through your resources and I can’t find where to get almond flour other than amazon. Is that where you get yours? Also, can I use coconut flour instead of almond flour because of cost?

  5. Christi Woods Avatar
    Christi Woods

    Any chance this could be modified to fry pickles.. That’s my southern food vice

  6. Tina Avatar

    I just started going gluten free. Yesterday I cleaned out all the glutenous foods and today I decided to try this recipe. Well I must say, I made a good choice!! Your recipe for cheese sticks was phenominal!!! Loved them! If I can make at least half of the non glutenous foods taste as good as this then there will be no problem staying gluten free for life. This is one happy girl 🙂

  7. Elizabeth Fox Avatar
    Elizabeth Fox

    Wow. These were amazing! I made my own Italian seasoning and then followed the recipe exactly. I fried them in coconut oil and served them with a simple homemade marinara sauce. By far my new favorite recipe!!

  8. Kristi R. Avatar
    Kristi R.

    Hey, I read that you shouldn’t use coconut oil over 375 degrees? Is that true why is that?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      You basically don’t want to heat it high enough for it to oxidize. It should actually be fine to at least 400, or you can substitute lard or tallow, which have higher smoke points.

  9. Jennifer Avatar

    Yum! I made these tonight to have with supper! They were delicious! I fried them in lard…can I save the leftover lard and use it again? Should I just put it in a glass container? Thanks for the great recipe!

  10. Buttoni Avatar

    These look absolutely delicious!   I’ve never fried cheese before and am eager to try these! 

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Preferably from grass fed cows… We get it from us wellness meats… The link is in the resources page 🙂

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      A regular block, though fresh could work, as long as it was well frozen, i think.

  11. Wanda Avatar

    I would use my deep fryer… I melt the tallow in the removable pan in the oven then put the element in and it works! Not supposed to use it with solid fats, but I do anyways 🙂 I have been looking for a mozzarella stick recipe, thanks so much!

    1. Antonia Avatar

      I’ve been thinking about putting tallow in my deep fryer. Good to know it can be done!

  12. Greta Avatar

    Do you think the almond flour can be substituted for something else?  Maybe coconut flour? 

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I tried with coconut flour and it worked, but the texture wasn’t nearly as good, and it tasted different. You could do it, but the almond flour tastes a lot like the regular ones.

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