Hot Cheeto Mozzarella Sticks are an appetizer with a kick made with string cheese coated in crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and dipped in ranch or blue cheese dressing. If you want to start off on the mild side, I do have regular mozzarella sticks dipped in marinara sauce, too.
Flamin’ Hot Mozzarella Sticks
If you are a fan of spicy appetizers (hot buffalo wings, anyone?) and Cheetos, you will love these Hot Cheeto Mozzarella Sticks. They are coated with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and then cooked crispy in an air fryer. I will also let you know how to make these in the oven or deep-fried in oil.
Cheetos: Look for the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for the coating. Try not to eat them all before crushing them in a food processor.
Cheese: Look for mozzarella string cheese sticks to use (or regular mozzarella cheese). You could use light string cheese or the variety you have on hand.
Dipping Sauce: Although traditional mozzarella sticks are dipped in marinara sauce, it made sense to dip the Hot Cheeto Mozzarella Sticks in ranch or blue cheese dressing. The dressings complement the heat as it does with buffalo wings.
Can I Make these Without Freezing Them?
Yes, you could coat the hot Cheeto mozzarella sticks and place them directly into the air fryer. However, there is a strong possibility that the cheese will ooze out sooner than you want it to. However, it can be done if you are in a hurry to get them made.
How to Bake Mozzarella Sticks in the Oven
If you don’t have an air fryer, you can certainly bake these cheese sticks in the oven. Follow the instructions up to placing them into the air fryer. Instead, place the coated cheese sticks onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes.
How to Fry Mozzarella Sticks in Oil
Generally, mozzarella sticks are deep-fried in oil to make them extra crispy. Frying in oil also worked for these Hot Cheeto Mozzarella Sticks. To fry in oil, first, heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a heavy-bottom pot to 365°F. Once hot, add a few mozzarella sticks to the oil without crowding. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cheese sticks to a plate lined with a paper towel. If you are working in batches, be sure the oil is heated to 365°F before adding more mozzarella sticks.
How to Store Leftovers
If you have any cooked mozzarella sticks left, you can store them in the refrigerator or freeze them. To store in the refrigerator, let the cheese sticks cool completely. Then, store them in an airtight container for up to a week. If you are not going to eat them within a week, freeze them. When stored in the freezer, they can last up to 6 months. Reheat the mozzarella sticks in the air fryer or oven. I do not recommend using the microwave.
Hot Cheeto Mozzarella Sticks
- 1 bag (8.5 ounces / 6 cups) flaming hot Cheetos, crushed (3 cups)
- 12 mozzarella string cheese sticks, cut in half
- ½ cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- parsley, chopped, for garnish
- ranch or blue cheese dressing, for dipping
- Add Cheetos to the bowl of a food processor and process to a fine crumb.
- Set out three shallow bowls and a piece of parchment paper.
- In the first bowl add flour, salt, and garlic powder.
- In the second bowl, add eggs and whisk vigorously.
- In the third bowl, add Cheetos crumbs.
- Working one at a time, first, dip the mozzarella stick into the flour mixture, turning to coat all sides. Next, roll it into the eggs, coating all sides. Third, dip the mozzarella stick into the Cheetos crumbs. Finally, go back and dip the cheese stick in both the eggs and the Cheetos crumbs. The mozzarella stick should be fully coated. Place it onto the parchment paper.
- Repeat with the remaining mozzarella sticks.
- Place the coated cheese sticks into the freezer for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.
- When ready, preheat the air fryer to 390°F for 5 minutes.
- Lightly spray the mozzarella sticks with cooking spray and carefully place them into the basket of the air fryer, leaving some space in between each cheese stick. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to work in batches.)
- Air fry for 4-6 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the air fryer and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Did you make this recipe?
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