If you think mozzarella sticks are just for kids, think again. This Italian-American classic is making a comeback at restaurants and parties across the country. But what exactly are mozzarella sticks? And how do you eat them?
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about these delicious snacks.
Make a complete cheesy meal by pairing your favorite mozzarella sticks with barbecue, salad, fried eggs, or guacamole, just to name a few.
How Good are Mozzarella Sticks?
Mozzarella sticks are a great source of protein, calcium, and vitamin B12. They also provide you with vitamin A, which is crucial for healthy vision and bone growth.
Mozzarella sticks are made from mozzarella cheese that has been breaded in flour and egg before being fried. They’re often served with marinara sauce on the side or served as an appetizer at restaurants like McDonald’s or Applebee’s (or even Taco Bell at one point).
They’re a tasty treat for both kids and adults to enjoy with the stringy, creamy hot centers of mozzarella cheese encased in a seasoned breadcrumb crust. They’re a crowd pleaser at every party, but you don’t need to throw a party to enjoy them.
They’re good on their own, but if you want something more than a snack, then pair them up for a nutritious and filling meal.
What Goes Well with Mozzarella Sticks?
This is practically a never ending list. Everything goes well with mozzarella sticks. Instead of going on and on, here’s the top sides to enjoy with your favorite mozzarella sticks.
Barbecue is an excellent choice for those who want something that’s a bit more on the savory side. First, try adding some barbeque sauce to your mozzarella sticks. It’ll add some spice and tang to them, making them taste even better than they usually do!
You can also try pairing them with barbeque potato chips or pork chops (if you’re willing to get adventurous). Barbeque chicken is another option–it’s great if you want something lighter than red meat but still has plenty of flavor.
Finally, if you’re looking for something sweet and spicy at once then go ahead and grab some barbeque ribs while they’re hot off the grill!
2. Potato salad
Potato salad is a great side to serve with mozzarella sticks. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals that contribute to your overall health. One serving of potato salad provides about one-fourth of your daily vitamin C needs, as well as a significant amount of potassium (239 mg) and vitamin K (19 mcg).
This great picnic side and its tangy flavors compliment the savory tastes of mozzarella sticks nicely.
3. Fresh Salad
Whether it’s seasonal vegetables or crisp romaine, a fresh tossed salad is a great side with any meal and especially mozzarella sticks. This is a great option for either lunch or dinner.
Not only is it tasty, but incredibly healthy. Think about tossing in some fresh herbs for some extra digestive benefits.
When pairing a fresh salad with your mozzarella sticks, it’s best if you set aside your favorite creamy dressing for something lighter like a vinaigrette. The cheese/dairy based dressings may overdo the dairy when you’re eating it alongside mozzarella sticks.
4. Baked beans
Baked beans are a classic side dish that goes well with mozzarella sticks. They’re also a great way to get some protein and fiber in your diet, which can be hard to come by if you’re eating out of the box all the time.
Baked beans are easy to make, so they’ll be ready before your sticks even hit the table!
5. Crispy Vegetables
Why not bake or fry up some of your favorite vegetables? Having a side with similar textures will make an incredibly pleasing meal.
How about tossing some broccoli florets or asparagus in the air fryer and enjoying all the crispy goodness at once?
6. Caesar Salad
Nothing compliments the creamy, savory flavors of mozzarella sticks like the tangy flavors in a caesar salad. This nutritious salad adds an extra pop with eggs, anchovies, and vegetables to your meal.
The great thing about any salad is that you can change little details each time and have a slightly different salad to entertain your taste buds. You’ll never get bored, no matter how many times you decide to cook up some of those mozzarella sticks stashed in your freezer.
7. Fried Eggs
Believe it or not, fried eggs are a good combination with mozzarella sticks. Cheese and eggs always go together. Plus, you don’t have to stop at the fried eggs, so why not try them alongside an omelet or scramble?
If you want to go for the big meal, pair your sticks with an omelet and veggies.
8. Garlic Bread
The epitome of comfort food. Fresh, stringy, and perfectly melted breaded cheese with a side of warm, buttery garlic bread. Can you ask for a better meal? Probably not.
You can either make up some homemade bread or toast up some frozen garlic bread from the grocery store. The combo makes for a great lunch, especially on a cold winter day.
Try a little something different. You’d be surprised how well the flavors of guacamole and mozzarella sticks blend.
Homemade guacamole is best as it’s fresh and more flavorful than the pre-made, store bought varieties.
Not to mention how healthy the avocados are!
10. Grilled Fish
With nearly endless options when it comes to the types of tasty fish you can bake or grill for weeks and still be surprised.
Fish and its light flavor compliments mozzarella sticks very nicely. Not only are there plenty of fish to try from salmon to cod or trout, but there are endless ways to season them. Why not experiment alongside one of your favorite treats?
If grilled fish doesn’t tickle your fancy, then try to match the crispiness of your mozzarella sticks with a good fried fish.
While it seems incredibly simplistic, pickles and their tart and sour notes are the perfect side to your savory mozzarella sticks.
Pickles will pair with so many meals and meats, they’re almost as versatile as the mozzarella sticks themselves.
Try pickles with your baked or fried sticks and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed. You can try pickled cucumbers or pickled peppers, or both.
12. Grilled Chicken
Chicken is a pretty versatile meat, it blends nicely with whatever you cook it with. Grilled chicken, whatever your favorite recipe, will work perfectly with your mozzarella sticks.
The juicy, melt-in-your-mouth chicken compliments the melted cheese inside your sticks. They even make a great sandwich together.
While grilled chicken pairs the best, you can also try wings too.
Veggies and mozzarella sticks go hand-in-hand when it comes to the perfect meal, so why not match them up with a stir-fry? It’s simple to make in your pan or wok and takes minutes.
Toss in your favorite sauce and get those crisp, crunchy veggies to eat alongside the mozzarella sticks. The different textures and flavors will keep your palate guessing the whole meal.
If you’ve never tried dipping mozzarella sticks in your favorite stew, then you’re missing out. It’s like a new take on the creamy goodness of a french onion soup.
You can go for either a meat-based or veggie-based stew for this one, it doesn’t matter. Experiment and find your favorite.
15. Dipping Sauce
The absolute easiest thing to pair with your mozzarella sticks is a dipping sauce. When it comes to choosing a sauce for you, the options are truly endless.
Whether you want a mild or sweet flavor or you enjoy some fire, the sauce makes the meal in this case.
If you’re really adventurous, why not make your own sauce at home? You can really experiment with the flavors you love.
16. Tomato Salad
The Italians have been pairing tomatoes with cheese for ages, so why not try it yourself? Salads are an excellent side for mozzarella sticks, so make a tasty tomato salad.
Chop up your favorite tomatoes and add some seasonings and olive oil to really crank up the flavor. A tangy vinaigrette would be nice too.
17. Tomato Soup
Since we mentioned tomatoes, we can’t not add tomato soup as an amazing side with mozzarella sticks. As the ultimate comfort meal, a hot bowl of tomato soup with salty mozzarella sticks.
Eat them on the side or dip them in your soup. Either way, your lunch, or dinner will be simply delightful.
18. Steak and Vegetables
While vegetables have been on this list a number of times, you can’t have a list of mozzarella stick sides without steak. Why use boring potatoes when you can pair steak and mozzarella sticks?
An epic meal would include mozzarella sticks with a side of crisp veggies and a perfectly seared steak. Packed with nutrients and delicious flavors, it’s sure to make the best dinner you’ve had in a while.
19. Pesto Pasta
Now pesto pasta has the spices and flavors to really compliment your mozzarella sticks, but any pasta will do.
Pesto pasta is an Italian favorite that will pair nicely with the creamy cheese of your sticks. You could even change things up and go for pesto pizza instead.
20. Meatballs in Marinara
With mozzarella sticks often served with a side of marinara sauce, take it up a notch and throw in some meatballs too. This is a great option at a party.
You have the marinara for your crispy mozzarella sticks and the extra bite-size protein of the meatballs. Try sticking toothpicks in each one and make them the ultimate finger food.
21. Mac and Cheese
Last, but certainly not the least on this list is another definite crowd pleaser. This extra cheesy combo will certainly send you over the edge, but the kids especially love it.
A cheese-lovers dream, a creamy mac and cheese is an excellent combo with mozzarella sticks.
For an extra special dish, instead of topping your mac and cheese casserole with breadcrumbs, top it with mozzarella sticks.
How are Mozzarella Sticks Best Eaten?
Whether you cook up your mozzarella sticks in the oven or fry them to perfection is really a personal preference. Beyond that, how you eat them depends on what kind of meal you’re planning.
For a snack, pick your favorite dipping sauce or change it up a bit each time. The classic dipping sauce is an herb-flavored tomato marinara. That’s not always appealing though. If you’re looking for other dipping options there’s always mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, tzatziki, garlic aioli, hot sauce, sweet chili sauce, ranch, or even honey mustard sauce.
For a meal, most people like to balance out the higher calories and salt of mozzarella sticks with something lighter like lots of vegetables and/or a light meat like grilled fish.
We hope you enjoyed our list of what to eat with mozzarella sticks. It’s a great appetizer that can be enjoyed by anyone, and we’re sure you’ll find some new combinations here!
Pair it up with any of the above combinations to make a hearty and nutritious meal out of your favorite snack!
Tiffany McCauley is a celebrated food and travel journalist and cookbook author known for her engaging stories on culinary adventures and cultural insights. With a background featuring collaborations with notable brands and publications, Tiffany brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to Fanatically Food, where she champions taste, sustainability, and the art of cooking. Read More Here