Vegan Mozzarella Sticks
Updated: Nov 1
What's better than deep fried, VEGAN CHEESE? Let's VEGANIZE the CLASSIC appetizer!
If you're vegan and miss Mozzarella Sticks, fret not, these are for you! And if you're not vegan but curious about these, then you also shouldn't fret, and give them a try! The only difference I can see between these and non-vegan mozzarella sticks, is the cheese doesn't stretch forever. But like I say in the video, I remember being slightly annoyed whenever I'd eat these or pizza and have the cheese just drip everywhere, especially when it's molten hot, it'll just burn the heck out of your face and hands!
Other than that, all the cheesy, crispy goodness is intact!
For these, there's really two methods, the quick and easy, and the slightly more time consuming method. You can totally use store-bought vegan mozzarella if you want, but personally, I think making your own homemade mozzarella is way worth the time and effort. Not only is it tastier, but it's way cheaper too! That being said, if you are going to buy some cheese, I highly suggest Miyoko's Mozzarella for this recipe.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I was afraid to make my own cheese at home, it seemed like such alchemy, but it's honestly not too bad, especially after a couple attempts. The only piece of equipment I would highly suggest is a high speed blender as it will make the cheese a lot smoother.
This mozzarella recipe is based on this ONE by Nora Cooks. She's got a bunch of great cheese recipes as does Lacey over at Avocados and Ales, check out her site HERE. And lastly but not leastly, Sauce Stache has a bunch of great videos where he experiments with some different wacky ingredients. Check out his channel HERE!
Ingredient Notes / Modifications
Speaking of wacky ingredients, the wackiest ones that you need for this is the Kappa Carrageenan and Tapioca Starch. I found the Kappa online at the Modernist Pantry site HERE. The Tapioca Starch (aka Tapioca Flour) should be available at most grocery stores, but if not, it should be available online too. You can also use Agar Agar instead of the Kappa, check the Nora Cooks recipe for that! Click HERE for that recipe.
Like nutritional yeast (which helps with a cheesy flavor), tapioca starch and kappa carrageenan are popular in vegan cheese recipes because they help impart a cheesy texture. The tapioca helps it stretch while the kappa is what causes the cheese to solidify so it's not just a sauce.
The only other possibly wacky ingredient is the pepper brine that I use. Typically lemon juice or vinegar are used for mozzarella, but I like things to have a little kick so I prefer using brines from pepper jars. I use some from a jar of THESE PEPPERS! But you can use whatever you like, lemon and vinegar work fine too!
I'm also using MSG so if you don't want to use that, then use some salt instead. In this recipe for the wet dredge, I'm using Just Egg. If you don't have access or don't want to use it, just sub it for some plant milk and apple cider vinegar to make a vegan buttermilk.
Since this is Mozzarella, it is a mild tasting cheese. Feel free to add garlic powder, more nooch or salt if you want something with a bit more flavor. You can even add some smoked paprika for a smoked Mozzarella, you can really customize it however you like!
Here's a video showing you how I made these too!
Tips for frying Mozzarella sticks
Use an electric Deep Fryer like this FryDaddy.
If not using an electric deep fryer, get a deep fry thermometer. You can use a different one if you fry in a pan, but for my money, the deep fry thermometer has been a big help. I like to fry at 375° F.
Use a wire rack after frying to prevent the mozz sticks from steaming and getting soggy. You can also keep them warm in the oven on a wire rack. Just set the oven to lowest setting possible. Mine goes down to 170° F as an example.
Don't use olive oil to fry. You need to use something with a high smoke point, I usually fry with peanut or vegetable oil.
For the vegan buttermilk, really let the plant-milk and vinegar sit for a good 5 -10 minutes. I have found that different plant-milks will thicken more or less. If it's not thick enough, add some more vinegar.
Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
Use a fork when dredging in the vegan egg / buttermilk and breadcrumbs.
You can freeze these for later, just Air Fry to reheat (I would do it at 380° in 5 - 6 minute increments and check until it's heated through). Or if using an oven, preheat to 400° F and let the Chick'n sit at room temperature while the oven heats up. Then cook on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes.
Air Fryer Option
Line your Air Fryer with some parchment paper that you've poked holes with (the parchment paper keeps the batter from sticking to the air fryer). Make sure not to crowd the air fryer, you don't want any pieces touching. Next, spray the mozz sticks with some cooking spray, you want to make sure you don't see any dry spots. Then flip them and spray again.
Air Fry for about 6 minutes at 380° F, then flip and spray them again, and repeat the process until they are at your desired doneness!
One important note, DO NOT preheat your Air Fryer with the parchment paper. Otherwise the paper will fly into the coils and cause a fire! NOOOO!
If you are interested in recommendations for Kitchen Gear, Spices & Pantry Items, or what I use for my Photos and Videos, please click HERE!
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Per 12 oz of Mozzarella
Makes about 24 Mozzarella Sticks
4 cups breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste
1 2/3 cup Just egg
OR use 1 2/3 cup unsweetened plant milk and 1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup vegan butter (melted but not hot)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 Tbsp kappa carrageenan
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp MSG (or use salt)
3 Tbsp brine from a pepper jar (such as THIS) or use vinegar or lemon juice
1 1/2 cups plant milk (unsweetened) I used Ripple!
1 tsp garlic powder
More nutritional yeast
1 tsp smoked paprika (for a smoked mozzarella)
To make the mozzarella, cover the cashews in boiling water for 10 minutes to soften them.
Get a glass or heat proof container ready, this is gonna serve as your cheese mold. You're gonna pour the cheese straight from the blender.
Add all the cheese ingredients EXCEPT the plant milk and cashews to a high speed blender.
Bring the plant milk to a boil, then add the cashews and plant milk to the blender.
Blend on high for about 1 minute or so. If you need to use a tamper or spatula do so quickly.
Once you feel like the cheese has been well blended, quickly transfer it to your heat proof container. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight is what I usually do. You can leave it uncovered if you want a dryer cheese too.
After the cheese has had time to solidify in the fridge, take it out and cut it up into your desired sized sticks.
Prepare your dredging station. In one bowl combine the ingredients for the bread crumb station, in another bowl, the flour station, and then in a third bowl, the wet station.
Dredge your mozzarella sticks first in the flour, then the wet, then the breadcrumbs. Back to the wet and then finish with another coating of breadcrumbs. Make sure to shake off the excess each time. You can use a fork for the wet and breadcrumb stations to keep your hands clean.
Once all your sticks are coated let them rest on a wire rack or parchment lined baking sheet.
Bring a pot of oil to 350 - 375 degrees fahrenheit.
Carefully fry your mozzarella sticks for about 2 minutes each or until golden brown. Let them rest on a wire rack.
Once cool enough to eat (careful, that cheese will be HOT) serve up with some Marinara or Ranch or whatever you want!