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spicy parmesan breaded mozzarella sticks w/ sriracha ketchup

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Well, that was an exciting weekend of football!  This year (and every year for the past decade) we are hosting friends for the Big Game.  I’ve been putting together my menu packed with easy appetizers that I can make ahead, like these Spicy Mozzarella Sticks which can be prepared and frozen for future entertaining.  I serve them up with a dipping sauce all of my guests approve of – homemade sriracha ketchup.

The first step to creating the perfect mozzarella stick at home is by choosing the right cheese.  I know a lot of people use individual string cheese, but I much prefer a high quality block of mozzarella.  String cheese is just mozzarella cheese that has been headed, making it stretchier and stringy.  This stringy quality can actually cause the cheese to seize up in a mozz stick, so I prefer using regular mozzarella.  Plus, when you use a block, you can cut the sticks into any size (or shape) you want!

Next comes the breading, which you can take in all kinds of directions.  I always start with a base of seasoned breadcrumbs and panko, which gives you an even coating with a crunch.  Since I wanted these to be a bit spicy, I added my favorite spice to kick up the heat – New Mexico Chili Powder.  If you don’t have this smoky, sweet and spicy chili powder in your pantry, you’re missing out!  It has such great depth of flavor and I put it in all kinds of things from tacos to chili.  I’m also adding shredded parmesan to these sticks for an extra nutty, cheesy flavor.

Breading mozzarella cheese is super easy.  I pat my sticks down with flour, then they go into the egg (shaking off the excess) and finally into the breadcrumb mixture.  The trick to then getting a perfect (non-exploding) fry is to freeze the breaded sticks for 15 minutes before dropping them into the oil.  Here’s where you could also choose to just leave the mozzarella sticks in the freezer for a later date.  These freeze super well so they are a great make-ahead food for entertaining.

When the Big Game is about to begin, you have a couple of choices.  These can be baked or fried (pan or deep).  I chose to pan fry these sticks in coconut oil, but feel free to use what method fits your menu/lifestyle best.  Mozzarella sticks do not need a lot of fry time, just enough seconds to crisp up the breading and melt the center of the cheese.

These wouldn’t be the perfect spicy mozzarella sticks without the perfect spicy dipping sauce.  We often have kids over for football parties, so ketchup is always around.  Ketchup is one of the very few sauces my 4 year old will eat, actually, maybe the only sauce he will eat.  I spiced up this ketchup with another favorite condiment around our house – sriracha.  These two were just meant to be together and work as a great dipping sauce for just about any fried or baked food!  Try French’s Ketchup which uses real ingredients, like real sugar and high quality tomatoes – and no GMO’s.

When choosing a ketchup for my family and guests, I always look for one without high fructose corn syrup.  French’s Ketchup not only contains no GMOs or high fructose corn syrup, but also no preservatives or artificial flavors and colors.  This better-for-you option comes from a company who also gives back.  French’s has partnered up with Feeding America to help the community by donating 10 million meals in 2017.  I found French’s Ketchup at Walmart in the aisle with other condiments like mustard and soy sauce.

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spicy parmesan breaded mozzarella sticks w/ sriracha ketchup

  • 2 lb mozzarella block, cut into 1 inch sticks
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 3-4 Tbl New Mexico chili powder
  • 2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • oil for frying
  • 3 eggs
  • French’s Ketchup
  • sriracha
  1. In a shallow dish, mix together bread crumbs, panko, parmesan, New Mexico chili powder and salt.  In another bowl, wisk eggs.
  2. Dust mozzarella sticks with flour.  Submerge in egg mixture, shake off excess.  Roll in breading mixture and set on a prepared baking sheet (covered with parchment paper).  Place prepped mozzarella sticks in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. In a pan over medium heat, bring oil to 365 degrees and keep it there.  Drop mozzarella sticks into hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds.  Remove and put on a paper towel to drain.
  4. In a dipping bowl, combine ketchup and sriracha (to taste).  Serve with warm mozzarella sticks.

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1 Comment

  1. January 24, 2017 at 11:29 am — Reply

    Homemade Mozzarella sticks are an awesome game time snack, your sriracha ketchup is a serious added bonus the whole gang is sure to love! [client]

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