These flavorful, crispy air-fried cheese balls are made with marinated mozzarella cheese balls, parmesan and panko. TIP: Give the crumb-coated mozzarella balls some time in the freezer before air-frying. I recommend at least an hour, preferably overnight for perfectly air-fried and crispy mozzarella bites!They are so good that you should probably make a double batch!
*Time in freezer - at least one hour preferably until completely frozen1hr
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 41 oz servings (about three mozzarella balls)
Add panko, parmesan and seasoning to a small bowl and stir to combine.
Prepare a small container with non-stick foil or parchment. (*This will need to fit in your freezer.)
Spoon 2-3 tbsp oil from the marinated mozzarella balls over the bottom of the container you will use to freeze the cheese bites.
Remove cheese balls from the oil marinade with a slotted spoon and roll in the breadcrumbs. *Press the crumbs into the balls.
Place crumb-coated balls in the prepared container and freeze them for at least an hour, preferably overnight, or until frozen. *Reserve any remaining seasoned bread crumbs and freeze with the mozzarella balls.
When frozen or very cold and firm, remove the mozzarella balls from freezer and spray oil or drizzle oil over the tops. If there are any bare spots, sprinkle more crumbs over them.
*Very carefully, place the frozen balls into your air fryer tray in a single layer, not touching each other and fry at 450°F until browned. About four to five minutes total. Remove from the air fryer immediately if they start to melt.
Immediately remove from the hot tray and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. Serve with optional dipping sauces, or plain! I used light ranch dressing drizzled with the herbed olive oil from the marinated mozzarella balls.
*Nutritional values do not include optional dipping sauces. Also, much of the oil will be left in the bottom of the air fryer and pan and not consumed. *Spray oil instead of the herbed oil "marinade" will also work. You can try cutting them in half for more bites, but they will melt faster.I discovered mozzarella bites at Twin Peaks while we were there to celebrate a friend's birthday! The guys really enjoy the "atmosphere" :) The waitstaff was very friendly and well-trained too. These bites are so crispy and flavorful, that I knew I had to come up with a copycat version! I'm pretending that the air-fryer makes them super healthy! Well, I think they are probably healthier than deep frying! There is no need to dip the cheese balls in egg, but for a thicker coating, feel free to roll the cheese balls in whisked egg prior to rolling and pressing them into the panko. I tried both ways and no egg worked great!