Fried Mozzarella Olive Garden Copycat

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We love the Fried Mozzarella at Olive Garden, but our copycat version of the Olive Garden recipe tastes even better than the original! Using fresh, creamy mozzarella and crispy, garlicky breadcrumbs, homemade Olive Garden fried mozzarella is the perfect appetizer. Pair with all of your favorite dipping sauces!

titled: Olive Garden Fried Mozzarella


 

Fried Mozzarella Olive Garden

What’s better than ooey gooey cheese? When it’s coated in a crispy fried breading, of course!

The fried mozzarella at Olive Garden is particularly addicting, so I knew I had to find a way to recreate it at home.

Even better, our copycat recipe for Olive Garden fried mozzarella only takes about 30 minutes to make — perfect for a quick appetizer, or a fun snack!

Try more of our crispy appetizer favorites like air fryer onion rings or Hooters fried pickles

Can’t get enough of melted cheese? You’ll love our stuffed pretzel bites or this baked queso dip!

ingredients for fried mozzarella

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Mozzarella – For the best results, use the brick form of this cheese. Be sure to squeeze out some of the extra liquid before slicing.

    Pre-sliced or string cheese will work in a pinch, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time if thinner than recommended.
  • Italian Bread Crumbs – Use these to coat your mozzarella before frying.

    If you only have plain breadcrumbs on hand, simply mix in 1-2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning for the same effect. You can also stick with plain for a milder flavor.
  • Vegetable Oil – The best frying oil for this fried mozzarella Olive Garden recipe.

    Canola is the closest substitute, but any oil with a high smoke point and neutral flavor will work.
  • Italian Seasoning – This mix can usually be found pre-mixed in the spice aisle.

    If not, you can make your own with dried basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
sliced mozzarella cheese

Tips for Making Olive Garden Fried Mozzarella

  • Freeze mozzarella sticks before frying. This ensures that it won’t start to melt before the coating has completely cooked!

    Slice and coat the cheese, then arrange it on a tray or baking sheet and freeze for 15-20 minutes before frying.
  • Use separate hands for dipping. That means one for the egg mixture and one for the breadcrumb and flour mixture. It prevents clumps from forming in the bowls — and on your hands!
  • Try double or triple coating. Make your fried mozzarella Olive Garden copycat even crispier!

    Simply repeat the flour, egg, then breadcrumb process once or twice more before laying each mozzarella piece on the parchment paper.
mozzarella dredged in breadcrumb mix

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Once cooled, transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to two days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Reheat Olive Garden fried mozzarella in the oven at 350°F for 5-7 minutes, until the coating is crispy and the cheese is softened again.

You can also reheat straight from frozen — just increase the time by a few minutes.

Avoid microwaving leftovers as the cheese will become rubbery and the breading will be too soft. But the air fryer would work!

frying mozzarella in a pot of oil

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

fried mozzarella in tongs

Fried Mozzarella Olive Garden FAQ

Can you fry mozzarella cheese without breading?

While possible, it tends to lack the crunch that makes this copycat Olive Garden recipe so irresistible. 

If you need a gluten free option, swap in gluten free breadcrumbs and flour or make your own breadcrumbs with your favorite GF bread.

What should I serve with fried mozzarella?

This fried mozzarella Olive Garden recipe works great as an appetizer, but it’s also fun for a game day or weekend snack! 

In terms of sauces, I love to dunk mine in marinara, Alfredo, or pink sauce — which is just a mix of both! Ranch dressing is another great dip option.

Planning a meal? You can’t go wrong with a big bowl of salad and your favorite pasta like spaghetti, garlic shrimp fettucine, or stuffed shells.

Or, double down on crispy, fried breading with our delicious Chicken Parmigiana recipe!

Can I bake mozzarella sticks instead of frying them?

Yes! Arrange breaded mozzarella on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 10-12 minutes at 400°F. 

Flip halfway so they crisp on both sides, or set them on a wire rack over the baking sheet instead. Keep a close eye on them to make sure the cheese doesn’t melt through the breading.

fried mozzarella dipped in marinara

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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fried mozzarella stick with gooey cheese

closeup of olive garden fried mozzarella

Fried Mozzarella Olive Garden Copycat

Donna Elick
Fried Mozzarella at Olive Garden is crispy and stuffed with gooey cheese. Recreate Olive Garden fried Mozzarella at home in 30 minutes!
5 stars from 7 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
freezer time 15 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 4

Ingredients
 

  • 16- Ounce brick mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Optional Toppings/Dipping

  • shredded Parmesan
  • fresh Italian parsley
  • alfredo sauce
  • marinara sauce

Instructions
 

  • Cut the mozzarella cheese into ½-inch thick rectangle slices, set aside.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix the beaten eggs with the water to create an egg wash.
  • In another shallow bowl or plate, combine the italian bread crumbs with the granulated garlic and italian seasoning.
  • Place the all-purpose flour in a separate shallow bowl or plate.
  • Dredge each piece of mozzarella in the flour, making sure to shake off any excess flour.
  • Dip the floured mozzarella pieces in the egg wash, allowing any excess to drip off.
  • Coat the mozzarella pieces in the breadcrumbs mixture, pressing gently to ensure the breadcrumbs adhere to the cheese.
  • Place the breaded mozzarella pieces on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for 15-20 minutes.
  • While the mozzarella is in the freezer, heat about 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or pot over medium high heat. The oil should reach a temperature of 350℉ (175℃).
  • Carefully place the breaded mozzarella pieces into the hot oil, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry for approximately 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the fried mozzarella from the oil and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
  • Serve the fried mozzarellas hot and top with your favorite toppings and serve with marinara sauce or alfredo sauce. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 666cal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 172mg | Sodium: 1346mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 682mg | Iron: 5mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Olive Garden Fried Mozzarella -pin

Originally published August 2023

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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My husband loves fried mozzarella sticks, they are his favorite appetizer, I decided to make these and surprise him and he loved them. He says I have to make them at least once a week, boy what did I get myself into. Luckily they are super easy to make!

  2. 5 stars
    Seasoning the breading on the mozzarella sticks makes such a difference! I’ve tried other recipes but these are just the best! Definitely a recipe to save.

    1. Hi Sam!
      It is crucial that you freeze them prior to frying, or else your cheese will disappear. Hope this helps!
      TSRI Team Member,
      Devlyn

  3. 5 stars
    It really is too bad that I can not rate them higher then a five star!! I have been trying to find a mozzarella cheese stick that did not have an under-powering spice mix, the other ones I’ve tried have just been bland. Great recipe!

    1. Hi Janet!
      We have not tried, but you can try air frying for 6-8 minutes at 390 degrees!
      TSRI Team Member,
      Devlyn

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, this recipe from The Slow Roasted Italian is simply amazing! So easy to make, and the fried mozzarella turned out perfectly crispy and delicious. Donna and Chad’s recipes never disappoint. 5 stars!

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