Unwrap cheese sticks (if necessary) and place on a plate or baking sheet, with space between them.
Place them in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.
Mix the breadcrumbs, salt, garlic powder, pepper and paprika in a bowl.
Use a fork or whisk to whisk the eggs in a bowl until uniform.
Spray the air fryer basket lightly with oil.
Dip the partially frozen cheese sticks in flour, then in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture to coat.
Place in the air fryer basket and repeat with remaining cheese sticks. Spray lightly with oil.
Cook at 390F degrees for 5-7 minutes, checking regularly after 5 minutes to make sure they don't explode.
Remove and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Instead of mozzarella cheese, feel free to use cheddar or marble cheese.
When breading the cheese, use one hand to dip in the flour and egg and use the other to coat the cheese in breadcrumbs. If you use the same hand, your fingers will quickly get clumpy with egg and breadcrumbs.
For a little extra crunch, substitute some of the Italian breadcrumbs for panko crumbs.
Don’t skip the step of freezing the cheese first as this helps the breading stick.
For even cooking, air fry the mozza sticks in a single layer and don’t overcrowd them. Depending on the size of your air fryer, this may require more than one batch.
Start checking the mozzarella sticks after 5 minutes. Once cheese starts bubbling out, they’re done. If they overcook, cheese will ooze out everywhere.
If the mozza sticks look like they are browning too much on one side, you can flip them over.
Since melted cheese can burn on, if you don't have a non-stick basket, be sure to spray your air fryer basket with oil. Cooking sprays like PAM may damage your air fryer. I use this oil sprayer filled with my favorite oil.
If your air fryer model requires preheating, you should preheat it before adding the mozza sticks.
Different air fryer brands and models will vary slightly, so you may need to adjust the temperature and air frying time slightly.