How Long to Air Fry Frozen Sticks (+Essential Guide)

Written By: Paul

How Long to Air Fry Frozen Sticks

Air frying has revolutionized the world of fried food. 

Now, your favorite deep-fried indulgences can be recreated without all the grease and fat!

Not only is air frying a healthier option that is much better for your cholesterol and cardiovascular health, but it’s also far more convenient and user-friendly to boot.

However, if you’ve just started your airfrying journey or are learning to cook a new recipe it can be difficult to know where to start. 

In this guide, we’ll cover how long to air fry frozen fish sticks, mozzarella sticks, chicken strips, and french fries. We’ll also provide you with some tips on how to produce the best results. Let’s get right into it!

How Long to Air Fry Different Types of Frozen Sticks

Air Fry Different Types of Frozen Sticks

Air frying times will vary drastically depending on whether or not the food you’re cooking is frozen or defrosted. 

Frozen food takes longer to cook, but is much better for foods such as mozzarella sticks when you’re not wanting to cook the interior. 

Note: Some brands’ air frying times may differ from the times listed below. Always check the packet for instructions before cooking! 

FoodTemperatureCook TimeFlip 
Frozen Fish Sticks400℉ (200℃)10 – 12 minutesFlip halfway through cook time
Defrosted Fish Sticks400℉ (200℃)6 – 8 minutesFlip halfway 
Mozzarella Sticks400℉ (200℃)6 – 8 minutesFlip halfway
Frozen Chicken Strips 400℉ (200℃)12 – 15 minutesFlip halfway
Defrosted Chicken Strips400℉ (200℃)6 – 8 minutesFlip halfway
Frozen french fries400℉ (200℃)12 – 15 minutesShake basket halfway through cooking time
Defrosted french fries400℉ (200℃)8 – 10 minutesShake basket halfway through cooking time

When you’re cooking in an air fryer, it is a good idea to preheat the air fryer for five minutes prior to cooking. 

This will ensure the air fryer is hot enough to cook the food at the above times. 

Preparing Frozen Sticks for Air Frying 

While air fryers are designed to cook most foods directly from the freezer, there are a few things you may need to do to prepare your food before air frying. 

This will help them to cook all the way through and ensure you achieve perfect crispiness! Here are a few tips to help you prepare your food for your air fryer:

Defrosting your food before frying can be a great way to speed up your cooking time. 

Especially with pre-cooked foods such as French fries and fish sticks, this helps them cook all the way through!

However, it is important to note that the mozzarella sticks should be cooked directly from frozen to prevent the cheese from melting too quickly. 

Spacing your food evenly in the basket will ensure that the exterior of your food cooks evenly. 

Air fryers work by circulating extremely hot air through the basket, so any surface that is not exposed is unlikely to get crispy. Leave a few millimeters in between your food to allow the air to circulate evenly. 

Brushing your food with a little oil or herbs can be a great way to add flavor to your dish!

While this may seem to run against the health benefits of an air fryer, using a pastry brush to coat your food with a tiny bit of oil can aid crispiness and flavor and is still far less fatty than deep or shallow-fried foods. 

Mix in a few herbs or spices into the oil for maximum flavor. 

Temperature Settings and Adjustments

Setting the right temperature is key to the outcome of your air frying as it affects the texture, flavor, and overall success of your dish. 

When it comes to cooking frozen sticks in an air fryer, setting the right temperatures is paramount to achieving great results! 

The optimal temperature for frozen sticks is usually around 400℉ (200℃), with the air fryer preheated for around five minutes. 

This high heat helps the outside to crispen evenly while ensuring the inside of the stick is cooked properly. 

However, as we mentioned earlier, it’s important to adjust the temperature depending on which type of stick you’re cooking. 

With this in mind, here is how you can adjust the temperature to best suit the type of sticks you are cooking:

1. Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella sticks (and other similar foods such as crumbed bocconcini) are best suited to a high heat of 400℉ (200℃) for around 6 – 8 minutes. 

This allows the exterior to cook quickly while the cheese melts slowly, ensuring the cheese is contained within the crispy outside!

If you’re finding that the cheese inside your mozzarella sticks is not evenly melted then you may find that a lower initial temperature may aid with this.

2. Fish sticks

Fish sticks

Aim for a similar temperature of 400℉ (200℃) but adjust the cooking time to around 10 – 12 minutes, flipping them halfway through. 

This will allow the fish to cook through without drying out and ensure the outside gets nice and crispy. 

3. Chicken Strips

Chicken Strips

While chicken strips can be cooked at 400℉ (200℃), they’ll need a longer cooking time of 12 – 15 minutes to make sure they’re cooked through. 

If you find that they are not cooked through, you may want to start with a lower temperature and then increase it at the end of the cooking time. 

4. French fries

French fries

French fries are already partially cooked, so it’s usually just a matter of cooking the exterior once the inside has been defrosted. 

If your French fries are frozen, then you may want to start at a lower temperature.

However, if they’re already defrosted, then you can start with the temperature at around 400℉ (200℃), cooking them for 8 – 10 minutes.

Tips for Perfect Air Frying

Nothing beats experience when it comes to making the perfect frozen stick! 

However, here are some additional tips that will help you perfect your air-frying game: 

  1. Preheat your air fryer. This will ensure the heat is distributed evenly throughout the oven
  2. Use a light coating of oil or cooking spray to up the crispiness of your food. Mix any of your favorite herbs or spices into the coating for maximum flavor
  3. Avoid overfilling your air fryer’s basket as this can stop the air from circulating properly
  4. Shake or flip your food halfway through to help even browning
  5. Keep track of the cook time for your food. You may notice that the model of air fryer that you have takes longer to cook certain foods
  6. Clean your air fryer regularly to avoid any buildup of grease or crumbs. This will help your air fryer to maintain maximum performance
  7. Don’t be afraid to stray from the cook times above. Use them as a starting point and then adjust them to suit your personal preferences!
  8. Allow your food to cool for a few minutes before serving to ensure maximum crispiness and flavor. 

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Depending on what theme you’re going for in your dish, you may want to choose from a range of different sauces and side dishes. 

Thinking about what flavor combinations you want to explore in your dish is a great way to take your frozen sticks to the next level!

That being said, here are a few of our favorites:

  1. Mozzarella sticks and smoky ranch dressing. A smoky ranch sauce is a great dipping option for mozzarella sticks, bringing those delicious Central American flavors to your dish
  2. Classic fish sticks and fries. Given that your air fryer can make both delicious fish sticks and fries, this is a great option! Serve with a side of malt vinegar for a British flavor or with a side of ketchup
  3. Chicken strip sandwich. Crispy chicken strips smothered in aioli and salad on a fresh bread roll – what could be better? 


Having an air fryer in your kitchen can drastically improve the efficiency and healthiness of your cooking. 

Instead of preheating your oven for half an hour, an air fryer is ready to be used in just five minutes! 

Air-fried frozen sticks take less than 15 mins to cook, and they are easy to spruce up with side dishes. 

One of the best things about an air fryer is the range of foods you can cook in it. 

It’s definitely worth experimenting with and trying different frozen sticks and other recipes that your air fryer can help prepare.

We hope this guide has been helpful, and we wish you all the best of luck on your air frying journey!

Hi, I'm Paul. Welcome to my website! I, along with my cronies, are leveraging our years of working in the food industry to review meal and drink delivery services. We review. You eat happily ever after.



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