Mozzarella sticks are a delicious and popular appetizer that most people love. If you’re a vegetarian, you may wonder if this food will fit your dietary requirements. So, are mozzarella sticks vegetarian?
Traditional mozzarella sticks aren’t strictly vegetarian because authentic mozzarella cheese is made with animal rennet. For mozzarella sticks to be strictly vegetarian, the cheese needs to be made with microbial culture. Mozzarella sticks recipes also generally use eggs to bind the crumb coating.
Let’s look at this in closer detail.
What Do Mozzarella Sticks Contain?
The main ingredients in mozzarella sticks are mozzarella cheese and Italian bread crumbs.
Mozzarella sticks are made by coating string cheese in bread crumbs and deep-frying in hot oil.
The resulting snack is delicious with a crispy coating and a soft and gooey cheese filling.
The primary ingredient of this snack is mozzarella cheese.
Mozzarella cheese is traditionally made from the milk of water buffaloes.
However, you can also find mozzarella cheese that is made with cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or sheep’s milk.
Since mozzarella cheese is a dairy-based product, it’s not suitable for vegans.
Most vegetarians consume cheese because it’s not meat-based.
However, mozzarella cheese is made with animal rennet.
Why Are Mozzarella Cheese Sticks Not 100% Vegetarian?
Mozzarella cheese is a soft cheese that doesn’t undergo aging like other varieties of cheese.
To prepare mozzarella cheese, milk is heated with a bacteria starter culture. Then, rennet is added to it.
Rennet is an essential ingredient in the cheesemaking process because it isolates cheese curds from the liquid and helps them clump together.
Now, rennet is an enzyme harvested from the intestinal lining of animals.
Hence, we can’t consider it to be strictly vegetarian.
However, modern versions of mozzarella cheese can also be made with microbial rennet.
In this case, mozzarella cheese will be vegetarian.
Another factor to consider is the binding agent that is used to make the bread crumb coating for mozzarella sticks.
Most recipes use egg wash as the binding agent.
It helps the bread crumbs adhere to the surface of the mozzarella cheese without breaking apart.
Some vegetarians consume eggs because they aren’t meat-based products.
However, others avoid eggs. They may prefer to avoid mozzarella sticks with eggs as the binding agent.
The alternative is to use a slurry of flour and water as the binding agent.
Hence, we can’t entirely write off mozzarella sticks as a non-vegetarian product.
It depends on individual preferences regarding the cheese.
Let’s take a closer look at mozzarella sticks from different brands and whether they’re vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
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Are Farm Rich Mozzarella Sticks Vegetarian?
Farm Rich mozzarella sticks are a practical and delicious choice when you must make mozzarella sticks at home without preparing them from scratch.
They’re frozen and ready to cook.
You can prepare them in an oven, deep fryer, or air fryer in a matter of minutes.
It even comes with a dipping sauce.
The ingredient list of Farm Rich mozzarella sticks indicates that it’s made with 100% real mozzarella cheese.
However, the source of the mozzarella cheese and whether it’s prepared using animal rennet is unclear.
If you’re a vegetarian and consume traditional mozzarella cheese, you shouldn’t have a problem with consuming Farm Rich products.
The brand also has a pure plant-based line of frozen snacks called Garden Fresh.
If the origins of the cheese used in their mozzarella sticks are concerning, you may like to choose their pure plant-based line of products instead.
Are Arby’s Mozzarella Sticks Vegetarian?
Although Arby’s isn’t the best vegan or vegetarian restaurant, they’ve various vegan-friendly and vegetarian-friendly side dishes on their menu.
Arby’s mozzarella sticks are a crowd favorite, and the brand advertises them as vegetarian-friendly.
They don’t use any non-vegetarian ingredients like eggs in their mozzarella sticks.
Are Sonic Mozzarella Sticks Vegetarian?
Sonic is not exactly a vegetarian-friendly food joint.
So if you’re a vegetarian, your food options at Sonic are limited.
The brand is well-known for its meat-based spread and has a limited menu of vegetarian foods.
Nonetheless, you can find some vegetarian options at Sonic.
It’s also a good thing that this fast-food joint doesn’t use animal lard in their oil, like many other restaurants.
The mozzarella sticks at Sonic are vegetarian-friendly.
If you have mozzarella cheese in general, you shouldn’t be concerned about consuming their mozzarella sticks.
Are Burger King Mozzarella Sticks Vegetarian?
Burger King mozzarella sticks aren’t as famous as the other items on the brand’s menu, like burgers and fries.
However, it’s a delicious product by the company.
Burger King features traditional mozzarella cheese covered in Italian-style seasoned bread crumb coating.
The breaded cheese sticks are deep-fried in hot oil.
The breading is thin but crispy, and the cheese is thoroughly melted.
The sticks come with marinara sauce on the side.
Burger King doesn’t use the same oil for their vegetarian and non-vegetarian products.
They have separate cooking wells for each type of food.
Hence, vegetarians can safely consume the items on their vegetarian menu without worrying about cross-contamination.
The mozzarella sticks from Burger King are advertised as vegetarian-friendly.
So you can eat them if you consume mozzarella cheese.
Are TGI Friday’s Mozzarella Sticks Vegetarian?
TGI Friday’s mozzarella sticks are one of the top-selling frozen mozzarella sticks in the market.
They use high-quality authentic mozzarella cheese with a crispy garlic-seasoned panko bread coating.
They’re easy to prepare at home. You can cook them in an oven, air fryer, or deep-fry them in hot oil.
These mozzarella sticks are made from part-skim mozzarella cheese.
The ingredient list also has egg in it.
The brand lists it as a vegetarian product.
However, it’s non-vegan because it has cheese and egg in it.
Vegetarians who eat eggs should be fine eating these cheese sticks.
Are McDonald’s Mozzarella Sticks Vegetarian?
McDonald’s mozzarella sticks are made with authentic mozzarella cheese with a perfectly fried golden bread crust.
They come with a delicious salsa dip on the side.
The company clearly states that the mozzarella cheese used in these cheesy dippers is suitable for vegetarians.
They also mention that they don’t use eggs in their recipe.
However, McDonald’s doesn’t list their mozzarella sticks as a vegetarian product.
The company doesn’t promote any of its items as vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.
Interestingly, this isn’t because of the ingredient list of their mozzarella sticks but because of the way they’re prepared.
The company doesn’t use dedicated vats to fry their vegetarian products.
Hence, the same containers may be used to prepare both vegetarian and non-vegetarian products.
They may use the same oil that is used for frying non-vegetarian dishes on their menu for their mozzarella sticks.
Hence, the cheese-based snacks from McDonald’s aren’t 100% vegetarian-approved.
The filtering system used for the oil also presents a cross-contamination risk.