4 Effortless Ways to Choose Cheese Sticks

Choosing the best cheese sticks might not seem like a big deal for some people, but for those of us who know and love cheese, this is just as important as picking out which cheese to use for your grilled cheese sandwiches.  Cheese lovers all over the world have hundreds and thousands of items to choose from, so picking the right one for your cheesy taste buds is essential.  

How to Choose the Best Cheese Sticks Every Single Time

There’s nothing worse than getting home and popping open a new box of cheese sticks only to find that they taste like they are made with imitation cheese or worse, none at all.  When this happens, not only are you out a few bucks, but you have no tasty cheese sticks to make it through the night!  To help you avoid this Earth-shattering dilemma, we’ve put together the four most scientifically validated methods ever to choose the best cheese sticks on the market (okay, maybe there were no scientists involved, but still!).

  1. Fried and Breaded Cheese Sticks.  Probably the best known cheese sticks are also called mozzarella sticks.  These are a staple at most pubs and grills, but also can be done up in some fancy Italian restaurants.  No matter where you get these, the key here is a flavorful, crisp outer crust made up of seasoned breadcrumbs, wrapped around a thick inner layer of oozing, hot mozzarella cheese.  To top it all off, dip it in some delicious marinara sauce and you’re in heaven.But is that it for fried and breaded cheese sticks?  Of course not!  Some great alternatives to mozzarella are cheddar, provolone and American.  If you want to really change things up, toss some Gouda or Gruyere cheese inside as a blend.  You can also toss some grated cheese into the breadcrumb coating.  My favorite is Locatelli or Pecorino Romano, but you can use plain old grated parm if that’s how you like it! 
  1. Plain Cheese Sticks.  This is a little bit misleading—as if any cheese stick could ever be “plain!” But what we’re referring to here is a stick of cheese that isn’t breaded and isn’t fried.  It’s just there in all of its cheesy glory waiting for you to gobble it up.  These cheese sticks are once again most popular in the mozzarella variety (think string cheese), but mostly because it’s fun to pull the strings off.  This is a great way to add calcium to a picky child’s diet.

As any true cheese lover can tell you, mozzarella is good raw, but it’s so much better when cooked up since it gets more flavorful, oily and stretchy.  For a great cheese stick that isn’t fried or breaded, look towards some real flavor-givers such as cheddar (extra sharp!), Manchego, Gouda, goat cheeses or blue cheeses (the stinkier, the better!).

Try to stay away from soft cheeses here since they will melt and get all over your hands.  Plus, they don’t retain the “stick” structure, so you might be better off eating these in wedges with crackers or smeared on your favorite breadsticks. 

  1. Baked Cheese Sticks.  Baked cheese sticks are a relative newcomer to the cheese party because it’s only within the last few hundred years that we’ve even thought to bake up cheese, let alone had the know-how.  Most baked cheese sticks are more of a breadstick with cheese flavoring and that’s fine if that’s what you are looking for.  Kids love to chow down on these and they make a great snack food.  Just expect the cheese content of the cheese sticks to be more like what you have left on your hands after eating them—cheese dust!

But for the real cheese lovers out there, true cheese sticks contain actual cheese baked into the cracker.  A good indicator that you have quality baked cheese sticks is if it’s twice baked, since that’s the process it takes for real cheese to “take” into crackers.  Go for cheese sticks with natural flavors and ingredients, meaning no preservatives, no dyes, no coloring, etc.  The cheese sticks’ color should match the color of the cheese flavor you buy, a great way to tell you’re getting real cheese in your baked cheese sticks.  Go for Asiago, cheddar, Romano, smoked Jalepeno, or Gruyere for the best baked cheese sticks. 

  1. Homemade or Store Bought.  Finally, the question that any true food lover is always wrestling with: to make it at home or buy from the store?  Here’s the simple truth: if you were going to make it from home, you’d already be figuring out a way to do that.  For most of us, our busy schedules just don’t allow us to get as involved with our cheese sticks as we’d like.  Even for those of us that do make homemade cheese sticks, we still have our store-bought favorites that we eat religiously.  The key is knowing which ones to buy!

Author Bio – Frank Kelly, the author of this article writes occasionally for CheeseSticks.com. If you’re on the lookout for some healthy party snacks, do visit this page for more details.