Review: Mozzarella Sticks from McDonald’s

After being left for dead in the water by critics last summer, McDonald’s has sure turned things around. The introduction of All-Day Breakfast and fresher, higher quality menu items (like the Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich) have helped to bring customers back in and have made the Golden Arches one of the hottest stocks to have.  The company isn’t resting on its laurels. Actually, they’re boldly going where they’ve never gone before: Mozzarella Sticks.McDonalds Mozzarella Sticks 1McDonald’s describes their new Mozzarella Sticks like this:

Made with 100% real and melty mozzarella cheese breaded with a golden crust based in wheat flour that includes onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Sticks served hot with a side of zesty tomato-based marinara sauce with Italian herbs and spices. Let the dipping and stretching begin!

I once thought it would be a cold day in hell when I chose something other than fries as a side at McDonald’s, but it was actually a balmy 50 degrees on the East Coast. The temperature outside matched the temperature of the three crispy sticks; warm but not hot, the exteriors were just right but the interior mozzarella was a bit lukewarm.McDonalds Mozzarella Sticks 3The flavor of the mozzarella left something to be desired. While I really liked the stretchy nature of the cheese, it didn’t have much natural milky flavor or that melted savory gooiness one gets from pizza. Frankly, I was OK with this; low-moisture mozzarella is only going to have so much flavor, especially being a lower-fat cheese. More importantly, the breading was truly outstanding.  McDonalds Mozzarella Sticks 4I may need to start a petition to get McDonald’s to make a special “Italian McNugget” out of this breading. It was thick and crunchy like panko, with a good but not overpowering flavor of onion and garlic, in addition to a savory herbal flavor. It was neither too salty nor greasy, and was plenty flavorful on its own.  It’s a good thing, too, because the marinara sauce that McDonald’s serves is truly horrible. It has a funky acidic flavor that is off-putting, with an overwhelming sweetness that hangs over and distinct from the other flavors. I don’t expect much from fast food marinara, but I do expect something that tastes better than a bunch of uncooked sugar added to tomato paste.McDonalds Mozzarella Sticks 5McDonald’s Mozzarella Sticks are a solid addition to the new 2 for $2 Menu that replaces the Dollar Menu and More, but as it stands right now, the company needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink its marinara sauce. Even so, the sticks themselves have enough flavor to be worth a changeup from fries every now and again, and point to more positive menu development from the Golden Arches.

Pros: Excellent and crispy breading loaded with garlic and herb flavor. Not greasy. Stretchy mozzarella. Less calories and more protein that French fries.

Cons: Average mozzarella lacks milky flavor. Marinara sauce is truly awful. Only three pieces to an order.

Taste: 7.50/10
Value: 6.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 9.00/10
Price: $1.19 for 3 (or $1 as part of the new 2 for $2 Menu)

Overall GrubGrade: 7.00/10

More Info: mcdonalds.com
Nutrition Facts:
200 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 18 grams of carbs, 560 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, 9 grams of protein

23 comments on “Review: Mozzarella Sticks from McDonald’s

  1. MP says:

    Hey they’re taking from Burger King’s warehouse now! I remember when BK had mozzarella sticks – I want say 2000, 2001 was the last time I saw them there?
    I’m still staying away from the Golden Arches until they have a Filet-o-Fish sale. I’ve been burned just too many times with horrible product, long wait times, incorrect orders, cold food, etc.

  2. Greg B says:

    The breading is fantastic! My wife and I were very surprised at how good these are. I am hoping in the future they will offer other quantities (6 & 9 pc perhaps)

  3. Robert says:

    Uh, the marinara sauce tub has 2 grams of sugar in it. That’s basically nothing. It’s not good sauce by any means, but it’s about the most inoffensive thing on their menu, nutritionally.

  4. JuicyJoe says:

    Only thing they are really good for is to make a ghetto chicken parm sandwich when ordered in conjunction with a Mcchicken on the Mcpick 2 menu.

  5. Danno B says:

    I have had these twice at 2 different locations in Huntsville, AL. The first time the cheese sticks were ice cold. It was almost like they were not even placed in a warmer. The cheese inside was almost like pure cold string cheese and the breading was very soft.
    The second time I got the cheese sticks, they were warmer and had a great smell to them. The cheese wasn’t gooey like yours but they were much better warm. The breading was really crispy and the item wasn’t half bad. The marina sauce did have an acidic and strange chemical after taste. The taste lingered for a few minutes after eating the sauce. I think the sauce needs to be upgraded.
    I would try this again based on the value, but I would ask them to be made fresh. I believe someone told me they were actually baked and not fried, however I cannot confirm that.

  6. Clay says:

    Good review, especially the part about the godawful Marinara sauce.

    I had these the other day as part of the 2/$2 deal. They’re actually fairly good, but I probably won’t get them again because I’m not much of a mozzarella stick guy to begin with, and I just like McDonald’s fries much better.

  7. Matt says:

    I just had these also. I wish mine were hot. They are actually BARELY warm. By the time I got to the 2nd one…they were cold. The cheese didn’t stretch, it just ‘broke’. I bet if they were hot they would have been quite good because the flavor was there. Agree about the coating, it was pretty darn good for a fast food place! Yes…to call that marinara is an insult to the tomato.

  8. JJJ says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought the marinera sauce was awful. Mine went in the trash.

  9. Blousey says:

    I’m going to go ahead and pile on because maybe McDos will get the message eventually :
    The breading is delicious. I really want to like them.
    I stopped ordering them after 4 or 5 times because they were cold (or barely lukewarm) every time. I think the problem though is that they are not fried — the way they are prepped is they are thawed then put in a warmer drawer, so they are never actually hot to start with.

  10. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Nice review. These were definitely better than I expected, especially the breading like you pointed out. I didn’t mind the marina, but now wonder how the sticks would pair with some of the nugget dipping sauces…

  11. Raiders757 says:

    I love fried mozzarella sticks, but I doubt I will ever order these, because when I go to McDonald’s it’s due to a craving for their fries. Also, as much as I love fried mozzarella sticks, the massive proliferation of their availability makes me long for the good old days.

    There once was a time in my preteens, and early teens in an ancient time called the early 80s, where the only place you could get these super awesome treats was at Bennigan’s. I swear to all of you, that the ones they offered back then were tens times better than what we have today. They were a special treat that could be had nowhere else. I loved them so much that I always had my parents take me there on my birthday. Many of you have no idea what it was like back then. This wasn’t a menu staple like it is today, nor was it available in the frozen food section at the local grocery store. There literally was only one place you could get them, and that was Bennigan’s, and crazy as it sounds, I kind of miss that.

  12. alan rodriguez says:

    mcs and their kids pieces for wasteing money… if it tste right fin but make ur own dam sticks…. geting more is the best choice too.. i make my own marinara.. plp dont even cook as often as they go out.. anyhoods

  13. BigBelly says:

    As far as cheese sticks go, these are rather sub-par.
    The box they came in was warmer then the actual cheese sticks, which leads me to believe they saw some nuke time. Needless to say, it wasn’t crisp, so the breading people are raving seemed rather bland and nasty to me.
    The remaining two I placed in the toaster oven to crisp and warm, I managed to get the cheese into a hot stringy state, but the breading still sucked, probably because they aren’t fried to begin with, so you just get that kinda “stale” quality.

  14. Mike says:

    Just a minor point: This isn’t a place where McDonald’s has never been before. When they first unveiled the dollar menu in the late ’90s/possibly 2000 or ’01, mozzarella sticks were on there. It was actually four for $1 that time around, and I remember thinking they were pretty tasty. For reasons I’m not quite sure, the sticks apparently bombed, as they disappeared from the menu pretty quickly.

  15. Yum Yucky says:

    I haven’t been to McDonald’s in years, but I’m a sucker for mozzarella sticks. Hmmmm….

  16. Alex says:

    Freshness makes all the difference. Since they bake large quantities of these at a time and keep them in a warmer, I’ve learned to only get them during busier hours when they’re most likely to be fresh. One of the first times I got them, it was about 9:30 pm, and they were not good at all. Lukewarm at best. The cheese must have totally oozed out of one, as it was just a breading shell. The next few times, I got them around dinnertime and they were very good.

  17. M-Logan says:

    I have had these a couple of times, and liked them. I actually HATE marinara sauce, but thought this one was not bad! Ranch would for sure be better, too bad I did not think of that at the time. One box I got had only 2 in it, but the drive thru line was very long so I did not go back through. My tip for a 2fer order: these stix plus a McDouble w/ extra cheese. This way you get a legit Double Cheeseburger – 2 meats, 2 cheeses, just as The Lord intended.

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