What is a Cheese Stick?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

If you or your children are looking for a healthy, protein rich snack, you might just reach into the refrigerator for a cheese stick. These are small, individually formed sticks, about three inches (7.62 cm) in length, that come in wrapped packages. The first cheese sticks on the market were almost invariably made of mozzarella cheese and were frequently called string cheese. Today you can find cheese stick styles in a variety of different cheeses, and some even are marbled combinations of two or more cheeses.

Marinara sauce is often served as dipping sauce for cheese sticks.
Marinara sauce is often served as dipping sauce for cheese sticks.

The string cheese stick was seen as a great kid’s snack because they are fun to eat. Unlike some of today’s cheese sticks you could pull off lengths of the cheese or strings to eat one by one. They weren’t merely the province of children; many adults enjoyed them too. Further, Italian and American chefs in particular began coating and deep-frying mozzarella cheese sticks. You can find this appetizer at a variety of restaurants, usually accompanied with marinara sauce for dipping.

Cheese sticks are often made out of mozzarella.
Cheese sticks are often made out of mozzarella.

String cheese grew in popularity, inspiring other cheese stick offerings. Most commonly you’ll find cheese sticks in cheddar, jack, American cheese, and of course, many in mozzarella. Most cheese sticks not made with mozzarella are not as “stringy” as string cheese, but they still make for a handy snack.

For cheese connoisseurs, the cheese stick may fail to please. They are almost always made from very mild cheese, geared toward the child’s palate. While mozzarella should be mild and creamy, many prefer sharper cheddar than the mild cheddar offered in most cheese sticks. Cheese lovers may also find American cheese, which is processed differently than most other cheeses and is frequently called a cheese product rather than cheese itself, a little disappointing. Others love the taste and flavor.

As more schools offer a snack period for most kids a few hours after school has begun, the cheese stick can be a great offering, much superior to cookies or chips. Though some cheese sticks are high in sodium, many are also high in protein. If your family loves cheese sticks, perhaps one of the best “deals” is to buy a multi-pack at warehouse stores like Costco® or Sam’s Club®. The protein value and calcium levels of the cheese stick make these a nutritious snack and you may just need an abundant supply.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


@literally45-- That doesn't happen if you buy all natural, organic cheese sticks. You can find them at the organic market. They don't have preservatives and they taste a lot better too. I don't give my kids anything else. You could also try making home-made cheese sticks.


@donasmrs-- There are plenty of adults who love cheese sticks. I love them too, especially monterey jack cheese sticks with wheat crackers. They make for a perfect afternoon snack.

I have to say however, that not all cheese products are of good quality. I bought a bag of cheese sticks a few months ago. It was forgotten in the fridge and it was long past the expiration date when I found them. But they didn't even have any mold on them. They were perfectly fine which makes me think that there are a lot of preservatives being packed into those cheese sticks. I think we have to be careful about what we give our kids.


I love mozzarella cheese sticks. I've been eating them since I was a kid. My mom used to include one in my lunch bag. I loved pulling apart strings of cheese. It was so fun.

I'm in college now and I still eat cheese sticks. I don't think I'm ever going to stop liking them.

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