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Fritti: Mozzarella in Carrozza

By September 21, 2022March 10th, 2023No Comments

Welcome back to our Fritti series. In our last installment we fried mozzarella cubes (not sticks) and fried stuffed olives like they do in Ascoli. Today we share the recipe for a delightful street food specialty. Despite its name, which literally means “mozzarella in a carriage,” mozzarella in carrozza does not travel well. So forget bringing it to picnics or leaving it uneaten for more than 3 minutes after frying. Like all fritti lovers know, resting fried food, especially cheese, loses its charm, becoming gummy.

If you’ve been following us on this blog, you’ll know that in 2020 we launched our #whatscooking live online cooking and wine classes. Mozzarella in carrozza was among our most popular lessons!

A little history of mozzarella in carrozza

Like many southern or central Italian specialties, mozzarella in carrozza has humble origins. This recipe with a noble-sounding name is actually a poor man’s dish born in Naples in the early 19th century as a way to recover and reuse ingredients that were no longer fresh: day-old bread and those last scraps of fresh cheese from the day before.

The Neapolitan recipe employs mozzarella di bufala and the sandwiches are dredged in flour, and dipped in an egg wash with milk before frying, whereas the Roman and Venetian version is made with fiordilatte (cow’s milk mozzarella), coated in breadcrumbs and has anchovies or thinly sliced ham included in the cheesy filling.

Mozzarella in carrozza recipe

The quality of the ingredients, especially of the mozzarella, is of utmost importance. Choose either cow’s milk fiordilatte or mozzarella di bufala – both preferably purchased the day before and left to drain in a colander. That’s becasue we don’t want soggy mozzarella in carrozza! Another big mistake is not filling your frying pan with enough oil. The more frying oil you use in the pan, the crisper and less oil-logged your results will be. Trust me on this.

This recipe is like me: part Roman and part Neapolitan, with elements of both recipes combined.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60-90 seconds per batch
Yield: 5 servings
Equipment needed:
4 mixing bowls
Frying pan
Rubber spatula
Spider strainer


  • 10 slices white bread (brown edges cut off) Wonder bread is ideal
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella di bufala or fiordilatte
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Sea salt
  • Optional: oil-packed anchovies


Place the mozzarella slices, cut 1/4 inch thin, on 5 slices of bread. Leave 1/2 inch margins and close the “sandwiches” with the remaining bread. Seal into closed pouches by crimping the edges with a little pressure. If you want to make the Roman version of mozzarella in carrozza, be sure to include at least 1 oil-packed anchovy per sandwich before you seal.

At this point if you’re planning to eat later, you could chill the assembled sandwiches for a few hours before coating and frying.
When you’re ready to fry (and eat soon after), line up four bowls. Fill the first one with cold milk, the second with flour, the third with beaten eggs (seasoned with a pinch of salt) and the fourth one with breadcrumbs.

Heat plenty of peanut or sunflower oil in a frying pan.

Dip the mozzarella pouches quickly in the milk and immediately dredge with flour evenly on all sides.
Dip the dredged pouches into the beaten egg on both sides, and immediately coat with the breadcrumbs, evenly covering the entire surface of the sandwiches.

When the frying oil reaches 350° F, fry the sandwiches 1-2 at a time and using a spatula, keep turning until both sides are sunny golden and crisp. Fish out with a spider strainer and transfer to a bed of paper towels.

Season with kosher salt while still hot. Cool for only 3 minutes before eating with your hands.

I cannot stress this enough: piping hot fried mozzarella in carrozza must be enjoyed immediately!

Mozzarella in carrozza is also the protagonist of a scene from the 1948 neorealist masterpiece The Bicycle Thief by Vittorio De Sica. In a very touching moment, the protagonist Mario and his little boy Bruno take a moment of respite from their unfortunate situation to eat mozzarella in carrozza at a local Trastevere tavern.
Interested in learning more about this and other typical Roman foods portrayed in cinema? We have the tour for you.

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