Entertaining soon but don’t have much time to spare on making fancy, time consuming appetizers? These spicy fried cheese balls are so insanely easy to make and perfect for any party!
Fried Cheese Balls
If you love deep fried cheese, you’ll fall head over heels for these fried cheese balls!
This delicious dish is very popular in Latin America, where they call it “bolitas de queso”, meaning balls of cheese. Being so delicious, they are now spread around the whole world, and are also really popular in the Balkans, especially in Greece. They are called bocconcini in Italian, pão de queijo (cheese bread) in Brasil or tirokroketes in Greece. The deep fried cheese balls are also known as cheese puffs.
I may not entertain much or if I do, it’s usually mostly family. But that is not an excuse to skip serving great appetizers like these fried cheese balls! Especially since I ADORE appetizers! (which I also secretly use as snacks whenever I get the chance; soooo… I guess the secret’s out now lol)
This is a perfect recipe for school lunches, game nights, parties, family gatherings or holidays. You can use different spices or add-ons depending on the occasion.
Need more party appetizers?
- Cheese creamy hot corn dip
- Garlic bread chips with hot cheese dip
- Yellow beans spread with garlic & mayo
- Healthy baked sweet potato fries
- Peas bacon feta salad
- Pesto & feta crostini
- Slow cooker Asian meatballs
The idea of making these spicy cheese balls, also known as Korean cheese balls, came to me the other day when I (finally) decided to raid the fridge and look for leftovers and food that’s possibly gone bad or is close to that ugly stage (yuk!). Luckily nothing ended up in the trash can (I hate throwing food!) but I did noticed a piece of mozzarella cheese desperately screaming for attention. Which is weird because we’re such big cheese people! Not sure what happened there!
It’s got a bit of a crust on one side which I cleaned and then the chunk was back in perfect shape! But I was afraid the same thing will happen again so I decided to make a quick snack since it was that time of the day (it’s always that time of the day for me!). In the form of yummy spicy cheese balls!
Which cheese is good for frying?
The best types of cheese you can fry are those with a high melting point, like halloumi, cheddar, queso blanco, paneer or mozzarella.
They do melt a bit, but they retain their main shape when cooked at high heat. It’s best to dust the balls with a light coating of corn starch, flour or breadcrumbs before frying.
When fried, the cheese melts and releases oil, which drains off immediately and is discarded. The cheese will remain crispy after cooling down.
Other types of cheese great for frying are Paneer, Leipäjuusto, Juustoleipä, Nablusi, Queso Fresco, Vlahotiri, Graviera, Kefalograviera, Kasseri, Fefalotyri, Formaela and Feta. You can also try the Pasta Filata cheeses such as Provolone, Oaxaca, Caciocavallo Silano, Pallone di Gravina, Scamorza and Akkawi. Parmesan would also add a distinct flavor to the cheese balls.
When finding more than one type of scrap cheese and feel like experimenting, try combining two to four different kinds of cheeses to find your own perfect combination. Or make a surprise party plate with more flavors to discover.
Are fried cheese balls bad for you?
As cheeses are full of saturated fats and salt, we should always have moderate quantities. Fried cheese, especially, has been described as an unhealthy dish, especially in high quantities. The good news is – they are very low-carb, so suitable for those seeking a keto diet.
To keep control of the high fat levels, you can also cook the cheese balls in an oven on a high setting.
Can you also pan-fry cheese?
Of course you can! In fact, this is how I made mine for this recipe! Place the cheese in hot oil in a saucepan and cook on one side until golden brown (about 30 seconds). Turn on all sides and repeat. To drain the excess oil, remove the cheese bites from the pan and place them on paper towels.
Tips and tricks for perfect deep fried cheese balls
- If using a cheese mixture, make it ahead and refrigerate for about 45 minutes or until it’s hardened enough to form the balls. Refrigerating helps the balls hold their shape better while frying;
- Add herbs to the cheese balls to give them an even more interesting flavor, or mix spices into the coating. Other interesting additions are bacon or crushed crackers;
- For more texture and flavor, try adding nuts or onions to the batter, or sesame to the coating;
- Don’t overcrowd the pan, so that the balls have room to fry evenly;
- Fresh, solid cheese is better that pre-shredded, which is coated with anti-caking powders;
- If coating with flour and bread crumbs, the flavor will be greatly diluted, so you might want to add more garlic powder or pepper;
- Remove the balls from the oil if oozing out, and re-batter before putting it back;
- If the batter is too liquid or salad dressing-like, thicken it by adding butter, one tablespoon at a time.
What can you eat them with?
You can serve these delicious cheese balls with various dips, like avocado, marinara, garlic, mayo, ketchup or sour cream and chive dip. If you’re into dips and know lots of recipes, find your favorite combination and enjoy! We absolutely love this spicy mayo garlic sauce! Or serve them with Tzatziki sauce or yogurt.
They can also be paired with wheat thins, which are quite sturdy, with a salty, nutty and sweet trace. They actually go great on any cheese board.
Can I refrigerate or freeze the cheese balls?
Yes, they will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks (depending on the freshness of the ingredients) in an airtight bag or container. Freeze the balls until hard, then keep in a ziplock bag for up to three months.
Just take out as much as you need once, thaw for a few minutes at room temperature and fry.
More cheese party appetizers you will love:
- Fried cheesy pickle rolls
- Goat feta cheese cranberry balls
- Garlic bread chips with hot cheese dip
- Penguin Poppers
- Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
- BLT Cheese Dip with Kale
- Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers
- Smoked mozzarella fonduta
- Rosemary berry baked brie
- Spinach artichoke dip
- Holiday cheese wreath
If you’re throwing a party but don’t have much time to spare on making fancy, time consuming appetizers, this fried cheese balls recipe is a great alternative! And even if you’re not entertaining at all but craving a spicy, chewy, gooey, mouthwatering snack, I promise you, this amazing spicy fried cheese balls recipes is it! Go ahead, make it now! It only takes about 10 minutes!
Hot Cheese Balls
What do you need to make hot pepper cheese balls ?
We are big fans of mozzarella so this is what I used here. But any of the cheeses mentioned above will do! You’ll also need flour, bread crumbs, eggs, chili pepper powder, garlic powder, vegetable oil and salt and pepper to taste.
The tools I used to make these cheese balls:
How to make cheese balls
1. Mix grated cheese with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder then form a ball. Repeat to finish the cheese.
2. Roll all balls them through flour.
3. Mix bread crumbs with chili powder and garlic powder.
4. Dip the cheese balls in egg, one at a time, then roll through flour again, back to egg dipping then roll through bread crumbs
5. Cook the cheese balls in hot oil until golden.
Spicy Fried cheese balls appetizer recipe
- 8 oz cheese grated
- 1 cup of flour
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 2 eggs large
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon chili pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix grated cheese with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder. Take 1 teaspoon of the cheese mix and form a ball.
- When all cheese balls are done, roll them through flour. Mix egg with water and beat well. Mix the bread crumbs with remaining chili powder. Dip the cheese balls in egg, one at a time, then roll through flour again then back to egg dipping. Lastly roll through bread crumbs and nicely coat the whole ball.
- When all balls are coated as above, heat oil in a skillet. The oil should cover at least half the balls. Cook the cheese balls until golden, about 3 minutes on each size. Remove on a paper towel. Stick a toothpick so they're easier to grab and serve.
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