Try these easy, fresh Marinated Mozzarella Balls for a simple and delicious cheese appetizer! Creamy bocconcini is marinated in a rich and savory olive oil and herb combination that uses mainly pantry staples. This crowd-pleaser can also be made ahead of time!
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
This Marinated Mozzarella Balls recipe uses bocconcini, a bite-size version of classic fresh mozzarella. Italian for “small morsels,” bocconcini are creamy and mild and make the perfect petite appetizer or snack. Because of their creamy texture, they absorb other flavors well, making them the perfect candidate for marinating.
I used to buy tubs of marinated mozzarella cheese balls at Costco, but I haven’t seen them there in quite some time. They do sell plain bocconcini now, so I developed this recipe for Marinated Mozzarella Balls, which have a much fresher taste and are super simple!
The easy marinade for the fresh mozzarella balls comes together in minutes! Fresh basil enhances the sweetness in the sun-dried tomatoes, and the rich, fruity notes of the olive oil complement the robust flavor of garlic. This quality and from-scratch marinade makes these mozzarella balls taste better than anything store-bought!
While this recipe has fresh ingredients, it mainly uses pantry staples. Olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes are ingredients you likely already have. Once the simple marinade is combined and the fresh mozzarella balls have been added, they can sit in the fridge until just before you are ready to serve.
This Marinated Mozzarella Balls recipe is:
- Quick and easy! The marinade for the mozzarella cheese balls comes together in a matter of minutes.
- Make-ahead. Once it’s put together, the marinated mozzarella balls can be stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
- Versatile! You can switch up the seasonings used in the marinade, and the heat level is also customizable.
- Perfect for cheese, antipasto platters, or charcuterie boards or for threading onto skewers with cherry or grape tomatoes.
Let’s make ’em!
How to Make Marinated Mozzarella Balls:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this mozzarella cheese ball recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:
- Bocconcini: Bocconcini are small, semi-soft, rindless, unripened (also called “fresh”) mozzarella cheese packed in whey or water. Drain them of excess liquid before using them in this marinated mozzarella balls recipe.
- Olive Oil: Use a good, intensely flavored, extra virgin olive oil.
- Fresh Basil: Available year-round in the produce department. I like to purchase fresh basil sold in small pots which will keep for a month or two on your countertop.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes with Italian seasoning added, for even more flavor.
- Italian Seasoning: A dried spice blend that can vary depending on the brand but uses staple herbs of basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Any store-bought Italian seasoning will work.
- Gather and prep all the ingredients.
- Combine the olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic, and basil in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the mozzarella cheese balls, then stir to combine.
- Add salt to taste.
- Place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- An easy, peasy, crowd-pleasing appetizer with a fresher taste than anything you can buy done in minutes!
Essential Safety Tip:
- Because of the raw garlic, refrigerating the marinated mozzarella balls is essential. Let the marinated mozzarella balls sit briefly at room temperature before serving–just long enough for the oil to liquefy (10-15 minutes). Stay safe and toss any mozzarella balls that have been out for two hours. (Two hours is standard for any food item that requires refrigeration.)
Frequently Asked Questions:
Fresh marinated mozzarella balls work great as a snack, either by themselves or on a piece of toasted bread. They are also an excellent way to add flavor to salads–just slice them up and mix them in!
For best results, they can be made up to a day in advance. After making the marinade and adding the mozzarella balls, store in the refrigerator. The olive oil will solidify because of the cold temperature, so let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes or until it liquefies.
- Because the raw garlic is submerged in olive oil and creates an oxygen-free environment, always refrigerate the marinated mozzarella balls. (The lack of oxygen can cause botulism to grow.) Allow the marinated mozzarella balls to come to room temperature before serving. Be safe and discard any unrefrigerated mozzarella balls after two hours. Do not store the marinated mozzarella balls for longer than five days total.
- Chicken Milanese
- Marinated Tomatoes
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- Tomato and Onion Salad
More great cheesy appetizer recipes you’ll love!
- Lemon Parmesan Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms
- Goat Cheese Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms
- Spinach Artichoke Squares
Get all my appetizer and snack recipes at Appetizers and Snacks – From A Chef’s Kitchen.
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Marinated Mozzarella Balls (Bocconcini)
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- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped sundried tomatoes in oil - preferably with Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - or to taste and tolerance
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 large sprig fresh basil - coarsely chopped
- 16 ounces bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls) - drained
- 1/2 teaspoon salt - or to taste
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic, and basil.
- Add the mozzarella balls and stir to coat. Add salt to taste.
- Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.