Fried Goat Cheese Balls are made with tangy goat cheese mixed with pepper cheddar, sweet dried apricots and crunchy walnuts then rolled in Panko and fried to golden perfection. An easy crowd pleasing appetizer they’ll reach for again and again.
Bite sized appetizers are a must have at any party and I love creating delicious bites to share with you. Enjoy a bowl of these golden fried Coconut Shrimp with your favourite dipping sauce or make a little extra risotto to turn into Smoked Salmon Caper Arancini.
Fried Goat Cheese Balls
Tangy creamy earthy goat cheese mingles well with sweet dried apricots and crunchy walnuts but deep frying takes this appetizer to a whole other level.
Then, there’s just a suggestion of a little spice from the pepper cheddar and smoked spicy paprika. The resulting cheese balls are like little flavour bombs.
Best of all, the are so easy to make. If you can make rum balls…you can make cheese balls!
Great Ingredients for Goat Cheese Balls
- Soft Goat Cheese or Chèvre
- Pepper Cheddar
- Dried Apricots
- Fresh Parsley
- Smoked Hot Paprika
Goat cheese (Chèvre) can come in a roll or tub. Just make sure you buy the plain dry crumbly variety.
I used a nice peppery cheddar but a sharp old cheddar would work as well. Use the fine side of the cheese grater to prep the cheese.
This recipe requires only 5 dried apricots. Slice each apricot into five pieces lengthwise then finely dice. The pieces should be quite small. Same with the walnuts.
For deep frying, choose a neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point such as light olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, or safflower oil
How to Make Goat Cheese Balls
Place the goat cheese, grated cheddar, apricots, walnuts, chopped parsley, and seasonings in a small bowl. Mix well, then divide the mixture into ten balls of equal size.
Pour the frying oil into a deep fryer or Dutch oven until the minimum fill line or 2 inches deep depending on the vessel. Start preheating the oil.
Next, set up the dipping bowls or shallow dishes. Crack two eggs into one bowl, beat the eggs well and set aside. Pour the Panko into the second bowl.
Just before you start dredging the goat cheese balls, set up two paper towel lined platters. One is for the dredged balls and the other is for the finished balls.
Roll one goat cheese ball in the egg wash. Allow the excess egg wash to drip off then roll it in the panko. Dredge in the egg was as second time, drip, then roll again in the bread crumbs.
Place the dredged cheese ball on a paper towel lined plate then repeat with remaining balls.
“…cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.”Clifton Fadiman
How to Fry Goat Cheese Balls
If the oil has reached 375 F, you can begin frying the cheese balls and dredge the remainder at the same time. However, I suggest dredging all of them first because the frying can go quickly.
Working in batches, place the cheese balls in a metal spider skimmer and carefully lower them into the hot oil. Deep fry 3-4 at a time as it really does not take that long for them to cook.
Once they have become golden and crisp up, they are finished. Using a slotted spoon or spider skimmer, remove the golden balls from the hot oil and place on the clean platter to drain.
Repeat with remaining cheese balls, as long as the oil temperature stays at a relatively steady 375 F. If it drops too low, the oil will seep into the food and make it greasy.
How to Bake Goat Cheese Balls
Alternatively, these goat cheese balls can also be baked in the oven. The trick is to freeze them for 30 minutes after dredging them in the panko.
Preheat oven to 465 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Place the semi frozen balls on the paper lined baking sheet and brush or spray with olive oil.
Bake the cheese balls for 8 minutes the remove from the oven and immediately place on serving platter. Season with sea salt and serve.
Use the goat cheese as a blank canvas and add your own flavours and textures. Some great flavour variations include:
- cranberry and pecan
- pine nut and preserved lemon
- pine nut and rosemary
- garlic and herb
- everything bagel seasoning
- dried cherry and pistachio
- bacon and fig
To make a gluten free version, simply replace the panko crumbs with your favourite gluten free bread crumbs.
Alternatively, you can skip the frying altogether and simply roll the cheese balls in chopped nuts or fresh herbs instead of egg and panko.
Aside from being a delicious small bit on their own, these satisfying little bites make an amazing salad topper or cheese board focal point.
Play around with the shape too…flatten them out to make patties and add them to burgers or sandwiches.
How to Store and Reheat Goat Cheese Balls
These goat cheese balls freeze well and can be made ahead of time. Simply freeze them immediately after dredging. To thaw, place the frozen cheese balls on a paper lined baking plate or sheet for an hour.
Deep fry or bake as directed above. Do not microwave.
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