With 4,000+ pins to Pinterest and more than 345 rave reviews from members, it's safe to say our original Sausage Cheese Balls have a seriously zealous following. And why shouldn't they? With a prep time of 20 minutes and just seven ingredients, they're an easy, addictively pop-able party appetizer that just about everyone loves. And since our kitchen experts can't leave well enough alone, they came up with a bunch of fun variations, including some with spicy chorizo sausage and another veggie-packed variety spiked with Sriracha—there's even a gluten-free version! Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for making, serving and enjoying these spicy little nuggets of goodness.
Quick trick for easy shaping
Instead of trying to eyeball the one-inch segments, press the sausage mixture into a 10-inch square on a plastic cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into 10 by 10 rows and presto, perfectly portioned sections. Roll each square into a ball and continue on with the recipe as directed.
Make 'em ahead
Stashing a couple dozen Sausage Cheese Balls in your freezer sets you up for spontaneous hosting success. Here's how to do it: Place unbaked balls on a cookie sheet and pop it in the freezer until they're nice and frozen. Toss them in a plastic freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to a month. When you're ready to use them, place the frozen balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. If you're lucky enough to have leftover baked balls, you can freeze them too for up to one month; you'll need to bake them for just 10 to 15 minutes at 350°.
Dips and dunking ideas
For dipping sauces, try swapping out the barbecue for other favorite sauces. Some dips to consider:
- Seasoned sour cream
- Flavored mayonnaise or aioli
- Alfredo, marinara or a meaty spaghetti sauce
- Salad dressings—ranch, honey-mustard or thousand island are all good options
- Buffalo wing sauce
- Sriracha or other spicy Asian chili sauce
Presentation is everything
Looking for new or inexpensive ways to showcase your appetizers? Home good stores often stock eye-catching serving pieces for really affordable prices. This tiered cherry-colored stoneware stand would be the perfect display piece for showcasing apps (and cookies, just not on the same plate!). Martini or shot glasses, pedestal cake stands and pretty candy dishes can also work well for presenting these babies. Be on the lookout for decorative picks or mini skewers so your guests can stab into each bite with style.