Quick Marinated Mozzarella Balls

An easy no cook appetizer recipe, Quick Marinated Mozzarella Balls dress up a simple cheese board with Italian flavors and color.

a galvanized bowl of marinated fresh mozzarella balls with basil

There is nothing like a good charcuterie board. Scratch that. There is nothing like a good cheese board. Making a meal out of cheese, bread and crackers is my idea of heaven due in no small part to my study abroad semester in Luxembourg (we won’t say what year that was) where eating pain et fromage was life. And if a bowl chock full of these marinated mozzarella balls was anywhere on or near a cheeseboard, they’d be popped into my mouth faster than you could say “pass the vino”!

Who doesn’t like a recipe that you can layer over salad like Italian Arugula Salad or scoop up with some Focaccia Bread?

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Why this recipe works

This marinated mozzarella balls recipe is a little different because of the ingredients used and how they’re prepared.

The big differences are:

  • it’s not swimming in olive oil but has a special blend of two oils resulting in so much flavor
  • it gets a ton of rich, subtle flavor from the garlic being roasted.
ingredients to make marinated mozzarella balls

Different types of fresh mozzarella and more

Marinated mozzarella balls are a simple toss of some unique ingredients that include:

  • Ciliegine mozzarella. (pronounced “cheel-ay-jean-yay”). These are bite-sized fresh mozzarella that is smaller than buffalo mozzarella balls but larger than mozzarella pearls.
  • Roasted garlic. I am including how to roast garlic in the recipe below and you’ll have enough to use in the oh-so-flavorful Lemon and Roast Garlic Chicken.
  • Sun dried tomatoes. I buy these at Costco and keep them on hand for this easy appetizer as well as for our favorite Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad. You never know when the craving or gathering will strike.

Step-by-step instructions

Second to my Pepper Jack Cheese Dip, this fresh mozzarella recipe is one of the easiest and can be multiplied many times for a larger crew.

Here’s how you make it:

  • Drain the mozzarella balls in a colander and blot dry using a paper towel. You want them to be as dry as possible because water and oil aren’t friends and will impede the marinating process.
  • Mix the olive oil with the drained sun dried tomato oil (half and half is the perfect ratio).
  • Chop up the basil, sun dried tomatoes and roasted garlic.
  • Toss the small mozzarella balls with the oils, some balsamic, the sun dried tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.
  • Marinate in covered container for a minimum of 1 hour up to 24 hours.
small pewter pan of marinated mozzarella balls and basil on a white plate

Helpful Tips

Make ahead

You can make these marinated mozzarella balls up to 3 days ahead. Add more olive oil as needed to keep them moist. You might also need to add some more basil right before serving.

Storing

Store in a sealed container until ready to serve.


TIP

Roast lots of extra garlic and refrigerate the cloves covered in olive oil in a sealed jar for approximately 2 weeks.

-Josie + Nina

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


a galvanized bowl of marinated fresh mozzarella balls with basil.
5 from 3 votes

Quick Marinated Mozzarella Balls

An easy no cook appetizer recipe, Quick Marinated Mozzarella Balls dress up a simple cheese board with Italian flavors and color.
Prep Time:5 minutes
Roasting garlic:40 minutes
Total Time:45 minutes
Servings 6
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Ingredients
 

For roasting garlic

For mozzarella balls

Instructions

Roast the garlic

  • Preheat an oven to 350°.
  • Slice the top off the whole head of garlic just enough to expose the top of each individual clove.
  • Lay the garlic on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Bring in all the sides of the foil to the crown of the garlic and seal it up like a purse.
  • Place the garlic foil packet on an oven safe small baking dish
  • Bake for 40 minutes until browned (your house will smell amazing!) Cool until you are able to handle it.
  • Squeeze the garlic cloves from the base of the head until the cloves slide cleanly out of the skins. Set aside.

To marinate the mozzarella

  • Drain the mozzarella in a colander and blot dry with a paper towel until little to no water remains.
  • Roughly chop the sun dried tomatoes and garlic and set aside.
  • Stack the basil leaves on top of each other. From the long side, roll them up like a cigar and starting at one end, thinly slice them with a sharp knife until you reach the other end. It's not necessary to include/chop the stems.
  • Next, blend the oils in a glass measuring cup. Add the remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning. (I wouldn't add more crushed red pepper as the heat will intensify as the cheese marinates in it.)
  • Add the fresh mozzarella balls, chopped tomatoes and garlic to a glass storage container that has a lid. (You can also use a ziploc bag as well) Pour the marinade over the cheese, tomatoes and garlic and mix completely.
  • Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour up to 24 hours periodically mixing to make sure the cheese is well coated.

Notes

  • If you can’t find fresh mozzarella balls or pearls, tear or cube a large ball of fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces. 
Make Ahead. You can make these marinated mozzarella balls up to 3 days ahead. Add more olive oil as needed to keep them moist. You might also need to add some more basil right before serving.
Storage. Keeps well in a covered container or ziploc for up to a week.
Optional ingredients ideas:
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

Recipes that use roasted garlic

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2 Comments

  1. Fresh mozzarella cheese is rarely available where I live so we make it at home. The kit is available from Amazon and only takes a couple hrs. I have made this before, and even skewered it with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves for a party app. Using these in a lasagna is outstanding.5 stars

    1. I love making homemade fresh mozzarella! And I looove the idea of using it in lasagna! I use fresh mozzarella in my lasagna but never have added it marinated…I’m starting work on a lasagna cookbook next year and will have to experiment with this idea! Thanks Frank!