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+ servings
a galvanized bowl of marinated fresh mozzarella balls with basil.

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.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Roasting garlic 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6


For roasting garlic

  • 1 head garlic roasted [see instructions below]
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil or a quick drizzle from a bottle
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper

For mozzarella balls

  • 8 oz. ciliegine or bite sized fresh mozzarella balls see note below
  • 6-8 cloves roasted garlic
  • cup chopped oil-packed sun dried tomatoes drained (save the oil)
  • cup olive oil
  • 5 leaves fresh basil large leaves
  • cup oil from sun dried tomato jar total amount needed/includes drained oil
  • 3-4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt or more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


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.


  • 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: