These marinated mozzarella balls are the perfect make-ahead appetizer or party snack! They are full of flavor from fresh garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and herbs.
If you need a quick make-ahead appetizer or party snack, this flavorful recipe for marinated mozzarella balls are just what you need! They can be made up to one day ahead and kept in the fridge, so you don't need to stress in the kitchen right before your guests arrive.
Even though this is a simple recipe, your guests will be so satisfied with these delicious mozzarella balls! They are flavored with olive oil, red wine vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.
And, the sun-dried tomatoes and herbs give this appetizer a pretty red and green look, perfect to add a festive touch to your holiday table. (These marinated mozzarella balls would go great with my recipe for ricotta mushroom crostini!)
- Fresh mozzarella balls: I chose ciliegine mozzarella (aka "cherry size") because they are the perfect one-bite size. But, if you can't find ciliegine, you could use bocconcini, which are slightly larger. Or, buy a larger ball and cut it into bite-sized cubes. Here is a great primer on the different sizes available for fresh mozzarella balls!
- Sun-dried tomatoes: you need sun-dried tomatoes that are packed in oil, since they are softer and more pliable than dry sun-dried tomatoes.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: since the oil is a major component of this recipe, I prefer to use extra-virgin olive oil, which has a much stronger flavor than regular olive oil. Because this is a major ingredient, use an extra-virgin olive oil that you really enjoy!
Step by step photos
1. The first step is to prepare the produce. Finely chop the rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes. Chop the basil, and mince the garlic. Set these aside for now.
2. Next, add the extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) to a large bowl. Whisk these together until well combined.
3. Now, add in the ingredients you prepared earlier - the herbs, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir together to combine.
4. Now you are ready to add the mozzarella balls. Drain them well first, then add them to the bowl. Stir them together with the marinade ingredients so everything is well mixed. Stir gently so as not to break up the soft mozzarella balls.
5. Once everything is mixed together, smooth out the balls so most of them are submerged in the liquid. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge to marinate for at least one hour.
Tips and tricks
- When you are done making the mozzarella balls, you can either leave them in the bowl, or transfer them to glass jars before placing them in the fridge. The benefit of glass jars is that more of the mozzarella balls will be submerged in the marinade.
- If you are going to keep them in the bowl, just distribute the balls evenly in the bowl so as many are submerged in the marinade as possible.
- And, if you think of it, you can give the mozzarella a gentle stir every once in a while while they are marinating in the fridge.
- This recipe uses kosher salt, which is coarse grained. If you want to use fine grained salt instead, just reduce the amount from ¾ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon so the mozzarella balls don't taste too salty. Or, add salt to your own tastes!
I recommend marinating the mozzarella balls for at least one hour in the fridge. But, if you have time, they will taste even better if you let them stay in the fridge overnight! The garlic and herb flavor permeates the mozzarella much better with a longer marinade time.
If you marinate the mozzarella balls for longer than one hour or so, the olive oil will harden from the cold. If this happens, just let the mozzarella balls sit at room temperature for 30 - 40 minutes before serving.
You can serve these marinated mozzarella balls as is, with toothpicks for serving. Or, you can pair them with crackers, small bread slices, or crostini.
You can also include the marinated mozzarella as part of a larger cheese plate or charcuterie board, with an assortment of cured meats, olives, fruits, and cheeses.
For the freshest taste, enjoy these marinated mozzarella balls within 2 - 3 days after making.
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This easy recipe for marinated mozzarella balls makes the perfect appetizer for the holidays or any time of year! With herbs, olive oil, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes.
- 16 ounces (454 g) fresh mozzarella balls (ciliegine/"cherry size") (see note 1)
- ½ cup (32 g) chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons (6 g) finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 ounces (57 g) drained sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, finely chopped (about ⅓ cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (see note 2)
- ¾ cup (177 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (11 ml) red wine vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (see note 3)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- In a large bowl, add the extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional). Whisk together thoroughly to combine.
- Add the chopped fresh basil, finely chopped fresh rosemary, finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and minced garlic to the bowl. Stir to combine.
- Thoroughly drain the fresh mozzarella balls and add them to the bowl. Stir gently to combine the mozzarella balls with the marinade ingredients. Arrange the mozzarella balls so as many are covered with the marinade as possible. (Or, transfer the mozzarella and marinade into glass jars, which will help the marinade more fully cover the mozzarella balls.)
- Cover the bowl (or jars) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight (see note 4).
Ciliegine are bite-sized fresh mozzarella balls (about the size of a cherry!). If you don't have ciliegine, you can also use bocconcini, which are slightly larger, or cut a larger ball of fresh mozzarella into bite-sized squares.
If you don't enjoy the bold flavor of raw garlic, omit the garlic altogether or reduce it to only ½ clove.
Kosher salt is coarse grained; if you want to substitute fine grain salt, reduce the amount from ¾ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon (or, add salt to taste).
The longer you allow the mozzarella balls to marinate, the more intense the flavor will be! Depending on how long the mozzarella balls have been in the fridge, the olive oil may solidify from the cold. If this occurs, let the mozzarella balls sit at room temperature for 30 -40 minutes before serving.
The nutrition information below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full nutrition disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: 1/12 recipe
- Calories: 225
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 189 mg
- Fat: 22.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 7.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.3 g
- Fiber: 0.5 g
- Protein: 6.9 g
- Cholesterol: 27 mg
Keywords: marinated mozzarella balls, mozzarella balls marinated