Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Appetizer: Sausage Balls

Pretty much any party you go to in the South, you find sausage balls. These little balls of awesomeness (or breakfast sausage, cheese and biscuit mix - same thing) were the first "grownup" appetizer I ever had. Granted, lots of things that seem all sophisticated and fancy when you're young don't have that same appeal when you actually are a grownup.

These sausage balls are an exception. I've never made them when they weren't just snapped right off the tray.

The recipe is pretty much as basic as they come: Bisquik, bulk sausage and shredded cheese. You can change the flavor of sausage (maple vs. hot, for instance) or the type of cheese (cheddar is traditional), but at the end of the day, it's just those three things, mixed up, rolled into balls and plopped in the oven.

Now, two hints on sausage balls:

1.) Mix them by hand. Yes, I know it's gross. But trust me on this one. Take off your rings and mix the "dough" by hand. A spoon or spatula just makes a huge mess, so dig in.

2.) Serve them hot. This is where I differ from a lot of Southern cooks, and also why everyone says my sausage balls are the best. Because a lot of Southern cooks make these up ahead of time and serve them at room temperature. I like to make the dough ahead (even putting the balls on a baking sheet, if I have space in the fridge), and then put them in the oven once guests arrive. That way, the cheese is still melty and everything's hot when you bite into them. Much better. Plus, the whole kitchen smells of sausage.

(Granted, you can totally make these ahead and serve them at room temperature. Yours just won't be as good as mine. So there.)

Southern Sausage Balls

1 1-pound package ground breakfast sausage (plain or flavored - I personally like Maple)
3 cups Bisquik baking mix
4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Heat the oven to 375, and spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. Using your hands, mix all ingredients together in a (really) large bowl. You'll have to work it, but understand that it will still be pretty crumbly. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on your baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. To keep them from sticking, you may want to move them a bit with a spatula about halfway through cooking.

Note: The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered. When you're ready to make the sausage balls, let it sit for a few minutes, then form the balls like you would normally.


  1. my daughter makes these for me.. I really enjoy them :) I like your site and have shared it with my readers on my blog:

  2. That looks delicious! I have to try it out.
    Welcome to the blogosphere!!

  3. Thanks, Aion! I appreciate the nice writeup.