Goat cheese balls are such a fun and flavorful appetizer made with soft goat cheese and a pecan + panko breadcrumb topping all baked in the oven instead of deep frying!
You will love these baked goat cheese bites as a yummy appetizer for game day or even a starter any night of the week. Made with 8 simple ingredients, these baked goat cheese balls are the perfect finger food for dippin’.
We tested this recipe with both normal goat cheese and also Boursin cheese for a fun flavor flare. Both were delicious, but we ultimately loved the plain goat cheese.
Our #1 tip is to make sure your goat cheese is cold when rolling it into little balls or else it won’t hold its shape.
What You Need for Goat Cheese Balls
Here’s what you need for perfect goat cheese balls:
- goat cheese – make sure to purchase plain goat cheese in log-form.
- fresh thyme – only use fresh thyme for this recipe, not dried. I promise this flavor add-in makes this recipe!
- breadcrumbs – panko breadcrumbs give you that yummy crunch after they’re baked.
- pecans – feel free to use pecans or walnuts. You’ll need a cup of nuts, which will be processed into flour.
- egg – an egg wash is used to coat the goat cheese balls before dredging them in the breadcrumb mixture.
- spices: garlic, cayenne, salt
goat cheese recommendation
We recommend buying goat cheese logs instead of crumbled goat cheese. This recipe calls for 12-oz. goat cheese and most goat cheese logs come in packages of 4-oz.
Tip: are you a Boursin cheese fan? try swapping the goat cheese for Boursin.
Honey Sriracha Dip Idea
While these goat cheese balls are perfect drizzled with honey, we served these with a delicious honey sriracha sauce. All you need are 2 things:
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 tablespoon sriracha (or more, to taste)
Mix the two together and serve your cheese balls with this sweet and spicy deliciousness.
How to Pan Fry Goat Cheese Balls
Hoping to make pan-fried goat cheese balls? We tested this recipe by frying them in 2 inches of vegetable oil and we all agreed that they are 100% better baked. However, you can fry them if you wish.
We recommend eating this appetizer immediately after baking. However, if you do have extras you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Baked Goat Cheese Balls
- 12 oz. goat cheese we used 3 4-oz. logs, cold*
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup pecans processed into flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
Optional Spicy Dip
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 tablespoon sriracha or more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Next, place the pecans in a food processor or coffee grinder and grind the pecans until they turn into a coarse flour. Make sure not to over-process or you could turn it into pecan butter!
- Place the pecan flour, fresh thyme, bread crumbs, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and mix. Set aside.
- Whisk the egg in a small bowl until there is no sign of egg white. Set aside.
- Finally, cut each of your goat cheese logs into 12 equal pieces. And then roll each piece of goat cheese between your hands to create a ball. You should get around 36 balls total.
- Prepare the goat cheese bites by dipping each goat cheese ball into the egg wash. Let the excess egg drip from the ball and then, dredge the goat cheese ball in the panko mixture being sure it is completely covered. Place the goat cheese ball on the lined baking sheet. Repeat this until all of the goat cheese balls are dipped in egg and panko.
- Spray the tops of the goat cheese balls with olive oil cooking spray and bake at 450ºF for around 10 minutes or until they begin to turn golden brown.
- Remove the goat cheese balls from the oven and drizzle with optional honey before serving.
Tips & Notes
- Use Cold Goat Cheese: the most important part about rolling your goat cheese into balls is that the goat cheese you use must be cold. If your goat cheese is at room temperature, it will not roll properly into balls.
- Evenly Slice Goat Cheese Logs: The best way to get evenly sized is to slice your goat cheese logs evenly. Start by cutting your log in half and then in half again and then in half again. Because we were working with 4-oz logs, we got about 12 balls per log.
- Dredge Quickly: When going form the egg wash to the panko, it is important to work quicky and as clean as possible so the panko doesn’t clump. Instead of using your flipping the goat cheese balls with your fingers, you can simply toss panko on top of them and/or use a spoon so no clumps form.
- Bake Until Golden Brown: Everyone’s oven is different, but a good rule of thumb for this recipe is to start with 8 minutes and then to continue baking until your balls are golden brown and crispy.