My first experience with Goat Cheese Balls—creamy portions of softened goat cheese rolled in breadcrumbs and cooked until golden and crisp outside and meltingly creamy inside—was in France, where they are a common addition to salads. Today’s recipe has the same level of splendor, done in mini, easy baked form!

Tasty goat cheese balls with sauce

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The fact that the French put fried goat cheese balls on salads is one of the many pleasures you’ll find on their café menus.

I’d long had the idea to recreate the experience at home.

Instead of the large coins of goat cheese I was served in Paris, I opted for these highly devourable mini goat cheese balls.

  • The mini size gives you a more balanced ratio of crispy breadcrumb exterior to creamy goat cheese interior.
  • The smaller scale also makes this goat cheese recipe ideal for appetizers. You can prep them ahead, and the presentation is exceptional.

This baked goat cheese ball recipe further ups the appetizer ante with cranberries in the filling and toasted pecans in the coating.

A final drizzle of honey makes these bites a complete show-off, which is part of the fun.

When serving something as sublime as golden, warm goat cheese balls with cranberries, a little showmanship is more than appropriate—it’s a right and necessary thing to do!

Goat cheese balls on a serving tray

How to Make Baked Goat Cheese Balls

While fried goat cheese balls are more common in France, I like to skip the mess and bake the goat cheese balls in the oven instead.

  • Making baked instead of fried goat cheese balls offers easy cleanup.
  • Baked goat cheese balls are a more healthy way to eat goat cheese than fried, since they skip the oil.

Nuts, cranberries, and honey go well with goat cheese, and this recipe takes advantage of all three.

With their crispy, nutty coating and warm, creamy interior, goat cheese balls are one of the best ways to eat goat cheese.


The Ingredients

  • Pecan Panko Mixture. The outsides of these balls are coated in a scrumptious panko pecan mixture with thyme and salt. It’s a crisp and savory complement to the creamy and sweet interior of the balls.

Dietary Note

  • To Make Gluten Free. If you want to make the baked goat cheese balls gluten free, you can use gluten free breadcrumbs or skip the breadcrumbs and use all pecans instead.
  • Egg. Helps the pecan panko mixture stick to the goat cheese balls.
  • Dried Cranberries. Their pop of sweetness goes beautifully with goat cheese, and they add festive bursts of color.
  • Goat Cheese. Creamy and luscious goat cheese makes for the ideal cheese ball. Its slight tanginess is addictive, and it can be purchased in a variety of fun flavors.

Market Swap

Not a fan of goat cheese but love the spirit of this recipe? Check out my Cranberry Cream Cheese Appetizer Bites or Brie Bites. Goat cheese fans, you’ll love this Goat Cheese Quiche.

  • Honey. A finishing drizzle of honey makes these special. Honey complements the salty coating and lightly tangy goat cheese.

The Directions

A wooden spoon stirring in a bowl
  1. Mix the goat cheese and cranberries together.
Parchment paper topped with goat cheese balls
  1. Roll the goat cheese mixture into balls. Lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Nuts in a food processor
  1. Grind the pecans in a food processor, then combine with the panko, salt, and thyme together in a bowl.
Goat cheese balls in egg wash
  1. Roll the goat cheese balls in the beaten egg mixture.
Ingredients being rolled in a bowl of nuts
  1. Roll the balls in the panko mixture. Return the balls to the baking sheet.
Keto goat cheese balls
  1. Freeze the balls for 30 minutes.
Goat cheese balls on parchment paper
  1. Bake the balls at 470 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, drizzle with honey, and ENJOY!

How to Serve Goat Cheese Balls

Make Ahead Tips

For those (like me) who prefer to make party appetizers in advance, you might be wondering, “can you make goat cheese balls in advance?” Thankfully, the answer is yes!

  • To Make Ahead. Prepare the goat cheese balls as directed through Step 8. Transfer the frozen goat cheese balls to an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake the cheese balls, finish the recipe steps as directed.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate goat cheese balls in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 
Easy goat cheese balls on a plate

What to Serve with Goat Cheese Balls

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Food Processor

Whether you need to chop, shred, mix, or puree, this food processor can handle the job. It’s easy to use and clean!

Tasty goat cheese balls with sauce

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Baked goat cheese balls with cranberries: this is bliss in a bite!

Tasty goat cheese balls with sauce

Goat Cheese Balls

5 from 1 vote
This crispy, baked goat cheese balls recipe with cranberries, honey, and pecans is a festive appetizer for any gathering. And cooks quickly!

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 1 hr

Servings: 18 balls

Ingredients
  

  • 10 ounces goat cheese at room temperature (plain, honey, or herbed goat cheese are all yummy!)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raw pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large egg
  • Honey for drizzling

Instructions
 

  • Line a baking sheet or plate that will fit in your freezer with parchment paper (and clear out some space in your freezer to hold it).
  • Place the goat cheese and cranberries in a mixing bowl. With a sturdy spoon, break up the goat cheese and stir it together with the cranberries. Continue to stir and "smush" the cheese, until the cranberries are fairly evenly distributed (it doesn't need to be perfect or hold together at this point).
  • Portion the goat cheese mixture and roll into 18 balls, distributing the cranberries evenly. (To get 18, I find it easiest to divide the mixture into 3 portions, divide each of those portions in half, then divide each half into 3). The balls will be about 1 1/4 inches or so each. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Place the pecans in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground (don’t over blend and turn them into pecan butter). Alternatively, you can place them in a thick ziptop bag and crush them with a rolling pin (or wine bottle).
  • Transfer the ground pecans to a shallow bowl and stir together with the panko, salt, and thyme.
  • In a separate medium bowl, thoroughly beat the egg.
  • Working one or two at a time, roll a goat cheese ball first in the egg mixture, then the panko mixture. Lightly pat to adhere the crumbs to all sides. I find it easiest to use one hand as the "wet hand" (this is the one you use for the eggs) and one as the "dry" hand (for adhering the crumbs). Place the ball back on the parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining balls.
  • Freeze the balls for 30 minutes to harden. After 30 minutes, they are ready to bake, or you can transfer them to a ziptop bag for longer freezer storage.
  • When you are ready to bake, place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 470 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the goat cheese balls on top.
  • Bake the goat cheese balls until the crumbs are lightly golden and crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes depending upon your oven. Keep an eye on them as they cook to ensure the coating doesn’t burn. If your oven doesn’t bake evenly and you notice the ones in the pack browning before the ones in the front, rotate your pan 180 degrees F.
  • With a thin, flexible spatula (or by lifting up the sheet of parchment—be careful, they roll!) immediately transfer the balls to a serving plate (if you leave them on the sheet, they will melt).
  • Let cool 1 to 2 minutes, then drizzle with honey. Enjoy immediately!

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate goat cheese balls in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 2 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 18)Calories: 67kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 16mgPotassium: 17mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 177IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. My daughter made these tonight and OMG, they tasted like an appetizer from a 5 star restaurant!!! And they looked delicious too!!! Great recipe which I will use often!!!5 stars