Herby marinated cheese is a delicious appetizer with an elegant presentation. It’s an easy no-cook recipe that’s perfect for entertaining. Add a dish of marinated mozzarella balls to your charcuterie board layout.
Wondering what to bring to a party along with a bottle of wine? A mason jar of marinated mozzarella balls makes a wonderful hostess gift. It’s perfect for summer gatherings and the holiday party season.
Prep this savory appetizer in just 5 minutes. For a mild infusion, let the cheese marinate for 1 hour. For a more robust flavor, marinate for several hours or overnight. Like honey goat cheese balls, marinated cheese is real crowd pleaser. After gatherings you’ll come home with an empty dish.
This marinated cheese recipe is very versatile. It can be made with a whole variety of soft and semi-hard cheeses either sliced or cubed. Today we’re assembling this appetizer with a mix of mozzarella cheese balls (pearls) and sliced mozzarella. But when you use a semi-hard cheese you can elevate the dish by adding a softer texture. Arrange cream cheese between the slices.
Serve herby marinated cheese with sliced baguette, mini toasts, crackers, bagel chips, or crostini. Enjoy it alone or on a charcuterie board with Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, cured meat, dried fruit, grapes and jam.
Because you’re making this appetizer at home with basic pantry ingredients, it’s a money-saving recipe that can be assembled on a shoe-string budget. But no one need know. Presentation is everything. In an appetizer dish, present the cheese slices in a flattering off-set arrangement, or cubed in a lovely dish with frilly cocktail toothpicks.
Have you signed up to take marinated cheese to numerous parties during the holiday season? Just mix things up with a different presentation. It’s the same basic recipe with a fresh new look. String marinated mozzarella balls onto wooden skewers between cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. It’s fun and festive, and perfect for easy snacking.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Select a high-quality robust olive oil. My 3 favorite brands are Bariani from Northern California, California Olive Ranch, and Costco’s Kirkland brand.
- Cloves of Garlic: Pressing, fine mincing or grating the garlic will help distribute the flavor throughout the marinade. But for just a trace of garlic taste, smash the cloves and add them whole to the marinade.
- Fresh Herbs: For this recipe we’re using fresh basil, oregano, and thyme. But almost any herbs can be used for the marinade.
- Sea Salt: This type of salt has a milder taste than kosher salt or table salt. It doesn’t overpower the mozzarella cheese. The 2 types of sea salt I prefer: Redmond Real Salt mined from an ancient seabed in Utah, and bags of sea salt purchased along the Pacific shores of Mexico.
- Red Pepper Flakes: This flavorful ingredient adds a small bite of heat, as well as lovely color. If you prefer a bigger boost of heat, use Calabrian chili paste. For all the taste without the heat, use (minced) sun-dried tomatoes. At the market, look for this oil-packed ingredient in jar.
- Freshly-Cracked Black Pepper (optional): For added texture and a more peppery taste to the marinade.
- Mozzarella Ball or Mozzarella Pearls: This marinated cheese is made with both sliced fresh mozzarella and mozzarella cheese balls (pearls). But other options include sliced cheddar and Monterey Jack.
- STEP 1: Add olive oil, garlic, chopped fresh herbs, sea salt, and red pepper flakes to a 16-ounce mason jar. Securely attach the lid. Shake well to combine. If you don’t have a jar, use a glass measuring cup and small whisk. For cheese slices, arrange the pieces in a wide shallow bowl so there’s enough room for the herby oil to flow around the slices.
- STEP 2: If marinating mozzarella pearls, add cheese balls to the jar. Gently shake the jar back and forth to spread the herbs around so the cheese is well coated. For sliced cheese, drizzle the marinade over the cheese, ensuring all pieces are covered in the herby oil.
- STEP 3: Cover the jar or bowl. For a mild infusion, marinate 1 hour at room temperature. For a stronger infusion, marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
- STEP 4: To serve, remove cheese from the herby oil. Enjoy with crackers or small slices of rustic bread.
These are the most commonly asked questions when making herby marinated cheese, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.
It depends on how you wish to serve the marinated cheese. If the cheese will be enjoyed on its own, or skewered between fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes, use mozzarella cheese balls. If the appetizer will be served with crackers or crostini, use sliced cheese.
Try fresh basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, dill, and chives. But if you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, use dry herbs instead. Crumble the dried herbs between your fingertips to release the aroma and flavor.
Try mozzarella pearls, goat cheese, feta cheese (cut into rectangles), cheddar, manchego, gouda, and Monterey Jack. To mix things up, layer cream cheese between slices of firmer cheese.
Try sun-dried tomatoes, diced pimientos, dried rubbed sage, celery salt, rainbow peppercorns. Instead of olive oil try macadamia nut oil, or use the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes.
Marinated cheese will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just make sure it stays covered in the herby oil.
Add balsamic vinegar to the herby marinade. Serve as a dipping sauce for crusty bread. It’s an ideal starter for Italian meals.
MORE EASY CHEESE APPETIZERS
If you enjoy marinated cheese, you’ll also want to make these delicious cheesy appetizers. Each is a time-tested favorite. Add them to your recipe collection. Print them out or pin them to Pinterest.
- Smoked Gouda Cheese Ball
- Jalapeño Pimento Cheese
- Honey Goat Cheese Balls
- Cream Cheese Wontons
- Sausage Cheese Balls
- Loaded Cream Cheese Dip
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This easy no-cook recipe makes the BEST marinated cheese appetizer. Enjoy at summer parties, and during the festive holiday season. Serve with crostini, crackers, or pieces of crusty baguette.
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or enough to fully cover the cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, freshly chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 2 twists freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1 pound mozzarella pearls (cheese balls) or sliced mozzarella
- Add olive oil, garlic, chopped fresh herbs, sea salt, and red pepper flakes to a 16-ounce mason jar. Securely attach the lid. Shake well to combine. If you don’t have a jar, use a glass measuring cup and small whisk. For cheese slices, arrange the pieces in a wide shallow bowl so there’s enough room for the herby oil to flow around the slices.
- If marinating mozzarella pearls, add cheese balls to the jar. Gently shake the jar back and forth to spread the herbs around so the cheese is well coated. For cheese slices, drizzle the marinade over the cheese. Ensure all pieces are covered in the herby oil.
- Cover the jar or bowl. For a mild infusion, marinate 1 hour at room temperature. For a stronger infusion, marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
- To serve, remove cheese from the herby oil. Enjoy with crackers or slices of rustic bread.
WHAT TYPE OF CHEESE TO USE: If the cheese will be enjoyed on its own, or skewered between basil leaves and cherry tomatoes, use mozzarella pearls. If the appetizer will be served with crackers or crostini, use sliced cheese.
HOW TO USE LEFTOVER HERBY MARINADE: Add balsamic vinegar to the herby oil. Serve as a dipping sauce for crusty bread. It’s an ideal starter for Italian meals.
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Marinating Time: 1 Hour
- Cook Time: 0 Minutes
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Marinate
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Marinated Cheese, Marinated Mozzarella Balls, Marinated Mozzarella, Marinated Cheese Recipe
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