If you make one new recipe for this year’s Big Game, make it these Sriracha Sausage Cheddar Balls! A from scratch kicked up take on the Southern classic sausage cheddar balls recipe that’s totally kid approved.
No, I’m not from the South — I’m born and raised in the heart of Ohio. But these Sriracha Sausage Cheddar Balls are totally one of my favorite small bites for game day!
Honestly, I didn’t even realize sausage balls were a Southern thing until recently, but it all seems to make sense now. I first had them many years ago at a tailgate party hosted by a friend who was fresh out of the Navy. I assume that he picked up the recipe while he was stationed down South, but regardless of how he came by it, I’m just SO glad that he introduced me to it.
How To Make Sriracha Sausage Cheddar Balls
If you’re not familiar with sausage balls, they’re typically a mixture of ground sausage, store-bought baking mix and shredded cheddar cheese, which is a totally valid way to make them. But I prefer to make my sausage cheese balls from scratch:
Okay, so I don’t make the sausage from scratch… I buy Johnsonville Ground Italian Sausage. It comes in both mild and hot varieties, and both would be equally delicious in this recipe. I picked up the mild ground sausage because it’s all my store had in stock, but I would have absolutely gone for the hot variety if they’d had it. It all depends on your tolerance for spicy foods.
Baking Mix From Scratch
For this recipe, there really is no significant time savings in using a store-bought baking mix versus just adding the individual ingredients. If you really want to, you can use 1 1/2 cups of your favorite baking mix in lieu of the flour, salt, baking powder, and butter, but I like having complete control over the ingredients I use. Either way, don’t forget the pepper!
I like a good sharp cheddar cheese in my sausage cheese balls, so I buy a block and grate it myself. One of these days I’ll invest in a food processor (recommendations are welcome!), but for now I’m fine with grating it by hand. I don’t recommend using packaged shredded cheese for this recipe because the cellulose (what they coat the cheese with to keep it from sticking together) doesn’t play nicely with the other ingredients and can cause an odd texture.
I’ve always eaten my sausage cheddar balls with a squirt of Sriracha sauce on top. I just love the pop of heat and flavor! So recently I decided to try incorporating the Sriracha into my regular recipe for sausage balls, and it turned out to be AMAZING. I still like to add even more on top, but even my kids agreed that adding it before cooking made these sausage balls extra flavorful (and not TOO hot for their more sensitive taste buds).
Judging by how quickly they disappeared, I’ll be getting requests to make them again for the Big Game on Sunday!
Sriracha Sausage Cheddar Balls
Yield 45 sausage balls
A kicked up take on the Southern classic sausage cheddar balls recipe… These easy sausage balls are made from scratch and totally kid approved, a MUST for game day!
- 1-lb. Johnsonville Ground Italian Sausage, mild or hot
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 8-oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add the grated cheddar cheese and toss to coat.
- Add the sausage and drizzle the butter and Sriracha sauce over the top. Mix until well combined. You can use your hands for this step, but I prefer to let my stand mixer do the work on the lowest speed until thoroughly combined.
- Using a small cookie scoop, portion the mixture out and roll into 1" balls. Place the balls about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake until the sausage balls are golden and cooked through, approximately 15-17 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm, preferably with additional Sriracha sauce for drizzling.
You can prep and roll these sausage balls ahead of time and freeze them raw to bake later. When you're ready to bake, just place them on a tray and bake from the frozen state, adding an extra 3-5 minutes to the baking time.
Tips For Making The Best Sausage Cheddar Balls
- Shred your own cheese. As I mentioned, packaged shredded cheese produces an odd texture, so spend a few minutes grating a block of sharp cheddar.
- Use your stand mixer. Using a stand mixer on the lowest stage will incorporate all of the ingredients much more quickly and thoroughly, without getting your hands dirty.
- Portion the sausage balls with a small cookie scoop. My cookie scoop is one of the most-used gadgets in my kitchen! Everything turns out nicely uniform in size.
- Line your pan with parchment paper. This is less about easy cleanup and more about preventing the bottoms from burning before the top is completely cooked through.
- Drain on paper towels. Transfer the cooked sausage cheddar balls to a plate lined with paper towels before arranging them for serving to soak up the excess grease from the sausage.
- Make ahead and freeze. Make a batch of these Sriracha sausage cheddar balls ahead of time and freeze them raw. You can then bake them as needed from their frozen state! Just add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
If you’re cooking for a game day crowd, I highly recommend doubling or even tripling this recipe. These babies will FLY off the plate!
This is a sponsored conversation written on behalf of Johnsonville sausage. Johnsonville packs a ton of flavor into their ground sausage, making all of your favorite sausage recipes even better. Be sure to check out The Sausage Dome, the first ever reality sausage competition, to find more game day recipe inspiration featuring delicious Johnsonville sausage!