What’s better than cheese? Fried cheese balls! Only three ingredients in this easy, cheesy appetizer that’s crunchy on the outside while melted and gooey on the inside.
These fried cheese balls are a popular snack in Latin America where they’re known as bolitas de queso – literally, little balls of cheese.
They can be eaten plain or with a sauce for dipping. I prefer MayoKetchup myself which has a hint of garlic.
My husband loves them dipped in ranch dressing. He loves everything with ranch!
Now, the typical cheese used for these is gouda. The real gouda which comes in a ball dipped in red wax.
However, it’s not the only cheese that can be used. My old Spanish cookbook listed Edam, Swiss or cheddar, and I’ve seen other cooks use Monterrey Jack.
Any semi-firm cheese that you like should work.
Just keep in mind that it will have a strong, salty cheese flavor, so choose a mild cheese.
I don’t recommend using any pre-shredded cheese. That stuff is coated with anti-caking powders and you want a fresh cheese that’s going to melt beautifully.
After shredding, mix with 1 whole egg or 2 egg whites. I like the flavor of just the egg whites a little bit better (the yolk makes it very rich), but I also hate to waste food. Either option works!
You’ll also mix in some cornstarch or all-purpose flour. The cornstarch makes them extra crispy (and gluten free), but wheat flour has a little better flavor. Again, the choice is up to you.
You can mix the ingredients with an electric mixer or by hand, but it will take a little bit of elbow grease to get it come together and form a dough.
You may need to add additional flour if the mixture is too wet, but not too much since it will stiffen up when refrigerated.
Scoop little spoonfuls of the dough and roll into balls. I like to use a little cookie scoop so they’re all even.
Some people like to roll the bolitas in cornstarch, flour or cracker crumbs to form a coating. This step is completely optional.
I’ve tested all of these options so you don’t have to. Here are the results:
The cornstarch was messy when frying and I don’t recommend. The flour was fine, but unnecessary.
The cracker crumbs gave it an extra crunchy coating, but browns faster when cooking so keep a close eye.
Conclusion: I prefer to leave them naked, which is quick and easy, or rolled in cracker crumbs.
At this point, the bolitas de queso can be fried. But for much better results refrigerate the balls until chilled. This will help the cheese keep its shape better when frying.
You can also freeze them to cook at a later time. Freeze until hard, then put them in a zip-lock bag.
When you want fried cheese balls, just pull out the amount you need and fry them without waiting to thaw. Fry the cheese balls until crispy and golden.
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