While my mom grew up here in Pittsburgh, the vast majority of her extended family is located in the Chicago area. My grandfather was the only one of his siblings to settle in this area after they all immigrated here from Italy; he fell in love with my grandma and stayed (awww!), working in the coal mines. The rest of his family continued west and settled outside of Chicago, taking factory jobs there. The family stayed close, and my mom grew up making multiple trips to Chicago each year. When I was younger, we would take a trip out there each summer to visit my mom’s cousins, and then eventually started making special trips for weddings, too.
During one particular summer trip to Chicago that involved a large family picnic, a cousin whipped together these sausage ball things that I haven’t forgotten since the day I ate them. I believe that hers had wonton wrappers involved, but when I ran across this recipe in an old issue of Everyday Food, I immediately thought of those appetizers.
While I’m a total dip girl when it comes to party food and “game day” food, I realize the importance of some heartier, warm appetizers and snacks when feeding a crowd. I like to go the no muss, no fuss route and tend to pick things that are easy to mix together and pop into the oven when folks arrive. These sausage cheddar bites totally fit the bill. For one, sausage and cheese are usually big hits at parties. And two, you can make these ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator until it’s time to pop them into the oven.
Are you making food for the Super Bowl this year? If so, what’s on your menu?
One year ago: Warm Black Bean Dip
Two years ago: White Russian Winter Milkshake
Three years ago: Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Four years ago: Mushroom-Herb Macaroni & Cheese
- 1¼ cups (156.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) ground black pepper
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) shredded cheddar cheese, about 2 cups shredded
- 16 ounces (453.59 g) bulk breakfast sausage
- ½ (0.5) large yellow onion, grated
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Add the shredded cheese and toss to evenly coat with the flour mixture. Add the sausage, onion and melted butter, and mix until a cohesive mass forms. Using your hands, break off pieces of the mixture and roll into 1-inch balls (I used a small cookie scoop). Place on the prepared baking sheet about ½-inch apart.
- Bake until the sausage is cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the warm sausage bites to a serving platter, insert toothpicks, and serve warm. These are best served as soon as they are baked, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I switched it up to make it Italian. Sweet italian sausage, pizza blend cheese, and marinara for dipping. Excellent!
If I have cooked breakfast sausage, what would I do differently to the recipe?
Hi Casey, I’m not sure cooked sausage would work here since it would have trouble binding with the rest of the ingredients; you need the raw meat to do that.
These are delicious!!! I’m not a huge fan of sausage but I loved these. My hubby and sons devoured them. They’re a huge hit in our house! Thanks!
Wow, this is really great. I must try to make it!
these are great – however when i made them the mix was very dry and would not bind together enough to be able to shape into balls. I added 1 beaten egg to the mix and the consistency was perfect.
If I would like to freeze these, would I cook them first and then freeze for later, or leave them uncooked and cook when I need them?
Hi Julie, You could do it either way.
My mom always made an appetizer of sausage and cheese on cocktail toast. I loved it and these remind me of it so much. She and I will have to make them together!
Are the sausages supposed to be diced up really small and then mashed together with the flour cheese mixture? How small should they be diced or is it just supposed to be chopped into a lindt truffle sized ball and then rolled into the mixture?
Hi Rose, It’s easiest to use bulk breakfast sausage for something like this, otherwise, if you are using links, remove the sausage from the casing and then mix it with the remaining ingredients, like you would meatballs, meatloaf or hamburger patties.
These are similar to the Sausage Balls that I make every year around Christmas, and my dad always made these when I was growing up. My recipe uses a biscuit mix, sausage and cheese. Yum!
These are GREAT frozen… Also, with a scrambled egg for breakfast the next day!
Thanks Andrea! I’ll give it a shot!
These are the best! Has anyone tried freezing them?
Haven’t made these in years, will have to do them again. Hubby will love them. The original recipe called for biscuit mix.
I made a similar appetizer and they always are the first things to disappear! Yum!!
I want these right now! They look amazing!!!
This is pretty much my boyfriend’s dream food. And mine.
MY boyfriend and I may be the ONLY two people in Pittsburgh that just do not care about football, haha! Never-the-less, these look amaaaazing! Can’t wait to try ’em out!
Haha, you can count my mom in with you guys, and she was born and raised here! She haaaaaates it!
I love these!
My Mom made these for years and they were our Christmas morning go to for a long time. Her’s only had 3 ingredients, sausage, cheese and flour but these sound yummy. Think I’ll try them and compare. Thanks!!
Yum! I could see popping these in my mouth throughout the Super Bowl! Looks delish! Love cheese and sausage together!
Sausage and Cheddar go so well together and this is the perfect appetizer to pop in your mouth! Thanks for sharing, Michelle. Pinning!
These will probably end up being my “Downton Abbey” Bites, but hey…any excuse for a yummy, cheesy appetizer, right? They looks so good!
I am not making Superbowl food as me and the hubs are not really “Superbowl People” If I was though, I would be making these. Sausage and cheese in a fun bite form? I may have to make these anyway. Yum!
I am a cocktail sausage lover/addict. Whether it is the the Frank or real meat; I can not go pass a bite of meaty goodness when partying. My fave to served them glazed or with a bit of pineapple.
No party is right without a meat dish; these look deliciously addictive!