These Fried Goat Cheese Balls have a very special guest star: Pumpkin! These fall flavors come together perfectly for an easy and delicious bite sized appetizer. Perfect to serve from fall through the holidays!
Pumpkin and goat cheese go perfectly together. The tangy goat cheese is balanced out by the creamy, slightly sweet flavor of the pumpkin. Add in some sage, garlic and a pinch of nutmeg, and it all comes together beautifully. Then the best part, they get rolled in panko breadcrumbs and fried to crispy perfection!
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These goat cheese balls are easy to make, but they do take a bit of time because you have to freeze them—twice! Okay, not actually a full freeze, but you do have to put the goat cheese mixture into the freezer for a bit, just so that it becomes firm enough to roll into balls. Then, after you've rolled and breaded the goat cheese mixture, you'll pop them back into the freezer before frying them. I know these may seem like annoying steps, but they are so important! If the goat cheese is too warm when it goes into the hot oil, it'll melt everywhere and become a mess. Don't skip the freezing steps!!
So how do you make these pumpkin goat cheese balls? Easy! First you'll mix the pumpkin, goat cheese, garlic, sage, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl. I like to use a fork to mash the goat cheese with the pumpkin more easily. Make sure the mixture is well combined and then put the whole bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up before rolling. I like to set up the "breading station" during this time.
Next, roll the goat cheese mixture into balls a little smaller than a golf ball and then bread each one. Remember, you've got to freeze these before frying them, so line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and put the goat cheese balls on the baking sheet as you bread them. Start by rolling the ball through the flour, then the beaten eggs, and then the panko breadcrumbs. Repeat with the rest of the goat cheese mixture and then put the baking sheet with the breaded balls into the freezer for another 30 minutes.
Now it's time to fry! Heat about 3 inches of canola oil in a saucepan until it reaches 350 degrees. You want to stay in the 350-375 range for frying, so adjust the heat to maintain that temperature as needed. Fry the goat cheese balls in batches (I like to do 4-5 at a time) until they're golden brown and crispy, then remove them with a slotted spoon or spider to a paper towel lined plate. They only take about a minute to fry, so keep an eye on them! Make sure to sprinkle the goat cheese balls with a bit of salt as they come out of the fryer. After all of the goat cheese balls have been fried, I like to quickly fry a few sage leaves for garnish.
Finally, drizzle the goat cheese balls with a little hot honey before serving. I LOVE this one, and always have it at home. If you prefer, you can use regular honey instead. I just love the little kick from the hot honey.
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Fried Pumpkin Goat Cheese Balls
- 1 8 Ounce log goat cheese
- ¾ Cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Large garlic clove finely minced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh sage finely minced, plus more for garnish
- ½ Teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ Teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 Cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Cup all purpose flour
- 2 Large eggs at room temperature, beaten
- Canola oil for frying
- Flaky sea salt for serving
- Hot honey for serving
- In a bowl, mix the goat cheese, pumpkin, garlic, sage, nutmeg and salt until well combined. Put the bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes for the goat cheese mixture to harden up.
- Meanwhile, prepare the breading station. Place the flour, beaten eggs, and panko breadcrumbs in 3 shallow bowls.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray lightly with oil. Roll the goat cheese mixture into small balls (a little smaller than a golf ball) and bread them by coating them in the flour first, then the eggs, and finally the panko breadcrumbs. Repeat with the rest of the goat cheese mixture and place each breaded ball onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes before frying.
- Heat a saucepan with 3 inches of canola oil to 350-375 degrees. Fry the goat cheese balls in batches, 4-5 at a time, until golden brown and crispy; 1-2 minutes. With a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the goat cheese balls to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining goat cheese balls. Add a few sage leaves to the oil and fry for 30 seconds, until crispy for garnish.
- Drizzle the pumpkin goat cheese balls with hot honey and serve. Enjoy!