Sausage Balls

July  4, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves a crowd
Author Notes

Each December 23 as a kid, my family would pack up our van with luggage and gifts and drive two-and-a-half hours north from our home in central Mississippi to the Holly Springs, a small town a short drive southeast of Memphis. We’d arrive at my grandfather’s home there, drop off our things, and then head to my Aunt Dolly’s house across town where, for the next three days, we’d spend all our time eating (roast turkey and caramel cake), drinking (sodas for the kids and vodka on the rocks for the grown-ups), and lounging in ugly Christmas sweaters in between.

But while all the food and drinks we enjoyed at her house were wonderful, nothing beat the taste of my Aunt Barbara Jane’s Christmas cookies. They were the only food we had to eat in the early morning hours at my grandfather’s house before we were showered and dressed and back at Aunt Dolly’s house for another day of revelry. Because my grandfather was a bachelor who never spent anytime cooking at home, we would eat her cookies so as not to make a mess in his kitchen.

Her cookies were four distinct types of holiday treats that she’d bake and bring with her in giant metal tins decorated with Victorian images of Santa and his reindeer—and they never varied throughout all the years we were there. Oatmeal raisin cookies, crisp and chewy and classic. Powdered sugar-buried wedding cookies, crumbly and redolent with toasted pecans. Salted peanut and pretzel mounds with melted chocolate almond bark. And sausage balls, little orbs of baked meat and cheese bound together by Bisquick mix.

Because they were the only savory option, the sausage balls were mine and everyone else’s favorite treat. Instead of plates of eggs, toast, and bacon, we had those balls, nuked in the microwave by the half-dozen and enjoyed slightly rubbery but warm and satisfying with a cup of coffee.

In the years since, during my own holiday parties, I’ve made them using a from-scratch version of Bisquick and fresh breakfast sausage that I bought from my local butcher. But I’ve also relied on the supermarket versions when strapped for time or energy to great success. These are not fancy treats, after all, and I make them more to remind myself of the best time of year, when my extended family would crowd into a two-bedroom home, sprawl out in sleeping bags on the couch and living room floor, and wake up to the smells of sausage in the air. —Ben Mims

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Food52's Holiday Cookie Chronicles —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/3 cups (292g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (38g) cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup (38g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound (455g) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound (455g) ground breakfast pork sausage (casings removed if using links)
  1. Heat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. Add the cheese and sausage and use your hands to lightly knead everything together until evenly combined. (Try to avoid kneading the mixture too forcefully or the balls will get too tough.)
  3. Use a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or eyeball it with your fingers and roll the dough into golf ball–sized balls, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5cm) apart on the baking sheets.
  4. Bake both sheets, rotating them from top to bottom and front to back halfway through cooking, until the balls are golden brown on the outside and cooked through inside, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the sheets to wire racks and let cool completely. Store the balls in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  5. To rewarm, nuke individual or pairs of balls in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds, or reheat larger batches on a baking sheet in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jim Mann
    Jim Mann
  • joel carrico
    joel carrico
  • Melissafitz
  • MaryEllen D Cassman
    MaryEllen D Cassman
Ben Mims

Recipe by: Ben Mims

Ben Mims is the author of three cookbooks: Air Fry Every Day: 75 Recipes to Fry, Roast, and Bake Using Your Air Fryer (Clarkson Potter, 2018), Coconut (Short Stacks Editions, 2017), and Sweet and Southern: Classic Desserts with a Twist (Rizzoli; 2014).

8 Reviews

joel C. July 5, 2023
This recipe is a disaster. The mix is too dry and difficult to form into balls. I followed the cooking temp (300F) for 30 minutes and the meatballs looked miserable and the internal temp was less than 120. I had to increase the temp and cooked for another 15 minutes. When it’s all done the taste wasn’t good either. What a disappointing recipe!
Melissafitz November 2, 2021
I cannot speak to this recipe but sausage balls made with 1 lb of excellent breakfast sausage (I use Neeses or Bass — both from NC), 1 lb of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 2 cups of Bisquick are phenomenal. Bring everything to room temp before mixing, bake balls at 375F for 10 min, flip and bake for 10 min more. Serve with blackberry jam. You’re welcome.
MaryEllen D. December 24, 2020
These are the worst ever. Fortunately, I only made a 1/2 recipe. Dry, flavorless and devoid of any real flavor. Skip it.
Jim M. December 24, 2020
Sorry to disagree but the common term I heard to describe these was boring. I have to agree. They need a sauce to be dipped in.
I used my best breakfast sausage and seriously sharp cheddar cheese. They look just like the picture.
These are not going on the appetizer rotation.
Jim M. December 24, 2020
Sorry to disagree but the common term I heard to describe these was boring. I have to agree. They need a sauce to be dipped in.
I used my best breakfast sausage and seriously sharp cheddar cheese. They look just like the picture.
These are not going on the appetizer rotation.
vivavalencia November 28, 2020
Thankfully I googled other sausage ball recipes before starting - my mix was SO dry but a commenter on another site said to add milk as needed. Also several people suggested mixing the sausage and dry ingredients first THEN adding the cheese. I also added some extra seasoning (garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, black pepper) to my sausage beforehand as the sausage in Spain can be a bit flavorless. These were great!!!
sleeper54 February 2, 2020
Of course the missus wanted to make these . . .'healthier'. So we used turkey breakfast sausage. Just not the same thing ...#RollsEyes ... Use real sausage folks..!!

A lot of the cheese simply would not incorporate into the 'dough' . . .so we made a dozen or so 'cheese crisps' from the extra.

cfelten December 8, 2019
In our family, these are referred to as "Snausages." We make them with a cup of Bisquick to a pound each of Jimmy Dean's breakfast sausage and shredded sharp cheddar. Once cooked, we serve hot with a dipping of Honeycup sharp sweet mustard (available at Amazon and many grocery stores). I've also had them for breakfast with eggs at a B&B, sliced from the mixture shaped into a 2 inch roll and baked. Snausages freeze well uncooked and can be baked from the frozen state.