If you’ve been on the hunt for an exciting (and easy!) new appetizer for the holiday season, stop your scrolling. My recipe for Crispy Fried Goat Cheese is made with just 6 easy-to-find ingredients and has the perfect balance of tangy, herby flavors and creamy, crunchy textures.
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Why This Fried Goat Cheese Recipe Is The Best
While I love all kinds of cheese, goat cheese is easily among my top 3. It’s delightful in salads, sandwiches and wraps, can easily be turned into a creamy pasta sauce, add zing to a grain bowl, or, in this case, be breaded with crunchy onions and air-fried to luscious, golden perfection.
Aside from being downright craveworthy, these air-fried goat cheese balls are:
- Quick & Easy. If you have about 15 minutes of time you can spend in the kitchen, you have plenty of time to make this fried goat cheese recipe.
- Made With Just 6 Ingredients. I’d even bet you have at least half of them on hand already.
- Versatile. Whether you serve them as an appetizer, add them to a salad or grain bowl, or use them as a crunchy, creamy side dish, these breaded goat cheese bites are sure to impress.
- Meal-Prep & Freezer-Friendly. Part of the recipe includes freezer time so the cheese balls can solidify before you pop them in the air fryer basket. As it happens, you can stretch that chilly little repose out for several days so your crispy, melty balls of tangy deliciousness are at the ready when you need them.
- Healthier Than The Alternative - Unlike other recipes that call for deep-fried or pan-fried goat cheese, these tasty little nuggets are made in the air fryer. Virtue = Restored.
Ingredients & Substitutions
As I mentioned earlier, you only need 6 simple ingredients to make these crispy goat cheese bites. Here’s what to grab:
- Plain Goat Cheese - Technically speaking, there are lots of kinds of goat cheese on the market, but you’ll want to reach for the bright white logs of soft chevre.
- Trader Joes Everything But The Leftovers Seasoning - This seasonal spice blend is one of my all-time favorites. It tastes like stuffing in the best possible way! (FYI: Aside from using it in this easy appetizer recipe, it’s also stellar as a popcorn seasoning.) If you can’t find it or don’t have it on hand, feel free to swap in herbed goat cheese or try your hand at making your own seasoning blend.
- Crispy Fried Onions - If you only buy these for topping your green bean casseroles, you’re missing out on their crispy genius! Add them to salads, grain bowls, soups, or even sandwiches for a little crunch. Or, in this case, bash them up into quasi-breadcrumbs and use them to coat anything like cheese or meat.
- All-Purpose Flour - You’re only using this to give your eggwash something to grab onto, so feel free to swap in any flour you have on hand like cake flour, bread flour, or gluten-free flour.
- Egg & Milk - An egg wash is one of three components in a standard breading. Feel free to swap in plain heavy cream if eggs are off the table.
A Note On Goat Cheese
While goat cheese used to be something of a specialty grocery item, most all national chains carry it these days. Make sure to reach for the kind that is in a log rather than the crumbles — you’ll get more bang for your buck if you do!
If you’re wondering where to look, I’ve spotted fresh chevre at:
- Trader Joe’s
- Raley’s/Bel Air
In terms of personal favorites, I think ______ brand is the best cheese for frying, but any log-style fresh chevre will work!
As far as equipment is concerned, you’ll be sticking to mostly basics. Here’s what I use:
- 3 Shallow Dishes - I use these pasta bowls whenever I do a standard breading, but feel free to use whatever makes sense in your kitchen! Something with at least a small lip will help to contain messes.
- Large Mixing Bowl - Pro Tip: place a damp towel under your bowl to hold it still while you use your hand-mixer.
- Hand Mixer - You can also use a stand mixer, food processor, or even a handheld spatula to make these copycat Sur goat cheese balls. I just find the hand mixer makes short work of it and there’s less to clean up after!
- Small Spring-Loaded Cookie Scoop - You can also use a melon baller or even a regular teaspoon measure if you prefer. The spring-loaded action just makes things a little less messy.
- Cookie Sheet - If you have it, line it with parchment to cut back on cleanup.
- Air Fryer - A countertop convection oven will also work! In a pinch, you can also pan-fry, deep-fry, or bake them.
How To Fry Goat Cheese In The Air Fryer
Step 1: Set Up Breading Station. In 3 separate shallow dishes, put the crushed fried onions in one, flour in the other, and the egg whisked together with milk in the last bowl.
Step 2: Soften Goat Cheese. In a large mixing bowl place the 2 packages of goat cheese and microwave for 10-15 seconds. Alternatively, leave the goat cheese out at room temperature for a few hours until softened.
Step 3: Mix. Add in the Everything but the Leftovers seasoning and using a hand mixer, whip together until smooth. About 2 minutes.
Step 4: Shape & Coat. Use a small cookie scoop to form a little ball. Place the ball in the flour mixture, dunk in the egg wash, then finally cover in the crushed fried onions. Place completed goat cheese biite on your cookie sheet. Repeat until all of the goat cheese is gone.
Step 5: Freeze. Place all goat cheese balls in a single layer on the cookie sheet and freeze for at least 30 minutes up to overnight.
Step 6: Air Fry. Place the frozen, coated goat cheese balls in a single layer in an air fryer basket and fry at 400F for 6-7 minutes. Enjoy!
Optional Recipe Variations
While I love these fried goat cheese snacks just the way they are, there is always plenty of room for you to customize just about any recipe to fit your needs and preferences. Here are a few variations to consider:
- Goat Cheese Medallions - Instead of softening the goat cheese logs and mixing them directly with the leftovers seasoning blend, leave them chilled. Using a piece of unflavored dental floss (preferred) or a knife, cut the log into ¼ -inch slices. Add the seasoning blend to the flour to imbue the medallions with that delicious Thanksgiving flavor.
- Gluten-Free Goat Cheese Balls - Swap in your favorite cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend and use seasoned gluten-free panko or bashed up Funyuns in place of the fried onions. Alternatively, make your own gluten-free fried onions!
- Sweet Fried Goat Cheese - Instead of going for a savory app, go sweet instead. Trade out the TJ’s leftover seasoning for powdered sugar, citrus zest, warming spices (e.g. cinnamon and ginger), and/or vanilla or almond extract. Instead of using crispy fried onions, use bashed up breakfast cereal or cookies. Serve with a sweet dipping sauce (e.g. warm jam, honey, hot fudge, salted caramel, or cinnamon spread) and call it dessert!
- Pan-Fried Goat Cheese - If you don’t have an air fryer, feel free to pan fry your goat cheese balls to crispy, golden perfection. This will take a bit more babysitting since you’ll want to get them browned on all sides and it’ll add some calories since you’ll need oil for frying, but the results will be lovely.
FAQs & Tips
Does goat cheese melt like regular cheese? On a spectrum of cream cheese to halloumi, goat cheese is more on the cream cheese side of things. It doesn’t get stretchy like mozzarella or cheddar cheese, rather melts into a creamy puddle of gooey goodness.
Can you melt goat cheese in a pan? You sure can! That’s part of why freezing the goat cheese balls is so important before frying or cooking them. If you don’t, they’re liable to end up as puddles rather than balls or medallions.
- Don’t skip the freezing step. This is essential for having the goat cheese maintain the proper shape during cooking.
- Use a “dry” hand and a “wet” hand for breading. If you’ve ever breaded anything and ended up with more of the mix on your hands than whatever you were trying to coat, you know how messy it can be. To avoid this, keep your wet and dry hands separate.
Use your dominant hand to roll the balls in flour, then drop them into the egg mix. Use your non-dominant hand to coat in the liquid and shake off the excess before dropping them into the onions. Go back to your dry hand, picking up the onions and sprinkling them on top of the egg mix to give your dry hand a good surface to grip onto.
Storage & Make-Ahead
How To Make Goat Cheese Balls Ahead Of Time: The breaded goat cheese bites can be assembled and placed in the freezer up to a month ahead of time. When you’re ready to add some cheesy, melty, creaminess to your diet, toss them directly in the preheated air fryer!
How To Store & Reheat Goat Cheese Balls: These crispy fried goat cheese balls are best served fresh from the air fryer. That said, any leftovers can be cooled completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. To reheat, use your air fryer or toaster oven to help return some of the original crispiness to the exterior.
Can Goat Cheese Balls Be Frozen? Sure thing! Feel free to freeze unfried goat cheese up to a month, or freeze any leftovers for up to 2 weeks. To reheat, pop them straight from the freezer into your air fryer or toaster oven and heat until warmed through.
Once you make these fried goat cheese medallions, I have a feeling you’ll find no shortage of ways to use them. Here are some of my top choices:
- Dippable Appetizers - Serve your goat cheese balls with a sauce like marinara or pesto for a quick and easy hors d’oeuvres recipe. Oh, and you can also go sweet if you prefer! Goat cheese and honey is a classic combination and will taste great with these savory bites.
- On Salads, Sandwiches, & Grain Bowls - “Fried goat cheese salad” sounds a lot tastier than “side green salad,” right? Use these crunchy, creamy bites to liven up any meal that needs a little pizazz.
- Side Dish - Any chicken, fish, beef, pork, or lamb dish that you’d serve with goat cheese is a perfect fit for these crispy nuggets.
More Bite-Sized Appetizer Recipes
Crispy Fried Goat Cheese
- 1 air fryer
- 2 8 oz packages of plain goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon Trader Joes Everything But The Leftovers seasoning
- 2 cups crispy fried onions crushed up
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon milk
- In 3 separate shallow dishes, put the crushed fried onions in one, flour in the other, and the egg whisked together with milk in the last bowl.
- In a large mixing bowl place the 2 packages of goat cheese and microwave for 10-15 seconds.
- Add in the Everything but the Leftovers seasoning and using a hand mixer, whip together until smooth. About 2 minutes.
- Use a small cookie scoop to form a little ball.
- Place the ball in the flour mixture, dunk in the egg wash, then finally cover in the crushed fried onions.
- Repeat until all of the goat cheese is gone.
- Place these on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least 30 minutes up to overnight.
- When ready to cook, place them in an air fryer basket and fry at 400 for 6-7 minutes. Enjoy!