A hand holding a sausage ball dipped in ranch dressing.

For those of us who grew up in the Southern or Midwestern U.S., sausage balls are a classic holiday appetizer! While these simple, unassuming bites of deliciousness are perfectly at home during lots of occasions, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Christmas buffet without a plate of sausage balls!

The classic sausage ball recipe is super simple—just a combo of Bisquick baking mix, breakfast sausage, and cheddar cheese—and we’re of the belief you shouldn’t mess too much with perfection! Our recipe below adds just a touch of seasoning to round out the flavor, but its foundation is still totally classic. Let’s make some appetizers!

Top view of a holiday appetizer platter of sausage balls and ranch dip.

Wait. What exactly are sausage balls?

Sausage balls are like a delicious hybrid between a meatball and a biscuit. These little bite-size balls are soft, tender, and packed with flavor! Many people serve them as an appetizer or finger-food at a holiday buffet, but they also work for breakfast.

What do I need to make these sausage balls?

Just a few simple yet flavorful ingredients come together to make these perfect bite-sized appetizers!

  • Sharp cheddar—we highly recommend shredding your own for the best flavor and texture!
  • Ground pork breakfast sausage
  • Biscuit baking mix. You can use store-bought, like Bisquick mix, or make your own—we have a suggested recipe below!
  • Dried minced chives
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cayenne pepper

A hand holds a cheesy appetizer garnished with fresh snipped chives.

Can I switch the cheddar with another type of cheese?

Absolutely! Cheddar is a flavor-packed cheese that almost everyone loves, so it’s the cheese most commonly used in this classic recipe. But these are your sausage balls, so your tastebuds are key. Try mixing it up by using pepper jack, mozzarella, or gruyere. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not combine a few different kinds of cheese together?

Can I use bagged shredded cheese?

You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Bagged shredded cheese tends to be drier than its fresh shredded counterpart, and typically has an anti-caking agent to keep the shreds from clumping together. That’ll give your Sausage Balls less flavor and an unpleasant texture. Shred your own for the best flavor!

Do I have to use breakfast sausage?

Although this recipe calls for pork breakfast sausage, almost any ground pork sausage will do. If you’re looking to serve sausage balls for brunch on Christmas morning, you could make the recipe sweeter by using maple breakfast sausage. Yum!

You could also use turkey sausage, Italian sausage, spicy Italian sausage, or even spicy chorizo for varied results. Just make sure you get sausages that aren’t formed into links—you want the bulk ground sausage instead!

Wholefully Protip

Allow your sausage to sit out for a half hour at room temperature before you begin making this sausage ball recipe. This will help the sausage soften, so it’s easier to mix into your biscuit mix.

A hand holds up a sausage bite showing the cheesy, flavorful inside.

Overhead of a platter of cheesy appetizer bites with ranch dipping sauce.

Can I use smoked or precooked sausages?

Nope, sorry. Smoked and precooked sausages won’t work in this recipe because your sausage needs to be raw. You can purchase ground sausage in the grocery store.

Can I use a stand mixer to make this sausage ball recipe?

You sure can! This recipe is quick and easy to make, even if you mix it by hand. That being said, you can certainly use the dough or paddle attachment on your stand mixer to mix up a batch or two of sausage balls to make it even easier.

Can you double this recipe?

Yup! This is an excellent recipe to double. It’s quick to make, easy to store, and incredibly delicious. Doubling your recipe ensures you have something delicious to bring to the table the next time there’s a surprise potluck or holiday party.

Close view of classic sausage balls on a serving tray.

Help! My sausage balls are dry and crumbly.

If your sausage balls are crumbly, make sure you’re using freshly shredded cheese because it has more moisture. Your sausage might have also been too dry if it didn’t have enough fat. If this is the case, all you have to do is add a little more milk—a few tablespoons at a time—until the mixture is moist enough that it holds its shape when rolled into balls.

Should I serve these with any sort of dipping sauce?

These sausage balls are rich and tender on their own, so no need to serve with a dipping sauce, but if you do want to offer a dip, ranch is a classic option!

Dipping a sausage ball into ranch dressing .

Can you freeze sausage balls?

Yes! If you’re making a huge batch of sausage balls ahead of the holiday rush, you can easily toss some in the freezer. To freeze sausage balls, prepare them as instructed and allow them to cool completely. Then place them in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. When it comes time to reheat, simply place the frozen balls on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350°F.

How long will sausage balls last in the fridge?

You can store sausage balls in the fridge, cooked or uncooked. Make sure to use an airtight container. Cooked sausage balls will last for three to four days in the refrigerator, so you can make them well ahead of your holiday event. If your sausage balls aren’t cooked yet, they’ll safely last up to two days in the fridge.

Wholefully Protip

If you don’t want the other foods in your fridge to smell like sausage, be sure to store leftover sausage balls in an airtight container in the fridge. We recommend using either glass containers or lining plastic containers with wax paper before storage.

A hand holding a sausage ball dipped in ranch dressing.

Sausage Balls Recipe

Yield: 36 balls
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

These sausage balls are a cinch to make, packed with flavor, and a popular party food. This quick and easy recipe will soon become a party favorite.


  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound ground pork breakfast sausage
  • 2 cups biscuit baking mix (use store-bought—i.e. Bisquick—or see recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, optional, but highly recommended
  • 1/4 cup milk (if needed)

Biscuit Baking Mix

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour works great)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Either in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the shredded cheese, breakfast sausage, baking mix, chives, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Mix together until it forms a thick dough/paste. If the mixture seems too crumbly or thick, add in the milk, a couple tablespoons at a time, until it can be formed easily into balls.
  4. Roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball—between 1 1/2 and 2 inches in diameter.
  5. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet an inch apart. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Bake sausage balls in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the balls are golden brown.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1 ball
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 343mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *