These lemon and chili marinated mozzarella cheese balls are made with fresh ingredients and are absolutely bursting with flavor! They’re great in salads, pastas, homemade pizza, charcuterie boards and more.
Lemony Herb Marinated Mozzarella
What’s to love about this recipe?
- It’s an incredibly easy recipe: Simple ingredients + minimal effort = love at first bite.
- Versatile serving options: Not only do these little mozzarella make the perfect bite-sized appetizer to add to an antipasto platter, but they’re great mixed into pastas and salads.
- Garlic Free: Ok! Hear me out as a fellow garlic-lover, but no garlic means no garlic-breath and no worrying about how much the people around you can smell the evidence of your party snacking.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Ideally you want to choose the best quality olive oil you can as they flavor will be noticeable.
- Lemon Juice + Zest – Use a potato peeler to easily remove the peel. Make sure to choose an unwaxed lemon.
- Fresh Herbs (Parsley + Mint) – Wash and finely chop before adding to the marinade. You can include the parsley stem if you chop it fine enough, but you must remove the woody stem of the mint.
- Red Chili Flakes – Feel free to adjust the amount based on personal preference. You can also use fresh chili for a more intense pop.
- Salt & Pepper – Start with about 1/2 teaspoon and add more as you see fit.
- Mozzarella – Choose mini mozzarella balls about the size of a cherry tomato or smaller.
- Mix marinade: Mix the ingredients together in a medium or large bowl.
- TIP: Make sure to use a bowl large enough to easily toss the cheese balls in marinade.
- Add mozzarella: Toss to coat the cheese in marinade.
- TIP: Make sure to thoroughly drain the cheese before marinating.
- Marinate: Cover then set aside to marinate. The longer you marinate the stronger the flavor.
- TIP: If marinating more than 2 hours, make sure to store in the refrigerator. The olive oil will solidify in the fridge so take it out about 30 minutes before serving so the oil returns to a liquid state.
Best Mozzarella for Marinating
For best results, I recommend fresh mozzarella, but you can use a low-moisture mozzarella cut into cheese cubes if needed. What’s the difference?
- Fresh Mozzarella is a high-moisture, semi-soft, pillowy cheese with a creamy, mild flavor.
- Sold in brine and needs to be used within a few days of opening.
- Generally best in salads and or recipes that don’t require cooking.
- Low-Moisture Mozzarella is dry, aged, dense and saltier than fresh mozzarella.
- Sold grated in bags and in block form and can last weeks after opening.
Marinate & Store
The longer you marinate the stronger the flavor. Try to aim for at least 1 hour.
So long as you store your marinated mozzarella in the fridge you can let it marinate up to about 4 days which is about how long this will keep.
For storage, choose a large mason jar or another airtight container and pour enough olive oil over the top to fully cover the cheese.
- This makes for a great appetizer to include in a cheese board and party platter.
- Add cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to make a fresh and flavorful caprese salad
- Stir into pastas and salads for an extra punch of flavor. I recommend this Za’atar Spiced Pasta With Chickpeas And Spinach and Tomato & Arugula Balsamic Pasta Salad in particular.
Let me know if you try this marinated mozzarella recipe! Leave a comment and review with your thoughts. I always appreciate the feedback and serving suggestions that you come up with!
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (120ml) + more as needed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (30 ml)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper, each
- 1 lb fresh mozzarella balls, drained (16 oz | 450 g)
- In a medium bowl combine: olive oil, lemon juice, zest, mint, parsley, chili flakes, salt and pepper.
- Add the mozzarella balls to the olive oil mixture. Mix until the balls are well coated.
- Cover bowl or transfer to storage jar with a fitted lid. Set aside to marinate at least 1 hour or up to 4 days (which is how long they will keep).
- Store mozzarella in mason jar or an airtight container in the fridge. Add more oil to the jar/container to cover the balls completely.
- Marinating 2 hours or less: Leave mozzarella to marinate at room temperature.
- Marinating more than 2 hours: Keep in the refrigerator but take out and leave at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
- Look for bocconici or ciliegine mozzarella but any type of mozzarella pearls will do.