Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Sorry about this one.  It’s definitely not on your New Year’s resolution list.

The Super Bowl is coming up (in case you haven’t heard), so the next few posts will be some fancy-schmancy appetizers for the big game.  Well, actually, they are not fancy-schmancy, but easy to prepare, savory, and completely manageable.

Besides the Super Bowl coming up, I am a huge fan of appetizers.  I always have been, for whatever reason.  Give me some nice wine, appetizers, good company, and a little dessert, and I am a happy camper.

Now, on to these little Bocconcini (I have no idea of how to pronounce it-I apparently butcher it every time I say it….).  They are little tiny balls of mozzarella that can be found in the cheese section of most grocery stores.  So, they were easy to find. (Yay-no extra trips across town…).  Everything else was in my pantry.

So, who doesn’t like a little fried mozzarella?  I had to face my fears of the hot oil again, but, you know what?  The more I have tried frying different things (ok, so not so good for me), the better it gets each time.  I think it’s always a good thing to have a little fear of that hot oil, but, at least I am branching out in my culinary experiences.

The spicy tomato sauce was a little tangy, but not as spicy as I would have liked it.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a little spicy, but next time I make these (and yes, there will be a next time for sure), I am going to add a little more heat.  I also served them with a little Ranch dressing (my personal favorite), but you could serve them with whatever kind of sauce you like.

Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Servings: approximately 20  (I halved this recipe, but I am listing the full one here-it would be enough for a large group)


For the sauce:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, juice reserved

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the fried mozzarella:

3-4 cups peanut oil, depending on type of pan you will be frying the cheese in

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

2 lb. mozzarella bocconcini (about 50 pieces)

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 cups panko

Special equipment:  Deep-frying thermometer


1. For the sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the 1/2 cup olive oil.

2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft but not browned, about 1 minute.

3. Add the tomatoes and their juices and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

4. Preheat an oven to 200°F.

5. For the fried mozzarella: Drain the cheese from its liquid. Place the cheese on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and pat dry.

6. If your cheese balls seem pretty big, halve or quarter them into bite-size pieces.  Once they get the panko breading on them, they will be a lot bigger.

7.In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.

8. Put the egg mixture and bread crumbs in separate wide, shallow bowls.  Combine the panko with the teaspoon of salt and Parmesan in another wide, shallow bowl.  (*If you only have one shallow bowl, use it for the panko.  It will help you immensely with the breading process.)

9. Roll the cheese in the flour, dip into the egg mixture and coat with the bread crumbs, shaking off the excess after each step.

10.  Repeat the breading process one more time for each cheese piece.

11. In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

12. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden, about 45 seconds (or until golden brown-watch them carefully as oven temperatures may vary). If you notice that your thermometer’s reading decreases, wait for a little while until the oil gets back up to the proper temperature.

13. Transfer the fried cheese to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and black pepper. Place the cheese on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while frying the remaining cheese.

14.  Serve with the warm tomato sauce.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma.

January 30, 2011 - 7:41 am

Lauren at KeepItSweet - I really don’t do any frying at home, but these look like they’d be worth it!

January 30, 2011 - 8:45 am

Aku - Mmmm. Fried cheese. Deeeeelicious!

January 30, 2011 - 12:28 pm

Jara - These look sooo delicious. I’m used to the fresh and simple way of eating them as is but adding a fried touch to this seems like it’d only enhance the experience

January 30, 2011 - 1:20 pm

Ang - These look fantastic! A little secret of mine. I sometimes crave a mozzarella stick from Denny’s:) Perfect game day app!

January 31, 2011 - 1:38 am

A Wok In the Tuscan Kitchen - wow…these look amazing. I will certainly give these a whirl. Thanks for sharing

January 31, 2011 - 5:18 am

Debs @ Acquiredish - I absolutely love Bocconcini (incidentally pronounced Bok-on-see-knee). I usually serve with cherry toms and chopped basil with a dressing of olive oil, sea salt and balsamic vinegar for a tasty salad.

Deep fried with your sauce sounds delicious for a naughty change, will have to try these very soon, thanks.

January 31, 2011 - 12:15 pm

Josie - mmm fried cheese is never a bad thing – these look so delicious!

February 1, 2011 - 2:40 am

jenny @ melting butter - wow, they look amazingly tasty! well done!

February 1, 2011 - 3:43 am

Raks - Wow,they look super delicious! I saw in the side bar of food buzz top 10 banner and landed here! Super yum!

February 1, 2011 - 4:56 am

Natalie - These look gorgeous! They remind me of my favourite Italian dish, Mozzarella en Carrozza but a cute smaller bite size version. Who needs superbowl (whatever that is?!), thanks for sharing!!

February 1, 2011 - 8:36 am

Courtney - These look delicious! And I’m totally with you on loving appetizers. There’s something about hanging out with friends and enjoying drinks and appetizers. 🙂

February 1, 2011 - 8:57 am

Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie - Yum. Yum. Yum! What a delicious plate of cheesy goodness! Love it!

Gratz on Top 9!!

February 1, 2011 - 9:11 am

Junia @ Mis Pensamientos - congrats on top 9 with me today! 🙂 your photography is beautiful and your food looks delish!!!

February 1, 2011 - 10:16 am

Katrina - Congratulations on the Top 9 – these are sure to be a huge hit!!!

February 1, 2011 - 10:17 am

Peggy - I can’t resist some good ol’ fried cheese! These look awesome and will be a much welcomed addition to our Superbowl table!

February 1, 2011 - 11:37 am

Adelina - love love these little balls. I should make some considering that I have some boccincinis in my fridge.

February 1, 2011 - 11:39 am

Culinarian - These look absolutely incredible!

February 1, 2011 - 12:00 pm

Happy When Not Hungry - Wow these look amazing and definitely perfect for Super Bowl Sunday!

February 1, 2011 - 12:55 pm

Glenn K - Thanks for this.

I have a (not so secret) love for fried cheese, and now I know it can be done at home.

February 1, 2011 - 1:48 pm

Adele Forbes - love it! Perfect Super Bowl fare…thanks so much for sharing and your pictures are awesome!

February 1, 2011 - 3:06 pm

Nam - I could easily polish off a dozen of these! YUM!

February 1, 2011 - 6:36 pm

Chef Dennis - hi Shanon
what a wonderful idea, breading and frying those little balls of mozzarella! It would be perfect for any party, not just the superbowl!!
Congratulations on your #1 post on the top 9 today!

February 1, 2011 - 6:37 pm

Deena Montillo - Great recipe! We shared it with our Facebook fans.

February 2, 2011 - 12:14 am

Gianna - I love bocconcini.. to fry them would be incredible. I will definitely be trying this one! That picture is absolutely mouth watering.

February 2, 2011 - 7:12 am

Kate - Oh, these look wonderful! I was just looking for something to bring to our Superbowl party. This just might do the trick. Thanks!

February 2, 2011 - 11:59 am

Maggie @ Vittles and Bits - Oh WOW! These look amazing, I would love to have some right about now actually 🙂

February 2, 2011 - 1:51 pm

Claire - Gosh, I’m thinking this would be a perfect appetizer to serve before the vodka pasta you posted recently. 🙂

February 3, 2011 - 5:20 pm

Jen H - Great minds think alike, I just posted something so similar to this on my blog 🙂 I linked back to your post after the fact as they are so similar.

February 8, 2011 - 1:19 pm

nipponnin - Super mouth watering photo! I would like to make these delicious balls soon. Congratulations!

February 11, 2011 - 4:20 pm

Erica - These are great! I used store bought sauce but added red pepper flakes and fresh basil. Also added pepper flakes and italian seasoning to the bread crumbs… mmm

May 6, 2011 - 3:18 am

Recipes on my to-make list (2) « Ruby Rhino - […] Fried bocconcini with spicy tomato sauce – The Curvy Carrot (trying to think a way around deep frying these, but not sure yet) from → Glorious food ← Room envy // Sweet style in Sweden LikeBe the first to like this post. No comments yet […]

July 6, 2011 - 5:03 am
September 16, 2011 - 5:40 am

Five Friday Finds :: Morsels of Life - […] Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce – The Curvy Carrot Fried cheese? I’m in! Add in a spicy tomato sauce? Definitely! Now all I have to do is get the materials and make some! […]

October 4, 2011 - 11:50 am

Charlotte Ferreux - I love this recipe and blog…I posted it on my community foodie blog. Hope you can come check it out

Also, feel free to post you’re recipes or you’re favourite foodie tips on it whenever you like!

November 5, 2011 - 11:45 am

Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce « i FinD Recipes Online - […] Recipe Link Share this:ShareFacebookTwitterDiggEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

November 15, 2011 - 12:19 pm

non-traditional food options for a traditional holiday! « the lemon peel - […] Mozzarella Balls (appetizer) – My mouth is watering just thinking about these fried pieces of deliciousness. Though I’ve never made them before I figure it’s worth a try! […]

December 6, 2011 - 11:37 pm

Recipe: Fried Mozzarella | keep me posted! - […] found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to try it out. The recipe is from The Curvy Carrot. Finding the ingredients was just as easy as she said it would be. The mozzarella balls were in the […]

December 10, 2011 - 1:17 pm

Giulia - your recipe happens to be the first one i’ve read in quite some time that can be truly labelled as “italian”. how refreshing 🙂 the correct pronunciation is bohk-kohn-chee-nee, by the way, with the stress on the second syllable. “ci” is always pronounced “chee” in italian, just like chee(se)! take care.

December 16, 2011 - 11:34 pm

Andrea Francis - These look delicious!! I have been looking for appetizers to make for christmas eve and I am certain these just made the list!!

December 30, 2011 - 8:00 am

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January 26, 2012 - 10:58 am

Top 10 Superbowl Appetizers to Try This Year » - […] The Curvy Carrot – Fried Bocconcini […]

January 26, 2012 - 11:27 pm

Alyssa - Amazing! Made them tonight..twice in fact because they were so good! I used cheddar curds for mine, simply because I couldn’t find the mozzarella at the grocery store (looking in the wrong place maybe?) and I also double coated them (egg, panko, repeat). Not sure if this is really neccessary as I didn’t try it single coated but the results were beyond good. Will definitely make again!

January 27, 2012 - 10:04 am

Super Bowl Recipe Roundup - […] Fried cheese balls with spicy tomato sauce […]

January 29, 2012 - 10:00 pm

Mimi - Definitely making these for Superbowl Sunday. I think I’ll make a basil, tomato mayo to go with them as a dipping sauce. These look really yummy.

January 31, 2012 - 9:17 pm

Kristina - Can you tell me where I might buy the cheese? I can’t find it in any of my local stores…Thanks

February 1, 2012 - 8:09 am

srlacy - Hi Kristina-
You might have to try a specialty cheese store. Or you could even call an Italian restaurant to see if they have any that you could purchase. I found mine in the specialty cheese section of a large, national-chain supermarket. Good luck!

February 5, 2012 - 7:16 pm

krista - Made these and they are super delicious!!! Had to be incredibly careful cause they fall apart easily in the fryer. Very yummy!! Thank you so much! Will make again!

February 5, 2012 - 8:24 pm

JenT - I made these tonight for super bowl! They were really delicious! A little greasy but not too bad! Still yummy!

February 6, 2012 - 1:20 pm

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June 9, 2012 - 4:02 am

» Pinterest you love it Malabaronline - […] via Malabarica on […]

June 20, 2012 - 4:34 pm

Nadia - Can we bake them instead of frying ? Maybe they won’t taste the same?

June 20, 2012 - 4:57 pm

srlacy - Hi Nadia-
I haven’t tried baking them with this recipe, but if you try it and it works let me know. I’m not sure if this breading would hold up well in the oven.

June 21, 2012 - 4:04 pm

Teach a man to fish… | Wing and a Prayer Farm - […] Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce – oh golly, these were a hit.  Yes, more advance prep makes things easier and of course, if you have two willing helpers, that expedites things as well!  Soft, fresh mozzarella is what we used, cut into smaller pieces and shaped into balls.  The recipe does call for Bocconcini, small balls of mozz, but I didn’t have any.  If you bread these ahead of time and refrigerate them, they will keep overnight and then are easily cooked just before serving. […]

August 28, 2012 - 11:07 am

FANTASY FOOTBALL | Soup Du Jour - […] are a recipe I had seen on Pinterest last football season and really wanted to make. They look so good! I’d really built them up […]

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Last Minute Super Bowl Party Recipes - […] Mozzarella with Spicy Tomato sauce from The Curvy Carrot…these are some of the best looking fried mozzarella balls I have ever seen! The Mr. is in […]

November 26, 2012 - 11:41 am

Case of the Mondays? | A Cedar Spoon | A Cedar Spoon - […] Food: Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce We have a few “cheese heads” in my house—this is on my list to try! Who doesn’t love a […]

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Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce | I Love To Cook - […] more details of this recipe please visit this link : thecurvycarrot Source : […]

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January 25, 2013 - 9:12 pm

26 Scrumptious Superbowl Recipes - Five in Ohio - […] 19. Fried Bocconcini […]

January 25, 2013 - 11:41 pm

Samantha - Gonna give these a whirl tomorrow for a party. Question though, for those that have made this and taken it somewhere…what’s the best way to transport these puppies and keep them warm? I have about a 1/2 hour commute to my party tomorrow and want to make sure they’re still as tasty as can be there. Any input would help! Thanks!

January 26, 2013 - 11:31 am

srlacy - Hi Samantha-

Keep them in an air-tight container, tightly covered. You might find that you may have to reheat them slightly in an oven once you get to the party in order to keep them warm-I wouldn’t recommend a microwave-they may get a little soggy. Best of luck!

January 29, 2013 - 10:32 pm

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April 25, 2013 - 5:32 pm

Lauren - Question: the serving size says 20 but you say 50 pieces of cheese- so will it actually make 50 little pieces?

April 25, 2013 - 8:21 pm

srlacy - Hi Lauren-it will actually make 50 pieces. A serving was considered two pieces in the original recipe I adapted this from. 🙂

September 16, 2013 - 9:59 pm

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November 21, 2013 - 9:56 am

Pinterest popular - Great recipe!
Thanks for share it .

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April 20, 2014 - 8:38 pm

Karen @ Money Saving Enthusiast - Those are the perfect size. They look super yummy too. : )

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