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Marinated mozzarella balls are an easy appetizer that take just minutes of hands-on time! Serve as an antipasto or on a cheese board.

Marinated Mozzarella
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Here’s a fun and easy appetizer recipe that takes just minutes of hands on time: Marinated Mozzarella Balls! You’ll be surprised by how quickly this comes together and how satisfying the flavors are for such little effort. Like many Italian-style appetizers, the genius is in its simplicity. Marinade fresh mozzarella balls in a mix of olive oil, chopped herbs and red pepper flakes, and the flavor is a burst of bold and herbaceous. It’s perfect as an antipasti or as part of a cheese board. We were pleasantly surprised on first bite, and it’s gone on to become one of our favorite ways to start a meal or impress at a party.

Ingredients in marinated mozzarella balls

This marinated mozzarella balls recipe requires just 7 ingredients and 5 minutes of hands on time. The hardest part? Waiting the 30 minutes for the mozzarella to marinate! Like many Italian recipes, the key to success here is quality ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need for this easy appetizer:

  • Ciliegine mozzarella balls
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes
Marinated mozzarella balls

What are ciliegine?

Ciliegine are small fresh mozzarella balls that are about the size of a cherry. The word “ciliegine” comes from the Italian word for cherry, hence the name! We prefer the ciliegine size here: bocconcini is a bit too large. You can also use “perlini” mozzarella, which are very small balls about the shape of pearls.

Tips for marinated mozzarella balls

This marinated mozzarella balls recipe couldn’t be simpler: make the marinade, add the mozzarella balls, and wait for 30 minutes! The flavor is actually pretty good right away, but it gets better over time. Here are a few tips for making the recipe:

  • Use the fresh oregano (don’t be tempted to substitute). Fresh oregano brings a bright, lemony and herbaceous flavor here that dried oregano can’t replicate. If you must you can substitute dried, but we recommend finding fresh if at all possible.
  • Marinate at room temperature. Olive oil turns solid when cold, so you’ll want to keep this at room temperature while marinating.
  • Serve immediately for best flavor, or store up to 3 days. The best way to eat marinated mozzarella balls is immediately after marinating: but they taste great the next day too. Just make sure to bring them to room temperature before serving, because the olive oil solidifies.
Marinated mozzarella balls

Serving suggestions

Making marinated mozzarella for a party? We suggest making it right beforehand and letting it sit at room temperature while you do other party prep. It’s so simple to put together, there’s not really a need to make it ahead. But if you’d like to do some advanced prep, you can always chop the herbs and garlic and refrigerate them until ready to prepare.

What’s the best way to eat marinated mozzarella balls? Here are some ideas:

Always serve with toothpicks or small forks

Remember to serve marinated mozzarella balls with a toothpick or small fork. Because they are marinated in olive oil, you’ll want to make sure there’s no risk of oil dripping on your guests clothing!

More easy appetizer recipes

Love entertaining and need some party snacks? Here are some of our favorite easy appetizer recipes:

This marinated mozzarella balls recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Marinated Mozzarella

Marinated Mozzarella Balls

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
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Marinated mozzarella balls are an easy appetizer that take just minutes of hands-on time! Serve as an antipasto or on a cheese board.


  • 1/4 extra virgin cup olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano*
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces ciliegine mozzarella balls, drained


  1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, fresh oregano, fresh parsley, kosher salt, and red pepper flakes. Taste and add additional salt to taste. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. 
  2. Serve immediately after marinating. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving since the olive oil solidifies when cold.


*Fresh oregano is worth seeking out for the flavor here. If dried is all you can access, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon dried oregano.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Marinated
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!