Follow these steps at home to make these easy southern-style sausage balls with pimento cheese, rather than cheddar cheese. These baked, bite-size sausage balls are tender and moist— and made without boxed Bisquick! Ready within 30 minutes!
Anyone that has ever been to our house to watch a sporting event, knows there’s a good chance that one of the appetizer recipes I’ll be serving will be homemade sausage balls no bisquick, made with Neese’s sausage. They are an all time favorite appetizer.
But this year, I decided to change up my classic recipe, and create pimento cheese sausage balls. I love pimento cheese in biscuits, and breakfast pimento cheese potatoes, so I was sure it would be great in sausage balls.
If you’re not familiar with Neese’s sausage, they’re a family owned business located in my home town here in North Carolina. They’ve been around for over a 100 years and it’s the only breakfast sausage I ever use. They use local ingredients and their product is always fresh, never frozen. It can be found in North and South Carolina and Virginia. You can also order it on line for those outside of the area.
It has just the right mixture of seasoning that you’ll love in a breakfast sausage whether you’re using it for this homemade sausage balls no Bisquick recipe or just serving it along side a stack of waffles.
Traditionally Southern sausage balls are made with Bisquick and cheddar cheese. However, I try to avoid using processed food when possible so this recipe for sausage cheese balls does not contain Bisquick. Everyone agrees that they’re so much better with a lighter almost biscuit like texture. You can also skip the flour and make sausage balls with almond flour.
If you’re from the South or have visited, you’re sure to have eaten recipes with pimento cheese, it’s a staple at any party or gathering. Since I love the flavor, it just made sense to combine these two Southern classics.
What you’ll find is a cheesy sausage ball with a pop of flavor from the sharp cheddar cheese and pimentos. The mayonnaise in the pimento cheese actually keeps the sausage balls from drying out.
What is pimento cheese
For those who haven’t experienced the wonder of Pimento cheese, it’s a mayonnaise based spread made from shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos. It’s a staple in the South with 80% of all pimento cheese consumed in the Southeast with North Carolina as the leading consumer of pimento cheese.
We serve it on buttermilk biscuits or with pita chips and as a dip for chips and celery. It’s also great on a grilled cheese or to top a burger. You can change it up and add chipotle peppers for a smokey version, but all versions have cheddar cheese and mayonnaise and of course pimentos.
Why you’ll love sausage balls with pimento cheese
- You don’t need a box of Bisquick
- They are quick and easy, you can prepare these in about 15 minutes
- You don’t need any special equipment
- Just 5 ingredients and you probably have all but the sausage and pimento cheese
- Everyone LOVES sausage balls
The ingredients you’ll need for Southern sausage balls
- Neese’s sausage – I used their spicy sausage to add some heat. The quality of the sausage you use will affect the taste and flavor of your sausage balls, so if you’re in an area where you can’t find Neese’s, try to find a good quality breakfast sausage.
- Pimento cheese – you can use your favorite brand, try to choose one that does not have a lot of mayonnaise, if it’s runny, you’ll need to add more flour. For this recipe, try to find a thick pimento cheese like My Three Sons Gourmet.
- Pantry staples – flour, baking powder, butter
How to make the best sausage balls
You’re not going to believe how easy Southern sausage balls are to make, all you need is a bowl and a baking sheet. It will be easier if you have a stand mixer or food processor, but I’ve made these a million times with just my hands.
Step 1: combine dry ingredients with cheese
Add flour, baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl. Add cold butter and use your fingers to pinch it into the flour. Next add the pimento cheese and mix until it is incorporated.
Step 2: add some sausage
Add the sausage a little at a time and mix until it is combined. (it helps if the sausage has been sitting out for about 15 minutes)
Step 3: scoop it out
Use a cookie scoop to form 1-2 tablespoon sized balls and then roll them between your hands to form smooth balls. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown.
Pro Tip: Once formed into balls, you cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day or two or freeze in an airtight container until you are ready to make them.
Pimento cheese sausage balls are best served warm, right out of the oven, but since they have a little more moisture from the pimento cheese than regular sausage balls, they won’t dry out as quickly when they come to room temperature.
- Let the sausage warm up for about 15 minutes on the counter, this helps the mixture come together easier. This is especially helpful if you’re mixing these with your hands.
- If you don’t have a mixer or food processor, just use your hands to mix everything together.
- These have very little grease so a rack is not needed, just cook them on a sheet of parchment paper.
- Try to get the balls about the same size for even cooking.
- If the sausage mixture is crumbly and won’t form into smooth balls, add a little milk and if it’s so sticky that you can’t work with it, add a little more flour.
- Traditional sausage balls with cheddar cheeses made without Bisquick and sharp cheddar cheese.
- Make sausage balls with almond flour for a gluten free, low carb version. The texture is slightly different but they are equally delicious.
FAQs and tips
For best results, do not microwave sausage balls, they will get rubbery. It’s best to re-heat them in the oven. (Of course, I don’t always adhere to this rule, if you just have to have one right away, sprinkle them with water and heat in the microwave for just a few seconds)
Sausage balls can be dry if there is not enough fat in the sausage or you have added too much flour. The mixture should easily form into balls, if not, you can add a little milk to the mixture.
To store sausage balls, let them come to room temperature and place in an airtight container on the counter for 1-2 days.
You can freeze sausage balls, to reheat, just wrap in foil and heat at 350º for 5 minutes.
Breakfast sausage is made up of ground pork plus different seasonings and spices. You’ll find that Neese’s Sausage has no preservatives and is never frozen.
More sausage recipes you’ll love
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30 Minute Pimento Cheese Sausage Balls
- 2 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ salt
- 2 tablespoons butter cold
- 1 lb breakfast sausage
- 10 ounces pimento cheese
- Preheat oven to 400º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add flour, baking powder, salt and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Pinch the butter into the flour with your fingers until it is incorporated or use a pastry cutter. Add pimento cheese and mix until combined.
- Add sausage a little at a time, and mix until combined.
- Use a 1-2 tablespoon ice cream scoop to form into balls and shape with your hands. Place on prepared pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly browned on the outside.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Let the sausage sit on the counter for about 15 minutes to warm up.
- Use the best breakfast sausage you have available if you can’t find Neese’s where you live.
- If the pimento cheese is runny, you may need to add extra flour. You should be able to handle the sausage mixture without your hands getting sticky.
- Don’t over bake the sausage balls, take them out as soon as they start to get golden brown.