If you’re searching for the ultimate crowd-pleasing appetizer, look no further!


Deep-Fried Goat Cheese Balls with Smoky Basil Pesto

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 24 balls
Author The Food Gays


  • 300 g goat cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt plus more for finishing
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pickled banana peppers finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup panko flakes
  • 3 cups neutral oil

For the Smoky Basil Pesto

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup smoky extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, salt, pepper, banana peppers and thyme. Mix with a fork until well combined. Roll out 24 small balls (about 2 teaspoons worth of cheese per ball should do it). Refrigerate balls for 10 minutes.
  2. Crack egg into a small bowl, and whisk with a fork until combined. Set up panko flakes in another small bowl. Dip each goat cheese ball thoroughly in the egg, then roll in panko. Repeat the process on each ball until all are coated.
  3. Heat oil in a small pot on medium-high heat until it reaches 360F. Carefully place each ball in the pot, about 3-4 balls per batch, as not to crowd the pot. They cook quite quickly, so keep an eye - about 1-2 minutes and they should be golden and crispy. Set on a plate lined with paper towel, to help absorb any excess oil. Top with flaky sea salt.
  4. Prepare the pesto. In a food processor or blender, combine basil, almonds, smoky olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Blend until completely smooth. Serve alongside goat cheese balls.