Extra creamy, extra cheesy and extra flavorful – these Crispy Cheese Jalapeno Bacon Bites (Fried Cheese Balls) are PERFECT for game day snacking and entertaining! Quick and easy, and can be frozen for later too. Gluten free options also included.
Is there anything better than gooey, melty cheese in a crispy shell? Well, yes of course. These Crispy Cheese Jalapeno Bacon Bites right here! These are similar to Tirokroketes (a Greek fried cheese ball) and Texas Roadhouse rattlesnake bites but with jalapeno, bacon and hot sauce! There’s so much flavor packed into these extra cheesy, extra creamy, crispy fried cheese balls, they’ll disappear in a flash.
These crispy cheese jalapeno bacon bites are perfect for game day and entertaining. They are beat eaten hot so you get the best of that stretchy, creamy, melted cheese goodness, but they taste just as great at room temperature too. While the cheese won’t be as gooey then, they’ll still be just as creamy because of the cream cheese and have plenty of flavor thanks to the jalapeno, bacon and hot sauce.
Here are some tips to help you get PERFECT results when making these crispy cheese jalapeno bacon bites.
- Make the cheese balls to be about 1 inch in diameter. You can refrigerate the cheese mix to make it easier to form portions, OR use a small cookie scoop or regular spoon to portion out the cheese. Roll each portion into 1 inch sized balls and place them on a tray.
- Refrigerate the jalapeno popper cheese balls, so they become firm and it’s easier to coat them with the flour, eggs, and panko breadcrumbs. To make this process faster, you can freeze the cheese balls for about 15 – 20 minutes instead.
- ALWAYS coat with the flour mix FIRST! The flour mix is seasoned as well, so it’ll add another layer of spice and flavor to the cheese balls. I prefer to do a double coating of flour (flour – egg – flour – egg – breadcrumbs), so that I end up with a thicker coating that protects these fried cheese ball even more.
- Choosing the right breadcrumbs – I used Panko breadcrumbs, because it gives crispier results. Due to the slightly larger size of panko breadcrumbs, they may not cover the entire surface of the cheese balls, resulting in some cheese leaking out while frying. This isn’t an issue for me though. If you use regular breadcrumbs, they are not as light and crispy as Panko, but since they are finer, they will coat the cheese balls better, which will potentially lessen the chance of melted cheese leaking out while being fried.
- These creamy and crispy cheese jalapeno bacon bites are best fried when the cheese is either at room temperature OR a little cold (not frozen) – you want these crispy cheese jalapeno bacon bites to fry up quickly (in 1 – 1.5 minutes), as they turn golden brown, and all the cheese inside has had time to melt completely (that’s another reason for making sure the fried cheese balls are about 1 inch in diameter).
You can freeze these creamy jalapeno popper bites for later as well if you like. But make sure to defrost them in the fridge overnight first, so that they’ll be perfectly cheesy and gooey after you fry ’em up.
As someone who tunes in for game days and other sporting events purely for the food and drinks, these fried cheese balls are super addictive for me! 🙂 And I can guarantee everyone will be hooked on these delicious fried cheese balls with jalapeno and bacon!
I like to serve these jalapeno popper bites with fry sauce. It’s simple, classic and a perfect pairing for these bites. But sriracha, tomato sauce, my spicy sweet chili sauce or ranch dipping sauce will be great alternatives too.
CLICK BELOW FOR THE VIDEO RECIPE FOR CRISPY CHEESE JALAPENO BACON BITES (FRIED CHEESE BALLS)
Crispy Cheese Jalapeno Bacon Bites (Fried Cheese Balls)
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS INACTIVE TIME FOR CHILLING THE CHEESE BALLS
Crispy Cheese Jalapeno Bacon Bites
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese shredded from a block (please see notes)
- 4 oz white cheddar shredded from a block (or monterey jack cheese)
- 2 - 3 jalapenos seeds removed, chopped finely (about ½ cup)
- 6 oz of bacon sliced finely and cooked to crispy bits
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- Salt to season
- Spiced flour mix recipe below
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ - 2 cups panko breadcrumbs or gluten free breadcrumbs
Spiced Flour Mix
- ½ cup AP flour or gluten free flour
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Oil for deep frying
Crispy Cheese Jalapeno Bacon Bites
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine well. Add salt to season ONLY if needed. I add extra hot sauce, and usually don't need to add extra salt.
Using a spoon, portion out the cheese mix and make 1 inch balls. Place the balls on a tray, and freeze for about 10 - 15 minutes until they are firm (but not frozen). You can keep them covered in the fridge overnight as well.
Get the dredging station ready. Mix all the ingredients for the spiced flour mix. Lightly whisk the eggs, and place the panko crumbs in a plate.
Coat the chilled cheese balls in the spiced flour mix, and then coat with eggs, followed by the flour again, and the egg mix again, for a double coating. This created an extra crunchy coating (flour - egg - flour - egg).
Finally coat the cheese balls with the panko crumbs and set aside until all the cheese balls are coated.
At this stage, you can place the cheese balls in the fridge overnight (in a single layer, on a tray, covered with plastic wrap) until you are ready to fry them and serve. OR you can freeze them as well. However, if you do freeze them, allow the cheese balls to thaw in the fridge overnight before frying.
Heat enough oil to deep fry the cheese balls, to 350°F/180°C. Deep fry, without over-crowding the pan, for about 1 - 1 ½ minutes.
Remove the cheese balls from the oil and let them drain for a couple of minutes. Serve warm with dipping sauce. Enjoy!
- Note about the cheese - it’s better to use cheese that you shred yourself from a block, rather than using pre-shredded cheese. But if you can only find pre-shredded cheese or it's more convenient, that's fine too.
- Note about freezing - make sure the cheese balls are refrigerated OR frozen on a baking tray, in a single layer. Wrap the tray well with plastic wrap to prevent freezer burns.
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