These sharp and spicy sausage balls without Bisquick are made totally from scratch and will disappear off of your party trays during the holidays!
What Are Sausage Balls?
Sausage balls are a ubiquitously popular appetizer - especially in the South - and are often seen gracing the appetizer trays during the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The most often used recipe starts with Bisquick baking mix, cheddar cheese, and ground sausage. The ingredients are mixed together, formed into balls, and baked.
The result is a batch of spicy and addicting poppable savory treats that you just can't stop eating. My version of sausage balls is made without Bisquick but they are still just as simple and easy as the 3-ingredient original. Give them a try - I know you'll love them!
What Ingredients Do I Need?
- All-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and butter: These ingredients make up the substitution for Bisquick, which is a commonly used baking mix to make sausage balls easier. But I like this version from scratch because it removes the need to buy a special product.
- Pepper and Onion Powder: These spices add extra zip to the cheese and sausage mixture.
- Sage Sausage: I love the flavor and aroma of sage sausage - it just makes me think of the holidays! This tasty sausage also makes amazing sausage balls. If you don't have sage sausage, add 1 tablespoon of rubbed sage to the recipe.
- Sharp Cheddar: Buy a solid block of sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese and grate your own. The pre-shredded cheese in the bag will not stick together as well as freshly-shredded due to the cellulose coating added to the bagged product. Sharp varieties of cheddar are best for imparting bold flavor into your sausage balls. You could even use half sharp cheddar and half pepper jack - yum!
- Milk: You only need ¼ cup of milk (use any kind) to help moisten the mixture and help everything come together nicely.
Tips For Success
- Don't Use Pre-Shredded Cheese: The shredded cheese you buy in the bag is mighty convenient, but it will not work well for making sausage balls. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating that keeps the cheese from sticking together in the bag, but that coating will also make it difficult for your sausage ball mixture to hold together.
- If You Only Have Regular Sausage: I like to use sage sausage because I love the extra flavor and the smell and taste of sage makes me think of the holidays. If you can only find regular, add 1 tablespoon of rubbed sage to the recipe.
- Don't Overbake: True for basically any recipe ever, but especially important for sausage balls. Leaving the balls in the oven for too long can cause them to be dry and hard. They should look moist and lightly golden on top and brown on the bottom (But not too dark). During the cook time, I sacrifice one by slicing into it to check doneness.
- Use Your Hands: If you've ever made a meatloaf, you've likely discovered that getting in there with your (clean) hands is the best way to get everything mixed together. These sausage balls are no different. Mixing them with your hands will make quick work of forming the balls.
Do You Have To Cook Them Right Away?
Need to make these the night before? No problem. Form the mixture into balls and place the unbaked sausage balls onto the baking sheet tightly wrapped with plastic. They'll keep in the refrigerator for up to a day. Just unwrap and pop them into the oven when you're ready to serve your fresh, hot appetizers.
Can You Freeze Sausage Balls?
Yes, you can!
To Freeze: Place the unbaked sausage balls onto a baking sheet and place into the freezer for one hour. This will flash freeze them so that they do not stick together. After the hour is up, place the balls into a freezer safe zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To Bake Frozen Sausage Balls: Take them out of the freezer and let them sit on the counter while your oven preheats (use recipe directions). Then place the balls onto a lightly-sprayed baking sheet and bake as usual.Print
Sausage Balls Without Bisquick Recipe
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 46 balls 1x
These sausage balls are made from scratch without the use of a premade baking mix. The use of sage sausage and sharp cheddar gives them lots of bite! Makes enough to feed a hungry party crowd.
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (see notes)
- 1 pound sage ground pork sausage
- 3 TBS unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, and baking powder.
- Add the cheese and toss until coated.
- Add the sausage, melted butter, and milk. Mix well - I find that using clean hands to mix the ingredients together works best.
- Form mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a large lightly-greased baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and cooked through. Serve fresh.
Do not use pre-shredded cheese. That type of cheese has a coating that will hinder the sausage ball mixture's ability to stick together when forming the balls. Grate cheese from a block instead.
If you use regular sausage, add 1 tablespoon rubbed sage to the mixture.
You can freeze unbaked sausage balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet and freeze for one hour, and then transfer the balls to a zip top freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months for best quality.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Starters
- Method: Oven
Keywords: appetizers, sausage balls, holidays
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I followed this recipe exactly expect I doubled the cheese amount and didn't use sage sausage. I've always made them with Bisquick and when I realized I didn't have any I found this recipe. They came out great! So good to know I don't have to have Bisquick in the future! Thank you!
Are there any sauces you could make with these for dippi g?
When I made these I served them with a white gravy for dipping, and they were freaking delicious!
Oh my goodness, I love this idea!! Like a biscuits and gravy appetizer. Love it!
How long do you bake then if they are frozen? I'm excited to try these!
Sorry I'm just seeing this! Let them thaw on the baking sheet for about 15 or 20 minutes, then bake as directed. They may need an extra few minutes in the oven.
These sausage balls were delicious! The recipe is the best I have used, ever.
Thank you SO much for this comment, Angie! So glad this recipe worked well for you.
I'm so happy to hear that!
This was by far one of the best recipes I've found. I used chicken sausage and added smoked paprika and a bit of sage. I also used maybe a tablespoon or two of additional milk.
Sounds so yummy! Thank you for sharing!
I always make sausage balls for Christmas morning and this year my hubs is having to change his diet a bit so I'm thinking about doing it with turkey breakfast sausage, whole wheat flour, and EVOO. No idea if it'll turn out right but I'm so glad to have found a recipe I can at least try out.
These turned out great! Nice to have a way to make these without having to buy Bisquick. I just don't use it enough to keep it in my pantry. These weren't dry either. I think the extra step with the cheese, grating it and coating it before adding in the sausage, butter, and milk, made all the difference in these betting the hit of the night.
I've seen some recipes that use 8oz cream cheese instead of one of the cups of cheddar. Think this would work? Sometimes sausage balls are too dry for my taste, so I was looking for something a bit moister.
I haven't tried that out with this particular recipe, so I can't say for sure, I'm sorry! You may have better luck searching specifically for a recipe using cream cheese.