Easy Spinach & Sausage Balls are the perfect appetizer for your next party!
Simple as can be and they taste sooo good! The flavors of feta and spinach with a touch of spice from the sausage.
Don't skip the tart cranberry dipping sauce!
Easy Spinach & Sausage Balls
I catered a party recently and was racking my brain for ideas for quick and easy appetizers, then I remembered my Mom used to make sausage balls... man I loved those sausage balls! So I started thinking, what can I add to the sausage ball for color and complimentary flavors? Almost immediately spinach came to mind, then feta cheese and Voila!...the Easy Spinach & Sausage Balls were born!
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The first go-around with making these, I didn't add any butter (you'll see butter missing in my ingredient picture) and I thought the sausage ball was a little dry... so I made a second batch using some melted butter in the mixture and they were perfect! After popping one in his mouth, my husband said, "These have to go on The Salted Pepper website, they are decadent!".
Thank you husband... I have to agree! There is something so wonderful about the combination of spinach, sausage and feta. I love that you can really taste the spinach and the feta in this recipe, the sausage is subtle but adds that burst of flavor that really pulls it all together.
What Type of Sausage Should You Use?
Pretty much any kind you like! I originally made these with a sweet sausage in the casing and just removed the casing, but I have also made them with regular breakfast sausage and they are just as good.
Just make sure whatever sausage you use, that you remove the casings if they have them. You want the sausage to be the texture of a ground beef you would use in tacos. This will keep all the ingredients uniform and the balls will hold together better.
Can I Make Them In Advance?
YES! Absolutely! You can make them in advance and they will keep in a refrigerator for about 3 days uncooked. Or, what I like to do, is make up a double batch (around 100 balls), freeze the uncooked balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet or ½ sheet pan for about 2 hours. Then put them in a freezer bag and they will stay good in the freezer for 6 months. Just be sure to get as much of the air out of the bag before freezing to avoid freezer burn. You can take out as many as you like from the freezer and pop them in the oven (frozen) and cook for about 20-22 minutes instead of 15 minutes.
You can also bake them and freeze the leftovers, if there are any! Just make sure they are cooled completely before putting in freezer bags. When you are ready to re-heat them, put them on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 2- 3 minutes or until they are heated through.
How to Get Uniform Sized Balls
I find the easiest way to make all the balls the same size is by using a cookie scoop and then rolling them slightly to form a round ball. I use a scoop similar to this one. Or you can take a Tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball. The one-inch scoop makes a small bite-sized appetizer, 1" in diameter. If you prefer a larger spinach and sausage ball, use a medium scoop or 2 Tablespoons of the mixture. You will also want to increase your baking time to 20 minutes.
How Many Spinach and Sausage Balls Do I Need to Make for My Party?
These are small, bite-sized appetizers, so count on 2-3 per person if it is the only appetizer being served prior to a meal.
If you are serving an array of appetizers prior to a meal, I would count on 1-2 per person.
If you are having an appetizer-only party with several different appetizers, count on 3-4 per person.
You can never make too many - they freeze extremely well!
Cranberry Dipping Sauce
I decided to whip a quick sauce to dip the spinach and sausage balls into. I went with a tart cranberry sauce to balance the rich flavors in the spinach and sausage balls. It's super easy to make, but it is tart! If you want to cut down on the tartness, add a bit of sugar to your cranberries.
Here is how you make it:
2 Cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 Cups water
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Boil cranberries in water over medium heat until the cranberries have burst and the water is reduced by half. Turn off heat, add balsamic vinegar (I used a good quality vinegar like this one). You could also use a balsamic glaze and I found one similar to this in the grocery store. If using a glaze, decrease the amount to 3 Tablespoons. Puree in blender until it reaches desired consistency. Mine was not perfectly smooth and I like the bit of texture. Serve at room temperature.
Can I make dip out of this instead of balls?
Yes! After mixing all the ingredients, heat on the stove/oven/slow cooker and add milk, cream or half and half until the mixtures is the desired consistency. If you aren't going to bake it until it reaches an internal temp of 165° F, omit the eggs. Serve warm with crackers or bread. I also used this for stuffed chicken breasts, video below. Enjoy!
If you need another idea for a great appetizer, check out my recipe for Maryland Crab Canapes!
What you'll need for Easy Spinach & Sausage Balls:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Dice (a small dice works best) a Vidalia or sweet onion (about 1 cup)and mince the garlic. Heat a saute pan with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil on medium and add sausage. If you are using link sausage, remove casings first. Cook on medium low, making sure to break up the sausage while cooking. Cook about 5 minutes or until the sausage is half way done. Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the sausage is done and the onion is soft (about 5 minutes). Turn heat off and allow to cool.
Thaw ( I microwaved the chopped spinach for 2-3 minutes) and drain the spinach, I use a fine mesh strainer and press the spinach to remove excess water. Beat the eggs in the mixing bowl with the salt and pepper. Add drained spinach, feta, breadcrumbs, melted butter, and cooked sausage. Mix well.
Form 1" balls either using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon. Line your cookie trays or ½ sheet pans with parchment paper and place balls about ½ " apart on tray. Bake in 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes or until slightly firm to touch and slightly browned. Serve & Enjoy!
If you aren't ready to make them now, don't forget to Pin for later!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and, when you make them, don't forget to tag me @thesaltedpepper on your favorite social media channels!
Easy Spinach & Sausage Balls
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Pound of Sweet Italian Sausage spicy would work too!
- 1 Vidalia or white onion
- 1 Teaspoon minced garlic about 2-3 cloves
- 2 Eggs Beaten
- 20 Ounces of Frozen Spinach chopped
- 2 Cups Feta Cheese crumbled
- 2 Cups Fine Bread Crumbs
- ½ Cup of Salted Butter melted
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ¾ Teaspoon Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Dice onion into small dice (the smaller the better). Mince garlic and set aside.
- Heat a saute pan with 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil on medium low. Add sausage (casings removed) and saute for about 5 minutes or until half way done, break sausage up into small pieces while cooking. Add onions and garlic and cook until sausage is cooked through and onions are soft. Remove from heat.
- Microwave frozen chopped spinach for 2-3 minutes and drain excess water. Push down on spinach to remove as much water as you can. Melt butter.
- In large mixing bowl, beat eggs and add in salt & pepper, spinach, feta, bread crumbs, melted butter, and sausage mixture. Mix well and form into 1" balls using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon.
- Place on lightly greased cookie tray about ½" apart and bake at 400° F for 15 minutes or until they are Just beginning to brown.
- Serve and Enjoy!
When ready to bake: Remove from freezer, place frozen balls in preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 20-25 minutes.
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