Crispy and golden on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, these delectable deep-fried Potato and Cheese Balls are the stuff of dreams. My easy, fail-proof recipe for this popular Indian snack is also vegetarian and gluten-free, making it the perfect appetizer to share.
Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Works
There are many different ways of preparing cheese balls, many of which are incredibly frustrating. I found that when I tried the traditional method of making them, half of the cheese balls came out perfect (HOORAY!) and half of them broke in the oil (ARGH!).
I figured out that with the traditional recipe, the oil had to be the perfect temperature the entire time for all the balls to fry successfully. This is difficult to do even as a professionally trained chef or in a limited kitchen environment, so I wanted to find a better and fail-proof solution.
One day while I was making cheese stuffed fritters (bread pakora), I mixed some grated cheese with the leftover gram flour (besan) batter and made pan-fried fritters. To my surprise, these spur-of-the-moment fritters tasted damn good and came out much better than the traditional cheese balls I had made with all-purpose flour.
Using that experiment as my springboard, I tried making cheese balls with mashed potatoes and gram flour (besan) instead of all-purpose flour. The result was exactly what I wanted: crispy golden cheese balls with a creamy, cheesy interior.
And the best part? ALL the balls fried perfectly from start to finish. I knew I had found a cheese ball recipe that would allow anyone to make these delicious snacks without struggling, so I just had to share it with you.
These delightful fried bundles of deliciousness are a quintessential party food. They’re naturally vegetarian and gluten free, meaning just about anyone can enjoy them. They are salty, carb-y, creamy, dip-able snacks that pair well with friends and good conversation.
The fact that they’re made of two globally beloved ingredients – potatoes and cheese – also means that they’re a hit with people of all ages and nationalities. So give this simple, no-fail recipe for fried cheese balls a try, okay? You won’t regret it, and neither will your guests.
Ingredients You Need
- Secret Ingredient! This cheese ball recipe is different as it has a secret ingredient – GRAM FLOUR. Gram Flour (also known as Besan in India) is flour made from husked & split bengal gram (also known as chana dal or black chickpeas). This flour not only helps the cheese ball stick together while frying, it also has the added health benefits of being high in protein and fiber. It also happens to be naturally gluten-free, meaning you can easily serve a wider audience. If you are unable to find gram flour where you live, you can use chickpea flour instead.
- No all-purpose flour: The recipe does not use any all-purpose flour, rather relies only on gram flour. Besan (or chickpea flour) is not traditionally used in a cheese ball recipe, so this was one of a kind when I posted it. Since sharing it, I have had a lot of positive feedback and I am happy to report that tasty, homemade, gluten-free cheese balls are being made in kitchens everywhere!
- Potatoes: Use potatoes with a high starch content. Russet and Yukon potatoes are a good option.
- Cheese: The recipe works very well with either cheddar cheese or processed cheese. For a more traditional Indian flavor profile, I suggest using grated Amul cheese, but cheddar or American cheese will work as well.
How to Make Cheese Balls
This fail-proof method of making fried cheese balls is quite simple. First, prepare your ingredients.
1. Boil 3 small potatoes (100 grams) in a steamer, pressure cooker or an electric cooker until they are fork tender. You can also steam the potatoes in an Instant Pot for 7 to 8 minutes. Boil the potatoes until they are completely cooked, then drain them well.
2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and mash very well in a mixing bowl. There should be no moisture while peeling, chopping and mashing the potatoes. Allow the potatoes to come at room temperature before you add the remaining ingredients.
3. Grate 60 grams cheese and set aside. 60 grams equals about ½ cup tightly packed grated cheese. You can use either cheddar cheese or processed cheese. If using Amul processed cheese cubes, 3 cubes is sufficient.
Make Cheese Ball Dough
4. To the mashed potatoes, add ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon black pepper powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, a pinch of garam masala (optional) and 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) or parsley leaves.
5. Add 4 tablespoons gram flour (besan) or chickpea flour. I highly recommend using gram flour or chickpea flour, however if you do not have it you can also add 3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, corn starch or arrowroot flour.
6. Mix very well.
7. Then add the grated cheese and two to three pinches of black salt. Since the cheese already has salt in it, add salt with caution and taste as you go. You can add edible rock salt or regular salt instead of black salt.
8. Mix the cheese with the rest of the potato mixture very well. Check the taste and add more salt or crushed black pepper if required.
Shaping & Frying
9. Make small balls from the mixture, including one tiny ball to test while frying.
10. Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai (wok) or pan. You can use any neutral oil with a high smoking point.
11. When the oil becomes hot, add the tiny tester cheese ball. The temperature of oil can be from 180 to 190 degrees Celsius (356 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit). The oil has to be hot, otherwise, the cheese balls may break.
12. In about one minute, the tiny cheese ball will begin to turn golden. If the tester cheese ball does not break, then you can begin to fry the other balls. If it breaks, then you need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons chickpea flour or gram flour (besan) to the mixture. Make another test ball to ensure that your binding is properly adjusted.
TIP: Keep the temperature even while frying by increasing or decreasing the flame as needed.
13. Working in batches, fry the remaining cheese balls. Do not overcrowd. Since I used a small kadai (wok), I added four cheese balls at a time.
14. With a slotted fry spoon, turn them over when they become golden.
15. Continue to fry them while turning a couple of times until they are evenly golden and crisp all over.
16. Remove the fried cheese balls and place them on paper towels to drain. This helps to absorb any extra oil.
- Binding: Both gram flour and potatoes work together as binding agents. Before frying cheese balls, first test with a tiny cheese ball in hot oil. If it breaks, then you have to add 1 to 2 tablespoons chickpea flour or gram flour (besan) to the mixture and do the test again.
- Frying Temperatures: While frying, the oil has to be HOT. Otherwise, you risk the cheese balls breaking. The temperature of the oil should be from 180 to 190 degrees celsius (356 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Type of Cheese: For the type of cheese, I suggest using either cheddar cheese or processed cheese (grated Amul cheese would be most traditional, but American cheese should also work).
NOTE: I am not sure about mozzarella (not the fresh kind), Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheeses as I have not tried making cheese balls with them. If you try using one of these cheeses in your cheese ball recipe, please let me know how they turn out in the comments below!
- Spicing: To make this a kid-friendly snack, I have kept the spices minimal. Feel free to increase the spice level if it suits your tastes. You can also add chili peppers (green chilies) or red chili powder to make these cheese balls spicy.
- Quantity & Scaling: The recipe makes 9 to 10 small cheese ball and can be easily doubled or tripled.
- Serving Suggestions: Cheese balls can be served as a party snack or appetizer. They also make a great snack or lunch for kids. Serve them with tomato ketchup, coriander chutney or mint chutney.
Absolutely! Just note that the flavor of the cheese balls will be noticeably sweeter as a result.
Yep! I recommend freezing them prior to frying. When you’re ready to cook them, allow them to defrost, wipe away any excess moisture, then fry to order.
I haven’t used mozzarella to make these fried cheese balls. If you opt to use mozzarella, be sure to opt for aged cheese instead of the fresh variety.
Also note that mozzarella is a softer cheese than cheddar or amul, so you will likely need to add more besan or chickpea flour to ensure that the balls don’t break apart during frying. If you try making this recipe with mozzarella, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you in the comments below!
I recommend avoiding anything that will have excess moisture (e.g. cabbage, onions), as this will cause the cheese balls to break during frying. If you want to add more vegetables, I recommend sticking with starchy options like peas or corn.
Here’s A Few More Tasty Cheese Recipes for You:
- Mac and cheese – a creamy and cheesy dish with a light crunchy topping of breadcrumbs and gooey melted cheese.
- Alfredo pasta – a creamy pasta made with fresh cream and mixed veggies.
- Cheese biscuits – yummy biscuits with a crisp texture on the outside and soft bread-like texture inside.
- Corn cheese balls– an easy, tasty, no-fail recipe for corn cheese balls (both fried and baked versions included).
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Cheese Balls (Fail-proof Recipe)
- 100 grams potatoes or 3 small or 2 medium or 1 large potato
- 60 grams processed cheese or cheddar cheese or ½ cup grated cheese tightly packed
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper crushed or ⅓ teaspoon black pepper powder – add as required
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder (ground cumin)
- 1 pinch garam masala – optional
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) or parsley leaves
- 4 tablespoon gram flour (besan) or chickpea flour or 2 to 3 tablespoon arrow root flour or corn starch or all purpose flour
- 2 to 3 pinches black salt or regular salt or rock salt
- oil for deep frying, as required
- Boil potatoes in a steamer or pressure cooker or an electric cooker. Boil the potatoes till they are completely cooked. You can even steam the potatoes in an Instant Pot for 7 to 8 minutes.
- When the potatoes become warm, peel them and mash very well in a mixing bowl. Allow the potatoes to come at room temperature before you add the remaining ingredients.
- Grate 60 grams cheese and keep aside. In cup measurement, the amount is ½ cup tightly packed grated cheese.
- You can use either cheddar cheese or processed cheese. If using amul processed cheese, then use 3 cubes.
Making cheese ball mixture
- To the mashed potatoes, add black pepper, crushed or black pepper powder, cumin powder, a pinch of garam masala (optional) and chopped coriander leaves or parsley leaves.
- Add gram flour (besan). You can also add all purpose flour or cornstarch (corn flour).
- Mix very well.
- Then add the grated cheese and two pinches of black salt. Add salt accordingly as cheese already has salt. You can even add rock salt or regular salt instead of black salt.
- Mix the cheese with the rest of the potato mixture very well. Check the taste and add more salt or crushed black pepper if required.
- Make small balls from the mixture and make one tiny ball to test while frying.
Frying cheese balls
- Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan.
- When the oil becomes hot, add the tiny cheese ball. The temperature of oil can be from 180 to 190 degrees celsius.
- The oil has to be hot, otherwise the cheese balls may break.
- When the tiny cheese ball, does not break, then you can easily fry the other balls. If it breaks, then you have to add 1 to 2 tablespoons gram flour or chickpea flour to the mixture again. Keep the same temperature while frying by increasing or decreasing the heat.
- Add the remaining potato cheese balls.
- With a slotted spoon, turn over when the balls get to become golden.
- Fry them till they are evenly golden all over and crisp.
- Once fried well, place them on kitchen paper towels to remove excess oil
- Serve hot with tomato ketchup or coriander chutney or mint chutney or any dip of your choice. For best taste serve them hot as soon as they are prepared.
- Scaling: The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
- Stickiness: The potato has to be drained very well. Even some moisture or water in the potatoes will make the mixture sticky.
- Binding: Instead of gram flour, you can add 3 to 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, chickpea flour, cornstarch (cornflour) or arrowroot flour. If while frying, the balls break, then add 1 to 3 tablespoons more of the binding ingredient as required.
- Frying: Fry at temperatures of 180 degrees to 190 degrees celsius. The cheese balls may break when frying at lower temperature.
- Spicing: As a kid friendly snack, I have kept the spices minimal. However you can increase the spices to suit your taste buds. You can also add spices and herbs like green chilies or red chili powder to make these cheese balls spicy.
- Type of Cheese: For the type of cheese, you can use either cheddar cheese or processed cheese or American cheese.
- Note that the approx nutrition info is one small cheese ball.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Cheese Balls recipe post from the archives (July 2015) has been republished and updated on 3 June 2021.