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Marinated Ciliegine (Mozzarella Balls)

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These Marinated Ciliegine (or Mozzarella Balls) are immersed in extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil and oregano, and red pepper flakes. It is simple but delish and perfect addition to your next charcuterie board or salad.
Servings: 8 people
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
marinated mozzarella balls in a bowl next to bread, cured meat, and tomatoes

Marinated mozzarella balls or ciliegine are one of my favorite items to get at the olive bar at our local grocery store but they can be pricey. It is simple enough to make at home with a little prep and an hour of marinating time. Marinated mozzarella is perfect for a no-cook appetizer, as part of an Italian-inspired antipasti board, or used to make charcuterie skewers. We also love them in a Caprese pasta salad.

marinated mozzarella balls in a bowl next to bread, cured meat, and tomatoes

Key Ingredients


This dish could not be simpler to prepare. Soaked in olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs, the mozzarella develops a rich and complex flavor.

The complete ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.

  • Ciliegine: Mozzarella balls come in many different sizes. From traditional mozzarella which is about the size of an orange to Perline which is the size of pearls. For this recipe, we opted for ciliegine which is the size of a cherry but you can substitute any size such as bocconcini or ovolini. If you choose a larger size you might need to cut it into bite-size pieces before marinating.
  • Olive Oil: Not all olive oil is created equal. You want to find the best quality that also has a nice flavor that complements the mozzarella and herbs.
  • Herbs and Spices: Our recipe uses fresh basil and oregano but you can substitute dried. Approximately 1/2 tablespoon of dried basil is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of fresh and approximately 1 teaspoon of dried oregano is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of fresh. You can also add some thyme, parsley, or rosemary as well. Besides fresh herbs, you will need some garlic and crushed red pepper.
ingredients for marinated ciliegine

How to Make Marinated Ciliegine


Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.
This post may contain paid affiliate sales links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my full disclaimer policy for details.

Pro-tip: Don’t discard the extra olive oil. It will have a delicious garlic herb flavor and is perfect for dipping your favorite bread.

1. Combine the herbs, spices, and olive oil: In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt.

olive oil, basil, and spices in a bowl

2. Marinate the ciliegine: Add the ciliegine and stir to coat then transfer to an airtight container and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

3. Serve: Allow marinated ciliegine to come to room temperature then taste and add additional salt or herbs as needed. Serve with bruschetta and dried salami or as part of a charcuterie board.

marinated mozzarella balls in a bowl next to bread, cured meat, and tomatoes

Mozzarella Types by Size


Mozzarella cheese has a variety of names depending on its size and form.

  • Perlini or Mozzarella Pearls – the size of a pearl and weighing 1-4 grams
  • Noccioline – the size of a nut and weighs about 9 grams
  • Ciliegine – cherry size and weigh around 13 grams
  • Bocconcini – are bite-size and weigh about 40 grams
  • Ovolini – are the size of an egg and weigh approximately 113 grams
  • Fior di Latte, di Bufala, and Burrata – are all the size of a small ball and weigh between 113 grams to 225 grams

Recipe Tips and Notes


  • The mozzarella balls need to marinate for at least an hour, so plan accordingly.
  • You can use any size of mozzarella balls but anything bigger than “bite-size” should be cut into smaller pieces.
  • The olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator so allow it to sit at room temperature for approximately 20 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to store marinated ciliegine?

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

What to serve it with?

Marinated mozzarella goes with an anti-paste plate or charcuterie board, on crostini, or mixed into an Italian-inspired pasta salad.

marinated mozzarella balls in a bowl next to bread, cured meat, and tomatoes

More Appetizer Recipes To Try


Looking for crowd-pleasing appetizer recipes? Try these other favorites:

  • Charcuterie Skewers – Elevate your appetizer game with this charcuterie board alternative. They are the perfect on the grab and go appetizer for parties, picnics, a light lunch, or as a snack.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms with Chorizo – This recipe combines the earthy richness of mushrooms with the bold, spiced essence of chorizo. These are the perfect bite sized appetizer for any occasion.
  • Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tartlets – Combine sweet caramelized onions, tangy goat cheese, and buttery puff pastry for the perfect holiday appetizer.

Let’s Connect! If you make this recipe or any other recipe on Casual Epicure, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are considering making our recipes and we love hearing about your cooking experiences. And if you snapped some shots, share them on Instagram, and be sure to tag @casual.epicure so we can feature them in our stories.

marinated mozzarella balls in a bowl next to bread, cured meat, and tomatoes

Marinated Ciliegine (Mozzarella Balls)

Posted by Melissa
These Marinated Ciliegine (or Mozzarella Balls) are immersed in extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil and oregano, and red pepper flakes. It is simple but delish and perfect addition to your next charcuterie board or salad.
5 from 2 votes

This recipe may contain paid affiliate sales links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my full disclaimer policy for details.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Marinate Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people
Calories 337 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 8 ounces ciliegine, small fresh mozzarella balls
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt.
  • Add the ciliegine and stir to coat.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  • Allow marinated ciliegine to come to room temperature then taste and add additional salt or herbs as needed. Serve with bruschetta and dried salami or as part of a charcuterie board.

Notes

1. Dried basil can be substituted for fresh basil. Approximately 1/2 tablespoon of dried basil is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of fresh.
2. Dried oregano can be substituted for fresh oregano Approximately 1 teaspoon of dried oregano is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of fresh.
3. Not all olive oil is created equal so use a good quality extra virgin olive oil.  
4. Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. The nutritional value is only for the Marinated Ciliegine. It does not include the nutrition for any substitutions.
5.Be sure to check out the Key Ingredients along with the Recipe Tips and Notes sections found in the post, for more tips, options, substitutions, and variations for this recipe! You will also find step-by-step photos.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 337 kcalCarbohydrates: 26 gProtein: 10 gFat: 28 gSaturated Fat: 7 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gCholesterol: 20 mgSodium: 274 mgPotassium: 897 mgFiber: 12 gSugar: 5 gVitamin A: 1224 IUVitamin C: 56 mgCalcium: 17 mgIron: 20 mg
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2 thoughts on “Marinated Ciliegine (Mozzarella Balls)”

  1. 5 stars
    Great flavors, easy to put together (I added grape tomatoes and Kalamatas on the serving platter) – how long would be too long for marinating the mozz’ in advance? Seems like more flavor can only get better…

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