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Air Fryer Pepperoni Pizza Balls

Savory pepperoni pizza balls are made in the air fryer and packed with cheesy pizza flavor, which means they’re the perfect party snack.

Whether you’re looking for a simple party appetizer or a quick and easy game day snack, it doesn’t get much better than pizza!

We love eating pizza in all the ways from pizza casserole to local takeout.

But instead of ordering from your favorite delivery place the next time you’re planning for a party, try using your air fryer instead.

pepperoni pizza balls on a plate

These simple pepperoni cheese balls are a delicious combination of pepperoni pizza and mozzarella sticks. You’ll love the cheesy filling and crunchy crust on these yummy treats.

Ingredients/What to Buy

To make your own air fryer pepperoni balls, you’ll need the following.

  • Cream cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Cooking supplies needed include at one large bowl and 3 medium bowls, a baking sheet, and and of course, an air fryer. The Instant Pot with the air fryer attachment works well too.

Create the Cheese Filling

These flavorful cheese bombs are the perfect game day snack because they’re so easy to make! The recipe only takes a few minutes of prep work to put it together.

In fact, the hardest part is waiting for the pizza bombs to freeze so you can cook them in your air fryer. But that part is important, so resist the temptation to skip it.

The first step to making these delicious pepperoni bombs is preparing the cheesy filling.

Start by combining the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder in a medium bowl.

pepperoni pizza ball filling

Stir the filling ingredients together until mixed well with the cream cheese.

Then, form the filling into bite-sized balls. A one-inch cookie scoop is just the right size to form the balls, but you could also use a tablespoon to help keep the all the same size.

After scooping the mixture, roll the cream cheese filling into a ball between the palm of your hands.

Then, transfer the filling balls to a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.

freeze cheese filling until solid

When all your cheese balls have been rolled out, make sure none of them are touching on your pan and place it in the freezer.

Freeze for at least 30 minutes and be sure they’re frozen solid before you move on to the next step. This will help keep the cheese from melting while the outside crust browns in the air fryer.

Once the cream cheese mixture is frozen, you can start coating the pepperoni balls in their crispy crust.

Add Seasoned Coating

Start by grabbing three different shallow bowls. While you work with the breading, preheat your air fryer.

Stir together the salt, pepper, egg and milk in one bowl, the breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning in another, and pour the flour in a third bowl. 

breading dip process in bowls

Dip the frozen cheese balls into the egg mixture first, then place the ball in the bowl with the flour.

Roll the ball around until it’s fully coated in flour, then dip the ball back in the egg mixture.

dip cheese in egg
dip cheese ball in flour

Transfer the cheese ball to the breadcrumb bowl and roll it around to coat it.

Press the breadcrumbs into the coating to ensure they’re stuck to the egg wash.

roll cheese in panko breadcrumbs

When you’re ready to start cooking, place the coated pizza bombs in the basket of the air fryer and spray each ball liberally with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the basket in the air fryer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

place pepperoni balls in air fryer basket

Halfway through the cook time, remove the basket from the air fryer and carefully turn them over to ensure they’re evenly cooked on both sides.

pizza balls in air fryer

Tips for Making Air Fryer Pepperoni Balls

Once you try these cheesy pizza balls, they’re going to be your go-to appetizer for all your parties!

And with these easy cooking tips, you’ll be a pro at making your own delicious pizza snacks in no time.

Make sure the cream cheese is softened

The best way to blend all your filling ingredients together is to make sure your cream cheese is nice and soft before you start mixing.

Let the cream cheese sit out at room temperature for around one hour before you start mixing the filling or heat in the microwave for a few seconds to quickly soften it.

Chop the pepperoni for easier mixing

To make sure your pepperoni mixes evenly into the filling, it’s a good idea to chop the slices before mixing it into the filling.

You can also use mini pepperoni to make prep work even easier.

Grease your hands when making the cheese balls

The filling mixture can be sticky, which means preparing these pizza balls can get pretty messy if you’re not careful. To keep the filling from sticking to your hands as you’re rolling the cheese balls, spray a little bit of nonstick cooking spray on your hands before you start rolling. 

Serve with marinara for dipping

Once your cheese balls are ready to eat, don’t forget the dip! Serve your pepperoni pizza snacks with a side of marinara sauce to give them even more pizza flavor.

air fryer pepperoni cheese balls

Check out our crescent roll recipes for even more appetizer ideas and enjoy. These would be a great appetizer before enjoying our tasty bruschetta chicken bake recipe!

Print the Recipe

Print and save this recipe so you can use it again and again and again.

air fryer pizza balls recipe

Air Fryer Pepperoni Balls

Andrea Updyke
Pepperoni pizza balls made in the air fryer are the perfect savory party food and they are super easy to make!
5 from 2 votes

Be sure to check out my tips and tricks in the post. Scroll up to read!

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Additional Time 30 mins
Total Time 53 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12
Calories 210 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup chopped pepperoni
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Marinara sauce for serving

Instructions
 

  • Stir together the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
  • Use a one-inch cookie scoop to scoop out the mixture and roll it into a ball. Place the balls on a lined plate or baking sheet. Freeze the balls for at least 30 minutes, until they’re frozen solid.
  • When ready to cook the cheese balls, preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
  • Prepare the breading ingredients by stirring together the panko breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning in one bowl.
  • Add the egg, milk, salt and pepper to a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the flour in a third bowl.
  • Place each frozen cheese ball in the egg mixture, then dip it into the flour to coat. Dip the ball back in the egg mixture, then roll it into the breadcrumbs.
  • Press the breadcrumbs into place and transfer each coated ball to the air fryer basket.
  • Spray each ball with nonstick cooking spray and cook in the air fryer for 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  • Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and enjoy!

Notes

Be sure to let the cream cheese soften before mixing (about an hour). For easier rolling, grease your hands a little so the cheese mixture doesn't stick.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 210kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 7gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 393mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3g
andrea

ABOUT ANDREA

I'm a travel-loving boymom living in Raleigh, NC. I love making life a little bit easier and a lot more fun by sharing easy recipes, travel tips, and holiday treats. Read more...

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