Marinated Mozzarella Ciliegine

Marinated mozzarella

Thinking back on my childhood I can remember not liking cheese at all, not even on a burger (I’m still particular about that by the way). Boy did that change! Especially this summer, I’ve been on a rampage making every other recipe with some kind of cheese. This particular recipe happens to be one of my favs because I can literally make this in 5 minutes, it looks so pretty on the table and everyone loves mozzarella. I like to use the 16 oz. mason jar with the wide mouth. This will fit about 28 ciliegines plus the oil, herbs and spices.

Don’t let the fancy name for these Mozzarella Ciliegine (small balls of mozzarella) trick you into thinking it’s as hard to make as it might be for some of us (me included) to pronounce because it really is super easy. You can prepare this up to 2-3 days in advance and they’ll taste even better if you do. About half an hour before serving, take it out of the refrigerator. This will bring the oil back to room temperature. Ciliegine is a bite sized ball of delicious melt-in-your-mouth-fresh mozzarella. If you can’t find Ciliegine in your local market, you can use Bocconcini as well. They’re just a tad larger and I don’t think any one is going to complain about a larger bite of this deliciousness. I love to serve appetizers at all my parties whether it’s a cocktail party, dinner party or birthday party. Since I can make these ahead of time and every one always loves them, I make them often. These can be served along side most any other appetizer you make and they will be amazing! I like to prepare these in a mason jar and place them right next to a charcuterie board. I love to enjoy them with crunchy bread sticks, but they will disappear just the same if served on their own.


  • 1 lb. fresh ciliengine or bocconcini, drained of any liquid
  • 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, just the leaves (about 1tbsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1tsp. Kosher salt or to taste
Good quality extra virgin olive oil, parsley, basil, thyme,garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, salt and pepper


1. Remove the mozzarella balls from the container and place in a mason jar or glass bowl. I like to use the wide mouth 16 oz. size which will serve about 8 (28-30 ciliegine). Depending on the brand or package you buy, you may have some left to use in another recipe.

2. In another small bowl or measuring cup stir together all the other ingredients until well combined.

3. If preparing in a mason jar, pour the mixture over the ciliegine, close with the lid and give it a few shakes to make sure all that yummy goodness is well distributed throughout the entire jar. If preparing in a bowl stir the olive oil mixture with the ciliegine, cover with plastic wrap.

4. Let it rest on the counter for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving so the mozzarella has time to absorb the flavors of the marinade.

5. Enjoy!

Extra virgin olive oil and fresh spices with delicious mozzarella bites

How to serve these delicious bites

I like to serve these at a party with crunchy bread sticks, pita chips, or toasted baguette, but they are just as good on their own for a small snack too.

These are also a nice compliment to a platter with cured meats and veggies like roasted red peppers, artichokes, marinated olives, cornichons…this takes it to another level!


After a couple of hours in the refrigerator, the oil will solidify so don’t forget to allow time for it to come to room temperature before serving.

For the lemon zest, I like to use a peeler and cut a couple of thin slices of the zest and finely chop them. The lemony taste of the thyme and the chopped lemon zest really jump out in the great flavors of this recipe.


Mozzarella Ciliegine

Creamy fresh mozzarella balls marinated in extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and spices

  • Author: Jennifer
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 120 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 1 lb. Mozzarella Ciliegine
  • 3/4 cup Olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 3 sprigs Thyme (stems removed)
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. Lemon zest (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt


  1. Remove Ciliegine from the store bought container and place them in a glass bowl or mason jar and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl or measuring cup add all other ingredients and stir until well combined.
  3. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes and up to 2 hours if you can. The longer it sits the better it will taste.
  4. Enjoy!

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