These delicious sausage balls only require three simple ingredients. They are the perfect appetizer for game day or holiday season gatherings. Air fryer sausage balls skip the Bisquick and couldn’t be more simple or delicious! Oh, and they are totally low-carb and keto. The perfect quick and easy appetizer.

Pile of easy sausage balls in a skillet with dip on the side.

What Are Sausage Balls?

This three ingredient sausage ball recipe is easy—making sausage balls with cheese and pork panko. These are the best sausage balls because of how simple they are. They are the perfect finger food to serve for nearly any occasion. This classic appetizer is easily a crowd favorite.

This easy recipe also makes for great keto sausage balls if you are on a keto diet or journey. This classic recipe is often made with Bisquick mix, making them not keto-friendly, but these are delicious sausage balls without biscuit mix.

We love serving these sausage cheese balls with a hot marinara sauce for serving, garlic aioli or creamy queso. However, you can use your own favorite dipping sauce of choice.

Ingredients for sausage balls.

Sausage Balls Ingredients

  • Pork panko – regular panko works too, but we use pork panko to keep it keto
  • Cheddar cheese – or Monterrey jack or other melty shredded cheese
  • Ground pork sausage – we used hot Italian spicy sausage but mild or plain pork sausage all work.

How to Make Sausage Balls in the Air Fryer 

  • In a large bowl, combine the three basic ingredients. Work together with hands.
  • Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with foil and roll the sausage mixture into 1-inch balls (roughly the size of a golf ball) or use a cookie scoop. Chill the uncooked sausage balls in the fridge for half an hour.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F. 
  • Transfer the baking sheet filled to the preheated oven. 
  • Bake until sausage is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (use a meat thermometer) which is about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove the cheesy sausage balls from the air fryer and transfer to a serving platter. Serve immediately.  


Using plain ground sausage, consider adding seasonings to the mix to add flavor. We recommend GirlCarnivore Over Easy, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. 

We serve this with a quick homemade herb sauce, but depending on what type of ground pork you use, you could serve this with a variety of dipping sauces like marinara sauce, garlic parm sauce, or even bbq sauce.

No air fryer? Sure, you can just make these in the oven. Just like a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 375 until cooked through about 17 to 20 minutes.

Want to make these and freeze them for later? After rolling, you can par freeze the uncooked sausage balls on a baking sheet in a single layer for 30 to 45 minutes. Then transfer them to a resealable ziplock bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months and simply air fry from frozen when ready to serve. Aka, make double the recipe for easy party appetizers or game day snacks later on.

Sausage Ball Substitutions

  • Ground Italian Sausage: We used ground Italian sausage, but hot sausage, chorizo, breakfast sausage, or ground pork also works. Pretty much whatever ground pork your family likes best will work for this sausage balls recipe. Just make sure that it’s not too lean, if so they won’t hold. Go for an 85% mix or more.
  • Cheddar cheese: You can use parmesan, mozzarella, Monterey jack, or shredded cheddar in this recipe. You can use your favorite cheeses as long as it melts well.
Air fryer sausage balls in a skillet for serving.

Leftovers & Reheating

Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container and in the refrigerator for up to three to four days.

Freezer: If you want your sausage balls to last over four days, store them in a freezer bag and the freezer. They will last up to four months. 

Reheating: Reheat sausage balls in the air fryer for four minutes at 375 degrees F. Alternatively, you can reheat these in a microwave in short blasts until heated through.

Side shot of a pile of bite sized ground pork apps in a skillet.


If you love this ground pork recipe, here are just a few favorite recipes with pork and sausage:

I hope you enjoyed these easy sausage balls! Finger foods are always fun and even better when simple and delicious. Have you ever made sausage balls before? Let me know how yours turned out in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!

Sausage Balls

5 from 37 votes
Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 3 minutes
Total: 53 minutes
Servings: 4
With only 3 ingredients, this recipe is a perfect game day snakc that you can make quickly in the air fryer with little prep work.


  • 1 lb Ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup Pork panko
  • 5 oz Cheddar cheese


Mix the sausage

  • Combine the ground pork sausage, panko, and cheese in a large bowl. Work with your hands to fully incorporate the ingredients.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and roll into even 1” balls.
  • Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Air fry the sausage balls

  • Meanwhile, preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
  • Transfer the baking sheet filled with rolled sausage balls to the preheated oven when ready to bake.
  • Bake until the ground sausage reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F with a digital meat thermometer, about 15 to 20 minutes.


  • Remove the sausage balls from the air fryer and transfer to a serving platter. Serve immediately with your desired dipping sauce.


We used ground Italian sausage, but hot sausage, chorizo, or ground pork also works for this.
If you have pepper jack, Monterey jack, or even parmesan cheese, they will all work in this recipe.
If you want to make a double batch you can par freeze the uncooked sausage balls and then freeze them for up to 3 months and simply cook from frozen when ready to enjoy.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1017mg | Potassium: 309mg | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 442IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 262mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: air fryer, keto
Author: Kita Roberts

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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5 from 37 votes (37 ratings without comment)

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