Chilli Cheese Garlic Dough Balls

“Garlic bread? Garlic? Bread? Not in my life time son!”

I’d like to think my Chilli Cheese Garlic Dough Balls would win over the most conservative, plain eating person in the world – even Peter Kaye’s dad as he talks about in one of his early stand ups. 

Super soft dough balls filled with sharp, chilli flecked cheddar cheese (my favourite) and a little nugget of mozzarella, then brushed with a buttery mix of garlic, chilli flakes, oregano and a final sprinkling of parmesan cheese; these little guys are so tasty, you will feel satisfied eating them as dinner by themselves. 

chilli cheese garlic dough balls-7

Essentially a pizza dough in essence, dough balls are a popular high street pizza and pasta restaurant side dish and for good reason. They are beyond moreish with their salty, cheesy, savouriness. However the ones you buy from supermarkets and sadly, even some restaurant versions are a bit disappointing to eat. These are the easiest thing to make if you are new to bread and like my pizzas, I often make the dough in the morning and bung it in the fridge until dinner time. Using mozzarella bocconcini along with a nugget of sharp but buttery cheddar which has red chilli already in it give you that cheesy stretch but a little extra summin’ summin’ from the chilli. Something a bit magic happens when you take the rolls out the oven as the crust will be crisp when tapped and  you will panic but fear not – I promise once brushed with the garlic butter, they become the softest little pillows of savoury delight!  

Chilli cheese stuffed super soft garlic dough balls
Chilli Cheese Garlic Dough Balls
Super soft dough balls filled with gooey cheese and painted with a garlicky, spicy butter. You can make the dough and chill in the fridge until dinner time, just give them an extra10 minutes to come to room temp and rise once shaped.
Author: Just Jo
For the dough balls
  • 150 g strong bread flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 80-100 ml water
  • 7 g dried yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 12 mozzarella pearls drain on kitchen roll before using
  • 12 chunks chilli cheddar 1cm cubed in size
For the butter
  • 20 g soft butter
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1-2 tsp grated parmesan
  • Sea salt to season optional, if liked
  1. Mix the flour, oil, yeast, salt and enough water to have a soft and slightly sticky dough. Beat with a dough hook in a stand mixer until it just about cleans the sides - a little bit of sticking is just fine.
  2. Grease the bowl and cover, allowing to rise (which will be under an hour unless your kitchen is freezing).
  3. Punch the dough down lightly and divide into 12 even sized pieces of dough. Lightly grease a small baking tray or I use an enamel disk with a little extra olive oil.
  4. Take a piece and flatten to a disk shape just under 1cm thick. Take a piece of the chilli cheddar and a mozzarella pearl (bocconcini) and press into the centre of the disk, then fold up the edges to cover the cheese completely. Place on the baking tray/in the dish you are using and repeat with the remaining dough. Leave about 1cm between them.
  5. Cover lightly with cling film (grease the inside and make sure there is a seal around the edges) and allow to rise - if the dough is room temp, this should be no longer than 30 minutes and they will double and touch the neighbouring dough balls.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200หšC and once at temp, bake 13-15 minutes until well browned and when tapped on top, the crust will be crisp and there will be a hollow sound. Panic not - they will soften up with the butter topping!
  7. Meanwhile, melt the butter and stir in all the remaining ingredients bar the parmesan. Brush over the dough balls as soon as they come out of the oven and grate over the parmesan. Sprinkle with a little sea salt if liked.
  8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating as the cheese will be molten and you don't want to burn your mouth!

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chilli cheese garlic dough balls


  1. Elizabeth 24/04/2016 at 10:53 - Reply

    I’m afraid if I started eating these I would never be able to stop! Simply mouthwatering!

    • Just Jo 24/04/2016 at 11:05 - Reply

      Yes that is the problem Elizabeth lol!

  2. Shihoko 24/04/2016 at 12:01 - Reply

    I have never heard of Pizza dough balls before and I think it is a great idea, so you don’t need to buy garlic bread any more ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Just Jo 24/04/2016 at 12:52 - Reply

      There’s a chain of restaurants in the UK called Pizza Express where I first came across them Shihoko, although lots now copy them. They are naughty little balls of loveliness ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Emma Walton 24/04/2016 at 16:24 - Reply

    Oooof these look fantastic. I am a huge dough ball lover but never had them with chilli AND cheese before. Heaven on a plate!

    • Just Jo 24/04/2016 at 16:38 - Reply

      It’s a rare case of more is more Emma lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Swayam 24/04/2016 at 17:11 - Reply

    These look incredible!! So so yum

  5. Valentina 24/04/2016 at 17:38 - Reply

    I love these! Wishing they’d appear at my house around lunchtime! ๐Ÿ™‚ Delicious!

    • Just Jo 24/04/2016 at 17:49 - Reply

      Lol, they may be cold delivered from Yorkshire! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Ludmilla 24/04/2016 at 18:55 - Reply

    I love these chili cheese balls with a cold beer… yummy!! Looks amazing!!

  7. Maggie 02/10/2016 at 09:47 - Reply

    Can I freeze them and reheat and brush with butter when hot from the oven, or is it better to butter them before freezing?

    • Just Jo 04/10/2016 at 08:12 - Reply

      I would do the butter brushing afterwards Maggie, it will help with the oven-freshness thing after defrosting and reheating them ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Karen @ Seasonal Cravings 30/12/2016 at 20:36 - Reply

    Oh wow, these look so addictive. My family would go crazy for these. Can’t wait to make them!

    • Just Jo 01/01/2017 at 13:59 - Reply

      It’s hard to stop at a couple, that’s for sure lol! I hope your family enjoys them Karen x

  9. Emily 30/12/2016 at 20:51 - Reply

    These look amazing! Perfect to go with pizza or spaghetti!

    • Just Jo 01/01/2017 at 13:58 - Reply

      Allllll the carbs (and cheese) lol! You’re so right Emily ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Whenever I have a cheat day and eat out I always have garlic bread dough balls. I would love to make them at home and your recipe has inspired me to make a gluten free version of yours.

    • Just Jo 01/01/2017 at 14:00 - Reply

      Well do let me know if you master it gluten free Charla, then I can make them for my Dad!

  11. Kim @ Three Olives Branch 30/12/2016 at 22:51 - Reply

    What a great idea! These sound and look so amazing! I do not think I have ever seen chili cheese before, I need to find some!

    • Just Jo 01/01/2017 at 14:01 - Reply

      If you can’t find it Kim, I would just chop up a little red chilli, grate the cheese and mix together before smushing back into a ball and stuffing the dough with this. Enjoy!

  12. Lisa @ 30/12/2016 at 23:26 - Reply

    Oh my – these chili cheese buns look absolutely amazing! This is one of those things that no one could possibly resist!

    • Just Jo 01/01/2017 at 14:02 - Reply

      You’d be a stronger woman than me if you can resist these Lisa lol ๐Ÿ˜‰

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