Sausage balls are a delicious and popular snack or appetizer.
They are made with ground sausage, Bisquick, cheese and other seasonings, and they are typically baked until golden brown.
But do sausage balls need to be refrigerated?
In this article, we will discuss the risks of not refrigerating sausage balls, how to store sausage balls properly and how to reheat them.
Do You Have To Put Sausage Balls In The Refrigerator?
Sausage balls incorporate ingredients like cooked meat and cheese, which while delightful for our taste buds, are also perishable items.
Leaving such food commodities at room temperature for longer than a couple of hours can invite spoilage, particularly when it’s warm.
Like your favorite bottle of drink or block of cheddar cheese, sausage balls belong in your refrigerator after-cooking.
This not only helps them keep fresh but also ensures their savory flavor is preserved for your subsequent snacking sessions.
Think about it – you don’t let your dairy or deli items sit out on the counter for extended periods, right? Why treat sausage balls any differently?
Refrigeration slows down the process of food spoilage by decreasing the speed at which microorganisms grow.
This is why storing your cooked sausage balls in the refrigerator will help maintain their quality and protect their mouth-watering taste.
Can You Eat Cooked Sausage Balls Left Out Overnight?
We all might be guilty of nibbling on some leftover party snacks before tidying up the next morning.
But is it a wise move when it comes to cooked sausage balls that have been sitting out overnight?
Simply put, no, it’s not.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has defined a ‘danger zone’ for perishable foods – this is between 40°F and 140°F.
In this temperature range, bacteria can multiply vigorously, swiftly turning your food into a potential health hazard.
Cooked sausage balls fall into the perishable category and thus should not be left out at room temperature past two hours.
If these delightful bites are left to their own devices overnight, they may become an inviting breeding ground for foodborne bacteria.
If you consume sausage balls that have overstayed their welcome at room temperature, you could be stricken with food poisoning symptoms.
These are not pleasant and can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
How Long Can Cooked Sausage Balls Stay In The Fridge?
In your fridge, expect cooked sausage balls to maintain their quality for up to four days.
When it comes to storing your sausage balls in the refrigerator, a little care goes a long way.
Ensure they are tightly covered – this helps maintain their freshness and flavor while protecting them from absorbing odors of other foods in your refrigerator.
Also, place them in the coolest part of your fridge; usually, this is towards the back and away from the door.
Can You Freeze Sausage Balls?
Yes, you surely can!
Freezing sausage balls not only extends their shelf life but also makes them a convenient snack or appetizer for future.
Whether you prefer to freeze them cooked or uncooked is totally up to you, and here we have both options covered:
For freezing cooked sausage balls
Once they’re baked as per your favorite recipe, let them cool off completely.
This step ensures that the temperature in your freezer doesn’t rise when the sausage balls are added.
After they’re cooled, place them in a freezer-safe bag or container, ensuring they’re secure and snug.
Don’t forget to label with the date and contents – it’s surprising how unidentified frozen foods can pile-up!
These frozen delights will be good for up to three months.
Now, if uncooked sausage balls are more your speed
Mix and shape your uncooked sausage balls as per your recipe instructions.
Lay them out on a baking sheet in a single layer so they don’t stick together during freezing. Once they’re properly hardened (think firm but not rock-solid), transfer them into a freezer-safe bag or container.
Again, remember to label these neatly packaged taste bombs with the date and contents.
They’ll be ready to thaw and cook whenever you desire for up to three months.
How To Reheat Sausage Balls
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Get a baking dish, line it with parchment paper, and arrange your sausage balls neatly into a single layer.
Cover the dish with an aluminum foil – this creates a steam effect ensuring all balls heat evenly.
Leave them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until they’re heated through.
A toaster oven can also be used for reheating. Similar to the oven method, set it at 350°F (175°C) and lay your sausage balls on a baking dish.
Take note of time as toaster ovens can vary in power; you might need between 10-15 minutes.
Make sure you check every five minutes so they don’t overcook.
Need those sausage balls ready in a flash? Use your microwave!
Place 4 to 6 sausage balls on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel.
Blast them at full power for around 40 seconds. Remember, all microwaves are different, adjust time according to your appliance’s power level.
If you prefer the stovetop, choose a pot or frying pan made of ceramic, stainless steel or porcelain.
Reheat the sausage balls over low to medium heat.
Add just a touch of water or broth to keep them from drying out while stirring occasionally until they’re warm.
Grill or BBQ Twist
Fancy giving your leftover sausage balls a smoky twist?
Fire up your grill or BBQ pit and heat them over medium-high heat while turning frequently to avoid any burnt bits until they’re piping hot.
Can You Make Sausage Balls Ahead Of Time?
Of course you can prepare sausage balls ahead of time and there are a few ways to do so.
For short-term advance prep
Mix up your sausage ball ingredients and roll out the mixture into balls.
Once they’re ready, cover them securely and slide them into your refrigerator.
They’ll stay fresh and ready-to-bake for up to two days.
Want to prepare way ahead?
Bake the sausage balls according to your recipe, let them cool completely, then freeze them.
They’ll remain good for up to a month. When it’s time to serve, thaw them overnight in the fridge and reheat as we have discussed above.
Planning on hoarding some for several months?
You can opt to freeze your raw mixed-and-rolled sausage balls.
This way they can be stashed away for up to three months.
When you’re ready for that savory treat, bake them straight from frozen – just remember to add a few extra minutes onto your normal baking time.