Fried Mozzarella Puffs

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 4 cups canola oil for frying
  • 1 anchovy fillet


  • Combine water, butter, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer; pour in flour all at once and reduce heat to medium. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until a dough starts coming together. Cook, scraping up and stirring the dough, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; transfer dough to a mixing bowl. Let cool until no longer hot but still very warm, 5 to 10 minutes. Add egg and season with cayenne and freshly ground black pepper. Whisk vigorously until mixture combines into a very soft, sticky dough. Switch to a spatula and scrape dough into a ball.
  • Seal dough and spatula with plastic wrap and refrigerate in the bowl until cool, about 1 hour.
  • In the meantime, season marinara sauce with oregano, red pepper flakes, balsamic vinegar in a small pot over medium heat. Add anchovy fillet. Stir together and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes; turn off heat and let sit until ready to use.
  • Grate mozzarella cheese over the dough and stir to combine.
  • Heat oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a deep fryer or heavy-duty pan over medium heat. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (93 degrees C) or any temperature for keeping warm.
  • Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of dough per puff and form into a football shape using two spoons. Fry puffs, 5 or 6 at a time, in the hot oil until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Keep puffs warm in low oven while frying the rest. Serve with hot marinara sauce.
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