A classic Cheese Ball appetizer is always a crowd favorite! This Cheese Ball recipe features three kinds of cheese, bacon, chopped pecans, and tons of flavor. It’s the perfect addition to your holiday table.
A beautiful Cheese Ball is one of my go-to’s when I need a quick and easy appetizer that I know everyone will love. If you want to add variety to your holiday appetizers this year, be sure to also try these savory Stuffed Mushrooms, Baked Brie with Cranberries, and delicious Cocktail Meatballs.
Classic Cheese Ball Recipe
This cheese ball recipe is also a great make-ahead appetizer, snack, spread or dip. The ingredients come together in just 10 minutes, so you can easily make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge.
Then, when it’s time to serve, you have a beautiful and flavorful appetizer ready to go! I’m sure, once you try making your own cheese ball, you won’t want to buy a store-brought one again! Let’s make it now 😉
How To Make An Easy Cheese Ball Recipe
- Cream cheese — You’ll need 16 oz of room-temperature cream cheese.
- Grated cheese — A blend of freshly sharp cheddar cheese and Pepper Jack cheese.
- Green onion — Chopped green onion adds a nice bright note.
- Bacon — Feel free to use your preferred bacon like bacon bits, diced into small pieces.
- Hot sauce — If you like spice, add more pepper sauce to taste. You can also use 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.
- Seasonings — A combination of dried parsley, dried Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
- Chopped pecans —Chopped pecans add so much flavor and texture.
Combine and shape the cheese mixture:
- In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, half of the chopped green onions, half of the bacon, hot pepper sauce, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Use a spatula to combine all the ingredients until they are smooth and well incorporated.
- Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on a clean surface. Then place the cheese mixture onto the plastic wrap. Use the edges of the wrap to shape and roll the mixture into a ball.
- Wrap it tightly and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or until it’s firm.
Prepare the coating and cover the cheese ball:
- While the cheese ball is chilling, prepare the coating mixture. In a shallow bowl, combine the remaining cup of grated cheddar cheese, chopped pecans, and the rest of the green onions and bacon.
- Once the it’s firm, unwrap it from the plastic wrap.
- Then, roll the cheese ball in the coating mixture until it is evenly covered on all sides. Press gently to make sure the coating sticks well.
Serve and enjoy:
- Carefully place the coated cheese ball on a serving plate. Cover it and keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
- Pair with crackers, breadsticks, or fresh vegetable slices, and enjoy!
- I recommend shredding your own cheese, as it has a much better flavor and texture than pre-shredded cheese.
- To make mixing easier, bring the cream cheese to room temperature first.
- When you serve the cheese ball, be sure to include a cheese knife. This will keep the crackers from breaking and make it easier for guests to enjoy.
- Feel free to customize the cheese ball to your guest’s preferences with different shredded cheeses or add-ins.
How To Store Leftovers
- To Store: Store the cheese ball in an airtight container or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. You can keep it in the refrigerator for several days or up to 2 weeks depending on the freshness of the ingredients you use.
- To Freeze: While you can freeze a cheese ball, it may change the texture once it’s thawed. If you want to prepare it in advance, I recommend making it a few days ahead of time and storing it in the fridge. If you do freeze your cheese ball, wrap it in plastic wrap or freezer bag, then store it in a freezer-safe bag for up to 1 month.
What To Serve with a Cheese Ball
- Crackers: Serve this classic appetizer with an assortment of your favorite crackers like ritz crackers. For a gluten-free option, try my easy low-carb almond flour crackers.
- Chips: You can serve it with tortilla chips, pretzel chips or pita chips.
- Garlic bread: Warm, crunchy garlic bread and creamy, savory cheese are the perfect combination.
- Fresh vegetables: For a healthy accompaniment, serve fresh sliced vegetables such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, snap peas, or cherry tomatoes.
- Cheese Board: Feature this stunning cheese ball as the centerpiece of your holiday cheese board.
- Spicy cheese ball: Add some heat to your cheese ball by incorporating diced jalapeños or serrano peppers. You can also double the hot pepper sauce or add red pepper flakes to the coating.
- Garlic and herb cheese ball: Infuse your cheese ball with lots of minced garlic and fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, chives, or dill.
- Fruit and nut cheese ball: Add a little sweetness by mixing in dried cranberries, cherries, or apricots. You can also add other nuts like pistachios or walnuts, and a drizzle of honey on top.
- Goat cheese ball: Substitute some of the cream cheese with goat cheese for a fresh, tangy note. If you have leftover goat cheese, try my spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese slab frittata.
- Mixing bowls: You’ll need a large mixing bowl for the cheese mixture and a shallow mixing bowl for the coating mixture.
- Spatula: A good sturdy rubber spatula is the best tool for mixing the cheese.
- Plastic wrap: A sheet of plastic helps shape the cheese into a nice ball.
Frequently Asked Questions
You certainly can! This is a great make-ahead appetizer for holiday parties or special occasions. You can make it up to a week in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. However, I recommend waiting to add the coating mixture until about an hour before serving.
When you combine the cheese mixture, it may be a little bit sticky. You can use a rubber spatula to shape it into a rough ball while it’s still in the bowl. Then, when you place it on the plastic wrap, use the edges of the wrap to help shape and roll it into a more precise ball. If there are any creases or imperfections, don’t worry – the coating will cover it!
It’s best not to leave a cheese ball out for more than 2 hours. I recommend keeping it refrigerated until just before you plan to serve it. If you want to set up appetizers before your party guests arrive, you can use an empty dish as a placeholder, or leave a space where you want the cheese ball to go.
- 16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese divided (avoid pre-shredded cheese)
- ½ cup finely grated Pepper Jack cheese
- ¼ cup chopped green onions divided
- 6 slices bacon divided (cooked and chopped)
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and black pepper
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, half of the chopped green onions, half of the bacon, hot pepper sauce, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and black pepper.
- Use a spatula to combine all ingredients until smooth and well incorporated.
- Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on a clean surface.
- Place the cheese mixture onto the plastic wrap. Use the edges of the wrap to help shape and roll the mixture into a ball. Wrap it tightly and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or until firm.
- While the cheese ball is chilling, prepare the coating mixture. In a shallow bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese, chopped pecans, remaining chopped green onions, and the rest of the diced bacon.
- Once the cheese ball is firm, unwrap it from the plastic wrap. Roll the cheese ball in the coating mixture until it’s evenly covered on all sides, pressing gently to ensure the coating sticks.
- Place the coated cheese ball on a serving plate.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers, breadsticks, or fresh vegetable slices.
- Shred your own cheese, as it has a better flavor and texture than pre-shredded cheese.
- To make mixing easier, bring the cream cheese to room temperature first.
- Serve the cheese ball with a cheese knife to make it easier to spread.
- Customize your cheese ball with different cheeses or add-ins.
- To Store: Store the cheeseball in an airtight container or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- To Freeze: Wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap, then store it in a freezer-safe bag for up to 1 month.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.