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Ultimate Classic Cheese Ball Recipe

We are excited to share with you the best cheese ball recipe! It makes a nice addition to the food table as an appetizer.

Classic Cream Cheese Ball

It’s really easy to make and it’s so attractive and delicious that your friends and family will be so impressed with it. They will think that you ordered it from one of those specialty food catalogs when in reality you made it!!

A cheese ball on a table of appetizers really attracts the eye, and it’s one of those interesting foods that most people try because of how it looks. Then when they taste this one they will say, “this is the best cheese ball that I have ever had” and continue to eat it over and over again.

You can spread a classic cheese ball on top of your favorite crackers, french bread, or even some celery sticks, if you are counting your carbs. And it only takes a few minutes to learn how to make this cheese ball recipe.

What is a Cheese Ball?

A cheese ball is a type of appetizer that is just like its name, a ball of soft cheese mixed with seasonings and covered in chopped walnuts or pecans. You can buy them in the store already made but they are so easy to make and taste better homemade.

Cheese balls can be made from some various cheeses, blended with some seasonings for flavor and then it’s held together with an outer shell or crust made up of various toppings.

What Makes a Good Cheese Ball?

A good cheese ball has a deliciously creamy texture, and is full of rich and cheesy flavor. It also has a contrasting and crunchy shell, usually made out of nuts. Pecans are one of the most popular choices.

It is one of the easiest appetizers that you will make and it gets rave reviews! It is so versatile that you can change it up and add your favorite cheeses or toppings that can make it different every time.

What is a Cheese Ball Made Of?

Cheese Ball Ingredients

When you make this easy cheese ball recipe you need to have some core ingredients. A classic cheese ball has cream cheese, sour cream, and cheddar then some spices or seasonings, followed by something to cover it, such as bacon or nuts.

Or even a combination of bacon and nuts…..yummm!

  • Cream Cheese – This cheese is the base of the ball. Use regular, not low fat.
  • Sour Cream – This gives the ball a creamy texture. Also use regular, not low fat.
  • Garlic Powder – Adds a yummy flavor. Who doesn’t love garlic!
  • Onion Powder – Another flavorful spice
  • Pepper – Black pepper, fine not coarse.
  • Green Onion – Scallions is another name for this yummy, and light onion flavor.
  • Cheddar Cheese – Shredded and orange so that it shows up against the white ball.
  • Parsley – Dried or fresh, but if you use fresh it has to be cut very small.
  • Pecans – Chopped so that they stick onto the cheese ball when it’s rolled in them.

Variations

How to Make a Bacon Cheese Ball

Let’s see how to make a cheese ball with some other ingredients that may vary from the classic cheese ball recipe that we have already shown you.

If you are looking for some alternate spices and herbs to mix inside your homemade cheese ball, you can do that to create a different flavor.

Instead of pecans on the outside, you can also add other nuts to the inside, or replace them with some almonds or walnuts.

Bacon is another favorite ingredient as a coating on the outside of the cheese ball.

  • Coatings: You can coat the cheese ball with almonds or walnuts instead of pecans. You can also roll your ball in other ingredients such as fresh herbs, bacon bits, or even crushed tortilla chips for added crunch.
  • Cheese Varieties: Many kinds of cheese work well for this recipe like goat cheese, fontina, smoked cheddar, Gouda, or pepper jack. Choose a bold-flavored cheese for the best results. Grated or shredded parmesan is also a good addition.
  • Spices or Herbs: Ranch is a good flavoring for the cheese ball. Also garlic, onion, parsley.

If you want to make this a different way, then follow our recipe below for a bacon/ranch cheese ball.

What Cheeses Can I Use to Make a Cheese Ball?

There are many kinds of cheese that can be used inside this classic cheese ball recipe.

  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Monterey Jack
  • Shredded or grated parmesan 
  • Pepper Jack
  • Gouda
  • Fontina

Cream cheese is a must to make a good cheese ball, it’s what holds the other ingredients together. You can mix any of the other cheese with cream cheese for different varieties.

Cream cheese mixed with cheddar is in my opinion, the best combo, even though the other ones are good alternatives too.

What Can I Roll a Cheese Ball in Besides Nuts?

Best Cheese Ball recipe

What to roll a cream cheese ball in besides nuts, for those people that do not like nuts or are allergic to nuts:

  • Bacon – My favorite, after all, who doesn’t love bacon!
  • Dried Fruits
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Scallions – The green color looks beautiful with the bacon
  • Shredded Cheddar (the orange will stand out)

Shape Ideas

When making a classic cheese ball, the nice thing is that you do not have to always make your cheese mixture into a round ball. You can make it in different shapes.

Here are a few ideas for your homemade cheese ball but also be creative and you may have some additional ideas:

  • Log
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Snowman
  • Wreath

Tools to Use

  • Electric Mixer – This is very helpful in thoroughly blending the cheese balls together.
  • Spatula – This helps to scrape the cheese ball mixture out of the bowl and onto the plastic wrap.
  • Bowl – A medium-size mixing bowl will be just the right size to blend all of the ingredients together before forming your cheese ball.

Can I Mix a Cheese Ball by Hand?

If you don’t have an electric mixer when making a cream cheese ball, you could also mix it by hand. It will be harder than using an electric mixer but it can be done with a strong hand.

The key is to let the cream cheese soften first before starting. That will make things much easier. Then use a wooden spoon and stir until well blended.

How to Make a Homemade Cheese Ball 

Let’s see how to make a homemade cheese ball. I was amazed at how easy it was the first time we made this classic cheese ball recipe.

Mixing the Ingredients

STEP 1: Get a mixing bowl and whip the cream cheese in the bowl.

STEP 2: Add the sour cream and whip again.

STEP 3: Next add the cheddar cheese, scallions, and spices and whip again.

How to Form a Cheese Ball

STEP 3: Once it’s mixed together, dump the cheese mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap.

Use the plastic to help shape the ingredients into a ball shape, pulling up all the sides around the cheeseball.

Cheese Ball wrapped in plastic

STEP 4:  Now chill it until firm, about 30-60 minutes.

Rolling the Cheese Ball

STEP 5: Chop the nuts or whatever other topping you are using.

chopped pecans on a tray

STEP 6: When ready to serve your cheddar cheese ball, then take it out of the refrigerator and unwrap it, then roll it in the pecans or other toppings.

It’s best to roll the cheese ball when ready to serve so that the outer layer does not get soggy.

STEP 6: Serve with your favorite crackers or other snacks you can spread the cheese ball on. It’s as easy as that.

Cheddar Cheese Ball Recipe

Making Mini Cheese Ball Bites

Instead of making one big cheese ball, it’s also possible to make mini cheese balls.

This cheese ball recipe would yield about 20 mini cheese ball bites. 

  1. Instead of shaping the mixture into a large ball, use a small ice cream scoop to form little balls equal in size.  
  2.  Wrap those balls in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm. 
  3.  Roll in the outer coating, in this case, it’s chopped pecans. Then serve.

Best Tips

Easy Cheese Ball Recipe

It’s always good when we do not know how to make a recipe, to get some useful help. Here are some tips we have learned about how to make a cheese ball, by making several varieties.

  • Sour cream is one of the main ingredients and in order to make it creamy and easy to work with you will need to take it out of the refrigerator so it will soften to room temperature. If it is cold it will not mix too well.
  • You can form the cream cheese ball the day before you are ready to serve it. Refrigerate and then take it out the next day and roll it in the pecans. That way it will be fresher to serve.
  • Chop the pecans into small pieces so that they are easier to roll.
  • There are other shapes to make a homemade cheese ball, so get creative. You can make it in the shape of a football, a star, an animal…etc.
  • When using cheddar cheese it is better to shred it yourself. It has a fresher taste and better texture than buying it pre-shredded.
  • Making bite-sized cheese balls are nice for a larger crowd, that way you can even make several kinds and everyone will get to taste them all.
  • If you want the cheese ball dip to be spicy then feel free to add some tabasco to the mix.
  • Let it rest at room temperature before serving for a softer consistency.
  • Instead of sticking the cracker right into the cheese ball and breaking the cracker, use a cheese knife to spread it on the cracker instead.

How to Soften Cheese Balls

In order to make cream cheese balls, start with softened cream cheese. You do this by taking it out of the refrigerator and setting the cream cheese on the counter for about 30 minutes.

Or if you are in a hurry, you could always stick it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. 

If you think that your cheese ball is too hard to be able to spread it on crackers, then you can leave it out on the counter for about 30 minutes before serving.

How Do You Thicken a Cheese Ball?

Bacon Cheese Ball Recipe

If you make a homemade cheese ball and for some reason it’s not thick enough to form into a ball, you can add some extra shredded cheddar cheese which will add more stability.

Then when you stick it into the refrigerator the cold temperature will continue to make it firm.

Diets This Recipe is Good For

  • Sugar-free – There are no ingredients that have sugar in them.
  • Gluten-free – A delicious appetizer with no gluten in it.

What Do You Eat with a Cheese Ball?

There are a lot of yummy things that go well with this cheese ball dip. It makes an attractive centerpiece on an appetizer table at a party.

4 crackers with cheese ball spread on them

Crackers are the most obvious thing to eat with a cheese ball, but your diet may not allow it.  Don’t worry, there are plenty of things to use with your cheese ball, things to put the spread on. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Pita chips
  • Bagels
  • Tortilla chips

What are the Best Crackers for a Cheese Ball?

Depending on what type of diet you are on will decide what kind of crackers to use for dipping into your cheese ball. 

Any kind of cracker that you like is good for dipping into the cheese ball, but make sure that they are sturdy crackers because some are so light that they fall apart and crumble.

Here are a few ideas for crackers to dip into the cheese ball.

  • Town House is my favorite
  • Ritz
  • Saltines
  • Triscuits, various flavors

If you are watching your carb intake we have a great low carb cracker recipe on our website. 

We also have a great recipe for parmesan crisps which are amazing. Nothing better than cheese on cheese!!

Make-Ahead Tips

Cream Cheese Ball inside

If you are wondering if you can make this easy cheese ball recipe the day before….the answer is YES you can. 

Cheese balls are easy to make ahead and great for parties or groups.  You can make it an entire day ahead and the flavor won’t change and you don’t have to worry about it going bad. 

In my opinion, it tastes even better if it’s made a day ahead because the flavors have time to blend together.

There are two ways to prepare the cheddar cheese ball in advance and both work great!

  • Option 1: Prepare the mixture and refrigerate it in a bowl. Shape and coat before serving.
  • Option 2: Prepare and shape the mixture and cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate. Coat about an hour before serving it.

Both ways work well, so it is about preference.

The only problem with making it ahead of time and then storing it in the refrigerator, it’s sure going to be hard for your family to resist eating it while it is staring them in the face every time they open it up.

How to Store

Storing leftover foods, including a cream cheese ball is very easy. The trick is to always remember to wrap it up properly, securely so that no air gets in and dries it out. 

The best rule of thumb is to store your leftover cheese ball in an airtight plastic container for the best freshness.

How Long Does a Homemade Cheese Ball Last?

You may wonder how long the homemade cheese ball will last in the refrigerator. If there are any leftovers, it can last 1 week, but if your family is like ours it won’t be around long enough to worry about.

How Long Can a Cheese Ball Sit Out Unrefrigerated?

Since the cheese ball is derived from dairy, it’s one of those foods that shouldn’t stay out of the refrigerator too long. Depending on the weather or the temperature in the room that it’s in, I wouldn’t let the cream cheese ball sit out for more than 1 hour, maximum.

If your party is going to last a lot longer than that, then a good suggestion that was made to me is to make several smaller cheese balls rather than 1 or 2 large ones. That way you can change it out with a new one when needed.

It will also create the illusion that this cheese ball is so good that it’s a hot commodity, going fast like hot cakes…so much so that everyone will be talking about your cheddar cheese ball recipe for a long time.

Can You Freeze a Cheese Ball?

Best Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe

Yes! You can freeze a cheese ball. After forming the cream cheese mixture into a ball, put it in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 1 month.  

When you get ready to eat it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, then roll the cream cheese ball in the outer coating and serve!

You can freeze it after it’s all put together but the nuts may loosen up or may even become a little soft, so I find it better to roll it in the nuts after it comes out of the freezer.

Other Delicious Appetizer Recipes

If you’re in the mood for some other amazing Appetizers, check out our:

Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe
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Best Cream Cheese Ball

Ultimate Classic Cheese Ball Recipe


  • Author: Leigh Oskwarek
  • Prep Time: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Time: 45-60 minutes

Description

This is the best cheese ball recipe, a popular and classic appetizer that you can make ahead of time and it still comes out looking like you spent all day making it. Cream cheese balls are quick and easy to make and your friends and family will probably think that you ordered it from one of those specialty food catalogs.


Scale

Ingredients

Classic Cheese Ball Ingredients:

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ½ tsp onion powder 
  • ¼ tsp black pepper – optional
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1 tsp dried parsley 
  • 1 cup chopped pecans 

 

Bacon Ranch Cheeseball Ingredients:

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp ranch powdered seasoning 
  • ½ cup chopped green onion (divided ¼ cup + ¼ cup)
  • 2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided 2 cups + ½ cup)
  • 16 slices chopped bacon (divided 8 slices + 8 slices) 

Instructions

Notes

Sour cream is one of the main ingredients and in order to make it creamy and easy to work with you will need to take it out of the refrigerator so it will soften to room temperature. If it is cold it will not mix too well.

You can form the cheese ball the day before you are ready to serve it. Refrigerate and then take it out the next day and roll it in the pecans. That way it will be fresher to serve.

There are other shapes to make a cheese ball, so get creative. You can make it in the shape of a football, a star, an animal…etc

When using cheddar cheese it is better to shred it yourself, it has a fresher taste and texture than buying it pre-shredded.

Making bite-sized cheese balls are nice for a larger crowd, that way you can even make several kinds and everyone will get to taste them all.

If you want the cheese ball to be spicy then feel free to add some tabasco to the mix.

Instead of sticking the cracker right into the cheese ball and breaking the cracker, use a cheese knife to spread it on the cracker instead.

2.2 NET Carbs Per Serving

  • Category: Appetizers
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cheese Ball, Cheese Ball Recipe, Cheese Balls, Best Cheese Ball Recipe, How to Make a Cheese Ball, Easy Cheese Ball Recipe, Cream Cheese Ball, Easy Cheese Ball, Classic Cheese Ball Recipe, Homemade Cheese Ball, Cheese Ball Dip, Cheddar Cheese Ball, Cheddar Cheese Ball Recipe

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