Creamy and rich this Holiday Cheese Ball is full of flavor. With cream cheese, fresh shredded cheese and pimento it is packed with added spices, seasonings and flavors. Perfectly smooth yet pleasantly crunchy, every bite is delicious and well balanced.
This favorite, low stress appetizer is sure to be the best addition to any holiday party. With just a handful of ingredients and 10 minutes you can whip up a cold hors d'oeuvres, guaranteed to be gobbled up by everyone. Paired with crackers and fresh cut veggies it is just such a classic and easy party dish.
Always a party and holiday classic, the Cheese Ball is a delicious, guaranteed crowd favorite. Show up to any party with a cheese ball this holiday season and everyone will instantly love you. With simple pantry ingredients like this list below, you can have your dish together at a moment's notice.
- Cream Cheese
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Pimento Pepper
- Lemon Juice
- Bell Pepper
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Nut of Choice - Almond, Pecan, Walnut
🍳 Step-by-Step Instructions
Firstly, ifn a bowl add all the ingredients for the holiday cheese ball except for the nuts of choice. Then using a spoon mix together everything until combined.
Making sure your cream cheese is softened will help make things easier when it comes time to stir things up. But if you are worried about getting everything mixed well you can pull out that electric hand mixer. Using a mixer will make sure everything gets mixed together completely.
Shaping The Ball
Once everything for your holiday cheese ball is well mixed go ahead and taste your mixture and add salt as needed. After you’ve got everything mixed it is time to get that cheese ball shaped.
You can do this by either adding a little oil to your hands and then carefully shaping the ball. Or if you find that your cheese mixture is a little too soft for shaping place your mixture in the center of a piece of plastic wrap.
Carefully wrap your cheese mixture up in the plastic wrap while shaping it into a ball. Then place in the fridge for 30 or 40 minutes to chill. This will allow your cream cheese to firm up so the ball will hold its shape and can be coated for serving.
Lastly, take your holiday cheese ball and roll it in your choice of coating. You want to be sure to roll in some type of crunchy coating to give your cheese ball a little texture.
Chopping or crushing your coating whatever it may be, into smaller pieces will make it much easier to roll and coat your cheese ball with.
If serving your holiday cheese ball straight from the fridge it may be a good idea to pull it out and allow it to soften a little at room temperature so it is easier for guests to dig into. Serve alongside your favorite dipping items and enjoy!
👩🏻🍳 Make it Your Own
When changing up your cheese profile keep in mind that you definitely need cream cheese for your base. Cream Cheese is what is going to hold everything together.
But you can absolutely play with what other cheese you want to pair it with. Try swapping out our that shredded cheddar for a Monterey jack, parmesan, pepper jack, gouda or even fontina.
Just remember fresh grated cheese is always best! So take the extra time and grate your own cheese for the best flavor.
When it comes to what you add to your holiday cheese ball the options really are endless! It just depends what you are looking for in an appetizer.
- For a more FRUITY option add cranberries, pineapple, cherries, raisins or diced apple.
- Looking for a more SAVORY flavor add in ranch seasoning or your choice of bacon, chicken or chorizo.
- If SPICY is what you are looking for try adding some tabasco sauce, jalapeño, cayenne or chili powder
- And if SWEET is what you are desiring, consider adding in honey, dried fruits, cocoa powder or powdered sugar.
Now, you want to be sure to roll your Holiday Cheese Ball in some type of crunchy coating to give it a little extra texture. Chopping or crushing your coating whatever it may be, into smaller pieces will make it much easier to roll and coat your cheese ball with.
We love using chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds for our coating. But if you are looking for a good nut free option have no fear. There are so many delicious choices to choose from:
- Crushed Corn Chips or Pretzels
- Crushed Ritz Crackers
- French Onions
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Fresh Herbs like parsley or chives
- Dried Fruits like cranberries, cherries or pomegranate
- Crumbled Bacon or Bacon Bits
🍽 How to Serve
We love to serve our holiday cheese balls charcuterie style with a variety of dipping options. Grab your favorite charcuterie board or serving tray and go to town. Fresh cut apple slices, celery, carrot sticks, peppers, slices of cucumber, variety of crackers, pretzels, pita chips or bread all make for a great assortment!
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
If looking for a different way to serve your cheese ball try serving as Mini Cheese Ball Bites! Instead of rolling into one big ball use a half tablespoon measuring spoon to make small cheese balls.
Once formed place your mini cheese balls on a plate in the fridge to allow them to firm up a little. Once firm roll your cheese balls in your coating. When all rolled, place a pretzel stick in each cheese ball and enjoy!
Holiday Themes and Shapes
It is always fun to decorate for the holidays! And when it comes to serving up this holiday cheese ball it is easy to keep that festive spirit going.
Instead of rolling your cheese ball into a round shape try shaping and then dressing it to look like a turkey, spider, pumpkin, football or snowman! Not only will your dish be the hit of the party for flavor but also presentation!
💭 Top Tips
This is a great recipe for preparing ahead of time to free up time on the day of your party or big meal. In fact, I actually love making this the day before so it can sit in the fridge and really let all the flavors come together.
You can prepare the mixture and store in the fridge and then pull from the fridge to soften a little before shaping into a ball and coating your cheese ball before serving.
You can also prepare the cheese mixture, shape it into a ball and then wrap it in plastic wrap tightly before refrigerating. Then the only thing you would need to do is roll the ball in your coating just before serving.
Can you prepare a cheese ball ahead of time?
This appetizer is the PERFECT recipe to make ahead of time – if planning to make it more than a few hours ahead of time go ahead and wrap your cheese ball in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Then pull your cheese ball from the fridge and roll in your choice of coating.
Is it better to use freshly grated cheese or shredded cheese?
Freshly grated cheese is ten times more flavorful than shredded cheese. Always opt for freshly grated cheese when ever possible.
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon pimento
- 1 tablespoon chopped onion
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons bell pepper
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ⅛ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 1½ cups nut, chopped finely
- In a bowl combine all the ingredients except for the nuts. Use a hand mixer to easily mix and blend together dip.
- Add oil to hands and gently shape mixture into a ball. If too soft for shaping place mixture in the fridge to chill for a few minutes.
- Once happy with the shape take the cheese ball and roll in finely chopped nuts of your choice. Serve with crackers, pretzels or veggies and enjoy!
- Use freshly grated cheese for best flavor.
- If cheese ball is too soft to handle, place in fridge covered for 30 minutes to chill.
- Prepare your cheese ball ahead of time to help with busy schedules.
- This is a fun recipe for making your own. Look above for more suggestions on what flavors work well with this cheese ball recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 439mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 15g