This classic cheese ball is so easy to make and is perfect for snacking on in between big meals, or for party spreads!
This cheese ball recipe is as classic as it gets, but if you like a little extra flavor, be sure to try our Smoked Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball.
A Holiday Tradition
It’s a tradition in my family to whip up a cheese ball for the holidays. Whether it’s Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas party, or New Years Eve, we always have a cheese ball to snack on. With all of the other activities and food preparations that take up so much time and effort, it’s great that this cheese ball recipe only requires about 10 minutes and a few simple ingredients!
But don’t underestimate how delicious it is based on the small ingredient list. Each ingredient plays a part in creating some big flavor!
- Cream Cheese: The main staple of this tasty appetizer. I recommend using full fat cream cheese because I prefer the thick and creamy texture, plus it holds it all together really well. But you could probably get away with using reduced fat cream cheese.
- Seasonings: A combination of onion powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt (Lowry’s is our favorite), and cayenne pepper for a little kick.
- Hot Sauce: Yep, hot sauce. Don’t worry, the recipe only calls for a tiny amount, but it really adds to the overall flavor! We use buffalo sauce.
- Cheddar Cheese: I prefer sharp, but it’s totally up to you! Just make sure it’s finely shredded.
- Nuts: We’ve always done walnuts so that’s usually what I use, but you could do chopped pecans or slivered almonds too (toasting them is optional).
- Sometimes I like to get a little crazy and add some slices of green onion on top, but that’s mainly just a garnish.
Make a Cheese Ball in 3 Easy Steps!
BEAT. One of my favorite ways to make this recipe is to toss the cold cream cheese in the bowl of my stand mixer. I like to beat it for a minute or two until it becomes nice and creamy/smooth and then I toss in the spices and seasonings, followed by the shredded cheese.
FORM. Since the cream cheese is nice and cold already, it makes rolling the mixture into a ball a whole lot easier! Tip: If you find that the mixture is overly sticky, you can always spray a light coating of Pam onto your hands to avoid a huge mess.
ROLL. Once the ball is formed all you need to do is roll it into some finely chopped nuts. The ball can be served immediately or refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it.
You can SERVE your cheeseball with crackers, chips, or veggies. There are a multitude of cracker options: club crackers, ritz, wheat thins, pretzels, pita chips, tortilla chips, or multi-grain crackers. You could also use sliced celery or baby carrots.
Mix it up!
Our recipe covers the basic cheese ball flavor profile, you could always
- Switch out the type of cheese.
- Add in chopped green onions
- Mix in bacon bits
- Serve with fruit preserves
- Cover the cheeseball in crushed chips, pretzels, etc
- Addi in minced jalapenos
- Shape it into fun shapes!
Keep this in the fridge before and after serving. Be sure it doesn’t sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge, and it should last for up to 2 weeks if you have used fresh ingredients.
You can make this up to a week ahead of time without adding the nuts. That should probably be the last thing you do so that the nuts don’t get soft and soggy just sitting in the fridge. After it’s formed, place it in an airtight bag or container and keep it in the fridge.
Can you freeze it? Form the cheese ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap twice and then in an airtight bag. Don’t add the nuts before freezing or or else they will get soggy after thawing. The cheese ball can stay frozen for up to a month before you place it in the fridge overnight to let it thaw. Once it is completely thawed you can roll the cheese ball in crushed nuts and serve as normal.
For more appetizers, try:
Cheese Ball Recipe
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder - heaping
- 1/2 tsp onion powder - heaping
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt - we like Lowry's
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce - buffalo or other
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese - finely shredded
- 1/2 cup nuts - (walnuts, pecans or almonds), finely chopped
- In a medium size mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), mix the cream cheese and seasonings until smooth. Sprinkle in the cheddar cheese and mix until just combined.
- Roll the mixture into a round ball (you can lightly coat your hands with cooking spray if that makes it easier, but because the ball is cold it shouldn't be too much of an issue).
- Place the chopped nuts into a standard size bowl and roll to cover the ball entirely. You may need to pat some of the nuts into the areas that aren't covered. Cover the cheese ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
-Feel free to add freshly minced dill to the cheese ball, chopped bacon or even nuts inside!