Cheese Ball Recipe

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This cheese ball recipe is our go-to for entertaining and serving throughout the holiday season! Cheese Balls are very simple to make and only require five ingredients. They haves a delicious creamy texture set off with crunchy toasted pecans.

Image of Cheese Ball with crackers on the side, and a bite scooped out of it.

Cheese Balls

Somehow, I’ve shared two dessert cream cheese balls on this site and have yet to share a savory one. Remedying that today with the absolute best savory Cheese Ball I’ve ever had.

The two dessert cheese ball recipes that have been shared — this brownie batter cheeseball and this pumpkin spice cheeseball have been some of the most popular entertaining recipes on this site. I can’t wait for this savory version to join the arsenal.

There are only five ingredients in this recipe, making it easy to grab everything quickly at the store. It also comes together very easily –you’ll be amazed what a breeze this recipe is to make!

Image of the ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix used in Cheese Balls.

Cheese Ball ingredients

  • Cream cheese.  For best results, use full-fat (reduced-fat cream cheese doesn’t hold its shape as nicely). I also recommend a good quality brand; We love Philadelphia Cream Cheese® best in this recipe (not sponsored).
  • Ranch seasoning mix. The secret for the small-but-flavorful ingredient list? A seasoning mix! We love Hidden Valley® ranch seasoning mix best (again, not sponsored). 
  • Bacon. If you’re in a rush or don’t want the mess of cooking bacon in a skillet, you could bake bacon in the oven or use already-cooked bacon.
  • Sharp Cheddar cheese. We use either sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese and personally love Tillamook ®(not sponsored) for my Cheese Ball recipe.
  • Chives. Chives are an optional ingredient, but they cut through the richness of the cheese, bacon, and cream cheese by adding a touch of freshness.
  • Pecans. Once the Cheese Ball is assembled and chilled, we roll it in diced pecans. The pecans hold everything together nicely and add a great crunch. I love toasting the pecans before adding to the ball; more on this below.

How to toast pecans

I love the flavor of toasted pecans on this cheese ball, plus roasting keeps the pecans from going soft as quickly. I recommend either purchasing roasted pecans or toasting them yourself before starting.

To toast: Pour an even layer of whole pecans halves into a small, dry (no need to add oil or anything) skillet over medium-heat; stir them around a bit until they are fragrant and toasted to your liking.

Watch the pecans carefully; they can go from perfectly cooked to burnt in an instant! I like to remove them as soon as they begin to smell fragrant. Allow to cool fully before chopping for the Cheese Ball.

Process shots-- images of the cream cheese and ranch seasoning being mixed together; bacon, cheese, and chives being added and mixed together; mixture being formed into a ball and wrapped in plastic to chill.

Cheese Ball recipe tips

  • Room-temperature cream cheese. If the cream cheese isn’t at room temperature, you’ll end up with unpleasant chunks in the cheese ball, plus it won’t incorporate as nicely with the other ingredients. See this post for tips to bringing cream cheese to room temperature quickly.
  • Freshly grated cheese works best. Not only is the flavor better, you also won’t get the cellulose coating that comes on pre-shredded, packaged cheese. That coating can add an unpleasant powdery texture and flavor to the cheese ball.
  • Finely chopped pecans. The smaller the pieces, the easier they adhere to the cheese ball and the more enjoyable the appetizer is to eat.
  • Thoroughly chill the ball. Once everything has been mixed together, allow ample time for the ball to chill and harden before rolling it in the pecans. This ensures a sturdy shape and a great flavor since all the ingredients have a chance to meld and intensify.

Image of the Cheese Ball recipe being rolled in the chopped pecans.

Recipe notes

  • An electric hand mixer ensures an even texture throughout, but you can also mix this by hand. Make sure the cream cheese has been thoroughly softened and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is smooth and thoroughly combined.
  • Because of all the dairy in this recipe, it shouldn’t sit out of the fridge longer than 2 hours.

Image of a bit of the Cheese Ball on a cracker, ready to be eaten.

QUICK TIP

While this recipe is easy and comes together quickly, it does require some planning. It works best with room-temperature cream cheese which requires some time. It’s also important to chill the cheese ball before rolling it in the pecans. The overall process ends up being spread out, so planning ahead is key.

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Cheese Balls

0 from 0 votes
This cheese ball recipe is our go-to for entertaining and serving throughout the holiday season! Cheese Balls are very simple to make and only require five ingredients. They have a delicious creamy texture set off with crunchy toasted pecans.
Print Recipe

Cheese Balls

0 from 0 votes
This cheese ball recipe is our go-to for entertaining and serving throughout the holiday season! Cheese Balls are very simple to make and only require five ingredients. They have a delicious creamy texture set off with crunchy toasted pecans.
Course Appetizer, Snack, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword Cheese Ball Recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 8 -10 as a side
Calories 348kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 oz. (226g) EACH) full-fat (brick-style) cream cheese
  • 1 package (1 oz.; 28g) Hidden Valley Ranch Salad and Seasoning mix
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (200g) freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (51g) finely diced bacon (~8 slices)
  • Optional: 1/3 cup diced fresh chives
  • 2/3 cup pecans, finely chopped (See Note 1)
  • Serve with: crackers

Instructions

  • PREP: About an hour before starting, set out the cream cheese to get to room temperature. It's important it's softened a bit so you don't end up with unpleasant chunks in the cheese ball. (To bring to room temp quicker: cut cream cheese into small cubes and spread out on a plate. Let sit in a warm place about 15-20 minutes.)
  • CHEESE BALL: In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and ranch seasoning mix until smooth. Add in the shredded cheese and finely diced bacon; beat until just combined. Add in optional chives.
  • CHILL: Using a silicone spatula, scoop the mixture onto the plastic wrap and using the wrap, form it into a ball. Tightly wrap and place in the fridge for 1-3 hours or until firm.
  • PECANS: See Note 1. Finely dice the pecans and place on a large tray with sides. Remove the ball from the fridge and from the plastic wrap and roll in the chopped pecans. Gently press the pecans into the side as needed.
  • SERVE: Place Cheese Ball on a large plate and serve with your favorite crackers. Make sure to have a table knife by the side, since crackers often break being pressed into the cheeseball, and it's much easier to scoop from the ball with a knife.
  • STORAGE: Store any leftovers, tightly covered, for up to 1 week in the fridge. Cheese Ball shouldn't stand at room temperature for more than 2 hours because of all the dairy in it.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: I love the flavor of toasted pecans on this cheese ball, plus toasting keeps the pecans from going soft as quickly. I recommend either purchasing roasted pecans or toasting yourself them before starting. To toast: Pour the (un-chopped) pecan halves into an even layer in a small, dry (no need to add oil or anything) skillet over medium-heat; stir them around a bit until they are fragrant and toasted to your liking. Watch the pecans carefully; they can go from perfectly cooked to burnt in an instant! I like to remove them as soon as they begin to smell fragrant. Allow to cool completely before chopping. The smaller the pecan pieces, the easier they adhere to the cheese ball and the more enjoyable the appetizer is to eat.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1010 as a side | Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.6g | Protein: 11.2g | Fat: 32.4g | Cholesterol: 79.5mg | Sodium: 367.4mg | Fiber: 0.7g | Sugar: 2.2g

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