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Cheese Balls

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.

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

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