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Derby Pie Cheese Ball

A Derby Pie Cheese Balls is all the delicious gooey parts of a classic Derby Pie with chocolate, caramel, pecans, and bourbon, stuffed inside this sweet chocolate cheese ball and rolled in toasted pecans. Perfect for watching the Kentucky Derby!

Picture of inside of Derby Pie Cheese Ball

Derby Pie Cheese Ball Recipe

You guys know I love a great cheese ball, especially a sweet dessert one! And in the spirit of the upcoming Kentucky Derby I decided to do a riff on Derby Pie! I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate, pecans, and bourbon?!?!

I already did this brownies, a dip, and some small truffle bites. All huge hits so I decided to do a cheese ball, but with a twist. A stuffed cheese ball!

It’s not a completely new idea for me as I stuffed my Almond Joy Cheese Ball with fudge sauce and it’s so amazing when you scoop into it. All the gooey fudge pours out and adds a whole other level of flavor and texture to the cheese ball.

Same concept but this time, I am stuffing the cheese ball with all the chocolate bourbon pecan pie goodness. Reversing the texture profile is a little surprising but oh, so, tasty!

A deconstructed Derby pie if you will! It’s quickly become on of my favorite Kentucky Derby Appetizers.

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side view of derby pie cheese ball covered in toasted pecans on slate platter

How to Make Derby Pie Filling

To make the Derby Pie Cheese Ball we have to start by making the derby pie filling. The filling can be made a few days ahead of time, along with the cheese ball mixture, and assembled when ready.

Let’s get to cooking the pie!

  • cook the corn syrup and butter and mix with eggs and vanilla (1)
  • add the bourbon, chocolate chips, and toasted pecans (2)
  • pour mixture into a pie pan and bake (3)
  • cool finished pie and remove 1/2 cup of cooked filling (4)
process collage of derby pie cheese ball filling

Try to contain yourself while the chocolate bourbon pecan pie is baking because the smell of all that goodness will have you drooling like crazy!

Don’t worry, you will get to try some because the cheese ball only requires 1/3 to 1/2 of this finished pie.

Brooks and I ate the remaining filling with two spoons sitting on the counter. The filling is also very tasty over some vanilla ice cream if you are looking to be a little classier than we were.

inside look of derby pie cheese ball filling

How to Make a Derby Pie Cheese Ball

After the derby pie filling is cooled, we need to prepare the chocolate cheese ball.

  • combine the cream cheese, cocoa, and powdered sugar (1)
  • combine and spread into a circle on plastic wrap (2)
  • chill for 15 minutes
  • add the 1/2 cup derby pie filling (3)
  • slowly roll up the edges and seal on the top (4)
  • seal up and chill another 5 minutes
process collage of filling derby pie cheese ball

After the derby pie cheese ball has chilled and you are ready to serve, roll the cheese ball in toasted pecans to coat and then serve with crackers.

I prefer either shortbread cookies or thin salted pretzels. The saltiness of the pretzels really balances out the sweetness of the chocolate and pairs well with the bourbon.

It’s a fun and new way to enjoy a Kentucky Derby Pie while watching the horses don’t you think?

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Can I make it ahead of time?

Up to 4 days ahead of time! I like to make the pie mixture at least a day ahead of stuffing the cheese ball.

Can I buy pecan pie filling and use that?

If you don’t have time to make one, nor can you find one already baked at the store, feel free to use the filling of a pecan pie. Just be sure to add 1 tablespoon of bourbon is you like:)

Is there an alternative to pecans?

If you are not allergic to other nuts feel free to switch to another nut. If you want to use a chess pie filling for the center and roll the cheese ball in crushed shortbread cookies, that would be great too!

I use a lot of plastic wrap and aluminum foil and I prefer to have mine extra wide so I buy the professional size boxes.

Having extra wide plastic wrap and foil and easier to use and much cheaper than buying those small boxes that aren’t wide enough to cover your baking sheets!

kentucky derby food ideas collage

Kentucky Derby Foods

Looking to host a Kentucky Derby Party? Here is a list of Kentucky Derby Foods and some cute decorations!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

Derby Pie Cheese Ball on slate serving platter
Picture of inside of Derby Pie Cheese Ball

Derby Pie Cheese Ball

All the delicious gooey parts of a Derby Pie with chocolate, caramel, pecans, and bourbon, stuffed inside a sweet chocolate cheese ball and rolled in toasted pecans. Perfect for watching the Kentucky Derby!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sweet Cheese Balls
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 248kcal
Author: Jennifer Stewart



Prep Derby Pie Filling

  • Prep derby pie filling and bake as instructed in Derby Pie Bites post.
  • Chill before using in Derby Pie Cheese Ball

Prepare Pie Cheese Ball

  • Combine cream cheese, cocoa, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  • Spread onto plastic wrap.
  • Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Place 1/2 cup Derby Pie mixture in center of cream cheese mixture.
  • Fold edges of cream cheese mixture over Derby Pie mixture.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and smooth into a ball.
  • Chill for 30 minutes.
  • Roll in toasted pecans.
  • Serve with salted pretzel crisps or cookies!



*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 179mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g

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Recipe Rating


Friday 21st of February 2020

I think I need a new Derby hat to go with this delicious recipe! YUM!


Wednesday 19th of February 2020

So good, just wish I would have made a double batch--- my guests devoured it in about 20 minutes....

Sandra Shaffer

Tuesday 18th of February 2020

Wow, this is super unique and delicious. Next time I'm going to make two, because everyone devoured this.


Monday 17th of February 2020

I loved serving this cheese ball at my party last weekend. All the guests asked for the recipe. I sent them here!

Kathleen Pope

Monday 17th of February 2020

I love how creative Jennifer is, this deconstructed Derby Pie Cheese Ball is on my menu for Derby Party day!