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How to Make a Classic Cheese Ball

A cheese ball is the perfect party appetizer and this recipe is for making a Classic Cheese Ball with just a few simple ingredients. Use this tutorial as a jumping off point with helpful tips for customizing this easy appetizer with your own flavors!

side view of cheeseball on a wood plate

Homemade Cheese Ball

Of all the classic holiday appetizers at a party, a cheese ball is my absolute favorite for a few reasons:

  • Easy to make
  • Can be made ahead
  • Endless flavor possibilities
  • Make it sweet or savory

In this post, I give you the recipe for a homemade cheeseball that is delicious on it’s own but also can be customized to fit your party theme. Experiment with flavors that you and your guests like to make the best cheese ball ever!

Best thing, it can be made ahead of time.

There are so many variations for this easy cheese ball recipe, it will make your head spin. Or your stomach rumble…

My favorite cheese balls are my Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball, Honey Mustard Cheese Ball, Dried Beef Version, and my Almond Joy Cheese Ball.

Serve it with your favorite crackers, vegetables, and fruit these easy recipes are perfect for whatever ingredients are hiding in your fridge.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.
ingredients in a clear bowl

What is a Cheese Ball Made of?

Cream cheese – Use regular, low fat, or fat free cream cheese. Bring it to room temperature for easier mixing.

Shredded Cheese – Use your favorite or start with a neutral flavor like mozzarella or Monterey Jack.

Sour Cream – You can substitute mayonnaise or yogurt if needed.

Seasonings – A great spice mix is an easy way to add flavor. Ranch seasoning is a classic flavor.

Toppings – Use things like nuts or fresh herbs to add texture and make the outside look pretty.

For more insider tips & tricks, and a candid behind the scenes look follow me on social media! Check use out on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter (yes, people still use Twitter, LOL!)

How to make a Good Cheese Ball

First: Soften the cream cheese and bring other ingredients close to room temperature.

Second: In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and other ingredients, minus the toppings, until completely combined using a hand mixer.

Third: Form cream cheese mixture into a ball shape, wrap in a large piece of plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Fourth: Remove it from the plastic wrap and roll in toppings. Serve on a plate with crackers or veggies.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

hand holding a cheese spreader and a cracker

What Cheese is Best for Cheese Balls?

  • Mozzarella
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Swiss
  • Blue cheese
  • Parmesan
  • Gorgonzola
  • Gouda
  • Monterey Jack
  • Gruyere
  • Pepper Jack
  • Goat Cheese

The coating is the presentation or outfit that your ball is wearing. Most balls are rolled in nuts, herbs, or a combo of the two, but don’t forget the sweet cheese balls. There are so many fun candies that you can use too!

Topping Options

  • Toasted nuts (chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia)
  • Toasted seeds (poppy, chia, sesame, sunflower)
  • BACON!!! (Bacon Bits are ok)
  • Fresh parsley and other herbs (chives, green onions, cilantro, dill, thyme, rosemary)
  • Misc items like pickled mustard seeds, dried beef, or crushed cereal.
hand holding a cracker next to a cheese ball

How long does it last in the fridge?

Without the coatings and just the basic ingredients, a cheese ball will last two weeks, in an airtight container stored in the fridge at less than 40F. Wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap or waxed paper for best results.

Can you freeze it?

If tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, you can freeze it for up to 1 month.

What kind of crackers go best with it?

I prefer buttery Ritz crackers or shredded wheat crackers with mine. Even seed crackers are great! I love the contrast of textures they provide to the creamy texture of the soft cheese. You can also use tortilla chips and baguette slices. Be sure they are sturdy!

two crackers on a wood platter with parsley

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • Bring the cream cheese to room temperature for better mixing
  • Shred your own cheese from a block for a creamier texture.
  • Warm up the outside of your cheese ball mixture in your hands so the toppings stick easier when coating.
  • If topping with crunchy items like pretzel, wait until last minute so they don’t get soggy.
  • Place your cheese ball on a small piece of parchment paper when serving for easier clean up.
  • Make it vegan using vegan cheese or cashew cheese.
  • Make mini cheese ball bites instead of one large on like my Pepper Jelly Cheese Balls!

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!

spoon dipping in to cheese ball with text

This classic cheese ball recipe is perfect for your next party or gathering. Serve with buttery crackers, celery sticks, pita chips.

spoon dipping in to cheese ball

Classic Cheese Ball

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

A Cheese Ball is the perfect party appetizer and this recipe is for making a classic cheese ball with just a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients

Basic Savory Cheese Ball

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (4 ounces shredded)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella or white cheddar (2 ounces shredded)
  • 1/8 cup green onion (sliced thin)
  • 1/4 cup white onion (chopped fine)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce)

Basic Sweet Cheese Ball

  • 12 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, shredded cheese, onion, and spices.
  2. Mix to combine.
  3. Place the mixture on some plastic wrap.
  4. Bring the sides up and twist to form into a ball.
  5. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
  6. When ready to serve, remove plastic and roll in coating.
  7. Place on a serving tray and add crackers!

Notes

  • Bring the cream cheese to room temperature for better mixing
  • Shred your own cheese from a block for a creamier texture.
  • Warm up the outside of your cheese ball mixture in your hands so the toppings stick easier when coating.
  • If topping with crunchy items like pretzel, wait until last minute so they don't get soggy.
  • Place your cheese ball on a small piece of parchment paper when serving for easier clean up.
  • Make it vegan using vegan cheese or cashew cheese.
  • Make mini cheese ball bites instead of one large on like my Pepper Jelly Cheese Balls!
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 ounce
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 533mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 0gSugar: 19gProtein: 8g

    This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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    Lucia smith

    Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

    I have cooked cheese balls. Thanks for sharing such a nice recipe to try. However, I have not used bacon. I have used ghee instead. The benefits of ghee butter is it is 100% vegetarian, gluten-free, and ghee is more nutritious than bacon. The cheese balls were delicious.

    Jennifer Elka

    Thursday 28th of November 2019

    This is my first time ever making a cheese ball and it was a hit at work for Thanksgiving . I didn’t not have any white onion to add (I forgot, ok?). I added some extra green onions instead. I added a few extra drops of Tabasco sauce!

    Jennifer

    Monday 2nd of December 2019

    That sounds like great additions! I am so glad that everyone liked it!

    Brandi Burgess

    Monday 18th of November 2019

    I LOVE a good cheese ball! My fave appetizer. This is the best!

    Michaela Kenkel

    Sunday 17th of November 2019

    This recipe is my go-to! I have become "the person that brings the cheese ball" to every family get together now! LOL Thanks for the great recipe!

    Julie Menghini

    Sunday 10th of November 2019

    You've really inspired me to make some delicious cheese balls for our Thanksgiving guests! Your instructions and tips are fantastic!

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