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HOW TO MAKE A CLASSIC CHEESE BALL {Sweet or Savory!}

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 a great ball with your own flavors!

side view of cheeseball on a wood plate

If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.

CHEESE BALLS ARE THE PERECT PARTY FOOD

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

  1. easy to make
  2. it can be made ahead
  3. customized for any flavor profile
  4. can be sweet or savory

In this post, I give you the recipe for a basic ball that is delicious on it’s own but also can be customized to fit your party theme, have the flavors that you and your guests like, and can be made ahead of time.

There are so many variations it will make your head spin. Or your stomach rumble…

The best flavor pairings, molding instructions, and make ahead hacks will have you whipping these fluffy appetizer style cheese balls weekly – if even just to snack on!

Served with 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.
hand holding a cracker with a cheese ball spread on it

HOW TO MAKE A CHEESE BALL

Before we talk about all the great ways you can turn a basic ball into a flavor extravaganza, let’s start with the ingredients. Every great ball starts with a block of cream cheese. 8 ounces of cream cheese softened a little is best for maximum ingredient incorporation.

HOW TO SOFTEN CREAM CHEESE

To the block of cream cheese, add in 1.5 cups of additional cheese. This is where you get to have some fun! Some great cheeses to add are:

  • Mozzarella
  • Cheddar
  • Swiss
  • Blue cheese
  • Parmesan
  • Gorgonzola
  • Gouda
  • Monterey Jack
  • Gruyere
  • Pepper Jack
  • Goat Cheese
  • Cream Cheese/Greek yogurt mixture

Once the cheeses are mixed in, all you need is a little spice. Basic salt and pepper are really all you need with your cheeses, but I love a hint of garlic powder and a little onion to break up the richness of the cheeses.

I also like to add in some Worcestershire sauce, some Tabasco, ad a hint of lemon juice to brighten it up. If you are making a sweet cheeseball I would leave out the savory spices and add a little vanilla extract, sugar, or honey.

hand holding a cheese spreader and a cracker

HOW TO FORM A CHEESE BALL

After the cheeses and spices are mixed together, place the mixture in a pile on some plastic wrap. Bring up the sides and twist to form a ball or roll into a log.

Chill for 30 minutes to an hour or up to 3 days. That’s why I love these as appetizers, because I can make it ahead of time!!!

WHAT TO COAT OR ROLL IT IN

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!

  • Toasted nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia)
  • Toasted seeds (poppy, chia, sesame, sunflower)
  • Dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, raisins, pineapple, coconut)
  • Fresh fruit (pomegranate arils)
  • BACON!!!
  • Fresh herbs (chives, green onions, parsley, cilantro, dill, thyme, rosemary)
  • Snacks (potato chips, pretzels, cheese crackers)
  • Candies (M&Ms, chocolate chips, cookies, powdered sugar, candy bar bits, toffee)
  • Misc items like pickled mustard seeds, dried beef, or crushed cereal

For easy coating, place the toppings in a bowl, add the cheese ball, and roll it around. Transfer to a serving platter and fill in any holes with extra toppings.

Basic CheeseBall being rolled in toasted almonds

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TAPAS TIPS & TRICKS

  • make sure your cream cheese is softened or at room temperature. If the cream cheese is cold, it won’t mix with the rest of the ingredients and you will end up with clumps of plain cream cheese in the cheese ball.
  • when adding shredded cheese, it’s best to shred your own cheese from a block. Pre-shredded cheese is loaded with starch and other anti-caking additives that can dry out your recipe.
  • your basic cheese ball can be made up to three days ahead of time.
  • when rolling your cheese ball/ cheese log warm up the outside of the cheese ball briefly in your hands (still in plastic wrap) which helps the coatings stick better.
  • if coating your ball in nuts, make sure your nuts are toasted for even more flavor.
  • if you are coating with in crunchy items like pretzels, wait to coat it until the last minute. Wrapping the cheese ball up with the coating can cause the crunchy coating to get soggy.
  • placing the ball on a small piece of parchment paper makes it easy to transfer and situate on your platter.
bowl of cheeseball ingredients before mixing

HOW LONG WILL A CHEESE BALL LAST IN THE FRIDGE?

Without the coatings and just the basic ingredients, a cheese ball will last two weeks, in an air-tight container store in the fridge at less than 40F.

CAN YOU FREEZE A CHEESE BALL?

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

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FLAVORS TO ADD?

I like a spicy jalapeño and bacon the best!

CAN YOU MAKE IT VEGAN?

Feel free to use vegan cheese or cashew cheese.

If you love this Easy Cheese Ball 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!

side view of basic cheese ball surrounded by crackers

OTHER DELICIOUS APPETIZERS

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

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

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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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!

Debi

Saturday 9th of November 2019

I'm al over the savory version. I made it for last weekend's football game & it was great.

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