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Who needs a new (and impressive!) appetizer? I thought so. 🙂 My easy cheese ball recipe is here to the rescue! I love having a few impressive and easy appetizer recipes in my back pocket, and this one is no exception. It looks pretty, it tastes yummy, and it’s so easy to make! And the best part? This cream cheese ball with bacon is made with just 5 simple ingredients that you probably already have.
Why You’ll Love This Cheese Ball Recipe
- Savory and cheesy
- Smooth and creamy with crunchy coating
- Just 5 ingredients
- 10-minute prep with no cooking required (just refrigerate!)
- Customizable to make your own cheese ball recipes
- Classic holiday appetizer for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just about any occasion
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for a homemade cheese ball, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Cream Cheese – This makes up the base of any cheese ball recipe. I used plain cream cheese, but you could also use other savory flavors, such as garlic herb or veggie. For the best results, leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften. Softened cream cheese will make it easier to mix and blend with the shredded cheese.
- Shredded Cheese – I used sharp Cheddar cheese, but feel free to use other types, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, Pepper Jack, gouda, Swiss, Parmesan, or mozzarella.
- Bacon Bits – You can use real bacon bits for convenience, but crumbled bacon in the oven tastes even better.
- Green Onions – You can substitute these with finely chopped chives, parsley, or even diced red onions for a stronger bite.
- Nuts – Chopped pecans add the perfect crunch. Other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, also work. For a nut free option in this cheese ball recipe, try sesame seeds.
How To Make A Cheese Ball
This section shows how to make cheese balls, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Blend the cheeses. Whip cream cheese and cheddar cheese together in a high power blender, food processor with plastic dough blade attachment, or stand mixer with paddle attachment. (Don’t use a knife blade, unless you want the shredded cheese in tiny bits.)
- Shape and chill. Form the cheese mixture into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge until firm.
- Mix the toppings. In a medium bowl, stir together the bacon bits, green onions, and pecans. Roll the ball in the mixture.
- Refrigerate. Wrap the ball tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the cheese ball recipe until ready to serve.
- Store: Wrap this easy cheese ball recipe tightly in plastic wrap and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. However, the crunchy coating has the best texture within 24 hours.
- Freeze: Most cheese ball recipes freeze quite well, but you need to be careful to avoid freezer burn or drying out. Wrap in 2 layers of plastic wrap followed by foil, then freeze for up to 1-2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
Cheese Ball Recipe Variations
The best part about this easy cheese ball recipe is that you can easily customize it with various mix-ins and coatings to create your own unique flavors. Here are some ideas:
- Jalapeno Popper – For a spicy kick, add 1-2 finely diced jalapenos to the cream cheese mixture.
- Bacon Ranch – Add 2 tablespoons of dry ranch seasoning to the cream cheese mixture.
- Cranberry – Mix 1/3 cup of dried cranberries into the cheese mixture, or use them as a coating instead of bacon.
- Dill Pickle – Fold 1/3 cup of finely diced dill pickles into the cream cheese mixture, and replace the green onions with 2 tablespoons of fresh dill.
- Garlic – Mix in 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or even a couple cloves of roasted garlic into the cream cheese mixture.
- Dip – Skip the chilling or forming into a cheese ball, and add 1/3 cup of sour cream or ranch dressing to the cheese mixture. Sprinkle on the coating as a topping instead of rolling, and serve as a dip.
Ways To Serve A Cheese Ball
- Veggies – Carrots, celery sticks, and even broccoli all make great options for crunch and color. These are all sturdy enough to stand up to a cheese ball.
- Crackers – When I have time, I like to make healthy homemade crackers, like 3-ingredient almond flour crackers or flax seed crackers. My favorite store-bought option is sweet potato crackers, shown in the photos above.
- Chips – Pita chips or tortilla chips are usually the go-to chip for this holiday appetizer.
More Easy Cold Appetizer Recipes
Looking for more easy appetizers with minimal prep time? Here are a few of my go-to quick and easy appetizer recipes that don’t require cooking:
Cheese Ball Recipe
Cheese Ball Recipe (5 Ingredients!)
This easy cheese ball recipe with cream cheese, cheddar, bacon and green onions takes just 10 minutes prep. A simple appetizer everyone loves!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Form the cheese into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firm.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bacon bits, green onions, and pecans. Roll the cheese ball in the mixture.
- Wrap the ball tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Serving size: 2 heaping tablespoons
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