This Classic Cheese Ball recipe is a quick and easy appetizer to serve at parties and holiday gatherings. Just 7 common ingredients, all of which you probably have on hand.
When preparing a party or holiday menu, many of us will spend the majority of our cooking time on the main course. We need the appetizer and sides to be something easy. That doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare. Even better if we can make it ahead.
Cheese balls are the perfect way to kickoff a party. I mean, what’s not to love? Seasoned, spreadable cheese – yes, please! They are a perennial crowd favorite (I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good cheeseball!).
While there are many cheese ball variations, the classic version remains my favorite. With limited ingredients, the seasoned cheese takes center stage. This version lends itself to a variety of serving options and guests usually rave about it.
If you are planning on using this recipe for a party, be sure to check out Easy Ways To Use Leftover Party Food. There are TONS of ideas to help you repurpose party food, so don’t throw anything away yet.
Ingredients for the Classic Cheese Ball
Cream Cheese – use regular, low- fat, or fat free
Cheddar Cheese – Extra sharp adds a ton a flavor! I recommend grating the cheese yourself but if you’re pressed for time, grab a bag of finely grated cheese (it’s easier to mix together).
Pecans – chopped nuts add the perfect crunch and make it look oh so festive.
Spices – onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley
Making Ahead of Time
If you’re looking to make the cheese ball ahead of time (which I recommend), simply combine all of the ingredients, shape the ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll in the chopped pecans just before serving.
You’ll want to hold off rolling it in the pecans if you’re making this ahead of time so the nuts don’t soften up. We want the pecans to be crunchy and have a nice texture and you’ll lose some of that the longer it’s refrigerated.
Can You Freeze a Cheese Ball?
Yes! Mix and shape as directed, but hold off on rolling in the crushed nuts. Store in plastic wrap and freeze in a ziploc bag. It will last 1-3 months in the freezer.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Roll thawed cheese ball in crushed nuts before serving.
When serving the cheese ball it can set out at room temperature for up to 2 hours (less for warmer temperatures). Plan to refrigerate the cheese ball to keep the dairy ingredients from spoiling.
Store leftovers in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.
Variations of the Classic Cheese Ball
Some people look for ways to spice things up, so we wanted to give you a few ideas.
- Add in diced jalapenos or a couple dashes of Cholula or Sriracha for a nice kick
- Roll in walnuts or almonds instead of pecans
- Use a combination of other cheeses – Monterey Jack is crazy good!
- For more color and flavor add in diced red, yellow, or green bell peppers
What To Serve With
Be sure to serve on a cheese board (or platter) with a spreader to keep your guest from trying to dip their crackers (they’ll break).
- Pita Chips
- Small french bread slices
More Easy Appetizer Recipes You’ll Love:
- Neiman Marcus Million Dollar Dip
- 6 Ingredient Fiesta Salad
- Marshmallow Orange Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
- Fluffy Marshmallow Fruit Dip
- Salty and Sweet Snack Mix
The BEST Classic Cheese Ball
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, finely chopped and divided
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Add softened cream cheese to a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth.
- Add cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and 1 teaspoon fresh parsley. Fold together until well combined.
- Shape cheese mixture into a ball.
- Add chopped pecans and 1 teaspoon parsley to a plate. Roll the cheese ball in the pecan mixture until evenly covered. Using clean hands, lightly pat the pecans into the cheese ball.
- Wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
- Use freshly grated cheese for best results.
- This recipe can be made 1-2 days ahead. Prepare it up to the point of rolling in the nuts. Wrap the shaped cheese ball in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Roll in the nut mixture shortly before serving.
- Spice it up by adding a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce (ie Sriracha or Cholula).
- Will spread easier if allowed to sit out for 15 minutes before serving.
- This cheese ball contains dairy & should be refrigerated after 2 hours.
- Keeps up to 4 days in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.
- Can be frozen for 1-3 months (without nuts). Wrap in aluminum foil, then store in a ziploc bag in the freezer.
Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.