Easy Holiday Cheese Ball Recipe

Overhead of holiday cheese appetizer plated with crackers surrounding it.
Recipe At-A-Glance
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Holiday Recipe, Gluten-Free50 minutes
This holiday cheese ball recipe is a delicious, no-fuss appetizer that tastes great with crackers or crudités.

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If you go into any gathering in the Midwest around the holiday season, you are bound to find a cheese ball just waiting to be snacked on! Cheese balls are inherently unfussy, but they are delicious crowd favorites that are stupendously easy to make.

This easy cheese ball recipe is a slightly modified version of a family recipe that’s been loved for generations! Simply mix together all the ingredients, form into a ball, and then enjoy with your favorite pretzels, crackers, pita chips, or crudités like celery or carrots. Let’s make this super simple appetizer!

Tight view of the creamy middle of a holiday cheese appetizer.

Here’s why you’ll love this cheese ball!

We truly believe our recipe is the best cheese ball around! This recipe has been handed down for generations, and it’s been a winner for so long for good reason.

While you can definitely experiment with interesting cheese ball flavors, we love our four cheese cheese ball because of its classic flavor, easy to source ingredients, and just how darn simple it is to pull together.

Close view of finished cheese ball crusted with toasted pecan pieces and chopped fresh herbs.

What ingredients do I need for this cheese ball recipe?

Let’s get straight to it: you’re going to need several types of cheese. It is called a cheese ball, after all!

We use sharp cheddar cheese, soft goat cheese, cream cheese, and crumbled blue cheese—it is the perfect mix of flavors and textures. The goat cheese and cream cheese are particularly important, because their creaminess holds the whole cheese ball together.

Beyond that, you’ll need minced onion, garlic powder, parsley, and Worcestershire sauce for flavor, pecan halves for texture, and hot sauce if you want to add a little heat (but that last one’s optional!).

Wholefully Protip

We know blue cheese isn’t everyone’s thing, but in this recipe, the small amount gives the cheese ball an umami flavor that’s hard to replicate otherwise. If you’re staunchly anti-blue cheese, no worries. Just leave it out, and you’ll still have a great cheese ball!

Close-up of the inside of the cheese ball after serving.

How do you make this cheese ball?

If you’ve never made a cheeseball before, you’re going to be blown away by how easy it is. To make a cheese ball, follow these steps:

A collage showing six steps to making the perfect cheese ball.

  1. Toast the pecans until lightly browned and fragrant. Allow to cool, and chop.
  2. Mix together the cheeses, onion, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.
  3. Use a rubber spatula to blend all the ingredients.
  4. Scoop the cream cheese mixture into a large piece of plastic wrap, and mold into a ball shape. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but up to two days.
  5. Remove from the plastic wrap and roll the cheese ball in toasted and chopped pecans and parsley to coat.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Wholefully Protip

Bring all your cheese to room temperature to make it easy to mix.

A bite of cheese rests on a spreader alongside crackers for serving.

What should I serve it with?

Imagine the cheese ball as basically just a spreadable dip, so anything you can dip, you can serve with a cheese ball! Here are our favorite suggestions:

  • Your favorite crackers (buttery crackers like Ritz crackers are really a win here)
  • Sliced baguette
  • Raw veggies like celery sticks, baby carrots, or sliced peppers
  • Bagel chips
  • Pita chips

Can I make my cheese ball in advance?

Absolutely! In fact, some time in the refrigerator will allow the flavors to develop and meld, making the flavor even better. This is a great dish to meal prep for your holiday parties—you can make it up to two days in advance.

Wholefully Protip

If you plan to make it ahead of time, we recommend waiting to roll the cheese ball in the nuts until just before serving so that the pecans keep their texture.

Classic cheese ball rests on a serving platter surrounded by buttery crackers.

How should I store the leftovers?

Just rewrap the cheeseball in plastic wrap (or store it in an airtight container) and stash it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. The pecans will soften slightly while in the fridge, but not so much that they won’t still be enjoyable.

How long will a cheese ball last?

Because of the fresh onions in this cheese ball, it’s pretty perishable, but wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, your cheese ball will be fine in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Wholefully Protip

You can extend the life of your cheese ball by swapping in onion powder for fresh minced onions (more info on that swap in the recipe card below).

Easy homemade cheese ball on a plate with crackers.

Can this cheese ball be frozen?

Sure can! To freeze the cheese ball, wrap it well in plastic wrap before rolling in the pecans, and place it in a zip-top freezer bag or airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, remove from the plastic wrap, and then roll in the nuts once completely thawed.

 

 

Overhead of holiday cheese appetizer plated with crackers surrounding it.

Easy Holiday Cheese Ball Recipe

Yield: 24 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This holiday cheese ball recipe is a delicious, no-fuss appetizer that tastes great with crackers or crudités.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pecans halves
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese, plus more to taste
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  • 1/4 cup finely minced parsley
  • Crackers and fresh veggies, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans, stirring constantly, until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the skillet and chop finely.
  2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, blue cheese (use more or less depending on how much you enjoy blue cheese), goat cheese, cheddar cheese, onion, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce, if using. 
  3. Using a silicone spatula, combine the cheese mixture until evenly distributed. You can also do this in a stand mixer fitted with a silicone scraper. 
  4. Scoop the mixture into the middle of a large piece of plastic wrap. Close up the wrap around the cheese mixture, then use your hands to form into a ball. Refrigerate the cheese ball for at least 30 minutes, but up to 2 days.
  5. Before serving, mix the chopped pecans and parsley in a shallow dish (a pie plate works great). Unwrap the cheeseball and roll in the pecan mixture to coat.
  6. Serve immediately with crackers and fresh veggies.

Notes

  • The small amount of blue cheese in this recipe adds a nice flavor without being overpowering. If you love blue cheese, add more—up to 4 ounces. If you’re truly anti-blue cheese, you can also leave it out completely. 
  • Make sure you shred your own sharp cheddar cheese for this recipe. Pre-shredded bagged cheese has anti-caking ingredients that can detract from the creaminess of this dish.
  • To extend the life of this cheese ball, swap out the fresh minced onion for onion powder.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 151Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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