Cheese balls are a wonderful appetizer to add to your entertainment table because they are easy to make and you can make them ahead of time before your big event.
The holidays are a great time to make them and to serve them. I love to use leftover ham from Thanksgiving for my Christmas and New Year’s Eve cheese balls. I chop it up and stick it in the freezer until I am ready to use it as a main ingredient or to roll my cheese ball in before serving.
How Do You Make a Cheese Ball
All you need to do is to mix your favorite ingredients in a bowl and roll into a ball… and voila, you have a cheese ball!!!
Okay, it takes a little more than that but they are incredibly easy to make.
Cheese Ball Ingredients
Cheese balls are so fun to make and they can be made with a variety of ingredients.
You can make them sweet by using fruits or savory with meats and complimenting seasonings.
Below are a few of our favorite ingredients to use – if we missed your favorite ingredient, comment below so we can share it with others.
Cheese Ball Cheeses
A good base for any cheese ball is a block of cream cheese. Once you have this you can add so many other cheeses to compliment the base to create the “theme” of cheese ball you are wanting to make.
Purchase semi-soft to semi-firm cheeses such as crumbled blue cheese varieties, various shredded cheddars, fontina, and Swiss are a few of the more popular cheeses to use for best results.
Try to avoid cheeses that are too dry or too crumbly as they will not blend well and will make your cheese ball “spread lumpy.”
Not cheese but some recipes call for sour cream.
Cheese Ball Meat
Sausage, ham, minced dried beef, chopped ham, bacon, and salmon are just a few ideas to add extra flavors to your cheese ball to make it more savory.
Cheese Ball Seasoning
There are a wide variety of spices, herbs, and liquids that can be used to develop your perfect cheese ball.
Garlic salt, onion salt, garlic powder, onion powder, powdered Ranch dressing, chilies, and Worchestershire sauce help add flavor to your cream cheese base.
Cheese Ball Coating
This is the fun part of making your cheese ball. Are you looking for flavor or “pretty?”
Bacon, bacon bits, chopped ham, chopped beef, various nuts, toasted seeds, crushed crackers, crushed chips, crushed pretzels, minced peppers, and more!
Chives, grated onion, scallion, spring onion, parsley, and other herbs make a great addition to your coating for an additional flavor punch.
How to Store Your Cheese Ball
Once you have your tasty round masterpiece, wrap your cheese ball tightly in plastic wrap and ensure all the air is pushed out before you seal the edges.
Then, once your precious cheese ball is wrapped in plastic wrap, wrap it again in aluminum foil and seal the edges well.
Can You Freeze a Cheese Ball
You can freeze your cheese ball and it is recommended that if you do freeze yours, do it without the coating.
Wrap the cheese ball tightly in a layer of plastic wrap and then in a freezer-safe storage bag.
If you are wanting to freeze a store-bought cheese ball, it is best to keep in the original packaging. (I always stick in a freezer-safe storage bag for “extra protection.”)
Once you are ready to use your cheese ball, be sure to thaw the ball for a full 24 hours in the refrigerator prior to serving. You may need to reshape it before you add your coating ingredients.
What to Serve With Cheese Ball
I prefer a good “stiff” cracker that isn’t going to crumble when I spread the cheese ball.
Pretzel chips and pretzels are a nice addition, especially if they are a salted version.
Pita chips and crostinis are a great serving option to add to your cheese ball platter.
Depending on the cheese ball ingredients, you may want to try pear or apple slices.
Sometimes I will also serve big chunks of vegetables such as celery and sweet peppers.
Tips for Making a Cheese Ball
Room Temperature Ingredients are easier to work with and will help ensure that your cheese balls are smooth and not lumpy. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature about an hour before you want to start making your amazing cheese balls.
If you are making a cheese ball with a coating, wait to roll your cheese ball until you are ready to serve it. This includes herbs, bacon, and other coatings that you may not think about.
Most people will make a cheese ball and not give it enough time to “set” properly. Be sure to give your cheese ball enough time to firm up in the fridge, at least several hours, which will allow your flavors to meld.
Once you pull your cheese ball out of the refrigerator to serve, ideally it shouldn’t be left out for more than two hours.