It’s a simple fact: cheese balls are a feel-good party food and a welcome addition to any get-together. From holidays to dinner parties, you can’t go wrong with a cheese ball.
Photos via CakeSpy
While cheese balls may have a reputation for being a kitschy sort of foodstuff, their past is rather storied. According to the book Great Balls of Cheese, the first documented cheese ball in America is said to have been served to President Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800s.
Luckily, you don’t have to have a fancy title or a culinary degree to make and enjoy cheese balls. This post offers a choose-your-own-adventure approach to making these delicious appetizers.
First, pick which components you’d like to use to build your ball. Then, assemble them according to the instructions below. See for yourself how your homemade cheese ball can bring excitement to even the most informal gathering!
Choose your ingredients
Start by assembling your ingredients, which you can pick and choose from below. (Continue scrolling to find an easy preparation technique for assembling your cheese ball.)
The cheese ball pictured was made using cream cheese, bleu cheese, freshly ground pepper and garlic flakes, and was topped with toasted chopped almonds.
- 1 brick (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese
Cream cheese acts as the main structure of your cheese ball, but you can flavor it with another type of cheese to make it more flavorful. Add ½ – 1 cup of grated or crumbled semi-firm cheese, like one of the following:
- Bleu cheese
- Goat cheese
Amp up the flavor of your cheese ball with a splash, dash or shake of any flavorings you want.
- Hot pepper flakes
- Dried herbs
- Spice mixtures such as Herbes de Provence
- Pepper flakes
You can really tailor your cheese ball to the occasion and your personal taste by adding ½ – 1 cup (to taste) of mix-ins.
- Chopped nuts
- Chopped dried fruit
- Sliced olives
- Chopped cured meats
A topping is the difference between a ball of cheese and a cheese ball that is ready to party. Employ ½ – 1 cup of a topping to coat the cheese ball all over before serving.
- Chopped nuts
- Chopped parsley
- Crumbled potato chips
- Toasted coconut
Assemble your cheese ball
Once you’ve chosen the makeup of your masterpiece, it’s time to assemble your cheese ball.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the additional cheese(s) and any flavorings until smooth and combined. Fold in your mix-ins, if using. Make sure they are evenly distributed in the cheese mixture.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap. Spoon the soft cheese mixture on top of the plastic wrap, and gather the plastic wrap around the cheese to make a loose, roughly shaped ball. This will save some mess and clean up time for your future self.
Place the bowl with the wrapped cheese in your refrigerator to firm up for at least an hour (overnight is fine).
Remove the ball from the refrigerator and use slightly wet hands to mold it into a ball.
Place your topping mixture in a shallow pan. Coat the cheese ball with the topping; pat it back into a ball shape if the sides get a little flat.
Place the cheese ball in the refrigerator until shortly before serving.
Serve your cheese ball with firm crackers or small pieces of toast. Enjoy the many compliments you’ll receive!
What’s your favorite party food?