If you’re looking for the best crowd-pleasing easy appetizer, look no further than this Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe!
At any party that my mom threw when I was growing up I remember a cheese and cracker tray being present. (Hmm, I guess it isn’t such a big surprise that as an adult I’m a cheese fiend, is it, lol?)
Between my sister and I, I was always the one who my mom delegated the job of arranging the cheese tray. And I didn’t mind at all.
So now, when I’m hosting or going to a party and in need of a dish to pass, my mind wanders for a bit and then settles on a cheese tray. Whether it’s the holiday season, a birthday party, tailgating gathering, or anything in between. A homemade cheese ball fits any occasion!
To make things more interesting, I like to spice up my cheese trays. And cheese ball is a fun way to (literally) add some spice!
For this easy cheese ball, I use a mix of cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and farmers cheese. The end result is a soft, spreadable cheese.
It’s slightly tangy and very flavorful with just a couple spices, but no one spice really overpowers another.
The toasted pecans on the outside provide a fantastic crunch.
This cheddar cheese ball recipe reminds me of what I think of as pub cheese or pub spread!
The Best Easy Cheese Ball Recipe
Cheddar Cheese Ball Ingredients
- Sharp yellow cheddar
- Cream Cheese
- Farmers cheese (or you can use queso fresco)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Onion powder
- Black pepper
- Pecans (for coating)
How to Make a Cheese Ball
- Combine the cheeses. Pulse together all ingredients (except the pecans) in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste.
- Roll the cheese mixture into balls. Divide in half, and roll each half into a ball.
- Chill the cheese balls. Wrap each cheese ball in plastic wrap, and place them each into a cereal bowl (this will help them hold a ball shape). Refrigerate until the cheese balls are firm, at least 2 hours, but up to 5 days. Not only does this help the cheese balls stiffen up, but it also allows the flavors to blend.
- Coat the balls. Before serving, roll each ball in the pecans.
- Serve. Let the cheese balls sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to soften a little. Serve them with crackers or anything else you like.
Variations on This Recipe
There are so many different flavor variations that you can experiment with here.
- Crumbled bacon and fresh minced scallion create a whole different experience.
- Swap out the cheddar for blue cheese, add up to minced fresh herbs (like rosemary, thyme, tarragon, and/or parsley) instead of the Worcestershire and spices, and serve grapes along with the crackers.
- Instead of cheddar use feta, omit the Worcestershire and spices, and add minced fresh oregano, finely diced kalamata olives and/or finely diced roasted red pepper, and a little bit of crushed fresh garlic or garlic powder. Roll the outside in minced parsley.
- Or instead of pecans, roll these cheese balls in any type of toasted chopped nuts you like!
The flavor possibilities are endless when it comes to a cheese ball!
Cheese Ball FAQs
What Is a Cheese Ball Made Of?
The two main ingredients in a cheese ball are cream cheese and a semi-hard cheese, such as cheddar or a semi-soft cheese, such as blue.
Additionally, cheese balls can be flavored with herbs, spices, or other flavorings, such as Worcestershire sauce.
Frequently, cheese balls are rolled in nuts and/or herbs, which adds another level of flavor and texture.
How Do You Harden a Cheese Ball?
Refrigerate until the cheese ball is firm, at least 2 hours, but up to 5 days.
If you’re using a soft cheese, such as farmers cheese, you can strain it. To do so, place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Put the cheese into the strainer, place a paper towel on top, and then weight it down. I like to put a small plate on top, and then a heavy can on top of the plate. Move it to the fridge and let the cheese drain for 1 hour (or overnight if it’s very soft).
How Long Are Cheddar Cheese Balls Good For?
Once this cheese ball recipe is made, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it stored in the fridge for up to 5 days before serving.
What Goes With a Cheese Ball?
You can serve anything with a cheese ball that you would serve on a cheese board.
Here are a few examples of foods that pair well with cheese:
- Fresh seasonal fruit, such as apple, pear, figs, grapes, pomegranate, etc.
- Nuts, such as pecans or almonds
- Cornichons, or other types of pickles
- Dark chocolate
- Homemade crackers or store-bought crackers
More Cheesy Appetizer Inspiration
- Pimento Cheese
- Zucchini Stacks with Goat Cheese
- Blue Cheese Crostini with Pecans and Honey
- Creamy Garlic Parmesan Hot Artichoke Dip
- Baked Brie with Warm Honeyed Grapes and Walnuts
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Cheddar Cheese Ball Recipe (aka Cheddar Pub Spread)
- Pulse together all ingredients (except the pecans) in a food processor until it forms a smooth paste.
- Divide in half, and roll each half into a ball.
- Wrap each cheese ball in plastic wrap, and place them each into a cereal bowl (this will help them hold a ball shape). Refrigerate until the cheese balls are firm, at least 2 hours, but up to 5 days.
- Before serving, roll each ball in the pecans.
- Let the cheese balls sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to soften a little. Serve the cheese balls with crackers or anything else you like.
- Net Carbs: 1g per serving (1/8 of a cheese ball)
- This recipe makes 2 large cheese balls. Each cheese ball is 8 servings.
- If your farmers cheese is very soft, you can strain it. To do so, place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Put the cheese into the strainer, place a paper towel on top, and then weight it down. I like to put a small plate on top, and then a heavy can on top of the plate. Move it to the fridge and let the cheese drain for 1 hour (or overnight if it’s very soft).
- If you can’t find farmers cheese, you can use queso fresco instead and omit the salt.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on October 24, 2011. It was updated with more information on December 28, 2021.
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