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)
- 8 ounces sharp yellow cheddar shredded
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 8 ounces farmers cheese no salt added
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup pecans toasted and chopped
- 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)
- Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This recipe makes 2 large cheese balls. Each cheese ball is 8 servings.
- If Your Farmers Cheese is Very Soft: 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).
- Farmers Cheese Substitute: 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.
Oh my gosh this recipe is downright dangerous for me! Cheeseballs are my absolute favorite holiday cheese! And this looks really easy to make! 👍☺️❤️
What can you use in the place of farmers cheese?
Chrystal, You could omit the farmers cheese and use 12 oz sharp cheddar and 12 oz cream cheese. Hope you enjoy this if you give it a try!
I have no idea what farmers cheese is. Can you explain and also tell me where to find it?
Carol, Farmers cheese is basically cottage cheese that has been pressed to remove the whey. The farmers cheese that I buy has a spreadable consistency, somewhere between ricotta and cream cheese. I like the Friendship brand of farmers cheese, and I buy it from my local grocery store (Wegmans). If you’re not able to find farmers cheese in your area, you could try using Queso Blanco (which can be found in Mexican markets or the ethnic area of larger grocery stores) or dry cottage cheese. You may have to reduce the amount of salt you add to this recipe if the cheese you use has salt (because the farmers cheese I use doesn’t have salt added). I hope this helps!
This recipe looks so perfect, I want to make it for thanksgiving, but have not had any luck finding farmers cheese. I even had one place tell me they have never heard of it! Help!
Kelly, You could substitute ricotta for the farmers cheese, just be sure to drain the ricotta for a full day day in the fridge to remove any excess moisture. To drain it, line a colander with cheesecloth or paper coffee liners and spread the cheese in the colander; rest the colander on a bowl to catch the liquid that escapes. Cover the cheese with plastic wrap and place a heavy object on top to help press the liquid out. Let it sit like this in the fridge for 24 hours. (For step-by-step photos, you can see my post on making Greek-style yogurt, which is basically the same process.) Hope this helps! :)
Sonia - L'Exquisit says
I prepared this cheese ball this weekend week and was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!
Lori Lynn says
You make a cheese ball look so elegant.
Everyone would devour this way before the kickoff.
Great contribution to the Cooking Group!
Oh Faith, you brought back so many memories. My mother always made her famous cheese balls for her bridge parties (does anyone do that any more?). I thought they were wonderful and often got to eat the leftovers on ritz crackers (you couldn’t touch them before the party, of course… they had to be smooth and perfect). Lovely recipe and personal take on a classic!
Could it really get much better than a ball of spreadable cheese?? This sounds so tasty and the presentation is great too!
What a fun way to serve cheese and crackers! Like I said in my other comment, genius! This one is definitely going into my bookmarks. The pecans add a nice contrast. Thank you for sharing this, Faith.
Vicki Bensinger says
I grew up eating cheese balls as well. In fact my husband and I both love them. The first time I made one my kids were like, “what’s that” of course now they love them.
This is right up my alley and I’m certain our friends would devour it as well. Thanks for sharing – we must be close in age!
My in-laws love to have cheese ball and crackers at their party too! I like spices you used here and it’s perfect for our tailgate party, Faith!
What is a party without cheese???? ;)
This is the most fabulous cheese ball I’ve ever seen! The colors and flavors! I must, must try this. I’m sure it would be a hit at any party. Fantastic job, Faith!
Debi Shawcross says
Ahh, the nostalgic appeal of the cheese ball. Easy to see why it continues to be a party favorite!
[email protected] says
I would serve this at any party. It’s a win. Your cheeseboard is adorable. The nuts just make it soooo attractive.
i never go for the cheese ball at a party (unless it’s chipped beef–that, i can’t resist). that said, i really like the idea of coating the ball in nuts (and i did NOT intend for that to sound as lewd as it does–sorry!).
5 Star Foodie says
A yummy cheese ball! I like the pecan coating.
Angie's Recipes says
Love this cheese ball! I could eat the whole portion easily and ask for more!
Andrea @ Mosaic Ideas says
Hey this is Andrea again. This looks good and cheese balls are always popular at family gatherings. I wanted to let everyone know that I am giving away one of my mosaic mirrors. Come check it out.
[email protected] says
I think we all grew up with a cheese ball in the family. now we are old enough to put a serious twist on it, like you have done beautifully. Roasted pecans a great touch.
Simply Life says
my husband is telling me he wants me to make this as we drool over the photos!
nancy at good food matters says
My mom was the champion cheeseball maker, back in the day.I think her recipe was very similar to yours. It’s fun to bring back those once-loved, now-forgotten recipes.
You made that? I’m so impressed! I’ve bought cheese balls before, but I’ve never tried to make one. Honestly, I’ve never even thought of making one! With the holidays right around the corner, I’m tucking this recipe away.
I can imagine the Worcestershire sauce gave a unique touch to this appetizing cheese ball. Love that you splurged on some pecans as well. Delizioso…for sure ;o)
Have a great day Faith.
This is a dangerous thing, as I can consume cheese like nobody’s business! Beautiful photographs.
Blond Duck says
Can I just eat this for dinner?
Fantastico. Love this cheesy goodness. Great flavor combo.
Cheeze balls (good ones) are some of my favorite appetizers during the holiday season. Thank you for sharing with me today. It is always a good day when I start with a visit to your blog. You know how to make me smile. Much love and many blessings from Austin.
[email protected] says
A Tailgate party. Was not sure what that was, but the cheese ball looks very tasty.
Veronica Miller says
I loooooove a good cheese ball and this one looks like a winner!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
I’ve made something similar based on an Amy Sedaris recipe and people just love it! They’re not so much an Australian thing but that doesn’t seem to matter, they just love it! :)
Carolyn Jung says
I remember my parents buying these, too. Cheese balls are so retro and fun. Thankfully, they never go out of style, either.
I love cheese too and have always enjoyed cheese balls but was concerned about what was actually in them. I will certainly make this cheese ball! Thanks Faith!
This is a really great idea! I’ve never made a cheese ball. My Mom has cheese and crackers at pretty much every party too! They’re always a hit
Oh! Your cheese ball spread looks delicious with all the spices in it…and so pretty how you presented.
Hope you have a great week ahead Faith :-)
I’ve never seen a cheese ball like this before – such an interesting idea. Love the idea of adding minced scallions too.
Oooooooh a cheese ball – I cannot think of anything more delicious! I am a cheese nut… nay, an addict, and I’d love to get my hands on one of these!
A great idea. This cheese ball looks excellent
I made a cheese ball for one of the kid’s Halloween parties one year. I rolled it in poppy seeds and added pipe cleaner legs to make a spider! HAHA!
That looks so good! What a great idea. Perfect with crackers and a glass of white wine.
Bookmarked! I’m definitely making this—-yum!
Priscilla-She's Cookin' says
Like you, I’m a cheese fiend, so cheese and crackers are always my go-to party food. A cheese ball, with its crunchy, nutty crust, certainly spices things up!