I had no idea that a cheese ball could be this good. Last year I had the best cheese ball I ever had and now I get to share how crazy easy this appetizer is!
Last year our neighbor, Michelle thought up the most genius idea, she cancelled neighbor gifts at Christmas. Can we all have a moment of cheering for Michelle? Now, I’m not against neighbor gifts, but I don’t know that I’m for pouring out all of that extra stress for a bunch of cookies the neighbors throw away. Don’t worry, I’m going to tie it all together so you know what it has to do with The Best Cheese Ball I Ever Had.
We were so impressed with not just Michelle, but how the neighbors responded. Michelle send out a big letter announcing that instead of doing neighbor gifts, what if we donated to a cause. Everyone could come visit at a little Christmas gathering at her house, bring a donation for Operation Underground Railroad (remember we were matching donations up to $20,000 last year and we ended up writing a check for $50,000 thanks to all of you!!) and visit which is more of what Christmas is about.
Oh it was such a success!! So much money earned to save children who have never known anyone cared to find them, and we stuffed our faces, I mean, we all got into the Christmas spirit so much more!
What is a Good Cheese Ball Recipe?
Another dear friend, Angie was there. I casually walked over to her and seeing the food said, “oh what is a good cheese ball recipe? I’m never as in love as I want to be.” and there we were, standing at the food table, shoveling crackers with the best cheese ball I ever had into our mouths. I finally said, “my gosh, who made this?!!!” And Angie says, “Oh, I did.”
What?! How have I never tasted of this goodness before and how could she stand there so nonchalant?!
Look, I’ve had some pretty good cheese balls. Our BBQ Bacon Cheese Ball and German Chocolate Cheese Ball are pretty dang amazing, but now I am sitting here making a humble pie because Angie’s is the best cheese ball I ever had!
The Best Cheese Ball I Ever Had
I think it’s the secret, artery clogging ingredient that you all are going to use and not complain a lick about because it’s just that worth it.
Kraft Old English Jarred Cheese.
Yes, it’s cheese in a jar.
No, it probably isn’t real cheese. I can’t fight you on that one. Can you pretend it is? Just this once?
The rest of the ingredients are the norm, but I’ll do you a favor and give a quick overview because I love seeing a quick list of ingredients.
What Ingredients are in a Cheese Ball?
- Cream Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Onion and Garlic Salt
- Old English Cheese
- Lemon Juice- another secret!! This freshens the whole thing up but you’d never guess it was in there.
- Chopped Pecans
- Fresh Parsley
Are Cheese Balls Gluten Free
You should know that when I was typing that out I accidentally wrote, “Glue Balls Free” four times. FOUR. What has happened to my brain?!
Cheese balls are generally totally gluten free, but the crackers served alongside the cheeseball often aren’t. Check the ingredients list, but you really should be good to go. I mean, a cheese ball is literally cream cheese and cheese with an occasional addition of sour cream or mayonnaise plus whatever mix-in you want.
What to Serve with Cheese Ball
That’s an important question and I obviously have a strong opinion. Here are some options:
- Pretzel Crisps
- Crudité with Veggies like carrots, celery or peppers
- Crostini or Toast Points
- Mini Bagels
- Pita Triangles
- Pear and Apple Slices (seriously the sweet and salty is fantastic!)
That’s a lot of options. My favorite, however, well that’s the basic cracker. However, many times a veggie or apple wedge ends up on my plate because I love the freshness and feel like I can eat a few piles more.
Alright, let’s get down to business because I actually think you should ignore my picture. You see, the regular butter cracker is only good if you’re willing to grab a little knife to spread it on as they are so fragile.
- What crackers to serve with a cheese ball?
- Ritz Crackers
- Wheat Thins
- Multi Grain Crackers
- Sweet Potato Crackers (found at Costco)
- Milton’s Crackers
How to Form a Cheese Ball
When I made a cheese ball for the very first time I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I was trying to use a spatula to shape it into a ball. Haha, actually, it’s not embarrassing at all, that’s hilarious. I don’t know why I was doing that, but it totally didn’t work.
Here’s the secret to forming a cheese ball, it’s a two part process.
The first step to shape a cheeseball happens when you place it in the saran wrap. You stick it in there and pull up all the sides around the cheeseball, roughly shaping it into a ball, twisting the top the closed. At this point you give it a little more of a ball shape, then leave it in the fridge.
As the cream solidifies a little again everything will become easier to press into a ball.
Remove from the fridge and unwrap the cheese, rolling it in chopped nuts or bread crumbs. At this point the cheese is more solid and the outside won’t stick to your hands. This is when you can really give it that perfectly round shape.
What to Roll Cheese Ball in?
Different Options for Rolling a Cheese Ball in:
- Chopped Pecans
- Chopped Walnuts
- Chopped Peanuts
What to Roll a Cheese Ball in Besides Nuts
- Dried Fruits
- Bread Crumbs
- Panko Bread Crumbs
Or of course there’s also any combination of all those things which is really fun to give some variety.
Can I Make a Cheese Ball a Day Ahead?
A cheese ball is quickly becoming the go-to for parties and holidays as you can make it an entire day ahead without worrying about the flavor changing or anything going bad. The key to making a cheese ball a day ahead of time is to wait on removing it from the plastic to roll in its coating. Doing so keeps the nuts or whatever you are using from going soggy.
How Long Can a Cheese Ball Sit Out?
A cheese ball should really only sit out for about 1-2 hours. I know, your party is going longer than that, but resist the urge to keep eating a cheese ball on the counter all evening. Instead, try making smaller cheese balls and once one is gone, pull out the next one.
You’d be surprised how much this will get rid of your food too. Think about it like the rule of supply and demand. That stuff goes fast and people find themselves watching for you to pull the next one out and suddenly you aren’t worried about storing leftovers for weeks.
How Long will a Cheese Ball Last in the Fridge?
Because of the bacteria found in a soft cheese you can keep a cheese ball in the fridge for up to two week. However, if you’d added meats or fruits you need to shorten the time to more like 48 hours.
Can You Freeze a Homemade Cheese Ball?
You actually can easily freeze a homemade cheese ball but you need to take one extra step in order to keep ice crystals and stale flavors at bay.
Make your cheese ball as normal, but once it has been formed in the plastic wrap, add it to a freezer bag and press out all of the air. Seal it tightly closed and place it in the freezer, never in the freezer door. The door is different in keeping things frozen.
Once you’re ready to serve, pull the cheese ball into the fridge to defrost for about a day or so. Proceed with the recipe as normal and roll the ball in its coating. Serve within a day.
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The Best Cheese Ball
- 16 ounces Cream Cheese Softened (2 of the 8 ounce cream cheese boxes)
- 1 Jar Kraft Old English Sharp Cheese found by the crackers
- 1 1/2 Cups Grated Medium Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Scant Teaspoon Garlic Salt
- 1 Scant Teaspoon Onion Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 2 Heaping Tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 2 Cups Pecans
- 1 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley chopped
- Crackers for serving
- Finely chop the pecans and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir together until smooth.
- Form into a ball and place on a large piece of saran wrap.
- Place the cheese in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm back up. You can prepare this up to 48 hours ahead of time and leave it like this until you're ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, mix the chopped pecans and parsley together and place on a plate.
- Unroll the cheese ball and place in the nuts. Roll to cover and shape with your hands if necessary to keep the shape.
- Serve immediately or store for a few hours in the fridge.