I had no idea that a cheese ball recipe 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 sent 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 a family in need or a reputable charity and visit with each other, which is more of what Christmas is about.
Oh it was such a success!! So much money earned, 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 in my day. 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!
Secret Ingredients in the the Best Cheese Ball
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?
The ingredients are so simple, but there are a couple of secrets that really take the flavor over the top! Here is what you will need:
- Cream Cheese – room temperature
- Cheddar Cheese – I like to medium or sharp cheddar and I always grate it myself – Tillamook is the best!
- Onion and Garlic Salt – adds the perfect hint of flavor and saltiness
- Old English Cheese –
- Mayonnaise – adds richness and softens the cheese ball so it is scoopable
- Lemon Juice- another secret!! This freshens the whole thing up but you’d never guess it was in there.
- Chopped Pecans – you can omit these if you aren’t a fan, but they add a delicious crunch and flavor
- Fresh Parsley – adds the perfect pop of freshness
The measurements for the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
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 cheese 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.
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:
- Crackers – Ritz, Wheat Thins, Multi-Grain, Milton’s
- Pretzels or 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.
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 recipe 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.
Forget all the other cheese balls you’ve ever tried and make this one! It will be the best cheese ball recipe you’ve ever had! With 3 different types of cheese and the perfect amount of simple seasonings, this recipe is irresistible!
- Buffalo Chicken Football Dip
- Bacon Ranch Corn Dip
- Artichoke Dip
- 3 ingredient Jarlsberg Cheese Dip
- Creamy Cilantro Crab Dip
The Best Cheese Ball
- 16 ounces Cream Cheese, Softened (2 of the 8 ounce cream cheese boxes)
- 1 Jar Old English Cheese Spread, found by the crackers
- 1 1/2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, Grated Medium
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder, Scant
- 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder, Scant
- 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise, Heaping
- 2 Cups Pecans
- 1 Tablespoons Parsley, Fresh, 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.
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Thanks for the support Laurene!
If you think this cheeseball is good, try my family’s “secret” one!!
One jar each Kraft jarred cheese-Old English, Roka Blue, and Pimento.
8 oz. Cream cheese
1/2 C mayo
Mix well and roll in chopped pecans.
That’s it! The challenge is finding the Kraft cheeses. Fortunately you can buy them when you find them and store them “forever”!! And your tips for forming the cheeseball are great but you really can use a spatula for this one. I chill it in a smallish metal bowl ( usually overnight) and round it up with a spatula. Then turn it out onto a plate of pecans. It’s pretty firm so you do need to serve with serving knives. Enjoy!!
Thank you for the feedback Virginia! That cheeseball sounds amazing!
Well, the title of this recipe hooked me. The “best ever had” is a bold statement. I made it and it was good, not the best ever, but good. I added Flavor God Lemon & Garlic seasoning to the called for onion and garlic powder. I also added finely chopped cooked bacon to the nuts and parsley.
Thank you for the feedback!
I can’t figure out what you mean by Old English sharp cheese in a jar. Do you mean Kraft Cheez Whiz? That product is very soft. I also wonder if McLaren’s Old Nippy in the red carton would do, but it is fairly dry and crumbly. Also it is the most delicious cheese I’ve ever eaten.
Hi Dianne! Here is a link to the cheese spread on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kraft-English-Cheddar-Cheese-Spread/dp/B01G7KKQXW
I hoped for the best but it was so so salty, not good at all! I had to check the ingredients to make sure I didnt make a measuring error. Nope:( it was trashed.
Hi Allie! I am SO sorry about this! Somehow the ingredients were changed in the recipe card. It should be garlic powder and onion powder, not salt. Again, I apologize!
Salty and disgusting. Family is bummed.
Hi Edward! I am SO sorry about this! Somehow the ingredients were changed in the recipe card. It should be garlic powder and onion powder, not salt. Again, I apologize!
I made this yesterday and incorrectly added the onion salt 2x , thinking I had picked up the garlic salt….. so recipe ruined. Today I made it again (and this can get expensive) so I made sure I used Garlic and onion salt…. I measured them separately in 2 small containers and I used about 3/4 teaspoon since your recipe said (scant beside the measurement). It was still much too salty for me. I don’t think it needs onion or garlic salt, the jar of cheddar already has 530 mg. of sodium.. I don’t think I can eat this at all. I am taking it anyway to our small family gathering tomorrow. I’m rolling it in panko mixed with parsley. I hope some of it gets eaten. Don’t think I’ll be making this ever again. I know some have loved it, we all have different taste but too salty for me.
Hi Dee!! I am SO sorry about this! Somehow the ingredients were changed in the recipe card. It should be garlic powder and onion powder, not salt. Again, I apologize!
I just made this. I added some bacon pieces, green onions, and chopped green olives. It’s delicious.
Yum! That sounds delicious! I’m so glad you liked it Brandy!
Can you use dried parsley? I don’t have any fresh but i have everything else and would love to make this!
Absolutely! I would cut the amount in half probably since the flavor in dried parsley is more intense. Enjoy!
Made this for our New Years Party and it was a huge hit! HUGE!!
Thanks for the recipe, it really is the best!
Yessssss! I’m telling you it is the best ever! So glad you enjoyed it!
I’m excited to try your recipe! My family loves cheese balls. I’ve had a difficult time locating the Kraft Old English Sharp Cheddar Cheese in the jar. Do you have a good substitute for that cheese? Could I use the spreadable Kaukauna Sharp Cheddar Cheese? Thank you for your answers! Love your recipes!
Yes, that is the perfect substitute for the Old English Sharp Cheddar. Enjoy!!
How big of a jar? The ones we have are maybe 4 oz.
Hi Heather! The Kraft jars are 5oz.
Do the pecans need to be toasted beforehand? And is there fresh parsley in the cheese mixture too or just on the outside? I wasn’t sure if your garlic salt is the one from Lawry’s that has dried parsley in it and that’s why I *think* I see green inside? And could I just sub onion salt for onion powder and a little extra salt? Thanks for entertaining all my questions!
No, the pecans don’t need to be toasted, but that would be yummy! The parsley is just on the outside, but I think some pieces snuck in the cheese ball when I removed the cheese for the picture. Yes, do the onion salt and then add regular salt to taste. Enjoy!!
I just found this recipe and can not find the old English spread.. how much would you use of a different type of spread?
You could also try Kaukauna Sharp Cheddar Cheese or any spreadable sharp cheddar cheese. Use the same amount as listed for the Old English brand.
Ok I’m stupid I just noticed your comment on freezing the cheese ball. Thanks for a awesome recipe hubby and I are enjoying it right now.
Haha…and I just saw this comment after responding to your first one. So glad you enjoyed it!
This recipe is to tangy.
You can always reduce the amount of lemon. Try one teaspoon instead of two!
Can you make ahead and freeze ?
Absolutely! The last section of the post explains how to successfully freeze it ahead of time. Enjoy!
Can these cheese ball be frozen?
Onion salt? That’s a new one. Do you mean onion powder? And if so, do you also mean garlic powder? ’cause garlic salt is a common pantry ingredient; “onion salt” is not.
They both are salt…onion salt and garlic salt.
Hi Patty! Yes! The last section of the post tells how to freeze this cheese ball. There are a few little tricks to getting to freeze well.
I have a friend who has been making this same cheese ball for our parties every year. You are right it is addictive! She said sometimes she can’t find the Old English Sharp Cheddar Cheese so when she does she buys several jars and freezes them. Rolled in Pecans is the best.
Oh that’s a great tip! Thank you Michelle!