Homemade Cheese Balls with Crushed Pecans

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Cheese Ball Crackers Plated

I haven’t ever made a cheese ball before now. Sigh. I know – crazy huh?  I had company coming and thought some cheese and crackers would be nice upon their arrival since it was too late for lunch and too early for dinner.  When I stopped by the cheese ball counter at my local grocery store  there was one.  One cheese ball. Take it or leave it.  Cheddar.  I picked it up and on the way to the basket my eyes fell upon the ingredient list.  There were a zillion ingredients I couldn’t even name, and no sign  of  “cheese”?

That was it.  I decided to make my own cheese ball, with … cheese!

Holiday Cheeseball With Crackers
Holiday Cheeseball With Crackers

Given the thousands of cheeses in the world, the number of possible cheese ball recipes is all but unlimited. Still, most conform to the same broad description. One or more strongly flavored cheeses is finely shredded, then mixed into a base of softened cream cheese or a similarly soft, spreadable cheese. Fresh herbs, spices, dried fruits and seeds or nuts can all be added to give complementary or contrasting flavors, and some recipes add a splash of alcohol. The finished ball is usually rolled in seeds, crushed nuts or freshly ground spices, to provide a visually appealing exterior.

I have no idea what has taken me so long, but this thing is so fast and easy to make it is almost ridiculous to think I’ve never done it. Plus … rave reviews from everyone! (I do cook for compliments).

Cheese Ball food processorStarting with cream cheese as the base, I added cheddar cheese and some shredded pepper jack.  Using my food processor made this super quick.  One package of ranch-style dressing mix added the flavor.

Cheese Ball In The Making
Cheese Ball In The Making

I like to use disposable latex gloves in the kitchen and they work well when rolling a cheese ball together.  This recipe makes 3 balls this size.

Crushed Pecans for Cheese Ball
Crushed Pecans for Cheese Ball

Rolling each ball in crushed pecans adds a nice color as well as a flavorful coating.

Cheese ball wrapped

I wrapped each ball in plastic wrap and placed them each in an airtight container.

How Long Does A Cheese Ball Last In The Refrigerator?
We ate the first cheese ball within the first day I made it.  The second one within a couple of weeks.  The third cheese ball ended up at the back of my refrigerator.  That is when I started wondering “how long is too long” to keep the cheese ball and still eat it?

Good Cheese Balls Go Bad

from ehow:    Use your senses to determine if your cheese ball has gone bad. Signs of spoilage include an unpleasant odor, visible signs of mold and an unappetizing taste. Once your cheese ball goes bad, discard it. Although you can sometimes cut the moldy bits off hard cheeses, you can’t do that with cheese balls. The mold filaments will penetrate throughout the soft cheese, making it unsafe to simply cut away. If you suspect that your cheese ball has spoiled based on its appearance or age, don’t taste it as a way to confirm; the nasty bacteria and mold that can grow in a cheese ball will make you sick.

How Long Is the Party

Cheese balls are usually served as appetizers at parties, but they shouldn’t be left out to serve your guests for more than two hours at a time. When left out at room temperature for a long time, harmful microorganisms can grow within the cheese ball and make you sick when you eat it, although it may still look and taste okay. Store your leftover cheese ball in a sealed plastic container to keep it from drying out in your fridge. Although freezing can extend the life of your cheese balls, soft cheeses don’t freeze well and develop an unpleasantly crumbly texture when thawed.

Cheese ball cut open

With Thanksgiving just around the corner,  holiday party invitations in the making and Christmas on the horizon … you will want to print out this recipe and keep it handy!

Don’t buy a ready-made cheese ball this year!  Make your own, choose your favorite cheese and ingredients and enjoy your creative accomplishment!

Happy Creating!

Homemade Cheese Balls with Crushed Pecans
Prep time
Total time
So fast and easy you will love serving this homemade cheese ball with your favorite crackers.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 3 balls
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
  • 2½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans
  1. In a medium size bowl or food processor, mash cream cheese.
  2. Mix in dry dressing mix and Cheddar and Pepperjack cheeses into the cream cheese.
  3. Shape the mixture into a ball.
  4. Roll the ball in the chopped nuts. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with crackers or pita chips.
Favorite strong cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, Monterey Jack, Colby) can be used to mix into the cream cheese base.

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6 thoughts on “Homemade Cheese Balls with Crushed Pecans”

  1. I’ll never forget when I was a new reporter and first in Springfield, the gals in my office had a Christmas party. One girl said she would bring the cheese balls. I love a good cheese ball and I was excited to think about all the homemade goodies that would be shared. When I got to the party, I couldn’t find the cheese ball, so I asked where the cheese ball was. My coworker pointed to a can containing cheese balls like the puffy kind of Cheetos and said, “Is this what you want?” I was so disappointed knowing that’s what she had brought for her “cheese balls” and still laugh to this day when I think about being fooled by cheese balls. Glad this is the right kind of cheese ball.

    • Oh, Jill, this made me laugh right out loud! How funny! Oh, I can only imagine your disappointment! Well, I am going to take Marla’s suggestion (a few comments ago) and give out cheese balls and crackers for Christmas gifts. What is your favorite cheese combination?

  2. With all the homeless here in Denver, I see so many people on street corners holding cardboard placards with various verbage asking for things they hope someone will give them … I had to laugh at an image that came to mind when I read “I do cook for compliments” … which then took me back to a term I had never heard until we met. “Must goes” … your term for leftovers, when “this must go” and “that must go” out of the refrigerator. That was over 25 years ago, and it STILL makes me laugh when I think of leftovers!
    Enjoy your day, Catherine!

    • Sandy, thanks for the memories! Some of my best memories are the nights you and I spent in Fire/Police dispatch! What a time we had! 40+ years ago I asked my friend Sue “what’s for dinner?” She replied “mustgos.” I had no idea what she meant. But when she patiently explained to my naive 21-year-old self, I knew I too would start having “mustgos” for dinner from time to time. And we still do! 🙂

  3. I was given a cheese ball as a Christmas gift years ago. I got her recipe and have since made cheese balls every year for gifting and for eating. It is a wonderful gift to share or used as a hostess gift.


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