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Cheese Ball Recipe

Review Recipe
a close up shot of a Cheese Ball with a bite taken out of it
Quick and easy, this cheese ball recipe makes a classic party appetizer that you can serve alongside your favorite crackers or veggies.
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Table of Contents
  1. Cheese Ball Recipe Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Cheese Ball Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This homemade cheese ball recipe is always a hit! It’s the ultimate classic party appetizer with bacon and cheese and plenty of creamy flavor; I guarantee you will be hooked.

close up shot of cheese ball recipe with ritz crackers

Cheese Ball Recipe Ingredients

cheese ball recipe raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 12-ounce package of center-cut bacon, cooked & crumbled, divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup (this will yield about ¾ cup of bacon crumbles)
  • 2 (8-ounce) cream cheese blocks, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons bottled ranch dressing (I used Hidden Valley Ranch original)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives, divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • Serve with butter crackers like Ritz brand

PRO TIP:

Do not use thick-sliced bacon for this recipe. Center cut works best because it is less fatty and not too thick to mix with the cream cheese. I like to pre-chop my raw bacon into thin slices before cooking it. I find it cooks a little faster and also yields more evenly sized bacon crumbles.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

BACON: Another great option is the Ready-Cook bacon. Just cook it in the microwave according to package directions, and make sure that you have ¾ cup total bacon bits. This is a great option if you do not like to make a mess in the kitchen cooking your bacon on the stovetop.

CHEESE: I like using the bagged, pre-shredded cheese for this good cheese ball recipe because you can buy the very finely shredded kinds, and it tends to mix into the cream cheese better and not clump up. However, if you prefer to shred your own cheese, I suggest you place your block of cheese into the freezer about 20 minutes prior to shredding it. It helps the cheese shred better on the fine side of your box grater.

RANCH: For the bottle of Ranch dressing, feel free to use your favorite brand. My suggestion is to use a thicker and creamier one. Another option is to mix 3 tablespoons of sour cream with 2 tablespoons of dry ranch dressing mix. You will add that to your cream cheese in lieu of the bottled ranch dressing.

WALNUTS: You can also use chopped pecans for the outer coating instead of chopped walnuts if you prefer for this easy party appetizer.

SPICE: Add a bit of spice to this easy cheese ball with a dash of cayenne pepper.

How To Make This Cheese Ball Recipe

STEP ONE: In a large skillet, on medium-low heat, cook your bacon until crisp (this can take anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes). Once cooked, drain your bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. Once cooled, chop your bacon, then set it aside.

STEP TWO: In a large bowl with a rubber spatula, combine the softened cream cheese, ranch dressing, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of chopped chives. Cream together until smooth and all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so that you don’t have any lumps in your cheese ball mixture.

cream cheese, ranch dressing, garlic powder, salt, pepper and chopped chives mixed together

STEP THREE: Add the finely shredded cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the bacon crumbles. Gently fold them into the cream cheese mixture until all the ingredients are completely combined.

shredded cheddar cheese and bacon crumbs added to the cream cheese mixture

STEP FOUR: On a large plate, add the remaining ¼ cup of bacon crumbles, 1 tablespoon of chopped chives, and the finely chopped walnuts. Gently mix them all together, then spread them out in an even layer on your plate. This will make it easier to roll and coat your cheese ball.

bacon crumbs, walnuts, and chopped chives mixed together

STEP FIVE: While your cream cheese mixture is still in the mixing bowl, take your rubber spatula and gently form it into a large ball shape.

cream cheese mixture form into a ball

STEP SIX: Very carefully place your cheese ball onto your plate with your walnut mixture. Using your hands, gently press the walnut coating all over the outside of your cheese ball. You can roll your cheese ball around on your plate to make sure that all sides are evenly coated.

PRO TIP:

If you prefer, you can lightly toast your walnuts prior to chopping them. This adds a great elevated flavor but is not necessary. Also, if you prefer the taste of pecans more than walnuts, then they make a great alternative for this cheese ball.

walnut mixture pressed on the outside of cheese ball

STEP SEVEN: Wrap your cheese ball in plastic wrap and place it on a plate in the refrigerator to chill for 4 hours prior to serving.

wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap

How To Serve

Serve this bacon ranch cheese ball with all of your favorite crackers or pita chips for easy snacking this holiday season. A Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, or any other holiday party are all fantastic occasions to whip up this party spread recipe.

For a fun alternative, try our mini cheeseball bites if you’re looking for more individual appetizer ideas.

Want more ideas for easy appetizers for your holiday parties? Try these traditional hanky panky appetizers or cucumber bites for more yummy options.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: This delicious cheese ball recipe can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days in total.

IN THE FREEZER: We do not recommend freezing this cheese ball as the cream cheese would become watery when thawed.

a close up shot of a Cheese Ball with a piece taken out with a cracker

This classic cheese ball recipe has tons of flavor and a creamy texture. Bacon, cheese, and ranch are always a winning combination, making this the perfect party appetizer.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make this cheese ball ahead of time?

This is the perfect appetizer to make the day before. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before serving.

Can I mix in other ingredients with the cheese and bacon?

The cheese ball ingredients are entirely customizable. If you would like to add other ingredients, such as other spices, herbs, or cheese, you should give it a try.

Can I add other types of cheese to the cheese ball?

Any cheese blend or type of shredded cheese can be used in this recipe.

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a close up shot of a Cheese Ball with a bite taken out of it

Cheese Ball Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Quick and easy, this cheese ball recipe makes a classic party appetizer that you can serve alongside your favorite crackers or veggies.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 16

Ingredients
  

  • 12 ounces center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons bottled Ranch dressing (I used Hidden Valley Ranch original)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives, divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet on medium-low heat, cook your bacon until crisp (this can take anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes). Once cooked, drain your bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. Once cooled, chop your bacon, then set aside.
  • In a large bowl with a rubber spatula, combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of chopped chives. Cream together until smooth and all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. 
  • Add the finely shredded cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the bacon crumbles. Gently fold them into the cream cheese mixture until all the ingredients are completely combined.
  • On a large plate, add the remaining ¼ cup of bacon crumbles, 1 tablespoon of chopped chives, and the finely chopped walnuts. Gently mix them all together, then spread them out in an even layer on your plate. This will make it easier to roll and coat your cheese ball.
  • While your cream cheese mixture is still in the bowl, take your rubber spatula and gently form it into a large ball.
  • Very carefully place your cheese ball onto your plate with your walnut mixture. Using your hands gently press the walnut coating all over the outside of your cheese ball. You can roll your cheese ball around on your plate to make sure that all sides are evenly coated.
  • Wrap your cheese ball in plastic wrap and place on a plate, in the refrigerator, to chill for 4 hours prior to serving.

Video

Notes

  • Do not use thick-sliced bacon for this recipe. Center cut works best because it is less fatty and not too thick to mix with the cream cheese. I like to pre-chop my raw bacon into thin slices before cooking it. I find it cooks a little faster and also yields more evenly-sized bacon crumbles.
  • Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature so that you don’t have any lumps in your cheese ball mixture.
  • If you prefer, you can lightly toast your walnuts prior to chopping them. This adds a great elevated flavor but is not necessary. Also, if you prefer the taste of pecans more than walnuts, then they make a great alternative for this cheese ball.

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 178IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Sandy says

    5 stars
    My granddaughter and I made this for Thanksgiving! So we have to wait if we can, but what we tasted was GOOD!! Easy to make

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