Our football cheese ball is yummy and addictive and is a great way to celebrate the big game.
Prep Time15 minutesmins
Chill Time4 hourshrs
Total Time4 hourshrs15 minutesmins
Keyword: Football Cheese Ball Recipe
16ouncescream cheese,room temperature (two 8-ounce packages)
3tablespoonsbottled ranch dressing
2cupssharp cheddar cheesefinely shredded
12ouncescenter-cut bacon,cooked & crumbled, divided (this will yield about ¾ cup bacon crumbles)
2sliceswhite cheddar cheese,from the deli and sliced thin
butter crackers like Ritz brand,to serve with
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.
In a large bowl, with a rubber spatula, combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons 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 thoroughly combined.
Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter surface. You will transfer all your bacon cheddar ranch mixture to the center of the plastic wrap in a rough ball.
Pull up the two long sides of the plastic wrap to cover the cheese mixture and gently shape the mixture into a football shape. It is much easier to do this while the plastic wrap is covering the cheese mixture. As you shape the cheese football, you will just tuck in the short sides of the plastic wrap to ensure that the cheese mixture is covered completely.
Transfer the football-shaped bacon cheddar ranch cheese ball, while still wrapped in the plastic wrap, onto a plate and refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the cheese ball to hold its shape as a football.
Once your bacon cheddar ranch cheese football has been refrigerated, you can place the remaining bacon, chives, and chopped walnuts onto a large plate, or a large pie plate works well also.
Unwrap your football cheeseball and very carefully place it onto the plate of chopped walnut mixture. Using your hands, gently coat the outside of the cheeseball with the nut mixture, being careful to keep the football shape. Once your bacon cheddar cheese football is completely covered, then transfer it to your serving plate.
You will garnish your football with “cheese” laces. To do this, you will slice two thin strips, about ¾ inch thick, from the long edge of one of the pieces of the deli sliced white cheddar cheese.
You will then slice, length-wise, another two thin pieces, this time about an ⅛ to ¼ inch thick, of the deli white cheddar cheese. You will cut one of these very thin slices into four equal parts.
Using the two thick strips of the white cheddar cheese, lay one strip on one end, making sure that it drapes all the way from one side to the other, and repeat with the other piece on the opposite side of the football. You will want to place these pieces about 2 to 3 inches up from each point on the football shape.
With the very thin pieces, you will place the long one going lengthwise down the center of the middle of the football shape. You may need to trim your piece slightly so that it does not go all the way end to end and touch the thicker strips. Place the four smaller strips across the center strip of white cheddar cheese, making the laces pattern as seen on a football.
If you do not want to get your white cheddar cheese from the deli, you can use a block of white cheddar cheese to make the football laces. You will want to make sure to cut it thin enough so that the cheese is pliable. You can also use a string cheese stick the same way by cutting it lengthwise into long strips then into smaller strips.
I like to pre-chop my raw bacon before cooking it. It cooks a little faster and yields more evenly sized bacon crumbles.
I like using the bagged, pre-shredded cheese for this recipe because you can buy the very finely shredded kinds, and they tend 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.
If you prefer, you can lightly toast your walnuts before chopping them. This adds a great elevated flavor but is not necessary.