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The Best Cheese Ball I Ever Had

I had no idea that an easy 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!

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?! I mean, it looked like a classic cheese ball recipe, but something about it was different.

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!

a close up of a cheese ball with a scoop taken out of it showing the pecans, parsley, cheese, cream cheese and crackers around it

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. I’ve linked to it so you can see what to look for.

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.

a photo of a large homemade cheese ball coated with chopped pecans and minced fresh parsley all surrounded with buttery Ritz crackers.

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 and make sure it’s full fat, not low fat or fat free
  • Cheddar Cheese: I like to use medium or sharp cheddar cheese 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: just trust me on this one!
  • 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 Make 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 let it chill 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.

a photo of a large homemade cheese ball sitting in the middle of a large serving tray. The cheese ball is surrounded by Ritz crackers and is coated in chopped pecans and minced parsley.

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:

  • Bacon
  • 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.

a close up of a cheese ball with a scoop taken out of it showing the pecans, parsley, cheese, cream cheese and crackers around it

What to Serve with Cheese Ball

That’s an important question and I obviously have a strong opinion. Here are some options:

  • Crackers – Ritz Crackers, 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 Chips
  • 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. Calories?! What calories?!

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 getting 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.

a hand holding a ritz cracker with a scoop of cheese ball and chopped pecans with more crackers in the background

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 weeks. 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.

a photo of a large cheese ball sitting in a large shallow serving bowl. the cheese ball is coated in chopped pecans and minced parsley and surrounded by Ritz crackers.

Forget all the other cheese balls you’ve ever tried and make this one! It will be the best, simple cheese ball recipe you’ve ever had! With 3 different types of cheese and the perfect amount of simple seasonings, this recipe is irresistible and the taste is outrageous!



Servings: 16

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Additional Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


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!

  • 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, sharp or medium, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, scant
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder, scant
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise, heaping
  • 2 Cups Pecans, chopped fine
  • 1 Tablespoons Parsley, fresh, chopped
  • Crackers for serving

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Finely chop the pecans and set aside.

    2 Cups Pecans

  • In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir together until smooth.

    16 ounces Cream Cheese, 1 Jar Old English Cheese Spread, 1 1/2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, 1 teaspoon Onion Powder, 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice, 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

  • Form the cheese mixture into a ball and place on a large piece of saran wrap.

  • Place the cheese in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm it 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.

    1 Tablespoons Parsley

  • 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. Serve with crackers (or whatever your heart’s desire).

    Crackers for serving

Covered well, this cheese ball will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 5gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 264mgPotassium: 102mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 596IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 144mgIron: 0.4mg

Author: Sweet Basil

Course: 200+ Easy Appetizers Recipes

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a close up of a cheese ball with a scoop taken out of it showing the pecans, parsley, cheese, cream cheese and crackers around it

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