This yummy Cheese Ball recipe with bacon and pecans is so easy to make. Put on a charcuterie board or serve with a variety of crackers as a party appetizer!
My daughter recently pointed out the lack of cheese ball recipes on my website. In fact, I only have one and it is the sweet, dessert kind.
Since the humble cheese ball is a staple of holiday parties and potlucks, I promptly created this fantastic cheese ball recipe and have already made it several times!
Where is the cheese ball recipe? In this post, I will share step-by-step photos for how to make the recipe, as well as answer FAQs about the recipe and share a short video showing the recipe in motion. But you can go directly to the recipe by scrolling down to the bottom of the post.
Start with the softened cream cheese, sour cream, ranch seasoning, chives, garlic powder, and pepper.
Can I add other spices to the cheese ball?
Yes, the great thing about cheese balls is that they are totally adaptable. You can add your favorite spices or seasonings and remove ones that you don’t like.
Beat the cream cheese and seasonings until smooth.
How can I soften cream cheese?
Forgot to take your cream cheese out to soften it or need to make a last-minute cheese ball? Don’t worry, you can soften your cream cheese quickly and move on with the recipe.
Unwrap the cream cheese and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 15 seconds, until softened.
Next comes the bacon bits and shredded cheese. Don’t skimp on the bacon! Use real bacon that has been cooked until crispy and then chop it up. Here is my easy oven cooked bacon method.
And for the shredded cheese, I used sharp cheddar because of the flavor it adds but feel free to use whichever shredded cheese you prefer. Also, I like using finely shredded cheese because it mixes in better and is easier when eating the cheese ball.
What other flavors can I make?
Buffalo Ranch: Skip the sour cream and add buffalo sauce instead. Stir in some blue cheese if you like it and coat with chopped sliced almonds.
Jalapeno: Stir in diced jalapenos and a little hot sauce.
Hawaiian: Skip the ranch seasoning. Stir in crushed pineapple. Coat in chopped pecans and coconut.
Put the cream cheese mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a ball.
Then, coat the cheese ball with chopped toasted pecans. Find my recipe for how to toast pecans here.
What can I use to coat the cheese ball?
You can use whichever chopped nut is your favorite or whatever you have on hand! Popular choices are pecans, sliced almonds, and walnuts.
Other ingredients can be used to coat the cheese ball too. Try using crushed ritz crackers, minced fresh parsley or bacon bits. Or you can always choose not to coat the cheese ball and serve it as is.
What to serve with cheese ball?
The most obvious thing to serve with a cheese ball is crackers. There are a million cracker choices so go with your favorite or serve a variety.
Other great options are pita chips, nut thins, sliced baguette, crostini, or veggies.
How to store a cheese ball?
Since the cheese ball is made from cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese, it needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer after wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap. How long it will last depends on the ingredients you mixed into the cheese ball.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this cheese ball recipe ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to serve. If you are transporting the cheese ball, put it in a cooler with an ice pack to keep it cold.
You may want to take it out of the fridge to soften before serving but remember that it should only be out of refrigeration for up to 2 hours.
Want More Appetizer Recipes? Try These Next:
This Easy Queso Blanco recipe is a quick way to make white cheese dip using Velveeta and peppers. Serve with chips as a side dish or an appetizer!
This Pineapple Salsa recipe has a delicious combination of sweet and spicy. It can be served with grilled chicken or fish or as an appetizer with chips.
Two Ingredient Dough Pretzel Bites are SUPER EASY to make with no yeast and no waiting for the dough to rise. Just mix the dough, cut nuggets, dip in baking soda water and bake!
Cowboy Caviar is a healthy appetizer that is perfect for parties! Serve as a salsa with tortilla chips or as a flavorful side salad with chicken and fish.
Cheese Ball Recipe
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 1 tbsp powdered ranch seasoning
- 1 tsp minced chives
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup crispy chopped bacon (about 7 slices)
- 3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
- Beat cream cheese, sour cream, powdered ranch seasoning, chives, garlic powder, and black peppers.
- Mix in shredded cheddar cheese and chopped bacon.
- Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and form a ball. Coat with toasted chopped pecans.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.