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Classic Cheese Ball Recipe

This classic cheese ball recipe is always a must-have appetizer at every holiday party! So easy to make with cream cheese, green onions, spices and pecans.

Love easy appetizer recipes? Try my bacon ranch cheese ball, apple dip and cranberry orange cheese ball.

The best cheese ball recipe with crackers.
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Easy Cheese Ball Recipe

This cream cheese ball is one of my nostalgic favorites when entertaining and is a true party staple. It makes the perfect Christmas or Thanksgiving appetizer.

Place it out with some crackers and a veggie tray at your next gathering along with a few other crowd favorites like pigs in a blanket, easy potato skins, homemade pretzel bites or buffalo chicken dip. The adults and kids all love it!

Recipe Ingredients

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Cream cheese: You can’t make a cream cheese ball without the cream cheese! Make sure to soften the cream cheese before mixing for the best creamy texture.
  • Green onions: Chop them fine so that there’s not too much onion in one bite!
  • Ranch dressing mix: The main flavor source for this easy cheese ball recipe. Look for the dry mix (not the liquid bottle). My favorite brand is Hidden Valley.
  • Pecans: For coating the exterior. Chopped pecans provide a nice crunch as well as a buttery and nutty taste.
  • Dill: Adding fresh or dried dill is optional, although I highly recommend it. The flavor of the dill pairs perfectly with the cream cheese, ranch mix and green onions.

Cream Cheese Ball Variations

While I love the simplicity of a 4 ingredient cheese ball, feel free to get creative!

  • Coating: Try walnuts, almonds, chopped pretzels or crackers. You can even use chopped bacon, candied pecans or opt for no nuts.
  • Beefy: If you love chipped beef in your cheeseball, add up to 1/2 jar of dried sliced beef. You can also add a splash of Worcestershire sauce as well.
  • Spicier: If you love spicy food, add some hot sauce or sriracha to the mix.
  • Even cheesier: Add some freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese into the mixture.

How to Make a Cheese Ball

This is honestly one of the easiest holiday appetizers ever and makes a great centerpiece to any snack board!

Showing how to make a cheese ball in a 4 step collage.
  1. Mix together ingredients. Mix the softened cream cheese, green onions, ranch dressing mix and fresh dill in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Place on plastic wrap, cover and form the cream cheese mixture into a ball. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. Coat with pecans. Put pecans on a plate. Remove from plastic wrap and roll in pecans until well-coated.
  4. Serve and enjoy! Place on a platter with crackers and serve.

5 star review

Everyone LOVED this! It was so easy to make. I will be making it again and again for parties!

– Tina
Cheese ball on a plate.

Serving Options

There are plenty of delicious serving options. Here are some of our favorites to pair with this classic holiday appetizer!

  • Ritz crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Pita chips
  • Veggies (cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, celery)

Make-Ahead, Storing and Freezing Instructions

This recipe is great to prep ahead of time. Making it a day ahead gives the flavors time to marry together and taste extra delicious.

To make-ahead: Assemble cheeseball without coating it in the nuts. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Place in a bowl to prevent the bottom from going flat if desired. Before serving, roll in nuts.

To store: Assuming your ingredients are fresh, you store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

To freeze: Assemble without coating in nuts. Wrap tightly then place in a freezer safe bag and keep frozen up to a month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and coat with nuts before serving.

Cheese ball with crackers on a white plate.

Recipe FAQs

How long can it sit out?

This simple cheese ball recipe can sit out at room temperature for about 2 hours. Due to it’s dairy content, it shouldn’t sit out any longer for safe consumption.

How long does it last?

It will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, although I’m sure it will get eaten up before then since it’s so delicious. :) We love using the leftovers as a snack with fresh veggies.

Can I use this recipe to make a mini version?

Absolutely. Mini cheese ball bites are so fun! Mix the cream cheese mixture as instructed, then cover and chill in the fridge until firm. Shape into 1-inch balls, then roll into the chopped pecans.

What are some ideas to shape a cheese ball?

Other than the classic large ball shape, feel free to get creative depending on the event! Shape into an oval football shape for game day, a pumpkin for the fall, a snowman for Christmas or even into a log for any type of platter.

Cheese ball on a cracker.

Looking for more party appetizers? Try these easy 3-ingredient sausage balls, cranberry salsa with cream cheese or cheesy pigs in a blanket.

More Easy Appetizers

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The best cheese ball recipe with crackers.

Cheese Ball Recipe

5 from 52 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Hands down one of the easiest classic recipes to serve at your next holiday party! This easy cheese ball recipe is always a huge hit!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 16

Video

Ingredients 

  • 16 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • ¼ cup green onions , chopped fine
  • 1 Tablespoon ranch dressing dry mix (like Hidden Valley)
  • ½ teaspoon dill , optional
  • ½ cup pecans , chopped

For serving: Favorite snack crackers or vegetables

    Instructions

    • Mix all ingredients except pecans with an electric mixer until smooth.
    • Place mixture on plastic wrap, cover and form into ball. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
    • Put pecans on a plate. Remove from plastic wrap and roll in pecans until well-coated.
    • Place on a platter with crackers and serve. Enjoy!

    Notes

    • If you don’t want to use nuts, you can use chopped bacon or crushed crackers instead (similar to my bacon ranch cheese ball).
    • If you’d like more cheese, you can mix in 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese with the cream cheese.
    • Make-ahead: Follow steps 1 & 2, then let chill in fridge overnight. Before serving, roll in chopped pecans until well-coated. 
    • Storage: Will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks if covered or stored in an airtight container. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 56mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 395IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.2mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Appetizer
    Cuisine: American
    Diet: Vegetarian

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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