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Easy Classic Cheese Ball Recipe

The BEST classic Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe. This homemade creamy Cheese Ball is so easy to make and will become a must-have appetizer for parties and around the Holidays.

We have a shortlist of favorite party appetizers like Spinach Artichoke Dip, healthy Shrimp Cucumber Bites, and Stuffed Mushrooms. This cheeseball is sure to become a new favorite. It comes together fast and is packed with flavor.

Cheese ball coated with bacon, cheese and nuts on a serving plate.

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Hey, hey! Valentina with Valentina’s Corner sharing our Cheese Ball Recipe.

Cheese Ball Recipe:

I love a good cheese ball at parties, and who doesn’t? Packed with bacon bits, nuts, shredded cheese and seasonings, this is the ULTIMATE appetizer recipe.

Not only is the cheese ball loaded with so much flavor, but it also takes just minutes to prepare and is so stunning when served.

Ingredients for classic cheese ball recipe from scratch.

How to Make a Cheese Ball:

Making a cheese ball is SO EASY! Once you make a homemade cheese ball, you’ll never purchase store-bought again. You just can’t beat a homemade cheeseball!

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the cheese ingredients until well incorporated: cream cheese and sour cream, bacon bits, shredded cheese, green onion, walnuts, poppy seeds, and seasonings.
  2. Finely chop the cheese, walnuts, green onion for the coating (or you can leave it chunky if that’s your preference).
  3. Shape cheese ball and coat generously with the topping mixture and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cooks TIP: For easier mixing, first, beat the cream cheese and sour cream with a mixer, then stir in remaining ingredients with a spatula or wooden spoon until well incorporated.

Three photos side by side, on how to make a Cheese Ball.

TIPS for the BEST Cheese Ball!

Though there’s not much that can go wrong when making a cheese ball, here are some added tips we found helpful:

  • If you don’t have Ranch seasoning, you can substitute the sour cream and Ranch seasoning with your favorite Ranch dressing instead. It is a little easier to form the ball with sour cream though since it is thicker.
  • The cream cheese MUST be at room temperature or you’ll have a really hard time mixing.
  • If you enjoy spicy food, add Hot Sauce or Sriracha to the mixture for a kick.
  • When serving the cheese ball, serve at room temp for a softer mixture that’s easier to spread or dip.
  • You can use your favorite cheese or a mixture of cheeses. Mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, four-cheese (Mexican), Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese are all great options. TIP: Purchase a block of cheese and shred it for better flavor without additives.

Holiday Cheese ball on a platter with crackers.

How to Make Cheese ball in Advance?

We love make-ahead appetizers that taste just as good or better when made in advance. There are two ways to prepare the cheese ball in advance and both work great!

  • Option 1: Prepare the mixture and refrigerate it in a bowl. Shape and coat before serving.
  • Option 2: Prepare and shape the mixture and cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate. Coat before serving.

Ideas How to Shape a Cheese Ball-

You don’t have to limit yourself to only a classic cheese ball shape (as we have in this recipe). Here are some other creative ideas for shaping the cheese ball. The décor can vary, depending on the shape and event-

  • SPORTS- An oval football for football parties, or a basketball for finals, etc.
  • FALL- A pumpkin for fall parties.
  • CHRISTMAS- A reindeer, snowman, wreath or tree for Christmas.
  • THANKSGIVING- A turkey for around Thanksgiving theme.
  • LOG- You can also just shape the mixture into a log instead of a ball for any occasion.

Crackers by cream cheese mixture on a plate.

What to Serve with a Cheese Ball:

Cheese balls are classically served with crackers of choice, but they can be served with so many different sides. Here are some other serving options for a cheese ball.

  • Vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes or celery)
  • Pretzels or Pretzel Crisps
  • Bagels if serving for brunch
  • Crostini
  • Pita chips
  • Salami or turkey
  • Tortilla chips
  • Your favorite crackers
  • Olives or roasted peppers

Cheese ball surrounded with crackers and pita chips.

How Long Will Cheese Balls Last?

A cheese ball can last up to 5 days, if refrigerated. Be sure to keep it tightly wrapped.

Try These Other Party Appetizers:

These are the appetizers that always disappear fast and get rave reviews. Just like this cheese ball recipe, most of these appetizers can be made ahead to make your party planning even easier!

Cheese Ball Recipe

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe with pita chips for serving

The easiest and absolute BEST cheese ball recipe. Cream cheese with Ranch, bacon bits, nuts, and cheese - so GOOD! Serve the cheese ball as an appetizer for potlucks and around the Holidays.

Author: Valentina Ablaev
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $10-$14
Keyword: cheese ball
Cuisine: American
Course: Appetizer
Calories: 182 kcal
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz bacon chopped, divided
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 16 oz cream cheese room temp
  • 1/2 cup Mexican cheese shredded (4 cheese blend)
  • 1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese shredded and divided
  • 1/4 cup green onions chopped and divided
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped and divided
  • 3 Tbsp Ranch seasoning
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp poppyseeds divided

Instructions

  1. Cut bacon into small pieces and sauté until cooked. Once cooled, set aside 1/4 of the bacon for the topping.

  2. In a bowl, add 3/4 of the bacon, 1/4 cup sour cream, 16 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup four-cheese blend, 1 cup cheddar cheese, 3 Tbsp green onions, 1/4 cup walnuts, 3 Tbsp Ranch seasoning, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp poppy seeds. With a wooden spatula, mix all ingredients until well combined.

  3. Finely chop the remaining 1/4 of bacon, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1 Tbsp green onion, and 1/4 cup walnuts. Mix together with the 1/4 tsp poppy seed. Spread this mixture onto a cutting board.

  4. Form a ball out of the cheese mixture and roll the cheese ball over the toppings to fully coat and shape into an even ball as it's coated. Serve right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts
Cheese Ball Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 182 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 667mg29%
Potassium 73mg2%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 460IU9%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 100mg10%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

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Valentina Ablaev

I am Valentina, the creator behind the food blog Valentina’s Corner where I share our family’s favorite recipes. When I am not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and 5 children. We invite you to join us on our blogging journey!

Read more posts by Valentina

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Fatin
    June 6, 2020

    What can we use instead of bacon in this recipe?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 7, 2020

      Hi Fatin, if you wanted to omit the bacon completely you can.

      Reply

  • Natalia
    January 27, 2020

    An excellent appetizer. In my opinion, the bacon can be skipped, I won’t add it the next time I make it

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 27, 2020

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Natalia!

      Reply

  • Roz Hicks
    January 20, 2020

    This was fantastic at a dinner party we had the other night! It was so beautiful, too. Have quite a good size ball left, though. Can it be frozen successfully, do you think? Roz

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 20, 2020

      Hi Roz! I haven’t tested freezing that since they never last long enough. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe

      Reply

  • Linc Myers
    December 30, 2019

    This was a huge hit at our family Christmas gathering last night. Everyone really liked it, even my ‘somewhat’ picky teenage daughter kept coming back to it and saying, “this cheese ball is amazing Dad!” Thanks for the recipe and all you cheerfully provide on your site.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 30, 2019

      Awww that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I’m all smiles!

      Reply

  • Ethel B Tillman
    December 20, 2019

    How long will this cheese ball be safe to serve?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 21, 2019

      Hi Ethel, A cheese ball can last up to 5 days, if refrigerated. Be sure to keep it tightly wrapped

      Reply

  • D. Watts
    December 14, 2019

    This looks amazing and I can’t wait to make it. Can I use cream cheese that comes in a tub or does it have to be the blocked version in cardboard?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 14, 2019

      Hi, the container doesn’t make a difference but I would recommend plain cream cheese and just make sure it isn’t “whipped”

      Reply

  • Kristin
    December 13, 2019

    Excellent base cheese ball recipe! I omitted bacon and nuts due to allergies/preference, and then made individual cheese balls with a grape in the center. It was a winner with the crowd I had. Thanks Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 13, 2019

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Kristin!

      Reply

  • Debra
    December 12, 2019

    Looks great! Not a huge walnut fan. What are your thoughts on toasted slivered almonds with these flavors?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 12, 2019

      Hi Debra, I haven’t tested that with almond to advise, if you experiment, please let me know how you like that.

      Reply

  • Dana
    December 12, 2019

    Suggestion for sub on the nuts – got nut allergies in the family.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 12, 2019

      Hi Dana, you could substitute with more nuts or more shredded cheese or both.

      Reply

  • Jennie
    December 12, 2019

    Do you use smoked bacon or unsmoked and what could I substitute the bacon for for somebody who doesn’t eat meat. Thank you Jennie

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 12, 2019

      Hi Jennie, both will work great for the cheese ball. You could add more nuts and coat the cheese ball with more nuts if you wanted to omit the bacon completely.

      Reply

  • More
    December 11, 2019

    Ohhhh road trips! Totally agree that food always tastes so much better when it’s packed for a road trip! Hope you’re having a nice time

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 11, 2019

      We love our road trip snacks!

      Reply

  • Samantha
    December 10, 2019

    I literally just searched your site yesterday to see if you had a recipe for a cheese ball! You read my mind! I’ll be making this soon, thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 10, 2019

      That’s just awesome, Samantha!!

      Reply

  • Katie
    December 10, 2019

    LOVE cheese ball recipes as a party appetizer! Always such a hit!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 10, 2019

      It is such a treat. People’s eyes light up when they see this cheeseball. Mine do also!

      Reply

  • Jennifer
    December 10, 2019

    Cheese balls are the best for parties! Need to try your recipe!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 10, 2019

      They are perfect and so easy! I hope this becomes a new favorite for you.

      Reply

  • Jen
    December 10, 2019

    It’s not a holiday party without a Cheeseball! Thanks for the idea about making it into a snowman. I’m sure my kids will get a kick out of that.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 10, 2019

      Yes, it’s so fun and cute! I hope you have a beautiful Christmas!

      Reply

  • Gail
    December 10, 2019

    What could I substitute for the walnuts? I have a family member who can’t have nuts.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 10, 2019

      Hi Gail, you could just omit them and still have great results. It won’t alter the flavor much. If you really wanted to use something else, maybe some chopped pumpkin seeds, but really you can just omit them.

      Reply

  • Sharon Beverly
    December 10, 2019

    This is a great cheeseball recipe as written! I like to mix in a package of Knorr’s Vegetable soup mix instead of Ranch once in a while just to change it up a bit.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 10, 2019

      I absolutely love that idea! Thank you for sharing! Do you do everything else about the same? I’d love to try your version. I love experimenting with new things.

      Reply

      • Sharon Beverly
        December 10, 2019

        Yes. I always start with sour cream, cream cheese, veggie soup mix and grated cheese (your choice). From there on just add whatever sounds good – chopped green onions or chives, olives, artichokes, smoked meats, sun dried tomatoes, etc. After the cheeseball is shaped I roll it in toasted sesame seeds. They never turn out the same way twice but they are always delish!

        Reply

        • Natasha
          December 10, 2019

          Oh goodness, that sounds amazing with sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes – yum!! Thank you so much for sharing.

          Reply

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