Ready in minutes, this festive cranberry cheese ball has it all; crunch from the nuts, creaminess from the cheese, tart from the dried cranberries and the chives just seem to balance it all out.
And there really isn't a more classic holiday appetizer than a cheese ball, now is there?
First things first, I really cannot for the life of me figure out if cheese ball is supposed to be one word (cheeseball) or two words "cheese ball". So moving forward I'm going to use it as two. Don't come at me.
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Cheese ball ingredients
- cream cheese - full fat is best
- sharp cheddar cheese - can easily be substituted for cheddar blend
- dried cranberries
- toasted nuts - I'm using pecans & walnuts but feel free to use your favorite nut (I wouldn't hate using pistachios)
- seasonings - garlic powder & onion powder
- chives - if chives are not available just use scallions (green onions)
Alternative: If you really want to put this over the top, add some crispy chopped bacon!
How to make a cheese ball
To start, figure out if the nuts you have are already toasted/roasted. If they are not, then pop them in the oven and toast them and chop them.
Next, mix together the nuts, cranberries and chives in one bowl.
In another bowl, combine the cheeses, the seasonings and half of the cranberry/nut mixture.
Create a ball out of the cheese mixture. Using gloves is highly recommended!
Roll the formed cheeseball in the remaining nut/cranberry mixture.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
When to serve a cheese ball
Well, you can certainly serve a cheese ball any time you please.
However, because this cheese ball has fall / winter notes with cranberries and nuts, I'd recommend this as a Thanksgiving appetizer or even a Christmas appetizer.
What to serve with a cheese ball
Any cracker will do.
I like to use regular buttery crackers. I also really like this with bread too.
Crunchy veggies can also be a great option.
And I almost forgot, my most favorite cracker to go with a cranberry cheese ball is from Trader Joe's; Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps.
This stands up as a great appetizer on its own but it also makes a great addition to a holiday cheese board!
Related: Sweet & Spicy Cranberry Wings
Cranberry Cheese Ball
- 8 ounce cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup medium sharp cheddar shredded
- ½ cup dried cranberries chopped
- ¼ cup toasted pecans chopped
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts chopped
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoon chopped chives
- If your nuts are not roasted/toasted then start by toasting your pecans and walnuts in the oven on 400 degrees. Put them on a baking tray and bake for about 5 minutes. Once roasted, take out of the oven and set aside to cool. *If using toasted/roasted nuts, skip to step 2.
- In a large bowl put the cream cheese, shredded cheddar, half of the toasted pecans, half of the toasted walnuts, half of the cranberries, chives, garlic powder and onion powder, mix until combined well.
- Form a ball from the cheese with mixed-in ingredients. It is highly recommended to wear gloves during this step.
- Grab a plate, add your remaining pecans, walnuts and cranberries and roll the cheeseball in it, making sure that every piece is covered.
- Serve with crackers, chips or raw veggies.