This classic cheese ball recipe has become a staple in my family and something my husband, Mike, looks forward to from my mom each year. She makes him his very own large cheese ball in advance so that it can be enjoyed over the Christmas holidays. Ever since she first made one for him, he’s become addicted to them and only gets them once per year.
Cheese balls are a great appetizer (like my spinach dip) for those periods between lunch and dinner. You simply put them out with an assortment of different crackers and vegetables and they will get keep those pesky family members out of your kitchen!
How to Make a Cheese Ball
An important thing to keep in mind about cheese balls is that they are better when you make them a bit in advance (a few days or so) and let them sit in the fridge. This will give time for the bacon and onion flavors to really strengthen. Think of it like marinating.. the bacon flavor will spread throughout the cheese ball and it will inevitably taste much better if it’s had time to sit.
Make sure to gather up all of your ingredients in advance (I’ve listed them out below) as well as some saran (or cling) wrap which you’ll be using to wrap up the cheese ball(s) to store in the fridge. You can choose to make these as small individual sizes (pictured here) which are great for quick grab appetizers or as one large cheese ball, the recipe is the same, the only difference is that if you choose to make small ones, you’ll simply form a number of small balls and roll them in bacon instead of one large ball.
- Cream Cheese
- Deviled Ham
- Green Onions
- Celery Seed
- Hickory Bacon
- In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the cheddar, cream cheese, ham, green onions, mustard, salt and celery seed until well combined. Use your hands to form into either a single ball or several mini balls.
- Cook the bacon and crumble. I recommend using bacon and not bacon bites as the flavor is much better.
- Place the crumbled bacon on a large dinner plate and roll the ball (or balls if you make them small like I have) in the bacon crumbles, coating evenly and completely.
- Wrap the ball (or balls) in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Serve with crackers or even celery sticks for scooping.
Cheese Ball Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Cheese balls taste better if they sit for a day or two in the fridge prior to eating. I recommend wrapping them in saran wrap as tin foil tends to get stuck to the cheese ball and can rip and become a mess whereas saran wrap tends to not do this.
- Cheese balls can easily be frozen. Just make sure to wrap in saran (cling) wrap first and then wrap in foil before placing into the freezer. Pull it out a day before you want to use it.
- Use real bacon and not bacon bits as the flavor is much better. You can use pre-cooked bacon if it’s easier.
Enjoy you guys! It’s literally not Christmas until we dig into a cheese ball! Mike is already counting down the days until he can have it again!
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Cheese Ball Recipe
The classic cheese ball is a great appetizer for the holidays or any time! You can freeze them as well so you can make them in advance!
- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Total Time
- 15 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 lb old cheddar grated
- 1 package 8 oz/226 g cream cheese, softened
- 1 can 4.25 oz/120 g deviled ham
- 1 cup finely chopped green onion green and white parts
- 2 tsp mustard
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp celery seed
- 8-10 slices hickory bacon cooked crisp, blotted of grease, and crumbled
In a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the cheddar, cream cheese, ham, green onions, mustard, salt, and celery seed until well combined
until well combined. Use your hands to form into a ball.
Place the crumbled bacon on a large dinner plate, and all the ball in the bacon crumbles, coating evenly and completely.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Serve with crackers or even celery sticks for scooping.
Remember you can freeze these too!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.