The ultimate cheese ball recipe made with creamy ranch flavored cream cheese, and plenty of bacon, cheese, and other tasty add-ins. A great crowd-pleaser!
Every party needs a great crowd-pleasing appetizer, and this ultimate cheese ball recipe is definitely that!
So let me ask you, do you love bacon? What about ranch? Cheese? Yes, yes, yes right? Then trust me when I tell you that your next party NEEDS this bacon ranch cheese ball! Everyone will be scrambling for seconds (or thirds), and then begging you for the recipe… making you the rockstar of the party. Score!!
I know, I know, it’s January, and we’re supposed to be all New Years resolution-y and eating healthier and whatnot… and don’t worry, I have several recipes planned for this month that fit that bill, but I feel that every good healthy eating plan needs moderation. So indulging a bit now and then is perfectly fine! Plus, we still have more game days left in this football season, and of course the BIG football game in February. So party on!
HOW DO YOU MAKE AN EASY CHEESE BALL?
Cheese balls are the ultimate easy appetizer for two main reasons.
- They’re natural make-ahead recipes.
- You simply mix, shape, chill, then roll.
Just mix up the cream cheese and other flavor ingredients in a mixing bowl with either a rubber spatula or hand mixer, then plop the mixture down on a sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to help you shape it into a ball shape, then chill until firm. Roll the chilled ball in a mixture of textured ingredients (like bacon, nuts, etc), and keep chilled until ready to serve. Easy peasy!
HOW LONG DO CHEESE BALLS LAST?
The answer gets a little tricky, depending on what you added to your cheese ball. For this recipe, since we’re adding chopped green onions, I would say about 3 days. If your cheeseball doesn’t use fresh herbs, fruits, etc, and is simply cream cheese, cheese and seasonings, then it can last up to 7-10 days.
CAN YOU FREEZE CHEESE BALLS?
Yes! You just need to freeze them before you roll them in the outer coating. After forming the cream cheese mixture into a ball, add it to a freezer resealable bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll in outer coating and serve!
CAN YOU USE THIS RECIPE TO MAKE CHEESE BALL BITES?
Aren’t those fun? Yes, you sure can! I haven’t officially measured it, but I think this recipe would yield about 22-24 mini cheese ball bites. Instead of shaping the mixture into a ball, use a small ice cream scoop (I’ll link the one I use below), to form little balls. Wrap those balls in plastic wrap and chill until firm. Roll in outer coating and stick a pretzel stick or two in them to make them a fun, portable, personal party food!
WHAT DO YOU SERVE WITH A CHEESE BALL RECIPE?
My personal favorite is buttery crackers, but pretzels, bagel chips, pita chips, or even some toasted baguette slices would be a nice accompaniment. For a healthier alternative, go with carrots or celery sticks.
PRO TIPS FOR MAKING THIS CHEESE BALL RECIPE:
- Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. If it’s chilled, you’ll have a really hard time mixing everything smoothly.
- The sour cream is optional, but I really love how it makes the cheese ball ever so slightly soft, so when you’re scooping some onto a cracker, it isn’t so hard that it snaps the cracker in half.
- This cheese ball recipe can be made 24 hours before serving, so it’s great to make ahead for a party.
- Don’t feel constrained to the round shape… play around with different shapes for your cheese ball, like football shaped for game day, a star for Christmas, etc.
SHOP THE RECIPE:
- Ranch Dressing Packet – my favorite brand for a seasoning packet.
- Disposable Gloves – to avoid cream cheese hands, use a pair of these!
- Small Ice Cream Scoop – perfect for cheese ball bites!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 16 oz cream cheese , room temperature
- 3 Tbsp sour cream (optional but recommended)
- 1 oz package ranch seasoning
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried minced onion
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese , finely grated (divided)
- 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese , finely grated (divided)
- 8 slices bacon , cooked and crumbled (divided)
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions (divided)
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
MAKE THE CHEESE BALL
- To a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese, sour cream (if using), ranch seasoning, garlic powder, minced onion, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined with a rubber spatula.
- Add 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, all of the pepper jack cheese, half of the bacon, and half the green onions. Stir until mixed.
- Lay out a large sheet of plastic wrap and drop cream cheese mixture onto it. Cover tightly on all sides, and shape into a ball shape. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until firm.
MAKE THE OUTER COATING
- Add remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, remaining bacon and green onions to a small mixing bowl. Add in poppy seeds and refrigerate alongside the cheese ball.
- Before rolling the cheese ball, add pecans and stir well.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread out the outer coating in an even layer.
- Remove plastic wrap and roll cheese ball in coating, making sure all sides are coated. You may have to pick up some of the coating and press it so it sticks.
- Serve immediately, or cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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