This Festive Cheese Ball recipe is so simple to make and is a tasty appetizer for parties and the football munchies. A great way to impress company with the smooth taste of cheese dancing with briny olives. The crispness of the bacon, freshness of the chives and buttery pecans will make your mouth sing.
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Cheese ball recipes have been done about 1 million times. I believe it is a right of passage as a food blogger. Despite the numerous recipes out there, I wanted to incorporate some of my favorite flavors. What happened when I made this Festive Cheese Ball for my family? It was gone in a matter of minutes. If you are on olive lover than I believe your taste buds will be singing for joy with this recipes.
As a child one of my favorite appetizers was celery stuffed with olive cream cheese. I loved how well the brininess of olives worked so well with the cream cheese. As an adult I have fallen in love with the mild onion, but oh so fresh flavor of chives. If chives are not readily available then green onions would be a comparable substation for this recipe. Pecans… hmmm…pecans. If you absolutely can’t stand pecans then walnuts taste great too. And finally, who doesn’t love bacon? It has gotten a ton of bad press here lately but when you buy directly from a farmer who you know and trust to raise their animals on pasture, then you know you are eating quality meat that has some amazing health benefits. For another favored recipe using pastured raised meat and more detailed information, check out my Roman Pesto Pasta.
This Festive Cheese Ball recipe is just a bit bigger than the cheese balls you buy at the store. If you are having a large crowd, doubling the recipe will keep all olive loving taste buds happy.
- Use pecans or walnuts instead of bacon for vegetarian option.
- Add herbs like dill, rosemary or thyme for extra flavor.
- Mix in dried fruit like cranberries or apricots.
- Top with extra crushed nuts or herbs before serving.
- Introduce some heat with a dash of hot sauce in the cheese mixture or by coating the ball in crushed red pepper flakes.
- Serve with assorted crackers, breads, and fresh vegetables. Pair with wine, beer, or seasonal cocktails for parties.
- Slice and add to a cheese board.
- Shape into a festive Christmas tree for the holidays
- Room Temperature Cream Cheese- Ensure the cream cheese is at room temperature for easier mixing and a smoother texture.
- Flavor Enhancement- Adjust the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce to your taste preference. Add a pinch of cayenne for a subtle kick.
- Make-Ahead Bacon- Cook the bacon in advance to save time. Store it in an airtight container until you’re ready to assemble the cheese ball.
- Easy Slicing- Chill the cheese ball before serving for easiest slicing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use green olives instead of black olives?
Yes, you can use any type of olive that you prefer. Green and kalamata olives also work well.
What kind of crackers work best?
Buttery crackers like Ritz are classic pairing, as are wheat crackers and multigrain options. Feel free to experiment with your favorites!
How long will the cheese ball last refrigerated?
The cheese ball will keep for up to 1 week tightly covered in the refrigerator.
Can I use a different type of cheese for this cheese ball?
Yes! While cheddar adds a robust flavor, feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses. Gouda, blue cheese, or a blend can work well.
Can I make this cheese ball ahead of time?
Yes, you can! Prepare the cheese mixture and shape it into a ball, then refrigerate. Roll it in the bacon and pecan coating just before serving to maintain a crisp texture.
Can I use turkey bacon as a substitute for regular bacon?
Certainly! Turkey bacon is a lighter alternative with a similar smoky flavor. Cook and chop it just like regular bacon for the coating.
Are there any alternatives to pecans for the coating?
Of course! Almonds, walnuts, or even crushed pretzels can be excellent substitutes for pecans.
How do I store it?
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup diced chives
- 1/4 cup chopped olives *approximately 2 oz
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp worcestershire
- 1/3 cup chopped bacon *approximately 5-6 slices
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- favorite crackers
- In a medium size bowl mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chives, olives, lemon juice and worcestershire until well incorporated.With a rubber spatula, form into ball and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Fry and chop bacon, chop pecans and mix together. Roll cheese ball in bacon/pecan mixture, using hand to pat sides, filling in any holes.
- Refrigerate if not serving immediately.