Kitchen Tips

The Easiest, Crowd-Pleasing Appetizer To Whip Up For The Holidays

The cheese ball is a delicious retro centrepiece no one will be able to resist.

The week before the holidays is a scramble: last-minute cookies, gift-wrapping, holiday parties and endless to-do lists; you’re in desperate need of dishes that provide big return in little time.

Enter the cheese ball recipe: this creamy crowd-pleaser is a snap to make and you probably already have most of the ingredients. It’s everything delicious rolled into a retro centrepiece — the  crunchy exterior, cracker-friendly cheese bounty, and flavourful mix-ins (think Greek oregano, or garlic and sun-dried tomatoes).

The cheeseball’s holiday advantage is simplicity — easy to assemble (watch the video), affordable ingredients, and it can hold down a small cheeseboard solo — just add crackers and fruits.

Ranch cheese ball with chives, parsley and walnuts
Ranch cheese ball with chives, parsley and walnuts

Bonus: You can make it up to three (!) days in advance. Here’s what you need to know:

It’s all about the cream cheese …

Soften the cream cheese and stir, stir, stir. This base provides structure and spreadability, you can add other cheeses (in fact, we recommend it), but the cream cheese provides the smooth texture you need to make a ball.

… and the feta, cheddar or gruyère

The second cheese is where the flavour starts to take shape. We like to add feta, cheddar or gruyère in our cheese balls, and build the flavour from there.  Stronger cheeses — like an aged cheddar — tend to add more depth and complexity (and pair very well with holiday beer or cider).

Sprinkle in some extras

Aromatics (garlic, onion) and herbs (oregano, chives, parsley and more) develop the flavours and style of your cheese ball. And any spices or herbs you already have on hand are fair game when it comes to creating your own signature flavour.

Coat it

Roll the cheese ball in chopped or crushed nuts like almonds, pecans or walnuts. Aside from adding an extra-satisfying crunch to each bite, they balance the rich creaminess of the cheese. If you’re concerned about nut allergies, you can simply roll your cheeseball in fresh herbs (such as dill) or finely sliced green onion.

Try it:
Ranch cheese ball with parsley, chives and walnuts
French onion and gruyère cheese ball
Greek cheese ball with feta and oregano

Do your cheese tastes run more toward the warm and oozy? Try our easy recipe for cranberry-almond baked brie.