There’s a reason the cheese ball found favour amongst the cocktail parties of decades ago: they’re downright addictive flavour bombs of fatty goodness. These retro cheese ball recipes are a great way to use the remnants of an overenthusiastic cheese-buying binge (and an excuse to go out and buy even more). Plus, they’re an easy to assemble, yet always impressive appetizer that everyone adores.
Snowman Cheese Ball
Get the kids involved in making their first cheese ball by building this cute snowman. This can easily be made ahead and frozen for later parties. Feta, white cheddar and cream cheese keep Frosty white as snow and a zucchini hat and scarf make simple decorations to bring him to life.
Herb Coeur à la Crème
Leave it to the Barefoot Contessa to make a cheese ball into an upscale appetizer. This coeur à la crème from Ina Garten is full of dill, chives and scallions and would be delicious as a complement to a smoked salmon platter.
Pecan and Jalapeno Cheese Ball
Lest you worry that cheese balls are bland, this recipe amps things up with chopped jalapeno pepper and sharp cheddar. Rolled in a crunchy layer of pecans and topped with pomegranate seeds and fried shallots, this flavourful cheese ball is a myriad of colour and textures.
Turkey Cheese Ball
Before you reveal the big bird, serve this miniature version for guests to nibble away at. Cream cheese and Cheddar make up the classic cheese ball filling, while crushed pecans add a delightful coating and crunch to each satisfying bite. This appetizer serves double duty as both a creative centrepiece and a satisfying snack.
Get the recipe for Turkey Cheese Ball
Holiday Wreath Cheese Ball
Is it a beautiful wreath or a delightful cheese dish? Spoiler alert: it’s both! Part table decor and part appetizer, this colourful Christmas-themed starter is 100 per cent festive and sure to disappear just as soon as someone has the heart to carve into it.
Pistachio/Cashew “Cheese” Ball
Vegans don’t need to look longingly at the dairy-laden treats on the appetizer buffet any longer — this ingenious pistachio-crusted cashew cheese ball uses soaked raw cashews, miso paste and nutritional yeast to mimic the flavour and texture of the real thing.
Chèvre and Green Grape Truffles
Go green with a seedless green grape nestled inside a chèvre and pistachio crust. This recipe from Trish Magwood also splashes in a hint of port which, along with toasting the pistachios, adds deeper flavour.
Italian Cheese Ball
Give your cheese ball an Italian flair by adding in some of the ingredients from a classic antipasto: salami, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers and marinated artichoke hearts. Don’t forget the cheese: versatile provolone keeps the Italian theme going.
Blue Cheese and Bacon Truffles
Play off the slight saltiness of gorgonzola with chopped, double-smoked bacon for these cheesy takes on truffles. Rolling them in finely crushed pretzels is a surefire way to get some crunch.
Leslie Wu is a Toronto-based food and travel writer, editor and explorer. Follow her on Twitter at @leslie_wu.