Delicious mini cheese balls are an ideal party snack because they are made in advance and you don't need to heat them up.
They are so flavorful! The combination of cream cheese, cheddar, parmesan, garlic and bacon is amazing.
These little savory appetizers are so delicious! A mixture of cheeses, spices, and crumbled bacon - why wouldn't they be?
When I entertain, I like to start the evening off with a few simple party appetizers and cocktails. Ideally, the appetizers can be made in advance and I can serve them at room temperature. So these cheese balls are perfect!
You'll only need a few ingredients to make this tasty appetizer. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Cream cheese: I use full-fat cream cheese in this recipe.
Shredded cheddar: I like to use sharp or even extra-sharp cheese.
Grated Parmesan: Make sure you use finely grated parmesan and not coarsely shredded - there's a difference.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Minced garlic: You can also use garlic powder (just ½ teaspoon).
Bacon: I use store-bought bacon bits. If you'd like, you can cook bacon until crispy and crumble it very finely.
This is a truly easy recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making these cheese balls:
You start by mixing together some softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar, grated Parmesan, and spices.
Next, you briefly freeze the mixture to make it easier to work with.
Form the mixture into balls and roll them in crumbled bacon. That's it!
Freezing the mixture briefly before shaping the balls makes it much easier to shape them. Make sure to freeze it in a shallow layer so that the mixture sets evenly. The edges will still be harder than the center.
Even after freezing the mixture, shaping the balls is a bit messy, but not too bad. You can always use disposable gloves. Personally, I don't bother.
Frequently asked questions
I believe you could, although it's softer than full-fat cream cheese and might be more difficult to work with.
Absolutely. I love cheddar and parmesan, but another good combination would be provolone and pecorino romano.
Yes, you can. You can either keep them in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Or freeze them in freezer bags for a few weeks.
Yes! That's why I like it so much. You can make them in advance, refrigerate, and take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before your guests arrive.
The leftovers work well as a quick snack. I even like them for my lunch, making myself a plate of them plus a salad or some cut-up veggies.
You can store the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to four days. They keep very well and taste great even on the fourth day.
Do remember to take them out of the fridge 30 minutes before you plan on serving them, to allow them to get to room temperature. Some foods are simply not very good when chilled. Cheese and chocolate are prime examples.
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Mini Bacon Cheese Balls
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 3 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese (¾ cup)
- 1 oz grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (not table salt)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 oz bacon bits
- Place the cream cheese, cheddar, Parmesan, garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, parsley, and cayenne pepper in your food processor. Process until well blended. You can also mix these ingredients by hand.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into a shallow bowl, cover, and freeze for 15 minutes.
- Shape the mixture into 12 balls, using a measuring tablespoon to scoop them out of the bowl.
- Roll the balls in the bacon bits to coat.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove them from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.