Delicious savory cheese balls are an ideal party snack because they are made in advance and served at room temperature.
I make these creamy, savory cheese balls often and serve them as a dinner party appetizer. They are always such a huge hit.
I really like the fact that I can make them a few hours ahead of time, then serve them when my guests arrive. Fussing in the kitchen when your guests are having fun in the living room is quite frustrating!
The perfect party appetizer
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!
These little savory appetizers are delicious! A mixture of cheeses, spices, and tasty toppings – why wouldn’t they be? And another plus – they are gorgeous! So pretty and colorful.
The only caveat: they are totally addictive! So if you have any leftovers, and no willpower, give them to your guests at the end of the party. Or freeze them! They freeze quite well.
The ingredients needed to make this recipe
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. I haven’t tried making it with reduced-fat cream cheese.
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 1/2 teaspoon).
Spices: Dried parsley and cayenne pepper. Make sure they are fresh! Spices are delicious, but a stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
How to make cheese balls
It’s a truly easy recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Mix together some softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar, grated Parmesan, and spices.
Form the mixture into balls and roll them in the tasty toppings. That’s it!
How to serve them
How to store cheese balls
Store them in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to five days.
Do remember to take them out of the fridge an hour before you plan on serving them, to allow them to get to room temperature. Some foods are simply not good when chilled. Cheese and chocolate are prime examples.
Can you freeze them?
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.
More easy make-ahead appetizers that you might enjoy
A nice variation on this basic recipe is these bacon cheese bites, made with shredded cheddar, bacon bits, and Dijon mustard.
And these Greek yogurt deviled eggs so are creamy and flavorful. The yogurt works really well, though you can also use mayonnaise if you wish.
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Savory Cheese Balls
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese (3/4 cup)
- 1 oz grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (not table salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 oz finely chopped pecans (1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Place the cream cheese, cheddar, Parmesan, garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, parsley, and cayenne pepper in your food processor. Process until well blended.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into a bowl, cover, and freeze for 15 minutes.
- Shape the mixture into 20 1-inch cheese balls, each weighing ½ oz (15 grams).
- Roll the cheese balls in the toppings to coat. You will need to gently press the cheese balls into the chopped nuts to help the nuts adhere.
- Serve immediately, with crackers and/or crudités, or refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from fridge 30-60 minutes before serving.