Serves a Crowd

The Perfect Cheese Ball

December 14, 2017
8 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 10-12
Author Notes

Cheeseballs are extremely easy to make. If you can mix stuff, you can make a cheeseball. You can make them ahead of time, which I always love. Or you can throw them together last minute. They travel like a dream. And I AM TELLING YOU there is nothing more crowd-pleasing, more attention-getting, and more quickly disappearing at a party with than a cheeseball. Any kind of party: from my mom’s retired teacher Christmas party in Ohio (go, Bucks!) to the hipster dinner party in Brooklyn surrounded by ceramics, tapered candles, and artfully rumpled linen napkins. First thing gone? The cheeseball. Every time. At every party.

Featured In: The Make-Ahead (Or Last-Minute) Appetizer That's All Cheese, All HeartGrant Melton

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 12 ounces (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup finely shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • Crackers, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together maple syrup, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the walnuts and toss to coat. Pour the nuts onto the parchment lined sheet tray and roast for 8 minutes or until nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Once cool, roughly chop the nuts.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, vinegar, and horseradish until smooth. Season with pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then, add in all the cheese and herbs and mix until just combined. Place the mixture onto a big sheet of plastic wrap in a big mound. Fold the excess plastic wrap over the mound and form into a ball. Place in the fridge the firm up for at least an hour.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, remove the cheese ball from the fridge for 20 minutes to soften a bit. Roll the cheese ball in the nuts to coat. Serve with crackers.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • betty888
  • mizerychik
  • Krista L.
    Krista L.
  • FrugalCat

6 Reviews

betty888 December 28, 2022
Gave as Christmas gifts this year. I like a little spice so I upped the horseradish by a teaspoon - would add another teaspoon next time, and perhaps a little more pepper and vinegar. Great recipe.
mizerychik December 3, 2022
Great recipe. Toasted pepitas or sunflower seed kernels are a good substitute for a nut-free appetizer.
Krista L. August 13, 2021
This recipe is fabulous and has become one of our go-tos for several years now. It's always a hit whenever we serve it. Highly recommend! I'm not a walnut fan, so we swap an equal amount of pecans for the walnuts in the recipe and it's just as tasty!
Slyhiggins July 25, 2021
Very tasty! I have problems with lactose intolerance so made it with lactose free cream cheese and lactose free cheddar, regular gruyere and parmigiana reggiano and turned out great. Our guests loved it.
FrugalCat December 31, 2017
I love cheeseballs! I make mine individual (about the size of a big olive) and put a pretzel stick in each one. This way, a big cheeseball won't get that gnawed at look. Plus the pretzel sticks mean no errant toothpicks around the house.
Robby H. January 2, 2018
I've seen the individual ones before, but love the pretzel instead of a toothpick. Thanks.