What’s better than a creamy, smoky cheese ball before the big Thanksgiving meal? With its endless versatility and explosion of flavor, a cheese ball is a simple, mouthwatering appetizer. Pair it with some crispy rustic crackers or crisp sliced veggies and you have yourself a decadent treat.
With this cheese ball, I wanted to go with something smoked and savory to complement all the dishes on the Thanksgiving table. You can make the cheese ball as big or small as you’d like, depending on the number of guests or saving room for the main meal. Don’t hesitate to dive into that velvety interior and express gratitude for the wonder that is cheese. —Marissa Mullen
Test Kitchen Notes
This dish is part of Residentsgiving—aka the Thanksgiving menu of our wildest dreams—created by Food52's resident experts-slash-superheroes. Devour the rest of the spread here, and while you're at it, learn how to Remix & Remaster your Thanksgiving. —The Editors
- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 12 minutes
- Serves 10 to 12
smoked gouda, shredded (about 1¼ cups), plus more for garnish (optional)
(8-ounce) block cream cheese, at room temperature
scallions, chopped, divided
prosciutto (3 to 4 slices)
Freshly ground black pepper
Crackers, for serving
- Heat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, stir the gouda, cream cheese, sour cream, 2 of the chopped scallions (about ¼ cup), the garlic powder, and onion powder. Season with black pepper. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes, until cold.
- Meanwhile, arrange the prosciutto slices on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake, turning once, for 12 to 15 minutes, until crispy. Let cool.
- In a food processor or by hand, chop the pecans until finely chopped, then transfer to a shallow dish. Gently pulse the crispy prosciutto in a food processor (or chop or crunch up by hand) until finely chopped, but not dust. Add the prosciutto to the pecans and toss to combine.
- Remove the cheese mixture from the refrigerator and mold into a ball shape with clean hands (use gloves if you’d like). Roll the cheese ball in the pecan mixture until coated.
- Place on a serving dish and top with the remaining scallions and a pinch of shredded gouda, if using. Serve with the crackers.
- Do Ahead: The cheese ball, without rolling or toppings, can be made 2 days ahead. Wrap in plastic and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.