Looking for an amazing, delicious, and easy cheese ball recipe? Look no further than this scrumptious French Onion & Bacon Cheese Ball Recipe! This cheese ball is perfect for your next gathering with family and friends, especially during the holiday season or your next football party. Serve with your favorite crackers or some crunchy veggies! Guests will love the taste of this cheese ball, and you'll love how easy it is to make! In this post, you'll learn how to make a cheese ball, plus I will give you some simple ways to change up the recipe to make it your own!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! ❤️ If you give it a try, please let me know how it turned out for you in the comments section at the bottom of the page or share a pic of your om noms on Instagram and tag @dishesanddustbunnies! ❤️
What is a cheese ball?
A cheese ball is an easy appetizer made of soft cheese or cream cheese combined with seasonings and rolled in chopped nuts or other toppings. You can find pre-made versions in most grocery stores; however, homemade cheese balls have so much more flavor in comparison!
Cheese balls are a popular crowd-pleaser with guests and a huge hit often served at holidays and gatherings such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years Day, and football parties. It makes for a great party appetizer served along with crackers, looks impressive, and is quite easy to make! This recipe is sure to become a family favorite!
What is a cheese ball made of?
Different cheese ball recipes call for varied ingredients, but the most commonly used ingredients include cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese of various kinds, herbs, spices, nuts, or other tasty bits to roll the ball in.
This cheese ball recipe uses softened cream cheese, sour cream, Swiss and sharp cheddar cheese, dry onion soup mix as a seasoning, bacon bits, and onion and is rolled in crispy fried onions, chopped pecans, and green onions.
The onion soup mix used to season this recipe makes for a delicious cheese ball reminiscent of the flavors of French onion soup. You can use a store-bought packet or my homemade version of the onion soup mix.
How to Make a Homemade Cheese Ball – Overview
Although it may look fancy or complicated, making a cheese ball is actually super easy! Here's a basic overview of how it's done – you can find the full recipe at the bottom of this.
Start by cooking bacon pieces in a pan until crisp, then put them aside on a plate lined with a paper towel. With a little bit of bacon fat remaining in the pan, cook the white parts of the green onion until they're softened and slightly caramelized. Remove from the pan and set aside in a small dish until needed.
Next, using an electric hand mixer (mixing by hand using a wooden spoon is ok too!), combine until smooth: the softened cream cheese, cooked bacon pieces, cooked onions, sour cream, Swiss and cheddar cheese, and the dry onion soup mix.
How to form a cheese ball:
On your countertop, lay out a sheet of plastic wrap that will be large enough to hold your cheese ball. Use your hands to form the cream cheese mixture into a ball. Be sure to scoop out as much of the cheese mixture as possible; use a spatula if you need to.
After shaping the ball, place it on top of the plastic and wrap it tight, keeping its ball shape. Place the wrapped cheese ball in the fridge to chill and firm up for at least 2 hours. For better flavor, I find that it is best to refrigerate the cheese ball overnight to give the flavors enough time to develop.
How to roll the cheese ball:
Before serving your cheese ball, on a plate, combine the crispy fried onion bits, chopped pecans, and green parts of the green onions. Remove the cheese ball from the plastic wrap and roll it in crunchy fried onion mixture until it's evenly coated.
Place the cheese ball on a large serving platter with crackers. It's ready to serve!
TIPS for the BEST Cheese Ball Recipe
& Frequently Asked Questions
Freshly Shredded vs Pre Shredded Cheese
I find freshly shredded cheese to work much better than the pre-shredded kind for best results. Pre-shredded cheese found in packages in the grocery store often contains extra ingredients like cornstarch or other ingredients that prevent the cheese from sticking together. If you add pre-shredded cheese to your cheese ball, you'll end up with a much firmer ball, which will be more difficult to spread on crackers, etc.
Allow it to rest before serving:
If your cheese ball is too firm when served, it'll be too difficult for your guests to slice off pieces to eat with their crackers and veggies. It's best to let the cheese ball stand at room temperature for 25 minutes before serving.
How long can a cheese ball be left out a party?
Because cheese balls are made from dairy ingredients, it's best to leave it out for no longer than 1 hour 30 minutes. If you'd like, you could make this recipe into two smaller-sized cheese balls so you can refrigerate one, then swap it out for the other, so they stay fresh.
How do you make a cheese ball firm?
After forming the cheese ball, the best way to make it firm is by placing it in the fridge to chill for at least two hours before serving.
This step is important in making sure that the cheese ball is firm enough to hold its shape, but also because this will give the flavors enough time to develop. I find that it's best to chill the cheese ball overnight, but if you're running short on time, 2 hours should be just enough.
How to Make Cheese ball in Advance?
To prepare your cheese ball ahead and save time, follow the instructions according to the recipe at the bottom of the page as usual. The cheese ball can be made up to a week in advance when tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator.
Don't forget that you should do the final step of rolling the cheese ball in the layer of crispy fried onion bits, pecans, and green onions, just before serving. It's important to do this step right before serving so that your crispy fried onion bits stay crispy and keep that irresistible crunch.😋
Here are some fun, easy variations and other ways to give your cheese ball some extra flavor:
- Other Seasonings: instead of using the onion soup mix in this recipe, try using other spices and such as thyme, garlic powder, minced fresh garlic, fresh chopped herbs, etc
- Other Cheeses: Try adding different kinds of shredded cheese to the cream cheese mixture. Some ideas: Pepper Jack, smoked cheddar, gouda, parmesan, etc
- Other Coatings: Here are a few ideas on what to roll a cheeseball in besides nuts:
- chopped pretzels
- crushed corn chips
- crunchy dried bread crumbs, etc ex. crushed croutons, panko breadcrumbs, etc
- grated or shredded cheeses – any kind is great but we especially enjoy sharp cheddar for its flavour and bright colour. You can mix things up and use several kinds of cheese, it's up to you!
- any varieties of nuts, chopped into small pieces. ex. almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, etc
- If you like it spicy: for a nice kick, add a little hot sauce to the cheese ball mixture
- Classic Cheese Ball: If you're looking to make more of a classic cheese ball recipe with more simple ingredients, replace the onion soup mix with ¼ tsp each of: garlic powder, onion powder. Omit the bacon bits and caramelized onions and roll in chopped pecans (or other nuts) and chopped green onions or chives.
- Different & Unusual Shapes: Your cheeseball doesn't have to be round or even sphere shaped! Here are some creative ideas on other ways to shape you cheese ball:
- Christmas and Holiday: log, wreath, snowman
- Sports/Game Day: football
- Mini cheese balls: shape into small bite sized pieces, chill, then roll in coating.
- Use bakeware as a mold: You can use a bakeware as mold to shape your cheese ball! To to this, place the mold upside down, line with plastic wrap, then pack it with the cream cheese mixture. Wrap the bottom of the mold up with plastic wrap, then refrigerate according to the recipe instructions. Remove from the mold and onto a plate, then gently coat or decorate using your hands. Some mold examples:
- loaf pan
- bundt pan
- specialty shaped cake pans ex. skull, heart, pyramid, bachelorette themed (if you giggled at this one, we're best friends now… 😂), etc
If you're interested in trying another great variation on the classic cheeseball, I'd highly recommend also trying out this delicious Pineapple Cheese Ball with Jalapenos from Everyday Southwest!
🤔 Looking for alternatives or substitutes to cream cheese?
👉 Explore this helpful guide on tasty substitutes!
How to Store Leftover Cheese Ball
If you have any leftovers, you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week. Be sure to wrap the cheeseball in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out, and place it in an air-tight container to maintain its freshness.
Can you freeze a cheese ball?
Yes, you can freeze your cheese ball! After forming the ball and wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap, place it in an air-tight container and then into the freezer for up to 1 month.
The night before you plan on serving it, place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. Once it has thawed, remove it from the plastic wrap and roll it in the outer coating of crispy fried onion bits, pecans, and green onion.
What to Serve with a Cheese Ball:
Serve your homemade cheeseball on a platter surrounded with your favorite crackers, along with a butter knife or cheese knife for spreading. Below are some more ideas on what to serve with your cheese ball:
- buttery crackers – any variety are great! I've used Ritz, Breton, Triscuits, etc
- pita chips
- tortilla chips
- to spread slices of artisan bread
- sliced vegetables such as celery, carrot sticks, peppers, cucumbers, etc
- fruits such as sliced apples, pears, etc
- Set out a plate of assorted deli meat on the table to go with your cheeseball. They compliment each other very well and it's fun for guests to top their little cheese and cracker snacks with different kinds of meats!
Try These Other Party Appetizers:
Try these other tasty appetizers!
Cheese ball ingredients:
- In a pan, cook the bacon pieces until crisp, remove from the pan and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.
- Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan, but leave about 1 tbsp to cook the onions next. To the pan, add the white parts of the chopped green onions and cook until softened and slightly caramelized. Remove from the pan, set aside in a small dish until needed.
- Using an electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese, cooked bacon pieces, cooked onions, sour cream, Swiss and Cheddar cheese, and the dry onion soup mix.
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on the counter top. This should be large enough to wrap around your formed cheese ball.
- Using your hands (clean of course!) scoop up the combined cheese ball ingredients and form them into a large ball. Place the ball on top of the plastic and wrap it tightly, making sure to keep its ball shape. Place the wrapped cheese ball in the fridge to chill and firm up for at least 2 hours. I find that it is best though, to chill the cheese ball overnight to give the flavours enough time to develop.
- Before serving your cheese ball, on a plate, combine the crispy fried onion bits, chopped pecans and green parts of the green onions. Remove the cheese ball from the plastic wrap and roll the ball in this mixture until it's evenly coated.
- Place on a large serving platter surrounded by crackers. Be sure to place a knife with it so pieces can be easily sliced off the cheese ball.
NOTE: It's important to coat the ball shortly before serving. I find that this ensures that the crispy fried onion bits stay nice and crispy for when it's served. If you decide the coat the ball for some time before serving, it's ok too! The taste will still be amazing, but the crispy onion bits will be a little less crisp.
- Category: Appetizer
Keywords: party food, appetizer, game day