A tasty ranch and cream cheese dip appetizer rolled in bacon, nuts, and green onions. A savory and flavorful cheese dish to serve on a charcuterie board.
Cheese balls are a great holiday treat for every family. I remember when I was much younger and living in Wisconsin, my dad would always buy his family homemade cheese balls from our local, family owned grocery store. As a child I did not have the pallet for this type of bite. As an adult, I have given cheese balls another go around, by making my own. I hate to toot my own horn, but this is unparalleled.
I can recall my grandfather always enjoying the cheese balls my father would buy. Apparently, they were not as good in Memphis, TN as they were from Milwaukee, WI. It makes sense though considering the fact that people always reference WI as the cheese and beer state!
HOW TO MAKE RANCH CHEESE BALL
- Soften cream cheese
- Beat in seasoning powders
- Cover and refrigerate for one hours
- Shape into a ball and roll into plastic wrap
- refrigerate for two hours or until ready to serve
- Roll in chopped bacon, parsley, green onions, pecans until mixture is covered.
- Serve with crackers or vegetables.
This is an incredibly easy, fast and inexpensive party favor you can bring to someone else’s table. Cheese balls make a great addition to big celebrations and holidays like, New Years, Mardi Gras, Easter, Memorial Day, Forth of July, Labor day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. They last quite awhile when stored properly in a refrigerator.
CRACK CHEESE BALL INGREDIENTS
■ CREAM CHEESE: For best results, I recommend a semi soft cream cheese. Semi soft cream cheese will be easy to combine with the other ingredients.
TIP: Cut into cubes and microwave for one minute. This will make it much easier to whip in the seasoning and roll.
■ SEASONING: Combine, dry ranch powder seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and mustard to make the same elaborate seasoning used in these photos.
■ BACON: Bacon is an absolute must in a cheeseball. Maybe not a must, but for me, I would always be craving bacon if it were absent. I recommend using top shelf bacon because they typically come trusted local farms.
■ HERBS: Very finely chopped parsley adds a amiable and earthy taste.
■ CRACKERS: Pick a favorite cracker of yours, because pretty much any delicious cracker will work. You can go wild by adding different flavors of cracker but for me I go with basic generic butter crackers.
CHEESE DIP QUESTIONS AND TIPS
How long can I leave the cheese ball out? Do not leave out for more than two hours.
How long does a cheese ball last? One to two weeks when stored correctly.
Is the cheese ball easy to make? Yes. Work with the semi soft cream cheese and refrigerate for one hour. Roll into a ball when semi hard and cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until solid. Once solid the cheese ball is ready to be rolled in your garnishes.
Does a cheese ball make a great party favor? This cheese ball? You might as well call this a Crack Cheese ball because everyone at the party is going to be asking for more once this recipe runs out! Nothing beats bacon, ranch, and cheese combined in one delicious bite.
HOW TO SERVE A HOMEMADE CREAM CHEESE BALL
- Pretzels: TIP: For small bite size appetizers, roll smaller, cookie scoop (1 tbsp) balls and pierce with a pretzel stick.
- Pita bread
- Mini bagels
- Summer sausage
To add spiciness, mix in chopped jalapenos, hot sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, or sriracha.
Serve a homemade cheese ball on a charcuterie board with dried fruits such as pineapple, apricots, and, cranberries, and fresh fruits like raspberries, pears, strawberries, and grapes. Meats such as salami, prosciutto, and summer sausage pair well with a variety of cheeses and fruits. Fresh mozzarella slices or balls, and aged cheeses along with artisan breads and homemade dipping olive oils and crackers may also be popular among guests.
A holiday appetizer that’s perfect to serve with a glass of champagne. Be sure to pair the cheese ball with a cheese spreading knife.
HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING: Shape the ball into different holiday shapes for special events like footballs games, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter.
Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball
- 24 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 oz ranch seasoning dry powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dry yellow mustard
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 8 sliced bacon finely chopped
- ⅓ cup pecans finely ground
- 6 green onions diced
- crackers or vegetables, to serve
- Beat cream cheese, ranch powder, onion, garlic, mustard, and red pepper flakes until smooth. TIP: Microwave cream cheese for 1 minute to soften.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate 2 hours.
- Place cheese on center of plastic wrap in a round shape.
- Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Shape cream cheese into a ball by patting it into a circle with the plastic wrap on.
- Mix together chopped bacon, parsley, green onions, and pecans into a bowl.
- Roll cheese ball in mixture until covered.
- Serve with crackers and vegetables.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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