This ranch cheese ball recipe is the perfect addition to any gathering. This recipe is easy, you can make it ahead of time, and you are left with delicious results. It's the a tasty holiday cheese ball you can actually make any time of year!
Who doesn't love a cheeseball?! They are the perfect spread for crackers and always please a crowd.
According to legend (which means this probably isn't true) the first cheeseball was served to Thomas Jefferson at the White House.
The cheeseball wasn't widely popular until the mid century - it kind of went along with army green appliances and shag rugs. Since then they lost the spotlight for a bit, but now they are in style again, and I can't get enough of them!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Great for parties!
- Easy to make for groups of all sizes.
- Make it in advance.
- Easy to change up the flavors!
Ingredients You Need
Whipping up this tasty appetizer is simple. All you'll need are a few things you can pick up at just about any grocery store.
- Cheese: The heart of this recipe is cream cheese and Colby jack cheese. I highly recommend buying a block cheese and grating it yourself. It will have a better texture and flavor.
- Dried herbs and spices: Parsley, dill, dehydrated chopped onion, onion salt, garlic salt, and black pepper season the cheese mixture.
- Sugar: Just a touch to balance the salt and seasonings.
- Walnuts: Use finely crushed walnuts to coat the exterior of the cheese ball.
Substitutions and Variations
- Like it spicy? Add a sprinkle of hot sauce such as tabasco or some finely diced chilies to the cream cheese mixture.
- Turn it into a Thanksgiving cheese ball or Christmas cheese ball. Mix together some finely chopped cranberries and chopped parsley with the walnuts. This adds holiday colors and flavor to the cheese ball.
- Bacon ranch cheese ball: Cook up your favorite bacon, cool and add to the cream cheese mixture with the grated cheese.
- Change up the nuts. Pecans or almonds work great too!
- Change the cheese. For bolder flavors, sharp cheddar cheese and blue cheese work great.
How to Make a Cream Cheese Ball
Let me give you the rundown. You won't believe it but you'll be done from start to finish in under 10 minutes.
- Whip your cream cheese.
- Add in the herbs and seasonings and mix until well combined.
Pro Tip: Save your arms, and use an electric mixer to mix your cream cheese. I use the paddle attachment on my kitchenaid stand mixer.
- Stir in the grated Colby jack cheese.
- Transfer the cheese ball mixture to parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Shape the cream cheese mixture into a ball with clean hands or using parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Roll the cheese ball in walnuts. Lastly, chill until you're ready to serve.
How do you serve a cheese ball?
Let's talk briefly about how to present your cheeseball. Let's face it - a ball of cheese is kind of boring.
I decided to serve mine on a cutting board in a method similar to a grazing board. You can add crackers, fruit, meats, olives, cheese slices, and other dips to the board.
It looks beautiful on the table and brings variety to your guests. They can pick and choose from a variety of appetizers, and your cheeseball is the star of it all.
Of course you will want to add some items to use for dipping up this simple cheese ball recipe. Here are some of my favorites.
- Store-bought crackers. A super easy dipper. You can select a variety of flavors and shapes to jazz up your holiday cheese ball.
- Homemade toasts or chips
- Fresh fruit and veggies. Grapes look amazing, but also consider adding some apple slices, cucumber slices, and veggie sticks which work great to scoop up some of the easy cheese ball to eat.
- Pretzel sticks
- Chill the cheese ball before serving. The flavors develop as it sits making it taste even better.
- Make sure the walnuts are chopped finely or crushed. You can do this by hand or put them in a food processor to speed things up. The smaller pieces will more easily stick to the cream cheese ball.
- Use block cheese and grate it yourself. Shredded cheese has cellulose added to it which I think affects the flavor and texture of the cheese.
We are using dried herbs rather than fresh, so your cheeseball will keep in the fridge for about a week and a half. That is - if it isn't eaten before then! Just be sure to wrap it really well so it doesn't dry out.
Yes! Wrap your cheeseball tightly in plastic wrap and freeze if for up to 4 months! When you're ready to serve - transfer it to your fridge and let it thaw overnight. This makes for an easy appetizer in a pinch.
Make it up to a week in advance or further if you plan to freeze it. Just hold off on rolling it in the nuts until right before serving.
More Easy Party Appetizers
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Easy Ranch Cheeseball Recipe
- Using an electric mixer, cream cream cheese until softened.
- Add parsley, dill, chopped onion, onion salt, garlic salt, black pepper, and sugar. Mix until well combined.
- Stir in shredded cheese.
- Transfer to a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and form into a ball.
- Roll in walnuts until the outside is completely covered.
- Chill for 60 minutes.
- Serve with crackers, veggies, and meats.