This super easy cheese ball keeps it simple with the basics and a slightly smoky taste. Great for serving as-is or using it as a base for your own creation!
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About Easy Smoky Cheese Ball
Cheese balls have a long history (dating all the way back 1800s), and for good reason: they add a fun, retro flair to any party or gathering.
I’ve been experimenting with making more of these fun appetizers lately, and this easy cheese ball is quickly turning into my go-to. Whether we just need a quick snack or movie night in or if I need a base for a more complex recipe, this basic recipe is tasty on its own or ideal for getting creative with other flavors.
What can you serve with a cheese ball?
When it comes to party dips, there are so many fun options for dipping! I tend to think a good, firm cracker works best for cheese balls, but you could use a variety of firm veggies or baked breads as well.
Try any (or many) of the options below and see which you like best:
- Pita chips
- Ritz crackers
- Saltine crackers
- Wheat thins
- Crispy baked bread
- Sliced cucumbers
- Celery sticks
- Carrots, large sliced or baby
- Tortilla chips
- Sliced squash
- Sliced zucchini
How long can you leave out a cheese ball?
Whenever you serve a dip for your guests to enjoy, you should always keep track of how long it sits at room temperature.
For most foods, the general rule of thumb is that a perishable item should not be in the “danger zone” for more than two hours. And by “danger zone”, this is usually at or just above room temperature. This cheese ball will still be a little chilled when served, and this should give you an extra 30 minutes beyond the two-hour window, depending on the temperature of the room and how long ago the cheese ball left the refrigerator.
As the party goes on, you can return the cheese ball to the refrigerator once you get past the two-hour mark. If your guests still want more dip, let it chill for at least 30 minutes before bringing it back out again.
Can you make a cheese ball in advance?
One of the most common questions I get about dips and cheese balls is whether or not you can make them in advance. And I totally get it – it’s way easier to prepare treats for a party the night before than scrambling to get everything done the day of the event.
And the good news here is that yes, you totally can make a cheese ball in advance! In fact, they’re ideal for it.
Just follow the recipe directions as written, but once the cheese ball is prepared, you can either wrap it again in plastic wrap (highly recommend, so the coating stays on) or you can store the cheese ball in a sealed container. Transfer the cheese ball to the refrigerator and store for up to two to three days.
Can you freeze a cheese ball?
Yes, you totally can!
To freeze, just wrap the prepared cheese ball in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. The cheese ball should remain good for one to two months.
When ready to eat, just allow the cheese ball to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Notes & tips for this simple cheese ball recipe
- For preparing and storing a cheese ball, make sure you have some plastic wrap on hand. It makes a huge difference!
More great tasty dips
How to make an easy cheese ball
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 2 – Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, then scoop the cheese ball mixture into the center. Lift up the sides of the plastic wrap and thoroughly wrap and cover the mixture, forming it into a ball.
Step 3 – Chill the cheese ball in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Step 4 – On a clean work surface, spread out the chopped pecans. Unwrap the cheese ball and place on top of the pecans, then use your hands to cover and press the pecans into the outside of the cheese ball.
Step 5 – Place on a serving plate with crackers and enjoy!
Smoky Cheese Ball
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface, then scoop the cheese ball mixture in the center. Pull up the sides of the plastic wrap to cover the cheese mixture, confining it to the middle. Once completely wrapped in plastic, use your hands to smooth the cheese into a ball shape. If needed, use another piece of plastic wrap to secure it.
- Place wrapped cheese ball in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 to 3 hours.
- When ready to serve, spread out chopped pecans on a flat surface. Roll the cheese ball in pecans, using your fingers to press and stick the pecans to the cheese.
- Serve smoky cheese ball immediately with crackers for dipping.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I'm not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.