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These savory Mini Cheese Balls are a delicious bite-sized appetizer that are perfect for Christmas, New Year’s Eve or parties any time of year. These little bites are flavorful, easy to customize and are as much fun to make as they are to eat.
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
Everyone knows that a large traditional cheese ball is a classic party appetizer that makes a delicious showstopper at holiday parties, game days, or just about any event. Now we’re taking the classic appetizer and making it mini!
The great thing about mini cheese ball bites is they take all the things you love about the full-size ones and deliver them on a fun and easy to serve pretzel stick! These incredible cheesy and nutty bites are loaded with flavor. With a super creamy, cheesy center and a crunchy outside, they’re appetizer perfection.
The best part is, they’re made with just a handful of simple ingredients and require little prep time. Add them to a serving tray with these easy Bisquick Sausage Balls, and Bacon Wrapped Sausage Bites and your appetizer menu is complete!
💖 Why We Love This Recipe
Easy: They’re super easy appetizers for any holiday party and require minimal prep work.
Flavor: Salty bacon, cheese and crunchy pecans…need I say more? These creamy nuggets are total flavor bombs.
Great make-ahead recipe: You can prepare ahead of time and simply take them out of the fridge when you’re ready to serve them.
- Softened cream cheese
- Shredded cheese (any cheddar blend)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Finely chopped pecans
- Bacon bits, or small bacon crumble pieces
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Pretzel sticks
📖 How to Make Mini Cheeseballs
Step 1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the block of cream cheese, shredded cheese, mayonnaise, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Note: This takes a couple of minutes but keep folding the mixture until everything is well combined and it has a creamy texture.
Step 2. Move the cream cheese mixture to the refrigerator to chill for about 15-20 minutes. This helps the cheese firm up enough to roll.
Step 3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Step 4. Finely chop the pecans, bacon, and parsley and mix them together in a shallow bowl or dish.
Step 5. Roll the cheese mixture into 1 inch balls and roll balls to coat the outside of the cheese balls with the pecan bacon mixture. Place them onto the parchment paper.
Tip: The best way to get even sized balls is to use a 1-inch cookie scoop if you have one.
Step 6. Place a pretzel stick into the center of each of the mini balls.
Step 7. Chill the cheese balls covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container until ready to serve.
How Do I Store These Cheese Ball Bites?
To store: For leftovers, remove the pretzel stick and place them in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.
To freeze: Unfortunately, mini cheese balls do not freeze well. The texture changes when they’re thawed so it’s best to serve them when freshly made.
Absolutely! You can make up the cream cheese mixture and store it in the fridge for up to a couple of days.
You can also go head and roll out the balls, coat them and stick them in the fridge covered with plastic wrap until party time. Wait until right before serving before sticking the pretzel in them to prevent it from getting too soft.
Variations and Add-ins
Pretzels: Instead of serving them with a pretzel stick, you can place them on pita chips, pretzel thins or in mini phyllo pastry cups.
Cheese: You can use just about any type or combination of shredded cheese you like. Pepper jack, sharp cheddar cheese and Monterey jack are all popular choices.
Add some kick: If you like your cheese balls a little spicy, add a pinch of red pepper flakes, hot sauce or cayenne pepper to the cream cheese mixture.
Fresh herbs: Give them a variety of flavors by adding fresh herbs. A little bit of finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme works great with the other flavors. Green onion is another tasty option.
Pecans: Instead of rolling them in pecans you can use chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds or sunflower seeds.
Sweet and savory: Finely diced dried fruit or dried cranberries give the cheese balls a wonderful sweet and savory combination. Sun-dried tomatoes are naturally sweet and adds great flavor as well.
Smoky flavor: Add a small pinch of smoke paprika or Worcestershire sauce to the cream cheese mixture for a mild smoky flavor.
Why are My Cheese Balls Too Soft?
If your cream cheese mixture is too soft to roll into balls, it might have been left out at room temperature too long. A little more time in the fridge will help all the ingredients mesh together & makes the cheese firm up so it’s easy to shape into small balls.
If it is still too soft, add a little more shredded cheese.
Can I Make These Ahead Of Time
Yes, if you’re trying to save some time, feel free to make these ahead of time. Just wait to add the pretzels until you’re ready to serve so that they keep their crunch.
Can I Leave Out The Bacon?
To make this mini cheese balls recipe meat-free, you can simply omit the bacon. To replace it, try using additional pecans or even add some finely diced dried cranberries.
Want More Great Party Appetizer Recipes?
- Baked Jalapeno Poppers
- 7 Layer Dip Cups
- Fried Goat Cheese
- Sausage Puff Pastry with Peppers & Onions
- Sausage Dip
- Hot Corn Dip
- Black Bean & Corn Salsa
- Avocado Deviled Eggs with Bacon & Blue Cheese
- Easy Brie & Prosciutto Appetizer
- Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
- Creamy Pickle Dip
Mini Cheese Balls
- 12 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1 cup shredded cheese any cheddar blend
- 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- ¼ cup bacon bits or small bacon crumble pieces
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley chopped
- 20 pretzel sticks
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the block of cream cheese, shredded cheese, mayonnaise, onion powder, and garlic powder. This takes a couple of minutes but keep folding the mixture until everything is well combined and it has a creamy texture.12 oz. cream cheese, 1 cup shredded cheese, 3 tbsp. mayonnaise, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Move the cream cheese mixture to the refrigerator to chill for about 15-20 minutes. This helps the cheese firm up enough to roll.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Finely chop the pecans, bacon, and parsley and mix them together in a shallow bowl or dish.1 cup finely chopped pecans, ¼ cup bacon bits, 2 tbsp. fresh parsley
- Roll the cheese mixture into 1 inch balls and roll balls to coat the outside of the cheese balls with the pecan bacon mixture. Place them onto the parchment paper.
- Place a pretzel stick into the center of each of the mini balls.20 pretzel sticks
- Chill the cheese balls covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Can’t wait to try these. Can I make them a day ahead of time?
You can but just be sure to wait and add the pretzels just before serving so that they’ll keep their crunch.
My pretzels got soggy when chillin in the frig overnight. So don’t add your pretzels til you are ready to serve. Other than that, these are very good .
Great tip! You’re absolutely right…it’s best to add the pretzels just before serving. Thanks so much for sharing!