Mini Cheese Balls

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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.

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Mini cheese balls on plate up close

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 that make a great holiday party food 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.

Ingredients

Ingredients for mini cheese balls
  • Softened cream cheese
  • Shredded cheese (any cheddar blend)
  • Mayonnaise
  • 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 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.

Cheddar, cream cheese and mayo in glass bowl

Step 2. Move the 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.

Ingredients for cheese balls mixed together

Step 4. Finely chop the pecans, bacon, and parsley and mix them together in a shallow bowl or dish.

Cheese ball coating ingredients mixed together on plate

Step 5. Roll the cheese 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.

Mini cheese balls in plate with parchment paper

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, cheese balls do not freeze well. The texture changes when they’re thawed so it’s best to serve them when freshly made.

Mini cheeseballs on white plate with red towel nearby
Can Cheese Balls Be Made Ahead?

Absolutely! You can make and refrigerate this mini cheese ball appetizer for up to a couple of days, until ready to serve.

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.

Mini cheese balls with pretzel sticks

Variations and Add-ins

Pretzels: These taste delicious on pretzel thins too! You can also place them on pita chips 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 other chopped nuts or even 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.

Mini cheese balls on plate with red towel

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.

Mini cheese ball with bite taken out

Want More Great Party Appetizer Recipes?

Mini cheese balls recipe card
4.95 from 55 votes

Mini Cheese Balls


Course Appetizer, Appetizer / Party Food, Appetizer / Party Recipe, Appetizers/Party Foods
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chilling time 15 minutes
These savory Mini Cheese Balls are filled with flavor and make the perfect bite-sized appetizer for holiday celebrations, game day parties and more!

Equipment

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the 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.

Notes

You can use a 1-inch cookie scoop to make the cheese balls more evenly sized.

Nutrition

Serving: 2balls | Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.004g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 395IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 0.3mg
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try these. Can I make them a day ahead of time?

    1. You can but just be sure to wait and add the pretzels just before serving so that they’ll keep their crunch.

  2. 4 stars
    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 .

    1. Great tip! You’re absolutely right…it’s best to add the pretzels just before serving. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. The ingredients say 12 oz cream cheese, the photo shows 2 packages which is 16 ounces and the directions say 1 brick which is 8 ounces of cream cheese. What is the correct amount of cream cheese?

    1. Hi Karen,
      The recipe card is correct…it’s 12 ounces of cream cheese, which is a block and a half. I just corrected the wording in the post and I appreciate you pointing that out. I’m so sorry for any confusion!

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