I love weird holidays, and I think I may have found the most unique one yet: National Cheeseball Day. I kid you not—it’s April 17th! There appears to be some confusion about whether we’re talking the delicious, not-found-in-nature-orange, cheesy snack, or the balls made of soft cheese and served with crackers, chips, or veggies. It’s all cheese and it’s all good, so celebrate how you want. Since I haven’t been able to figure out how to make own crunchy, cheesy snack, here are 11 addictive cheeseball recipes of the soft variety to get you started. You’re bound to find at least one that’s so addictive you just can’t stop eating it!
Classic Cheeseball: Let’s start with the basic cheeseball: cream cheese, cheddar, nuts, check. Serve with your favorite crackers, or go crazy and try some pretzel thins or something.
Aged-Cheddar and Port Cheeseballs: Even though the “classic” cheeseball is cream cheese and cheddar based, I always see it in my head as that pink and orange port wine cheese spread covered in almonds. Leave it to Martha Stewart to dress up my memory in fancy new clothes and make it suitable for a rare adults-only party.
Blue and Maple Cheeseball: One of the things I appreciate in my five-year-old is her sophisticated taste in food. Okay, in some food; the kid loves her some McNuggets. But she also loves fine dark chocolate and fancy cheese, including blue cheeses. At first glance, this cheeseball that incorporates a sharp blue cheese may seem a bit much for your kids, but they just might surprise you.
Bacon Ranch Cheeseball: Bacon and ranch are a fabulous flavor combo. If you’re going to indulge in cheese, you may as well go all the way and incorporate the not-so-good-for-you deliciousness that is bacon and ranch. Instead of crackers, think about serving this cheeseball with a sturdy thick-cut potato chip for a fun loaded baked potato twist.
Mini Cheeseballs on a Stick: Remember how I said that it’s hard for kids to resist any food once you jam it on a stick? Well, it’s pretty unlikely that they’re not willing to eat cheese, but just in case—or to add extra fun to this appetizer/snack—here’s a recipe for mini cheeseballs on a (pretzel) stick. I also appreciate that, while the recipe calls for blue cheese, the author has offered substitutions for folks who aren’t fans.
Mini Cheeseballs: These little cheeseballs aren’t on a stick. (Although they could be! Or you could serve them on a cracker.) What I like about this recipe is that it uses one cheese filling, but lots of toppings. It makes for a pretty dish, but also one that provides a variety of flavors. Whether you’re making each person’s favorites or introducing some new flavors while serving some reliable family hits, there’s a lot of opportunity here.
Pineapple Pecan Cheeseball: If you can put pineapple on a pizza (yeah, I went there), it stands to reason that you can put it in a savory cheeseball. It might be fun to have bite-size ham slices to add to the crackers when you serve this one.
Chipped Beef Cheeseball: Are you looking for a way to incorporate a meat that’s not bacon into your cheeseball? Enter the chipped beef cheeseball (made with chopped dried beef). For a meat-free version, the recipe author suggests using chopped walnuts. Probably the best part, though, is that this recipe is meant to be mixed using your hands—what a fun, messy way to get the kids involved in the kitchen!
Curried Cheeseball with Fruit: I’m beginning to think there is nothing that cream cheese can’t do! Here it’s seasoned with curry and mixed with dried fruits. Serve as suggested with apples and pears, or try plain or flavored pita chips.
Snickers Cheeseball: Cheeseballs for dessert? Yes! (And there is really cheese in there—I checked.) Take a walk on the sweet side and give this recipe a try.
Strawberry Cheeseball Bites: This recipe was good enough with the strawberries, cream cheese, and graham crackers—but then I discovered that there’s a chocolate-covered version, too. Yum! You pick what sounds best (or make both), but I know which one’s got my vote! Then again, you could roll the cheeseballs in a mix of mini chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs…hmmm…
Happy National Cheeseball Day, all!