Savory Mini Cheese Balls are fun to make, extremely versatile, and always look and taste fabulous. They’re the perfect size for spreading on a cracker or two, and add a nice pop of color to any holiday table.

Mini cheese balls on a platter with crackers and crostini.

These little single-serving cheese balls have to be one of the cutest and most efficient ways to feed a group. They’re so easy to make ahead of time, too. Just roll them around in a bunch of crunchy, herby, nutty toppings and pop them in the fridge to cool.

Everyone helps themselves, finds a cocktail, and the party goes on.

Recipe ingredients:

Mini cheese balls ingredient shot.

Ingredient notes:

  • Cream cheese: Solid blocks of cream cheese work well in this recipe, but let them warm up to room temperature before starting.
  • Havarti: Mild and buttery, shredded Havarti is an ideal pick for these bite-sized appetizers. Or substitute gouda (maybe a smoked one) or Swiss cheese.
  • Toppings: I picked toppings that were also colorful and festive for the holidays: sun-dried tomatoes, a dill-and-chive mixture, and ground walnuts. You could also try bacon bits, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, sesame seeds, other fresh herbs like basil or parsley.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Mix the shredded cheese and cream cheese together until well blended. Spoon out small rounds using a teaspoon or cookie scoop, and place them next to each other on a plate or cookie sheet, something that will fit in the refrigerator. Let the cheese chill for at least 30 minutes before adding the toppings.
    Mini cheese balls being assembled.
  2. Fill separate bowls with the toppings you want to use. When the cheese balls are firm to the touch, roll them in one topping, carefully pressing the minced ingredients into the cheese to adhere. Return them to the tray and keep cold until serving time.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Yield: One batch of the recipe makes 18 to 20 small cheese balls. I assume a serving is 3 balls (because won’t everyone want to try all 3 flavors?)
  • Make ahead: You can and should make these ahead, up to 2 days before you need them.
  • Storage: Keep the cheese in the refrigerator until the guests arrive.
  • Chilling: Very important. Some of the toppings, especially the sun-dried tomatoes, need to be pressed into the mixture to really stick. If your cheese is still room-temperature, you’ll just be mashing soft cheese around in your hands. Let the cheese firm up a bit before pressing on the outer coating.
  • Pretzel sticks: Some savvy hosts stick a thin pretzel stick in the center of each cheese ball for grab-and-go convenience.
  • Use the food processor: Big batches of mini cheese balls are easy to whip up in a food processor, shredded cheese, and all.

Mini cheese balls on a platter with crackers and crostini.

More bite-sized delights to make and share:

Mini cheese balls on a platter with crackers and crostini.

Mini Cheese Balls

Perfectly portioned and flavored with three different toppings, these mini cheese balls are easy, delicious, and perfect for the holidays!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Calories 270

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened (see note 1)
  • 6 ounces Havarti cheese shredded (see note 2)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as chives and parsley (see note 3)
  • 1/4 cup dry sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped, or walnut meal
  • Crostini and crackers, for serving

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and Havarti cheese until blended. Using a tablespoon or a medium scoop, place small mounds of cheese mixture on a plate or baking sheet (you should have 18 to 20 cheese balls). Roll into balls and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place herbs, tomatoes, and walnuts each in their own bowl. When the cheese is chilled, drop a ball into a mixture and roll until evenly coated. Arrange on a platter. Repeat until all the cheese balls are coated.
  • Cover and chill until serving time or serve immediately with crackers or crostini.

Notes

  1. Cream cheese: Solid blocks of cream cheese work well in this recipe, but let them warm up to room temperature before starting.
  2. Havarti: Mild and buttery, shredded Havarti is an ideal pick for these bite-sized appetizers. Or substitute gouda (maybe a smoked one) or Swiss cheese.
  3. Toppings: I picked toppings that were also colorful and festive for the holidays: sun-dried tomatoes, a dill-and-chive mixture, and ground walnuts. You could also try bacon bits, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, sesame seeds, other fresh herbs like basil or parsley.
  4. Yield: One batch of the recipe makes 18 to 20 small cheese balls. I assume a serving is 3 balls (because won't everyone want to try all 3 flavors?)
  5. Make ahead: You can and should make these ahead, up to 2 days before you need them.
  6. Storage: Keep the cheese in the refrigerator until the guests arrive.
  7. Chilling: Very important. Some of the toppings, especially the sun-dried tomatoes, need to be pressed into the mixture to really stick. If your cheese is still room-temperature, you'll just be mashing soft cheese around in your hands. Let the cheese firm up a bit before pressing on the outer coating.
  8. Pretzel sticks: Some savvy hosts stick a thin pretzel stick in the center of each cheese ball for grab-and-go convenience.
  9. Use the food processor: Big batches of mini cheese balls are easy to whip up in a food processor, shredded cheese, and all.

Nutrition

Serving: 3ballsCalories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 11gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 347mgPotassium: 250mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 845IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 219mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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