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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!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 270kcal


  • 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


  • 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.


  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.


Serving: 3balls | Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 845IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 219mg | Iron: 1mg