Cheese Ball Bites make a terrific Holiday appetizer. These mini cheese balls are the first thing to get gobbled up at any gathering and takes only 15 minutes to make.
Christmas Mini Cheese Balls
Full of pecans, cinnamon and dried cranberries, this recipe has a bit of delicious sweetness. Everyone knows that cheese balls are always an appetizer favorite. At my house it’s the first thing people gravitate to. These mini cheese balls are great because everyone isn’t dipping into the same ball. Everyone just gets their own!
We especially love making these cheese ball bites for Christmas and New Year’s Eve – also great for Game Day!
Ingredients You Need:
- Goat Cheese: you can get fresh goat cheese logs in the specialty cheese section of the grocery store.
- Pecans: you will want to chop the pecans either finely or coarsely, whatever you prefer. The pecans will be cooked with the brown sugar and butter to create candied pecans.
- Butter: the butter is melted and used to the candy coating for the pecans.
- Brown Sugar: this is added to sweeten the pecans.
- Salt: just a pinch.
- Dried Cranberries: not only the perfect flavor match to these cheeseballs, but makes them look “Christmasy”.
- Cinnamon: adds a nice flavor to the pecans that are rolled on the outside.
- Chopped Parsley: this adds a nice flavor and also looks nice with the green and red cranberries for the Holidays.
- Pretzel Sticks: optional
How To Make Cheese Ball Bites
- Cut the goat cheese to make small discs and set them aside.
- Make the candied pecans.
- Mix chopped cranberries, parsley and pecans to a small bowl.
- Press goat cheese slices into the mixture and form into little balls.
- Repeat for each disc of cheese then press a pretzel stick on the top for easy serving.
What To Serve With Cheese Ball Bites
The usual assortment of crackers works perfect with these.
- Ritz crackers
- Triscuits – any flavor.
- Bagel Chips
- Club crackers
I also like to put pretzel sticks in the tops of the mini cheeseballs as a little “handle” to easily grab them for serving.
Make-Ahead and Storing
- Make-Ahead: These cheese ball bites are perfect to make the night before and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight to chill. I like to serve them best chilled in the fridge, so I can just pop them out when ready and then stick the pretzel stick in them right before I am ready to serve.
- Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Remove the pretzel sticks before storing. They will get soggy if stored in the fridge.
- Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing. The consistency of the cheese mixture does not thaw well. These are best served fresh.
Bacon Ranch Cheese Balls: Mix 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with 3/4 cups of white cheddar cheese. Add in 1- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of ranch mix. Shape the cream cheese mixture into mini cheeseball bites and cover in bacon bits.
Here are so add-in options for the mixture and for rolling…
- Flax Seeds
- Any Dried Fruit
- Bacon Bits
- Any Shredded Cheese
- Green Onion
- Any Nuts – like walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc…
- Herbs: we have used Parsley, Chives, Basil, etc…. depending on the other ingredients.
The fruit works well with goat cheese and the bacon goes well with the cream cheese/ranch mixture. Just experiment with whatever you prefer.
Add pretzel sticks in the top for easy serving.
More Cheese Ball Recipes
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
- Remove the cheese from its wrapper and cut into 8-10 discs. Set aside.
- Heat a small pan to medium heat and melt your butter. Once the butter starts to bubble, add the pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
- Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often and pour over a large sheet of parchment paper in a thin layer. Allow to cool until the candy coating hardens.
- Fold the parchment paper in half, trapping the nuts and crush with a meat tenderizer. Chop the rest with a knife until minced.
- Finely chop the cranberries and add to the pecans. Combine pecans, cranberries, and parsley on a plate or cutting board.
- Take a goat cheese disk and press into the pecan coating on each side, then roll into a ball.
- Coat again as needed by rolling the completed ball in the mixture once more. Repeat for each disc of cheese.
- Add a pretzel stick in the top for easy serving (optional).