These assorted mini cheese balls look super pretty and are a cinch to make. Serve with crackers and mini toasts and have a fancy snack night at home or serve it on a platter to impress the guests at a party.
One of my favorite appetizers to make are these mini cheese balls. They are made with cream cheese and coated in spices and herbs. They are super easy to make and look super pretty. They can also be made in advance, so are a perfect snack and appetizer for a party, get together with friends or family, or a fancy dinner at home.
How to make a mini cheese ball:
- Make the cream cheese filling: Take out the cream cheese out of the refrigerator, and let it soften. Once it’s soft, beat it will smooth and creamy, and add the seasonings.
- Form the mini cheese balls: Use a tablespoon and your hands to form the mixture into small balls. Spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray or drizzle a few drops of oil to prevent the cream cheese from sticking. Instead of mini cheese balls, one large cheese ball can also be formed. In case the cream cheese is too soft to handle, keep in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or so to firm up.
- Coat the cheese ball: The mini cheese balls can be coated in whatever spices, nuts and herbs you prefer. The mini cheese balls can be coated in one mixture, but I prefer using a combination of options so people can select what they like. The assorted flavors also look super pretty on the table, and can be used to give a festive look at a holiday party.
- Chill: Cover the mini cheese balls with cling wrap lightly, and place in an airtight container and refrigerate. It’s best to serve them on the day of making them, but they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Just take them out of the refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving so the cheese can soften slightly.
What to serve with cheese balls:
These mini cheese balls can be served with any (or all) of the following items. Use the cheese balls as part of a grazing platter or put them on a platter on their own with the appropriate sides.
- Mini toasts
- Raw vegetables / crudites (carrots and cucumbers)
- Mini bagels
- Pita bread
Make sure that there is a butter knife or a cheese spreading knife kept next to the platter. The cream cheese is soft, but not soft enough to dip crackers in.
In case you have any leftover cheese balls, you can use them as a spread on toast for breakfast, or sandwich for lunch.
Looking for more appetizer inspiration for festive holiday parties – check out the following:
- Chicken and mushroom mini quiches
- Bakery style chicken patties (chicken pies in puff pastry)
- Roasted vegetable salad with halloumi – this make ahead salad looks super festive for a holiday party gathering
- Chicken mince samosa
- Bakery style vegetable patties (potato and pea pies in puff pastry)
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Assorted Mini Cheese Balls
For the mini cheese balls
- 150 grams cream cheese softened (see note 1)
- 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese grated (see note 2)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Onion and Garlic (see note 3 for more options)
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Italian Herbs and Chili
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed almonds
- Mini toasts, crackers, pita bread, raw vegetables etc.
In a medium ball, beat softened cream cheese till fluffy (about 1 minute) using an electric hand whisk. Add grated cheddar in the cream cheese.
Add seasonings and mix until combined with a spoon. Adjust seasonings if required.
Keep in fridge for 20 minutes.
Spray your hands with a non-stick baking spray, or lightly grease with oil. This will prevent the cream cheese for sticking to hands. Using a teaspoon or a cookie scoop, form balls of the mixture and then roll in your hands. Keep the prepared balls on wax paper, and keep in fridge for about 10 minutes.
Place the coating mixtures into 3 small bowls. Place the dried onion flakes, and garlic powder together, and mix. Place the Italian herbs, red chili flakes and red chili powder together, and mix. Place the crushed almonds in the third bowl. Roll the cheese balls in the different coatings. This recipe will make about 9 cream cheese balls, so there will be 3 cheese balls of each coating.
Cover the cheese balls with clingfilm lightly, and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Keep the cheese balls in fridge until ready to serve. Take them out 10 minutes before serving.
Note 1 – Cream Cheese Options
Use a good quality block cream cheese for this recipe. Make sure it is softened, else it will be too difficult to work with.
Blocks and triangles of cream cheese can also be used (such as Kiri and President brand) but the salt content may need to be adjusted. They are also on the softer side, so can be used directly without needing to be kept outside.
Cream cheese spread cannot be used for this recipe.
Note 2 – Cheddar Cheese Options
It’s best to grate your own cheddar cheese for this recipe, instead of using pre-grated cheddar cheese. The pre-grated variety can have a powdery coating, and can also be difficult to mix through. In case cheddar cheese isn’t available, it can be skipped.
Note 3 – Other coating options included
- Paprika – both normal paprika or smoked paprika can be used
- Finely chopped/crushed walnuts or other nuts like almonds, pistachios, pecans or peanuts.
- Dried Italian Herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, rosemar etc.
- Fresh Italian herbs such as thyme, oregano, rosemary etc. These need to be chopped finely.
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Shredded coconut or coconut flakes. The coconut can be toasted for a nuttier flavor and added color as well.
If the cream cheese mixture is too soft to roll into balls, keep in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm it up.