This appetizer duo will be a hit at your next cookout or party. Two kinds of cheeseballs that are packed with flavor and lots of great texture. They are easy to make ahead of time and are the perfect small-bite treats!
Easy and Delicious Cheese Ball Duo!
There is nothing better in my opinion than walking into a party and seeing a cheese ball tray with dippers or crackers. I don’t know about you but when I see them, I’m so ready to chow down!
So when I’m planning my cookouts or parties I always ensure I have a cheese tray or a board filled with cheese balls for my guests (and myself of course).
Homemade cheese balls are totally customizable, and you can make them exactly the way you like them. Oh, and the best part about these mini cheese balls is they are so easy.
Once you make it at home you won’t ever want another store-bought! Trust me, you need to make these soon!
But keep in mind that because they are simple and easy to make it’s so important to use good quality ingredients in each of these two flavors, so your final products will taste amazing.
Mini Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Balls
This Bacon Cheddar Ranch variety is made up of a few basic ingredients that most of us have in our fridges and pantry.
If not, they are easy to find at any grocery store, so no worries if you have to run out and buy ingredients.
I like to start with good-quality bacon and cook it until crispy. Make sure it isn’t any of the varieties that are maple or brown sugar cured. You don’t want any sweetness in these savory bites.
Along with the bacon, you’ll need a nice block of cheddar cheese that you can cut off a piece to shred up.
Shredding your own cheese will result in the best flavors and you can avoid any of the powdering fillers in the cheese that may also alter the texture of the cheese ball.
Okay, so we have your two main flavor components, now you’ll need to add a little more flavor with a Ranch seasoning.
Paring this seasoning with bacon and cheddar is classic, kind of like pb & j, so it is a favorite of mine and one you may have seen me use often. Like in this Bacon Ranch Cauliflower Salad!
You can totally skip the ranch seasoning if you wish, but I think it really does add some great flavor to these cheesy little balls.
I love to mix up my own ranch seasonings to avoid fillers, and I use this Keto Ranch Dressing Mix recipe from Megan, over at Mad Creations, but just grab a store-bought mix if that floats your cheese boat.
So that’s the ingredients that your mix into half of that cream cheese base mixture, now all that is left is chopping up some nuts for the outside.
I buy my nuts in bulk from Country Life Foods since I use them so often and they are a great source of healthy fats.
I prefer Country Life’s walnut pieces with little cheese ball appetizers but of course, you could use pecans or any nut of your choice.
You can now see just how simple the ingredients are so you’ll also be thrilled to learn that all you do is toss the filling ingredients together, roll, and chill.
I mean, come on, it is almost too simple to call a recipe, right? Anyone can make these and trust me, they will impress your guests!
Mini Olive and Feta Cheese Balls
This mini cheese ball flavor is my all-time favorite. It has some amazing flavors that pack a punch and the beautiful green color of these olive and feta mini cheese balls really brightens up your party tray.
Just like their counterparts, the Bacon Cheddar Ranch cheese balls, this flavor variety contains all ingredients that are simple to find and mix up.
I will admit that this cheese ball might be one that your guests aren’t as familiar with as they are with the other one, but it is so good and a great way to freshen their pallets after the heaviness of the bacon and cheddar.
You start with that creamy base of cream cheese and when those green olives are added in they bring an amazing brininess that helps cut the richness of the cream cheese and feta.
If you don’t like green olives you could totally swap them out for black olives. You won’t get that same bright note in the flavor, but let’s face it any olive is a good olive and would be delicious!
For the Feta, make sure you get a good quality one and if possible get it in block form and just crumble some yourself.
Just as we said with the cheddar in the past section, there is just something about the flavor when you the whole blocks of cheese that makes the extra step of crumbling or shredding worth it.
Thankfully most grocery stores carry a couple of options for Feta, usually a block form and the crumbles. I know that my local Aldi has a great selection of block Feta that is delicious in this recipe.
I go with just the plain traditional Feta since these cheeseballs have added seasonings like dill but if you want to experiment and great the flavored feta, go for it!
These Olive and Feta Mini Cheese Balls have just a few ingredients and come together just as easily as the Bacon and Cheddar ones.
Also, just like those bacon-packed bites, they pack great flavor, and again your guests will be thankful you made them!
Can I Make Mini Cheese Balls Ahead of Time?
I love make-ahead meals and appetizers that taste even better when they are made in advance! Thankfully both of these mini cheese balls fall right into that category.
These are super easy to prepare well in advance for any party or cookout that you are having. Appetizers like these can be a huge time saver on your event days since they are ready to plate and serve when needed!
With these Mini Cheese Ball Duo appetizers, you can prepare in advance by using a couple of methods and both work great!
Method 1: Prepare the two mixtures and refrigerate them in a bowl. You’ll still have to chop the nuts and chives the day you want to serve them, as well as have time to shape and roll the cheese before serving.
Option 2: This is my absolute recommendation for the ultimate time saver! Prepare both flavors of mini cheese balls, scoop them out, and chill them.
Once cooled, roll them in their coating and place them in air-tight containers for storage. They will be ready to serve and perfect in the fridge for up to three days!
How Do I Change Up These Mini Cheese Balls?
Though there’s not much that can go wrong when making a cheese ball, here are some added tips we found helpful:
If you don’t have Ranch seasoning, you can substitute the ranch seasoning with your favorite seasoning like Italian or even leave the extra seasonings out since the bacon and cheddar add a lot of flavor on their own.
It is always easier to mix your cheeseball mixtures when everything is room temperature so make sure you plan ahead and let your cream cheese soften for best results.
For an even creamier texture, you can swap out one of the blocks of cream cheese for 8 ounces of Mascarpone cheese. Oh my, this is such a great swap out and you won’t believe how much flavor and creaminess it brings to the cheese balls.
Just keep in mind that the mini cheeseballs will have an overall softer texture even after chilling since the mascarpone doesn’t set up quite as thick as cream cheese, but they are still perfectly picked up to pop in your mouth.
The cream cheese MUST be at room temperature or you’ll have a really hard time mixing.
If you enjoy spicy food, add some jalapeno peppers to the Bacon Cheddar Ranch cheese balls and maybe your favorite hot sauce to the olive feta flavor to jazz them up!
When serving this cheese ball duo appetizer, it is best to pull them out thirty minutes or so before you are ready to eat so that they will have a lovely soft and creamy texture.
Although I’ll be honest it is hard to wait and they taste great straight from the fridge too!
You can experiment with your favorite cheeses in both of these flavors. Some great options to try are sharp cheddar, pepper jack, MontereyJack, and Swiss.
Just go with what sounds good to you if want to change them up a bit.
Don’t use pre-shredded cheese. You’ll get so much more flavor and creaminess by buying the blocks of cheese and shredding them yourself.
I even like to buy the blocks of feta and crumble it myself! However, I encourage you to do what is easiest for you, just get in the kitchen and make these now!
This tasty duo of cheeseballs features several types of cheese and flavorful ingredients and makes about 24 of each flavor option. With two savory cheese ball recipes, you'll have the perfect appetizer for any party or cookout.
Cheeseball Base Recipe
- 16 ounces of Cream Cheese, softened
Cheddar Bacon Ranch Option
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar
- 1/3 cup of real bacon bits
- 1 teaspoon of homemade ranch mix
- 2/3 cup of chopped walnut
Olive and Feta Option
- 1/2 cup green olives, chopped.
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 teaspoon of dill
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
- To make the cheeseball base recipe add the softened cream to a mixing bowl and mix together on low speed.
- After the mixture is smooth and creamy divide it equally between two different mixing bowls. This should be about 8 ounces of cheese mixture per bowl.
- In the first bowl add the cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and ranch mix. Stir well until all combined. Set the mixture aside.
- For the second bowl add in the chopped olives, crumbled feta, and dill weed. Stir well until combined and set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put on a pair of food-safe gloves.
- Next, begin by using a 1-tablespoon-sized cookie scoop to measure out level scoops of the bacon ranch cheese mixture and gently roll it between the palms of your hands until round and place it on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Continue this step for both cheese ball flavors, washing the cookie scoop and changing gloves between each variety.
- Cover the sheet of cheeseballs with plastic wrap and place them in the freezer to chill for 45 minutes. If you have more time you can refrigerate for 2 hours up to overnight before rolling in the toppings.
- To finish the cheeseball trio place the chopped walnuts on a plate and roll each of the bacon cheddar balls in the nuts to coat them. Then roll the olive and feta variety in the chopped chives., and return to the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Serving Size2 balls
Amount Per ServingCalories 160Total Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gCholesterol 20mgSodium 156mgCarbohydrates 2gNet Carbohydrates 1.5gFiber .5gSugar 1gProtein 2g
I am not a nutritionist. If you have strict dietary needs I always recommend using an online nutrition calculator to calculate your totals using your exact brands you're using in this recipe as values may vary per brand.
I am a southern girl through and through that loves to laugh, cook, read and spend time with family. My passions outside of home schooling my son are ministering to those in need and creating art in the kitchen! Every day is an adventure in our little house and I wouldn’t trade it or the chance to share here with you for anything!