Quick and easy gluten free party appetizer. Craisins White Cheddar Cheese Ball made with white cheddar, cream cheese, dried cranberries, parsley, garlic, green onion, rosemary and toasted pecans. Plus you’ll learn a quick trick to soften butter or cream cheese.
Sometimes you want a quick and easy party appetizer. This Craisins White Cheddar Cheese Ball takes about 10 minutes and will be the hit of any party.
I visited my parents for the holiday and made this as a starter. After making an extra trip to the store on Christmas day for an ingredient, plus photographing these on Christmas day, quick and easy prep was much appreciated.
How To Make a White Cheddar Cheese Ball
Be sure to start with softened, or room temperature, cream cheese (more details in the cooking tips below). Then mix in the remaining ingredients including craisins, sharp white cheddar, and herbs, and roll into a large cheese ball, which is coated with chopped toasted pecans.
This white cheddar cheese ball is so simple and flavorful! Your guests and family will be amazed you made it. A generous amount of fresh parsley and green onions, paired with fresh rosemary and minced garlic is the ideal match for creamy sharp white cheddar cheese.
How to quickly soften cream cheese, and what does softened mean?
- If you’re in a hurry slice it into smaller pieces, about ¼-inch thick, and spread out onto a plate. This will create more surface area to warm up and soften.
- An even quicker way is to place the plate of cream cheese or butter slices over a stovetop with oven on; be sure the stove isn’t on. This will create more heat, but shouldn’t melt.
Recipes often call for softened butter or cream cheese, including this one. Softened means the same thing as room temperature, and that’s the ideal way to soften it. Just let butter or cream cheese sit on counter 20-30 minutes.
I don’t recommend using a microwave to soften. It creates uneven spots of soft and firm, and can easily melt butter into a liquid if cooked too long.
Tips for making a cheddar cheese ball
- If you’re having trouble shaping the ball you can place the mixture in the fridge for 5 minutes or wet your hands to stop the mixture sticking to you.
- White cheddar makes this cheese ball look very festive and impressive but you can also use regular orange cheddar.
- Sharp cheddar will give the best flavor but you could also try using smoked cheddar, I don’t recommend using a mild one.
- If you don’t have pecans you could use other nuts such as walnuts, cashews or pistachios.
- Use high quality or organic ingredients, especially for the cream cheese and cheddar. The taste will be much better.
- Serve with crackers, breadsticks or freshly toasted bread.
Craisins White Cheddar Cheese Ball recipe at-a-glance:
Flavor profiles: Rich cheesy flavor from white cheddar and cream cheese, with sweet cranberry and slight spice from green onion, parsley and garlic
Texture: Dense and creamy with chewy bits throughout and crunch from pecans
Dietary Options/Substitutions: This recipe is gluten-free, omit nuts if allergic
More cheese ball recipes and cheesy appetizers:
- Caramel Apple Cheese Ball
- Lemon Herb Goat Cheese Ball
- Pumpkin Cheese Ball
- Hot Reuben Cheese Dip
- Creamy Blue Cheese Puff Pastry Squares
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Craisins White Cheddar Cheese Ball
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
- 1 ½ cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 2/3 cup Craisins, or dried cranberies
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, optional
- Prepare pecans ahead of time: cook in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring often until slightly browned and fragrant; about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a plate.
- Place all remaining ingredients (except pecans) in a large bowl and stir well until completely mixed. You may need to mix by hand as it will be very thick.
- Shape mixture into an even ball, about 4-inches in diameter. Roll ball in chopped pecans to evenly coat outside.
- Serve immediately with crackers or bread. Or store covered in fridge 1-2 days until ready to serve.
- To soften cream cheese, let sit at room temp about 30 minutes. It will soften quicker if you cut into separate slices to allow for more surface area.
- If you're having trouble shaping the ball you can place the mixture in the fridge for 5 minutes or wet your hands to stop the mixture sticking to you.
- White cheddar makes this cheese ball look very festive and impressive but you can also use yellow/orange cheddar
- A sharp cheddar will give the best flavor but you could also try using a smoked cheddar, I don't recommend using a mild one.
- If you don't have pecans you could use other nuts such as walnuts, cashews or pistachios
- Try to use the highest quality ingredients possible especially for the cream cheese and cheddar. It will make a big difference to the end result especially if you're making this for a special occasion.
- Serve with crackers or breadsticks.
Recipe adapted from Real Housemoms