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Mini Cheese Balls

This is the best mini cheese balls recipe! These mini cheese ball bites are easy to whip up in 20 minutes with simple ingredients and can be made ahead of time. A delicious appetizer and crowd-favorite for parties and the holidays!

Nothing beats a homemade appetizer! We also love these spinach pinwheels, cheese skewers, and pesto crostini.

close-up of mini cheese ball bites on a serving platter.

What makes mini cheese balls so good?

Mini cheese balls are the perfect easy appetizer to serve at parties and holiday get-togethers.

The foundation of this mouthwatering appetizer is made with 3 different types of cheese: cream cheese, parmesan, and feta.

The cheese mixture is tasty but still subtle enough to highlight the flavors of the coating.

You can customize them just about any way you like, for example, with fresh herbs, dried cranberries, or nuts.

Cheese ball bites are low maintenance. Just roll them up and pop them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Plus, you can prepare the recipe several days ahead to save time (and stress) on the day of your event.

But be warned, if you try one, it’s hard to resist nibbling them all!

mini cheese ball ingredients.

Ingredients

This small cheese ball recipe is quick and easy to make with just a handful of ingredients. See the recipe card below for specific measurements.

  • Cream cheese is the base of our miniature cheese balls. For the best taste and texture, use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Set the cream cheese out on the counter for 30 minutes to soften.
  • Parmesan cheese adds great umami flavor to the recipe. I prefer to shred the parmesan fresh off the block, but feel free to buy pre-grated to save time.
  • Feta cheese: Crumbled feta cheese adds extra flavor and richness.
  • Breadcrumbs help to hold the small cheese balls together.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and garlic powder infuse the cheeseballs with savory flavor. You can add as little or as much as you like.
cheese bite flavors chart.

Coating ideas

Cheese ball bites are so versatile! You can easily change up the flavor and look by choosing the coating. Here are a few tasty ideas:

  • Fresh herbs: Try parsley, chives, dill, cress, or oregano for a hint of freshness. I love to use a mix of different herbs to create more depth of flavor.
  • Dried fruit like cranberries, apricots, cherries, or mango. Chop your dried fruit into tiny pieces so it sticks to the cheeseballs.
  • Nuts + seeds such as pecans, walnuts, almonds, mixed nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or everything bagel seasoning. Either chop the nuts or roll the mini cheese balls in ground nuts.
  • Dried herbs + spices such as Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, herbs the Provence.
  • Bacon crumbles are another savory option to coat the cheese balls.
  • Breadcrumbs or crumbled crackers: Toast the breadcrumbs in a skillet for a minute or two for a toasty flavor.

I garnished the cheese balls you see in the photos with mixed fresh herbs, chopped cranberries and pecans, toasted breadcrumbs + garlic powder, and fresh herbs, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.

How to make mini cheese balls

step 1 make the cheese mixture.

1. Make the cheese mixture

  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add the crumbled feta cheese, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
step 2 shape cheese balls.

2. Shape cheese balls

  • Take 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll the cheese mix into a ball. A small cookie scoop is helpful to portion the mixture.
  • Then, roll the hand between your hands until round.
step 3 coat cheese balls.

3. Coat cheese balls

  • Roll each ball in your choice of coating until all sides are covered. Press the herbs/cranberries/nuts gently into the cheese mixture so they stick.
  • Chill the cheese balls until ready to serve.

Recipe tips

  • Use softened cream cheese: The ingredients will not combine properly unless the cream cheese is softened. Remove the wrapper and place the cream cheese on a plate on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour to soften. If you’re short on time, soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Whip the cheese mixture: You can mix the cheese mixture by hand with a wooden spoon or with a hand mixer/stand mixer for a fluffier texture.
  • Chill the cream cheese mixture if it is too soft to form balls. It’s hard to shape balls if the mixture is too warm from just being mixed.
  • Serve cold: This mini cheese ball appetizer tastes best served cold. So prepare them the night before and keep them in the refrigerator right before serving.
mini cheese balls on a white plate.

Variations

Cheese: Substitute the feta cheese with sharp cheddar, Monterey jack, gruyere cheese, Swiss cheese, or pepper jack

Green onion: Stir 2 finely chopped green onions in the cream cheese mixture for a fresh bite.

Worcestershire sauce: Amplify the umami flavor and add 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce to the cheese mixture.

Hot sauce: 1 teaspoon of hot sauce adds great flavor without making the cheese balls spicy.

How to serve mini cheese balls

Mini cheese bites are the perfect appetizer for holidays and all kinds of parties. They are also a tasty addition to cheese platters and charcuterie boards.

  • Crackers: Thick, crunchy crackers are a great option to serve alongside these bite-sized cheese balls.
  • Pretzel sticks: Another idea is to stick pretzel sticks into the cheese balls so they are easy to pick up and pop in your mouth.
  • Vegetables: Carrot sticks, celery sticks, bell pepper strips, and thick cucumber slices go well with this cream cheese appetizer.
  • Mini bagels, pita bread wedges, and toasted bread
  • Cheese knife: Hand a cheese spreading knife with the mini cheeseballs so it’s easier to apply the mixture to crackers.
serving of mini cheese ball appetizer, cheese knife, and crackers.

Make-ahead

Prepare the cheeseballs up to 1 week in advance and store them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the fridge.

For the best results, wait to coat the cheese balls. Nuts will soften and herbs will lose their freshness after a while.

Instead, coat the cheeseballs an hour before you want to serve them.

Storage instructions

How to store mini cheese balls

Cheese balls need to be refrigerated and will stay fresh for up to a week (depending on the freshness of the ingredients).

Keep the cheese balls in an airtight container or a resealable bag to protect them from drying out.

Freeze mini cheese ball bites

Place the cheese balls in a freezer-friendly container between layers of parchment paper.

Freeze the cheese balls for up to 2 months and thaw in the fridge overnight before serving.

I recommend freezing the cheeseballs without the coating.

More easy appetizers

small cheese ball recipe.

Mini Cheese Ball Recipe

Yield: 18 mini cheese balls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This is the best mini cheese balls recipe! These mini cheese ball bites are easy to whip up in 20 minutes with simple ingredients and can be made ahead of time. A delicious appetizer and crowd-favorite for parties and the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz / 225 g full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups / 140 g / 5 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Coating

  • fresh herbs, chopped
  • finely chopped dried cranberries
  • chopped nuts
  • breadcrumbs
  • garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Make the cheese mixture. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese until smooth. Add the crumbled feta cheese, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Try to create a pliable consistency and gradually add more breadcrumbs if the mixture seems too soft. Season with herb salt, white pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Shape cheese balls. Take 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll the cheese mix into a ball. A small cookie scoop is helpful to portion the mixture. Then, roll the hand between your hands until round.
    Tip: Chill the cheese mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up if the mixture is too soft.
  3. Prep the coating. Chop coatings (e.g., herbs, cranberries, nuts) finely and place them into a small shallow bowl.
  4. Coat cheese balls. Roll each ball in the coating until all sides are covered. Press the herbs/cranberries/nuts gently into the cheese mixture so they stick. Chill the cheese balls until ready to serve.
    Tip: Serve the balls with cocktail sticks or pretzel sticks so your guests can pick them up easily. You can make them a day in advance and store them covered with plastic wrap in the fridge.

Notes

Tips

  • Use softened cream cheese: The ingredients will not combine properly unless the cream cheese is softened. Remove the wrapper and place the cream cheese on a plate on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour to soften. If you're short on time, soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Whip the cheese mixture: You can mix the cheese mixture by hand with a wooden spoon or with a hand mixer/stand mixer for a fluffier texture.
  • Chill the cream cheese mixture if it is too soft to form balls. It's hard to shape balls if the mixture is too warm from just being mixed.
  • Serve cold: This mini cheese ball appetizer tastes best served cold. So prepare them the night before and keep them in the refrigerator right before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 73Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 264mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

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