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Pinecone cheese ball is the perfect starter for your holiday menu

This holiday appetizer is almost too pretty to eat (almost). This easy cheese ball starter uses softened cream cheese, crumbled bacon, herbs and even a little hint of white wine. Once you form the ball and chill it, you can decorate it with slivered almonds that really bring this “pinecone” to life.

pine cone cheeseball

You can make this up to two days ahead of time and just decorate it before you get ready to serve. If you want to keep this vegetarian, then you can skip the bacon and add in some crumbled veggie sausage. Or just omit the meaty ingredients completely, and add in some raisins or other dried fruit or nuts.

Holiday pinecone cheese ball recipe

Inspired by Pinterest

This easy and impressive cheese starter for your holiday feasts will add a touch of the outdoors to your dinner table.

Serves 16

Prep time: 20 minutes | Inactive time: 3 hours | Total time: 3 hours 20 minutes


For the cheese ball

  • 16 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons white wine
  • 6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 lemon, zested

For garnish

  • Slivered almonds, for decorating
  • Fresh rosemary, as garnish
  • Assorted crackers, for serving


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cheese ball.
  2. Using a hand mixer, beat the cheese mixture until smooth and creamy.
  3. Divide the mixture into 1 large oval shape or 2 smaller oval shapes, and place onto waxed paper. Use your hands to shape the cheese into a pinecone shape, and then transfer to plastic wrap.
  4. Gently wrap the pinecones in the plastic wrap, and chill them in the refrigerator for several hours to firm up.
  5. When ready to serve, arrange the pinecones on a serving platter or cheese board, and decorate with the slivered almonds.
  6. Garnish with the fresh rosemary, and serve.

See all our holiday articles

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