Cheese ball recipes

Jan 12, 2009 at 12:39 p.m. ET

Everyone remembers the classic-style cheese ball with a creamy cheese center and crunchy almond or pecan crust. This retro cocktail party food has made a delectable comeback with a few updated twists. Here are some simple cooking tips and recipes for making easy and elegant cheese balls for your next cocktail party or winter night in when you want a creamy cheesy appetizer.

Cheese Ball

Tips to make cheese balls

Cooking tip #1: Use the food processor

Cheese balls are not only a budget-friendly and impressive appetizer, they are also super simple to make. Save yourself time - and effort - by making cheese balls in a food processor or blender.

Cooking tip #2: Buy quality cheese

The most important component of your cheese balls is a good cheese. The classic-style cheese balls were typically composed of cream cheese and cheddar cheese. However, updated cheese balls can be made from any kind of cheese from brie to mozzarella. Experiment with all types and see what tastes best to you.

Cooking tip #3: Flavor with wine

Adding wine to your cheese mixture also creates an elegant updated flair. Use red or white — or even Champagne for an added sparkle. Not into wine? Try a good beer or liquor, such as brandy or amaretto.

Cooking tip #4: Add a natural sweetness

Fresh or dried fruit or chutneys are excellent mixed with a good cheese.

Cooking tip #5: Give a nutty crunch

The crust for a cheese ball has typically been nuts, such as almonds or pecans. It is nice to keep the crunchy crust, but give it a new twist by using crushed wasabi peas, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts or anything delectably crunchy.

Cooking tip #6: Try a new crust

Create a flavorful crust with chopped dried fruits, like cranberries or raisins, or fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, thyme or sage.

Cooking tip #7: Downsize

For a change, instead of making a large cheese ball, make mini cheese balls for individual servings.

Cooking tip #8: Don't just serve crackers

What to serve with a cheese ball? Instead of the same old crackers or vegetables, try serving breadsticks, pita chips or vegetable chips.

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