Cheese Ball Bites – The Cheese Knees

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Say hello to the most festive cheesy appetizer — Cheese Ball Bites! This bite-sized recipe is a true crowd-pleaser and oh so easy to make. 

cheese ball bites with pretzel sticks stuck in them

Cheese Ball Bites Everyone Will Love

Growing up in the midwest, we had our fair share of cheese balls served at family gatherings, and we have an amazing festive cheese ball recipe already here on The Cheese Knees, but today we’re excited to share the bite-size version of one of our favorite cheesy appetizers.

When we don’t have time to make our own cheese ball recipe, you’ll find us grabbing a Kaukauna cheese ball or cheese log and our favorite crackers to serve with it.

But if you’re looking for a fun and festive way to serve a cheese ball, let us recommend these cutie pie cheese ball bites. Serve them with a pretzel stick instead of a toothpick, and enjoy!

ingredients for cheese ball bites in bowls, ready to be mixed together

Ingredients You Need

Our cheese ball bites recipe comes together in 3 major ingredient sections. First, you’ll roast a head of garlic (that’s right, an ENTIRE head) to add amazing flavor to your cream cheese and shredded cheese, and then you’ll roll these bite-sized balls in candied pecans.

Oh, and don’t forget to serve your cheese ball bites with a pretzel stick at the end!

For the Cheese Balls

  • Head of garlic 
  • Cream cheese
  • Shredded yellow cheddar cheese 
  • Salt & pepper

For the Toppings

  • Raw pecans 
  • Maple syrup 

For Serving

Easy Ingredient Substitutions

  • Shredded yellow cheddar cheese —> Any salty shredded cheese
  • Pecans —> Walnuts or pecans
  • Pretzel sticks —> Toothpicks, pita chips or crackers
head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil

How to Make Cheese Ball Bites

Roast Garlic

Slice off the end of a head of garlic (the opposite end of the root) so that the head stays intact, and place the garlic head on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle it with olive oil. Wrap the garlic with tin foil and roast the garlic in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Make Cheese Ball Filling

Next, add the softened cream cheese to a food processor and process until the cream cheese is smooth. 

Squeeze the garlic cloves from the garlic paper into the food processor. The garlic should easily squeeze out into the food processor. 

Add the shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper to the food processor and process the ingredients together on low until all the ingredients are combined. That’s your filling!

How to soften cream cheese

Looking for a quick method to soften cream cheese? Check out our post – How to Soften Cream Cheese – 4 Ways! Here you’ll learn 4 unique (and quick!) methods to softening cream cheese the perfect amount for baking and cooking.

cheese ball bites filling in a food processor

Chill Cheese Ball Filling

Once the ingredients are combined, scrape the sides of the food processor and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the cream cheese mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes until it firms up. 

Why? This will firm up the filling so you can easily form bite-sized cheese balls.

Make Candied Pecans

Chop the pecans up into small pieces, and place them in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Drizzle the maple syrup over the pecans and add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Toast the pecans until they begin to brown. 

Remove the pecans from the heat and spread them out on a plate. 

candied pecans in a skillet

Roll Cheese Ball Bites

Use a ½ tablespoon scoop to scoop out the cream cheese mixture and roll the cream cheese into a ball. Then, roll the ball in the pecan crumbs. Repeat this process until all the filling is gone. 

Serve & Enjoy!

Carefully place a pretzel stick into the center of each cream cheese ball, serve and enjoy.

cheese ball bites on a piece of parchment paper

How to Serve Cheese Ball Bites

We love using a pretzel stick instead of a toothpick when serving these cheese ball bites — pretzels and cheese were meant for each other. Other serving ideas include:

  • Ritz crackers
  • Pita chips
  • Stick carrots or celery

How to Store Cheese Ball Bites

If all your cheese ball bites aren’t consumed in one evening, that’s a-okay! You can simply store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Pro Tip: Let your cheese ball bites soften a bit at room temperature before serving so your pretzels don’t break when you’re spearing them.

a hand grabbing a cheese ball bite off a plate

cheese ball bites

Cheese Ball Bites

Cheese Ball Bites are such a festive and fun party appetizer! This bite-sized recipe is a true crowd pleaser and so very easy to make. 

Prep: 15 minutesCook: 5 minutesTotal: 20 minutes

Fat 20

Carbs 5

Protein 6

Yield 16 1x


Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • 16-oz. softened cream cheese
  • 2 cups yellow shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper 
  • 1 cup raw pecans 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • Pretzel sticks for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. 
  2. Slice off the end of a head of garlic (the opposite end of the root) so that the head stays intact. 
  3. Place the garlic head on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle it with olive oil. Wrap the garlic with tin foil and place the garlic in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven. Set aside. 
  4. Next, add the softened cream cheese to a food processor and process until the cream cheese is smooth. 
  5. Squeeze the garlic cloves from the garlic paper into the food processor. The garlic should easily squeeze out into the food processor. 
  6. Add the shredded cheddar cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, and cracked pepper to the food processor and process the ingredients together on low until all the ingredients are combined. 
  7. Once the ingredients are combined, scrape the sides of the food processor and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the cream cheese mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes until it firms up. 
  8. Meanwhile, prepare the candied pecans. Chop the pecans up into small pieces (almost chopped into crumbs) and place them in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. 
  9. Drizzle the maple syrup over the pecans and add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. 
  10. Toast the pecans for 4-5 minutes or until they begin to brown. 
  11. Remove the pecans from the heat and spread them out on a plate. 
  12. When the cream cheese is ready, remove it from the fridge. 
  13. Use a ½ tablespoon scoop to scoop out the cream cheese mixture and roll the cream cheese into a ball. Roll the ball in the pecan crumbs and place the cream cheese ball rolled in pecans on a plate. Repeat this process until the cream cheese mixture is gone. 
  14. Carefully place a pretzel stick into the center of each cream cheese ball and serve.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/16
Calories: 217
Sugar: 10
Sodium: 309
Fat: 20
Carbohydrates: 5
Fiber: 1
Protein: 6
Cholesterol: 45

Author: Lee FunkeCategory: AppetizersMethod: Stove TopCuisine: American

Keywords: cheese ball bites





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