Mini Cheese Balls

Mini Cheese Balls are studded with dried cranberries and blue cheese, rolled in toasted pecans, and skewered with pretzel sticks for a fun and easy party appetizer!

Mini Cheese Ball Bites with text overlay.


 

'Tis the season for holiday get-togethers, potlucks, and parties! That means that this time of year, from Thanksgiving right on through New Year's Eve, there are ample opportunities for delicious and creative appetizers. And today I'm sharing one that's not only quick and easy, but also fun and just a little bit different...Mini Cheese Balls!

Mini Cheese Balls on white platter.

What are Mini Cheese Balls?

Everyone enjoys a good cheese ball, and this recipe simply miniaturizes that concept. After all, who doesn't love cute, bite-sized party food?

Skewering your cheese ball bites with pretzels makes these little gems easy to serve and eat.

Furthermore, you can always customize the flavors to your liking.

Ingredients

Labeled ingredients to make Mini Cheese Balls.
  • Cream cheese. At room temperature.
  • Blue cheese. Crumbled.
  • Sweetened dried cranberries. Finely chopped.
  • Toasted pecans. Also chopped. For the coating.
  • Pretzel sticks. This is the ingredient that differentiates a regular ol' cheese ball from cute little cheese ball bites! 😉

These ingredients may seem simple but they balance each other beautifully. Cream cheese neutralizes the blue cheese so that it's a bit less overpowering, the cranberries provide a nice sweet contrast, and the pecans lend some toasty crunch.

How to Make Them

These fun and impressive Mini Cheese Balls are surprisingly quick and easy to make!

  1. Combine cream cheese, blue cheese, and dried cranberries until smooth.
Ingredients measured into bowl.
Ingredients combined in bowl.
  1. Dampen hands to prevent sticking and roll tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into balls. Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours until firm.
Mixture formed into a Mini Cheese Ball.
Mini Cheese Ball Bites arranged on pan, ready for rolling in nuts.
  1. While the mini cheese balls chill, toast the pecans until fragrant. Allow to cool and finely chop.
Toasted pecans on sheet pan.
Bowl of chopped pecans.
  1. Roll your chilled mini cheese ball bites in the chopped pecans, pressing into the nuts so that they adhere. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Rolling Mini Cheese Balls in chopped pecans.
Mini Cheese Ball Bite ready to skewer with pretzel.
  1. Just before serving, skewer each mini cheese ball with a pretzel stick.
Aerial view of platter of Mini Cheese Balls recipe.

Mini Cheese Ball Variations

If you're not a fan of blue cheese, feel free to swap it out for a less pungent variety of cheese, such as feta or even grated sharp white cheddar.

For that matter, you can substitute different dried fruit and nuts as well! Dried cherries with pistachios would be tasty, as would dried apricots with almonds.

Close-up of Mini Cheese Balls on wooden board.

Another yummy alternative would be to scatter these Mini Cheese Balls (sans pretzel sticks) over a salad. I think that doing so would elevate a simple salad to something really special for a fancy holiday meal or dinner party!

Close-up of Mini Cheese Balls recipe.

So the next time you're asked to bring a munchie to a potluck or party -- or you're hosting a soirée yourself -- do yourself (and the other party guests) a favor and make these Mini Cheese Balls!

They require just a few ingredients and minimal effort for an impressive presentation and maximum flavor.

Now tell me...what more can you ask of an appetizer than that? 🙂

Cheese Ball Bites on platter and wooden board.

More Festive Recipes for the Holidays

Plate of Mini Cheese Ball Bites with pecans in background.

Mini Cheese Balls

Mini Cheese Balls are studded with dried cranberries and blue cheese, rolled in toasted pecans, and skewered with pretzel sticks for a fun and easy party appetizer!
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 24 cheese balls
Calories: 101kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (about 3 ounces) blue cheese crumbles
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves
  • 2 dozen pretzel sticks

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, blue cheese, and dried cranberries until smooth. Dampen hands to prevent sticking and form cream cheese mixture into approximately 24 tablespoon-sized balls. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.
  • In the meantime, toast the pecans by spreading out on a sheet pan and baking in a preheated 350°F oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, for 7 to 10 minutes. Allow pecans to cool and finely chop them.
  • Roll the chilled cheese balls in the chopped pecans, pressing in the nuts so that they adhere. Keep the cheese balls refrigerated until ready to serve. Just before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.

Video

Notes

  • Watch your pecans carefully, as they can go from toasted to burnt very quickly.
  • You can make the cheese balls ahead of time, but don't insert the pretzels until just before serving or they will become soggy.

Nutrition

Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 50mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Recipe adapted from Family Fun magazine, December/January 2014.
Post originally shared on November 24, 2013, and updated on November 24, 2017, December 30, 2020, and December 15, 2022.

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43 Comments

  1. Yum, yum, yummy! Saving this link for later. Will be bringing this dish out for the next get-together. Love your photography too. Will be back!

    Maw ~

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Maw! Hope this recipe is a hit if you have a chance to try it. 🙂