Mini cheese balls of homemade pimento cheese are rolled in a coating of crispy bacon, toasted pecans, and minced fresh jalapeños and then speared with a pretzel stick for fun, easy-to-eat appetizers!
Well, the Super Bowl countdown is officially on! So who are you rooting for...the Seahawks or the Patriots? I don't really have a vested interest in either team this year. But I do love football, and I do love the commercials, and I absolutely adore football-watching grub...so you can bet I'll be tuning in!
For me, the hardest part is deciding which recipes to make for the big game. Does one go for slow cooker soups and/or chili? Sliders? Pizza? Chips & dip? Cheesy bread? All of the above? Or how about something a little bit fun and a little bit different, but with a combo of flavors that's still very Super Bowl-ish?
Today I bring you Pimento Cheese & Bacon Mini Cheese Ball Bites! If you've been following Five Heart Home for awhile, you may already be familiar with the Mini Cheese Ball Bites that I shared a few Christmases ago, flavored with bleu cheese and dried cranberries. That post has actually become one of my most popular recipes of all time, and I recently noticed that it was getting included in various Super Bowl recipe round-ups around the web. It was being coined as a "slightly more upscale" football-watching snack, and that got me to thinking...what if I kept the mini cheese ball bite concept but ditched the bleu cheese and cranberries for some classic game day flavors?
Soooo...say hello to mini cheese balls formed out of a homemade pimento cheese that's loaded with cheddar and cream cheese and peppered (ha) with pimentos. Now you could always just stop with pimento cheese for game day...after all, it would be perfectly delicious slathered on crackers or as the star of a grilled cheese sandwich.
But while I realize that pimento cheese is pretty hard to top, I think that rolling it in a coating of diced bacon, toasted pecans, and minced fresh jalapeños takes it up a notch...or twelve! The saltiness of the bacon, crunch of the nuts, and the heat of the jalapeños combine to throw a little fiesta in your mouth. And don't forget the pretzel sticks to skewer each cheese ball bite for festive and simple serving. Do these just scream Super Bowl party or what?!
So do you tune in on Super Bowl Sunday? And if so, do you care about the game or are you just in it for the snacks? Whether you're a football fan or not, I hope you have a chance to try these Pimento Cheese & Bacon Mini Cheese Ball Bites sometime! They're easy to make, fun to serve, and tasty to eat. Oh, and in case I neglected to mention it, they're bursting with cheese and bacon. Make 'em for the big game, make 'em for another party, make 'em for breakfast...just make 'em. 😉
Pimento Cheese & Bacon Mini Cheese Ball Bites Recipe
Pimento Cheese & Bacon Mini Cheese Ball Bites
For the Pimento Cheese:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
FOR MINI CHEESE BALL BITES
- 18 ounces bacon (about 1 1/2 cups diced), cooked until crisp and finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped
- 1 to 2 jalapeños, minced (seeds & membranes removed)
- Pretzel sticks
TO MAKE PIMENTO CHEESE:
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic salt, onion powder, and cayenne. Scrape bowl and mix in grated cheddar and diced pimentos until well combined. Season with salt and/or black pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until firm.
TO MAKE MINI CHEESE BALL BITES:
- In a medium bowl, combine diced bacon, chopped pecans, and minced jalapeños. Using a spoon or a small cookie scoop, form heaping tablespoons of pimento cheese into balls. Roll each pimento cheese ball in the mixture of bacon, pecans, and jalapeños, pressing coating into cheese so that it adheres.
- Refrigerate cheese balls until firm, and keep them chilled until ready to serve. Just before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.
- To toast pecans, spread out on a sheet pan and baked in a preheated 350°F oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Allow pecans to cool before finely chopping them.
- As long as you remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeños and very finely dice them, they shouldn't be too spicy. Use as much jalapeño as you wish, however, based on your personal preference.
- If you'd like to use the Pimento Cheese recipe for purposes other than mini cheese balls, increase the mayonnaise to 1/2 cup. The reason the amount of mayo is slightly reduced for these cheese balls is to make sure the mixture isn't too soft to roll into balls.
- You can make the cheese balls ahead of time, but don't insert the pretzels until just before serving or they will become soggy.
More Super Bowl Snacks
- French Bread Taco Pizza
- Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork Sliders with Creamy Broccoli Slaw
- Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread with Bacon, Garlic, Cheddar, & Swiss
- Cheddar & Sour Cream Queso
- Slow Cooker Creamy Black Bean & Chicken Soup
- Skillet S'mores Dip