Mini Cheese Balls on a Stick
Instead of serving a classic holiday cheese ball for dipping, serve these mini cheese balls on a stick for a fun holiday party appetizer! A rich, salty base of cheddar and cream cheese, rolled into bite-sized hors d’oeuvres and coated with tasty toppings. Skewer your mini cheese ball bites with pretzel sticks or rolled tortilla chips, and let the party noshing begin!
For another festive & cheesy party appetizer, try these Cream Cheese Stuffed Baguette Bites!
What are mini cheese ball bites?
A classic cheese ball recipe involves forming cheddar and cream cheese into a softball-sized ball, coating it with nuts and herbs, then serving it with dippers. These mini cheese ball appetizers use those same ingredients, just served in miniature form. Instead of having all of your guests dip (and double-dip) into the same cheesy party dip, you can serve these mini cheeseballs on pretzel sticks—like a built-in dipper and an edible skewer!
Ingredients for Mini Cheese Ball Appetizers
- Cream Cheese. As the creamy base for this mini cheese ball recipe, you’ll need to soften a full (8-oz) block of full-fat cream cheese. I haven’t tried this recipe with low-fat cream cheese, but you’re welcome to give it a go—although your mini cheeseball bites may not hold together as well.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese. I love the flavor of freshly shredded sharp cheddar, but you can use any cheese you’d like. Mild cheddar, white cheddar, mozzarella, gouda—or a combination of cheeses! Although you can use pre-shredded cheese, I find that freshly shredded cheese integrates into the cream cheese mixture the best.
- Dried Fruit. For a hint of sweetness in my salty cheese ball hors d’oeuvres, I added chopped prunes & dates into the base mixture. Although this isn’t typical in most holiday cheese ball recipes, the salty-sweet flavor was perfect for a holiday party appetizer! This is an optional addition, so if you’re not a fan, feel free to skip it.
- Toppings of Choice. Once you’ve formed your mini cream cheese balls, you can add flavor, texture, and color by coating them with different toppings. Fresh herbs, chopped nuts, dried cranberries—use whatever you like! (More ideas below.)
- Skewer Garnishes. There are all sorts of crunchy skewer garnishes you can use to serve your mini cheese balls on a stick. Pretzel sticks are a popular choice, but you can also use rolled corn tortilla chips (like Takis), bagel chips or rye chips, or even Cheetos!
I wanted a variety of mini cheeseballs in different colors, so I kept my topping ingredients separate and rolled a few balls in each different topping. Or, you could mix multiple topping ingredients together, then roll them all in the same multi-colored mixture. It’s up to you! You can roll your cheese ball bites in all sorts of different ingredients: savory or sweet, crunchy or chewy—there are no rules here.
What to Roll Cheese Bites In
- Nuts: chopped walnuts, pecans, cashews, slivered almonds, pine nuts
- Seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds
- Spices: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, everything seasoning, your favorite seasoning blend
- Herbs: parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives
- Vegetables: green onion, chopped bell pepper
- Fruits: pomegranate arils, dried cranberries, raisins, chopped prunes, dates
- Cheese & Meat: shredded cheddar, pepper jack, blue cheese, goat cheese, crumbled bacon
- Crunchy Snacks: crushed potato chips, crackers, pretzels
How to Make Mini Cheese Balls on a Stick
- Prep Base Cheese Ball Mixture. First, mix together softened cream cheese, shredded cheese, and optional dried fruit.
- Form into Mini Cheese Balls. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out portions of the holiday cheese ball mixture and roll them into balls with your hands.
- Coat with Toppings. Prepare your desired toppings, then roll each mini cheeseball in toppings to coat on all sides.
- Chill in the Fridge. Place your finished cheese ball appetizers on a platter or in a covered container, then transfer to the fridge for at least 3 hours (or overnight).
- Skewer & Serve. When you’re ready to serve, skewer the mini cheese balls with pretzel sticks, rolled tortilla chips—whatever crunchy garnishes you’d like! (Don’t skewer them too far ahead of time, because the crunchy garnishes will start to lose their crunch.)
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
Mini Cheese Balls
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- ⅓ cup prunes, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup pitted dates, finely chopped
- 2 cups toppings of choice, (see below)
- 36 skewer garnishes of choice, (see below)
- chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)
- toasted sesame seeds
- poppy seeds
- sunflower seeds
- fresh herbs, minced (parsley, rosemary)
- crushed potato chips
- pomegranate arils
- dried cranberries
- pretzel sticks
- rolled tortilla chips, (i.e., Takis)
- bagel chips or rye chips, (halved, if needed)
- In a large bowl, combine softened cream cheese, shredded cheese, and dried fruit. Mix well to combine.
- Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to portion and form into balls with your hands.
- Roll cheese balls in desired toppings to coat. (You can keep your toppings separate & roll a few cheeseballs in each different topping, or you can mix all of the toppings together before rolling.)
- Transfer finished cheese balls to a platter or storage container. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
- To serve, skewer each cheeseball with a pretzel stick, rolled tortilla chip, or any crunchy garnish you like!
- Yields ~36 cheese ball bites.