Cream Cheese Balls Recipe (Ranch Flavored)

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Cream cheese balls make an excellent appetizer for parties and gatherings. They’re especially great when served with sliced vegetables and crackers.

You can make one big cheese ball that everyone can eat from, “dip-style”. But turn them into individual servings, and you’ve got a fun and festive appetizer each person can put on their own plate! These easy appetizers are sure to put a smile on everyone’s faces.

A single cheese ball with a portion taken out of it.

This makes a wonderful party appetizer for the Thanksgiving holiday! The little pumpkins look adorable sitting on everyone’s plates and the flavor is one that everyone will love. They also make a great snack! Just add a little crunch with some chips, crackers or veggies and you’re good to go.

What Is A Cheese Ball Made Of?

That depends on the recipe you use! There are so many ways to make a cheese ball that I can’t possibly list them here. But in general, they consist of cream cheese, sometimes grated cheese is added, and often times herbs and even bacon and nuts such as chopped pecans are added.

In this particular recipe, I only use cream cheese and herbs.

What Hers Do You Use For Cheese Balls?

In this case, it’s a ranch mix I make myself using dried onions, dried green onion, garlic powder and more. You can find that recipe here. It’s quick and easy to put together using very simple spices you probably already have in your spice cabinet.

Two rows of Cream Cheese Balls lined up on a wooden cutting board.

What Is Good To Eat With Cheese Balls?

You can eat anything with these that you would normally eat with cream cheese or dip. Here are a few ideas:

How To Serve Cheese Balls

With this recipe you have a couple of options.

  1. You can skip the individual pumpkin-shaped balls and make one large ball. Coating it in paprika, while delicious, is totally optional. If you simply mix the ranch mix with the cream cheese and form it into a large ball, it can go in the center of a cracker tray with a knife.
  2. You can form these into individual servings. Again, coating them in paprika is optional but tasty. And if you want the pumpkin look for Halloween or Thanksgiving, you’ll definitely need the paprika. Opt for a more red paprika for apples, and a more orange or brown paprika for pumpkins.

How To Work With The Cream Cheese

By hand – If you make this by hand, you can use cold cream cheese and work the spices in with a fork as I did below. Cold cream cheese is the best option for rolling it between your hands to form the balls.

By mixer – If you prefer to keep your hands clean, you can use a hand mixer or stand mixer to blend the cream cheese mixture together. However, it does tend to whip the cream cheese into a softer texture, which will make it a little stickier to work with when rolling the balls. If it gets too soft, simply return it to the fridge for a couple of hours and it will be much easier to work with.

How Do You Eat Cheese Balls?

You dig in! With a chip, cracker or veggies stick, that is. It’s very spreadable so you can also spread it over your morning toast if you wish.

Cream Cheese Balls sitting in a circle on a cutting board, surrounded by crackers.

Recipe Variations

  • Feel free to add some finely grated cheddar cheese to this. Sharp cheddar cheese is best for overall flavor, but mild can be used too.
  • Minced jalapeños are also a good option.
  • Ground black pepper
  • Hot sauce

What You’ll Need

Cream cheese – This can be plain, dairy-based cream cheese, or you can make this plant-based by using vegan cream cheese. The one I like best for this recipe (and the one I used here), is the Miyokos brand. (Not paid to promote. Just sharing what I used.)

Ranch mix – Store-bought ranch mix is not clean or healthy. So I quickly and easily make my own with easy-to-find spices I already have in my spice cabinet. You can get that recipe here.

Paprika – This is regular, ground paprika. Do not use smoked paprika. They are very different in flavor. You may need more or less than what is called for in the recipe.

Small cinnamon sticks – These do not break nicely. They then to crumble a bit. So break them the best you can. They won’t be perfect, but they actually look nice that way.

Fresh parsley – Tear off each small stem from a larger stem. The leaves should be small for these little pumpkins.

How To Make Cream Cheese Balls

Cream cheese in a mixing bowl.

Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl.

Ranch mix added to cream cheese in a mixing bowl.

Add the ranch mix.

A fork mixing ranch mix into cream cheese in a mixing bowl.

Using a fork, stir and mash it all together thoroughly.

A large cheese ball held by a large wooden spoon.

Form everything into a ball using either your hands or a wooden spoon. The spoon tends to work best to gather everything together.

Paprika on a plate.

Put the paprika on a plate.

A cheese ball cut into 8 equal portions.

Cut the cheese ball into 8 equal pieces.

A small portion of seasoned cream cheese rolled into a ball.

Roll each piece into a smaller ball in your hands.

A small cheese ball being rolled in paprika.

Roll it in the paprika.

Pressing a small cinnamon stick and parsley sprig into a small cheese ball.

Break the cinnamon sticks into small pieces, and press a piece, along with a small piece of fresh parsley, into the cheese ball.

Gently pressing a toothpick into the side of a cheese ball to make the indents of a pumpkin.

Press a toothpick gently into the sides of the pumpkins, all the way around to create the indents of a pumpkin.

A group of Cream Cheese Balls on a cutting board between some crackers.

Serve with your favorite crackers for veggie sticks.

How Long Do Cream Cheese Balls Last?

How Long Will A Homemade Cheese Ball Keep? If you wrap it in plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight container, it will keep just fine in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Can You Freeze Cheese Balls Made With Cream Cheese?

You can! Double wrap it as mentioned above, and then store it in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Recipe Supplies

For this recipe, you’ll need a mixing bowl, a toothpick and some cinnamon sticks. You can find them on amazon by clicking any of the images here. (Affiliate links)

Mixing bowl set sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Wooden toothpicks sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Cinnamon sticks sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)

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A single cheese ball with a portion taken out of it.

Cream Cheese Balls Recipe

You can make this into one large cheese ball that everyone takes a serving from, or you can divide this into equal parts and make individual cheese balls people can place on their own plates.
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Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 115kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Equipment

  • 1 Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Fork
  • 1 plate
  • 1 toothpick

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. ranch mix (see recipe link above)
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks (broken into 8 pieces – they don't have to be perfect)
  • 1 small sprig parsley (torn off at each small stem)

Instructions

  • Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
    Cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the ranch mix.
    Ranch mix added to cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
  • Using a fork, mix it all together thoroughly.
    A fork mixing ranch mix into cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
  • Form everything into a ball.
    A large cheese ball held by a large wooden spoon.
  • Put the paprika on a plate.
    Paprika on a plate.
  • Cut the cheese ball into 8 equal pieces.
    A cheese ball cut into 8 equal portions.
  • Roll each piece into a smaller ball in your hands.
    A small portion of seasoned cream cheese rolled into a ball.
  • Roll it in the paprika.
    A small cheese ball being rolled in paprika.
  • Break the cinnamon sticks into small pieces, and press a piece, along with a small piece of fresh parsley, into the cheese ball.
    Pressing a small cinnamon stick and parsley sprig into a small cheese ball.
  • Press a toothpick gently into the sides of the pumpkins, all the way around to create the indents of a pumpkin.
    Gently pressing a toothpick into the side of a cheese ball to make the indents of a pumpkin.
  • Serve with your favorite crackers for veggie sticks.
    A group of Cream Cheese Balls on a cutting board between some crackers.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 371mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1243IU | Vitamin C: 0.02mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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