Mini Cheese Ball Recipe

Amazing Mini Cheese Ball Recipe in Phyllo Shells | #recipe #partyfood #appetizersWe all could use a few crowd-pleasing party snack ideas this time of year, and this Mini Cheese Ball Recipe served in crispy little fillo shells is fun to serve and even more fun to eat!

Mini Cheese Ball Recipe in Phyllo Shells | #recipe #partyfood #appetizers

Cheese balls, the quintessential holiday party snack.

I could probably count on one hand the times I’ve been to a Christmas party and the Cheese Ball was not represented.

After all, what’s not to love about a big ball of soft cheese rolled in nuts?

Mini Cheese Balls Recipe in Phyllo Shells | #recipe #partyfood #appetizers

If a good cheese ball recipe is your thing, I am going to make you supremely happy today by offering you itty-bitty, cherry stuffed, white cheddar, cheese balls rolled in pistachios.

…or bacon.

You’re welcome.

Mini Cheese Balls in Phyllo Shells | #recipe #partyfood #appetizers

These teeny-weeny cheese balls are the perfect finger food, each with a soft savory interior and a crunchy exterior to keep your fingers clean.

The base of this cheese ball recipe is equal parts shredded white cheddar and cream cheese. It’s then mixed with lemon zest, herbs and spices, and a little punch of cherry flavor from tart dried cherries. The cherries provide color, sweetness, and a touch of holiday flair without over powering the cheesy essence.

After rolling the cheese balls in a nutty coating, this mini cheese balls recipe is perfected by pressing each ball into it’s own crunchy fillo (phyllo) shell.

Crackers-shmackers, who needs ‘em.

Mini Cheese Ball Recipe in Fillo Shells | #recipe #partyfood #appetizers

In fact, Athens Mini Fillo Shells are a great choice for holiday party snacks because they are fully baked and ready to fill, so you can open the box and use them immediately.

Plus they make all your party nibbles look so cute!

Mini Cheese Balls Recipe in FIllo Shells | #recipe #partyfood #appetizers

My mini cheese ball recipe fills each fillo shell like it’s holding a little pearl of holiday cheer. Plus they provide crunchy contrast, to boot.


Yield: 40

Total Time: 20 minutes

Mini Cheese Ball Recipe


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded white cheddar
  • Zest of 1 lemon 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 3 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup chopped pistachios (or 1/2 cup pistachios + 1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon)
  • 3 boxes Athens Mini Fillo Shells


  1. Place both cheeses in the food processor and puree until smooth. Add the lemon zest, thyme, cayenne, and cherries and pulse until the cherries are chopped and evenly distributed.
  2. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place the pistachios (and bacon) in small bowls. Scoop a 2 teaspoons portion of cheese mixture into your hands and roll into a smooth ball. Then place the ball in the pistachios and gently shake until the ball is covered with nuts. Press the cheese ball into a mini fillo shell and place on a platter. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture.
  4. If making ahead, cover the platter well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 1-2 days ahead.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Athens Foods. All opinions are, of course, my own.

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42 Responses to “Mini Cheese Ball Recipe”

  1. #
    Jeanette — December 14, 2012 @ 6:46 am

    How cute are these Sommer! I love bite size appetizers and those little fillo cups definitely make it easier to pull off for a big party. We’re having a big holiday open house this year – these mini cheese balls would be perfect!


  2. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — December 14, 2012 @ 7:24 am

    Love everything about these!


  3. #
    Cookin' Canuck — December 14, 2012 @ 7:58 am

    This is flippin’ brilliant, Sommer! I HAVE to make these when my family visits this Christmas…or maybe for New Year’s Eve…or maybe both.


  4. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — December 14, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    Sommer these lok fabolous!! Everytime I go to a [arty and they have cheese, it’s brie and it hardens up, so it’s hard to cut and breaks on a cracker! I love this idea with cheese balls! Your photos look fabolous!!


  5. #
    Angie — December 14, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    These are just about the cutest little appetizers ever!


  6. #
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — December 14, 2012 @ 8:48 am

    Ok… these aren’t JUST cheese balls. I was expecting a big hunk of orange something in the middle. These are so much more.


  7. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — December 14, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    I adore the little cups! So cute – and perfect for parties!


  8. #
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — December 14, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    Such a great way to serve them!


  9. #
    JulieD — December 14, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    How cute and with pistachios!! Love this!!


  10. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — December 14, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    These are so clever! Absolutely love this idea!


  11. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — December 14, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    I’m in love with cute food, too. And these are definitely cute. And they look fabulously delicious, AND perfect for the holidays!!


  12. #
    Mike — December 14, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    Sommer … these are such a wonderful creation of the old favorite cheese ball. I have a special adaptation I’ll have to try, and yes, my Spicing Pecans web page is coming soon and I hope I can link to your work often. Again, these Mini Cheese Balls in the Filo Cups are great! Thanks.


  13. #
    Carrie @ Kiss My Whisk — December 14, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    These look so fun for a party! And they’re cheese ball so they’re obviously delicious!


  14. #
    DessertForTwo — December 14, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    I was looking for these tart shells in my small-town grocery store and couldn’t find them, so I had to make my own shells. Not as easy, but definitely still delicious! Love fillo! :)


  15. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — December 14, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    These are definitely a crowd pleasing treat. I love everything about these!


  16. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — December 14, 2012 @ 11:52 am



  17. #
    Joy — December 14, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    These look lovely. I love recipe. I have to pin it :D


  18. #
    Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings — December 14, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

    yum! perfect to bring to a holiday party!


  19. #
    Holly — December 14, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    The bacon and cheese balls might be my new favorite food! I wish I had the ingredients to make them for a party tonight. Next time for sure!


  20. #
    Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmet — December 14, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

    So CUTE!!! And delightful :) Loving this cheese ball idea, Sommer!

    Hugs <3


  21. #
    Colette @ JFF! — December 14, 2012 @ 6:35 pm



  22. #
    Nancy Long — December 14, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    great idea – I love finger food for parties


  23. #
    Anita at Hungry Couple — December 14, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

    This recipe contains two words I’m extremely fond of: cheese and fillo. Everything else is just gravy. :)


  24. #
    Ashley - Baker by Nature — December 14, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

    Ahem – this is brilliant!!!


  25. #
    kale — December 15, 2012 @ 12:07 am

    i cannot think of one thing i do not like about a cheese ball!

    then again, i’m not lactose intolerant. (how sad for them…)


  26. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — December 15, 2012 @ 12:45 am

    I love everything about these!!


  27. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — December 15, 2012 @ 5:19 am

    Mmm what an awesome appetizer idea!


  28. #
    Marly — December 15, 2012 @ 10:38 am

    I love the idea of these mini cheeseballs. Can’t wait to make a vegan version!


  29. #
    Sheree Knapp — December 15, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

    Thank you for all your delicious recipes and your generosity with the giveaways throughout the year. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you and yours.


  30. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — December 16, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    These are super cute and creative, Sommer! I know I’d gobble up more than a few myself!


  31. #
    Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen — December 16, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

    So darn cute, is what these are! I love the idea of doing a mini cheese ball. That way, you don’t have to commit to just one flavor!


  32. #
    Chris — December 19, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    What a great idea! Quick, adorable, make ahead, and flexible. You nailed the perfect holiday party food, Sommer.



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