Mini Cheese Balls
We all could use a few crowd-pleasing party snack ideas this time of year, and this Mini Cheese Balls Recipe served in crispy little fillo shells is fun to serve and even more fun to eat!
THE Party Snack of the Season
Cheese balls, the quintessential holiday party snack.
I could probably count on one hand the times I’ve been to a holiday 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?
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. 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.
A New Kind of Cracker?
The base of this mini 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 overpowering the cheesy essence.
After rolling the cheese balls in a nutty coating, this mini cheese balls recipe is perfected by pressing each ball into its own crunchy fillo (phyllo) shell.
Crackers-shmackers, who needs’em.
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!
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.
What You Need To Make The Recipe
- Cream Cheese
- Shredded White Cheddar – Also try smoked cheddar or gouda.
- Zest of a Lemon
- Fresh Chopped Thyme Leaves – You could even use dried thyme leaves as well.
- Cayenne Pepper
- Dried tart cherries – Or dried cranberries
- Chopped pistachios – Or Chopped Cooked Bacon and Pistachio combo
- Athens Mini Fillo Shells
How To Make Cheese Balls
- Puree both the cheeses in the food processor until they are smooth and evenly combined.
- Then add in the lemon zest, cayenne, and cherries and then pulse them all together until the cherries are slightly distributed and chopped evenly.
- Cover with plastic wrap and then let the mixture chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Then grab a bowl and place your pistachios (or bacon and pistachio combo) in a bowl. Take a small scoop of the cheese and roll into a ball with your hands until it is smooth. Take that cheese ball and roll it in the pistachios until it is evenly coated.
- Place the coated cheese ball into the fillo shell and repeat until all the cheese is balled up. Enjoy!
Get the Complete (Printable) Mini Cheese Balls Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this dish ahead of time?
Yes, you can! Just make sure to cover the platter well with some plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until you are ready for it to be served. You can prepare the filling and coating, then leave them in the refrigerator until ready to roll. Or you can make the recipe from start to finish, then refrigerate for several days.
How long does this appetizer last in the fridge?
A homemade cheese ball can stay fresh in the fridge for at least 3 to 5 days, and up to 2 weeks, depending on how fresh the ingredients you bought were and the expiration date on the packaging of your cheeses.
Can you keep cheese balls in the freezer?
Yes, you can keep the cheese portion in the freezer for up to 3 months, but I do not encourage keeping the fillo shells in the freezer with the cheese. You can always assemble them before serving, after you let the balls and fillo shells defrost.
What are some other popular ingredient swaps or add-ins?
Some great substitutions or add-ins could be
- Smoked Cheddar
- Cried Cranberries
- Dried Apricots
- Chopped Cashew
Other Great Appetizer Dishes
- Pomegranate Cheese Ball Recipe
- Broccoli Cheese Casserole Mini Pies Recipe
- Chorizo and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe
- Spicy Roasted Chickpea Recipe
- Crispy Polenta Fries (Baked) Recipe
- Crispy Mashed Potatoes with Queso Fresco Recipe
Mini Cheese Ball Recipe
- 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.
- Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- 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.
- If making ahead, cover the platter well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made 1-2 days ahead.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Athens Foods. All opinions are, of course, my own.