Looking for an easy make-ahead appetizer for game day? This football cheese ball recipe is the perfect appetizer for any watch party, Super Bowl party, tailgate or game day gathering!
We take tailgating very seriously down South. We’re talking chandeliers at the tailgate tables and grandma’s silver platters. Now, that’s all super fun but your tailgate is nothing if it doesn’t have a crowd-pleasing menu! First up on my list? This football shaped cheese ball recipe, it’s always a hit! Cheese + Bacon = WINNER!
How to Make a Football Cheese Ball
- Using a food processor or mixer, combine softened (room temperature) cream cheese (this is key, it makes it easy to mix together) along with the rest of your ingredients (full recipe at end of post).
- Once combined, use a spatula to flip out the cheese ball mixture onto a layer of plastic wrap on your counter.
- Spritz clean hands with a quick spray of nonstick cooking spray to help form the mixture into the shape of a football. Make an oblong, oval shape and then pinch the ends to a slight point.
- Lay the cream cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap and carefully fold the sides of the wrap around the football shape. Now you can apply more pressure to help shape it into that perfect football shape!
- Refrigerate for at least 8 hours (I usually leave it overnight).
- Spread your chopped nuts, chopped bacon and green onion in a shallow dish. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator and unwrap. Roll it in the coating until evenly coated, gently pressing the toppings in if needed.
- Slice white cheese (or string cheese) in thin strips to form football laces. Lay the cheese strips over the coated cheese ball.
Can I make a Cheese Ball in advance?
Yes! That’s one of the reasons I love to serve this easy appetizer. You can make them ahead of time, up to 3 days actually. Just wait to roll it in the coating until you’re ready to serve (so the nuts stay crunchy).
How to Serve a Football Cheese Ball
Surround your cheese ball with a variety of crackers, toast points, breadsticks, pretzels and sliced veggies like celery, carrots, etc. Serve it up on a serving platter or just a simple tray will do.
I suggest layering on a sheet of parchment paper to your tray for easy clean-up at football parties. Add in a cheese knife and ta-da! Game day appetizer is ready!
Cheese Ball Tips & Tricks
- I highly suggest shredding your own cheese off a cheese block rather than using bagged, shredded cheese. If you’re in a pinch, store-bought will work fine, but freshly shredded cheese tastes much better.
- Don’t skip the ranch seasoning packet, it gives the cheese ball so much flavor! I used the Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning & Dressing Packet, but any brand will work fine. If you can’t find it, you can substitute in 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder and a dash of black pepper.
- Don’t want to use pecans? Swap them for almonds or walnuts or leave them off altogether! You can add extra crispy bacon to the coating too. The brown colors of nuts and bacon make this look just like a football!
More Game Day Appetizer Favorites
What’s better than an edible football made of cheese? This is such a fun appetizer for football parties! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!
Football Cheese Ball
- 16 ounces cream cheese (2 8-ounce blocks), softened
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 ounce ranch seasoning (1 packet)
- 1/4 cup green onions chopped
- 1/2 cup bacon chopped (can substitute in bacon bits)
- 1 tsp hot sauce optional
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Cheese Ball Coating
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup chopped bacon
- 2 tbsp chopped green onion
- 2 slices white cheese such as provolone, white cheddar, swiss
- Using a food processor, standing mixer (with paddle attachment) or in a large mixing bowl, combine together cream cheese, sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, Ranch seasoning packet, green onions, bacon, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Spritz clean hands with nonstick baking spray and mold the cheese mixture into a football shape. Think oval shape and pinch the ends until they come to a slight point.
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and add the ball on top. Fold up the plastic wrap around the ball and further mold into a ball.
- Refrigerate for 8 hours (at least 4 hours if in a pinch). This will help firm up the football cheese ball.
- In a shallow dish or plate, stir together the coating of nuts, bacon and green onion.
- Unwrap the cheese ball and carefully roll it in the toppings. Gently press the toppings in to the sides, if needed.
- Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, slice the white cheese to make long, thin strips and lay them across the cheese ball to look like football laces.
- Serve cheeseball alongside crackers, pretzels, crostini, veggie slices, etc. Store any leftover cheese ball in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.