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This Cranberry Almond Bacon Cheese Ball is the perfect appetizer for the holidays. Festive colors and flavors make this a brilliant buffet centerpiece for any occasion!
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This Bacon Cheese Ball, stuffed with cranberries and almonds is one of my favorite holiday appetizers. What is more festive than a creamy cheese ball at a holiday party? The red cranberries and green sprinkling from the cilantro really make this cheese ball stand out. Not only is it colorful, it is filled with flavors and textures that blend beautifully together.
I love appetizers that are savory and sweet, and the cheese, smoky bacon, and roasted almonds are complemented perfectly by the slightly sweet and tart dried cranberry pieces. With all of this you get crunchy, chewy, and creamy in every bite!
What to Serve with a Cheese Ball
This Cranberry Almond Bacon Cheese Ball recipe can be made ahead and will keep in the refrigerator for several days. Be sure to plan for the 3 hour refrigeration time so the cheese ball can set up and the flavors can blend before serving.
While it chills, make a platter of baguette bread, crostini, pita chips, rye crackers, or just about any kind of cracker.
It’s also delicious as a veggie dip! I like to pile cucumber slices, carrots, celery sticks and pea pods on a tray nearby so guests can nibble on some healthy snacks along with rich, holiday desserts.
What is a Cheeseball Made Of?
Cheeseballs typically have a cream cheese base that is combined with some sort of other cheese or cheeses and then some additional mix ins. Here are the ingredients used to make this cheeseball:
- Cream cheese – It’s best to avoid low-fat or non-fat cream cheeses because they don’t set as well. Regular cream cheese will serve you best.
- Sharp white cheddar cheese – You can also use regular cheddar cheddar cheese. You can shred it yourself or buy it pre-shredded.
- Bacon – All the best cheese balls have bacon (in my honest opinion)
- Dried cranberries – aka “Craisins”
- Worcestershire sauce
- Instead of using white cheddar (sharp white cheddar is best), you can substitute sharp cheddar cheese, feta, Gorgonzola, or my personal favorite, goat cheese! You can’t go wrong with any of these, so go with whatever cheese mixture you like best.
- Substitute dried cherries for the cranberries, or any dried fruit you like.
- Swap out the almonds for chopped pecans, walnuts, whatever you may have on hand. If you aren’t a fan of nuts, you can use chopped pretzels for a similar crunch.
- For a sweeter cheese ball, roll the outside in a mixture of coconut and nuts. So delicious!
- If you’re not a huge fan of cilantro, you can add parsley flakes or chives instead. You’ll still get that beautiful green color with a more mild flavor.
Read More:The BEST Thanksgiving Appetizers
5-Star Reviews From Our Readers:
“I made this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving and what a hit it was! Everyone wants the recipe. I followed the recipe, except I substituted Italian Parsley instead of the cilantro. The savory flavors of bacon and roasted almonds along with the tart sweetness of the cranberries is amazing! This recipe is a keeper that I will make time and time again!” – Pamela H.
“I made the Cranberry Bacon Almond Cheese Ball for my Sonand future Daughter-In-Love’s Engagement Party. I split it in half so that when it ran low I could just replace it with another. Came out great! I substituted the cheddar cheese with the goat cheese mainly because I didn’t want to have to grate the cheddar. Got so many compliments. I was asked to make it again for my friends Bunco Night!! Thank you!!” – Tamara
“This might be my favorite cheese ball recipe yet!! ALL those cranberries. yummy.” – Lisalia
FAQs about Cheeseballs
Cheese balls last up to 10 days if wrapped well and stored properly.
Yes! We do it all the time. You can actually make it several days ahead of time and still be fine.
Yes, you will want to keep your cheese ball in the fridge when not being served.
Cheese balls can be left out for 3 hours or less when serving.
More Holiday Appetizers
How to Make Cranberry Almond Cheese Ball
Cranberry Almond Bacon Cheese Ball
- Whip softened cream cheese in a medium size bowl until it is creamy with no lumps.
- Add white cheddar, bacon, cranberries, cilantro, and Worcestershire sauce and blend everything together.
- Spoon mixture out onto a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Bring corners together and form mixture into a large ball. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours until cheese ball becomes firm.
- Once the cheese ball has set up in the fridge, roll it in the chopped almonds until thoroughly coated.
- Serve with sliced baguette bread or your favorite crackers.
- This Cheese Ball will need to refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Plan accordingly!
- If you are worried about a time crunch the day of serving, you can make this cheese ball up to a week before serving. Just make sure it it tightly wrapped and refrigerated.
- The ingredients in this recipe can easily be swapped out. See notes above for variations.
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