Not Your Grandma’s Cheeseball

Update your holiday cheese board with this decadent recipe that combines local cheeses and ingredients for a more modern and regional flavor. When it comes to holiday cheese balls, the hardest part is deciding between cheeses — that’s why we take the “why not both?” approach and make two medium-sized cheese balls instead of one giant one. It’s the best of both worlds! One pairs pungent, salty Oregon blue cheese with sweet diced figs and spiced nuts. The other combines sharp cheddar and chives with garlicky smoked nuts. Which cheese ball will be your favorite? Pair with crackers, crisp flatbread, pretzels, crudites, apple or pear slices, pita, or sliced baguette for serving.


Blue Cheese-Fig with Spiced Pecans Cheese Ball

  • 4 oz (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces blue cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped spiced candied pecans (or other nut or seed: crushed walnuts, sesame seeds, slivered almonds), for rolling
  • Cheddar-Chive with Garlic Almonds Cheese Ball

  • 4 oz (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup minced chives (or scallions)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry white wine or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp smoked or hot paprika
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup chopped garlic almonds (or other nut), for rolling
  • Instructions

    1. If you’re making both cheese balls, grab two medium sized bowls, and if you’re just making a larger version of one of them, grab a large bowl. In each bowl, fully combine everything but the nuts until you have a fairly uniform mixture without pockets of any one ingredient.
    2. Cover each bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour (or 15 minutes in the freezer) to firm up the cheese mix. Pat the mixture into a rough ball shape in the bowl using a rubber spatula,
    3. Spread the chopped nuts into a shallow bowl or rimmed plate, then scrape the rough cheese ball onto the nuts. Roll each ball in their chopped nuts and arrange on a plate with crackers, crudites, etc. for serving.