Some people might argue cheese balls are passé. (We never would.) But for most Southerners, the cheese ball is the nostalgic appetizer we'll welcome at any party.
While classic cheese balls primarily use cream cheese with Cheddar cheese and spices, this ham cheese ball is going all out for flavor. It has cream cheese, deli ham, smoked Cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, chives, parsley, scallions, garlic powder, and onion powder. It's then chilled and rolled in a combination of chives and roughly chopped pecans.
Ham Cheese Ball Ingredients
For the base of this ham cheese ball, you will need:
- cream cheese
- smoked deli ham
- smoked Cheddar cheese
- Worcestershire sauce
- Dijon mustard
- garlic powder
- onion powder
You'll roll the cheese ball in
- flat-leaf parsley
How To Make a Ham Cheese Ball
Stir together the ham, cheeses, greens, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, Worcestershire, and chives. Cover the bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
Next, combine pecans and the rest of the chives in a shallow dish. Shape the cheese mixture into a ball, and roll it in the pecan mixture until it is evenly coated.
Wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm (at least an hour) or until ready to serve (up to two days).
What Does a Ham Cheese Ball Taste Like?
This cheese ball recipe derives its distinct smokiness from both the smoked Cheddar as well as the ham; it's hearty and savory.
Abundant parsley, green onions, and chives inside and out give this ball both freshness and color.
More typically, cheese ball recipes call for raw nuts. But because this one calls for toasted pecans, it has added crispiness as well as additional depth of flavor from the oils. Leave the nuts a bit chunkier for a more rustic, homemade vibe.
Test Kitchen Tips
Keeping your hands clean when you roll the nuts into the cheese ball is important for an appealing appearance—no sticky cheese ball mixture will be transferred to the outside. Try putting the nut mixture on a baking sheet and pressing the ball instead of rolling it in a dish to keep the outside-facing nuts clean and free from the cheese mixture.
If you're in a hurry and need to soften the cream cheese before using it, you can pop it in the microwave for two minutes at 50 percent power.
How To Serve Ham Cheese Ball
This flavorful and hearty party food is ideal for any holiday gathering, and would be a perfect game-day food, too. Serve it with crackers and toasted warm bread for spreading.
Other Cheese Balls:
Mama's Cheese Ball
- Mini Pimiento Cheese Balls
- 4-Ingredient Chicken Cheese Ball
- Feta-Olive-Fresh Herb Cheese Ball
Where Do Cheese Balls Come From?
The first-known written recipe for a cheese ball appeared in Food of My Friends , a 1944 compilation of budget-friendly, versatile, and humble party recipes compiled by Virginia Wetherby Safford, who was then a well-known columnist for the Minneapolis Star . In it, she said the cheese ball was the signature dish of Mrs. Selmber E. Ellertson.
Editorial contributions by Alesandra Dubin .
1 ( 8-oz. ) pkg. cream cheese , softened
4 oz. finely chopped smoked deli ham (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 oz. smoked Cheddar cheese , shredded (about 1/3 cup)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped scallions (about 1 scallion)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
5 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives , divided
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
Make cheese ball mixture:
Stir together cream cheese, ham, smoked Cheddar, scallions, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, Dijon, Worcestershire, and 2 tablespoons of the chives in a large bowl until combined. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
Roll cheese ball in pecan-chive mixture:
Combine pecans and remaining 3 tablespoons chives in a shallow dish.
Shape cheese mixture into a ball, and roll in pecan mixture until coated.
Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm or until ready to serve, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.