This Holiday Cheese Ball is the perfect appetizer for upcoming parties and gatherings. It is always a hit because really, who doesn’t love creamy cheese loaded with crunchy flavor? The best part about this appetizer is threefold: first, it is made with only three ingredients; second, it takes no time at all to put together, and finally, you can make it ahead and serve at room temperature when guests arrive. That is what I call perfect party fare.
I call this a Holiday Cheese Ball because it seems so appropriate for winter party gatherings but don’t be fooled by the name, it is just as good served at all times of the year. For spring or summer seasons I would pair it with sweet strawberry, peach, or blackberry jam but during the Christmas season I love serving this spicy and flavorful Holiday Cheese Ball alongside a cranberry compote or fig jam. The sweet, fruity jam, the creaminess of the cheese, and the pungent notes of seeds and herbs from the Indian flavors of our Mumbai nut & spice mix make for a tasty combination.
This Holiday Cheese Ball is made by mixing cream cheese and Monterrey Jack cheese, then crusted with our spicy Indian nut mix, but all flavors of our Glory Kitchen nut & spice mixes work beautifully crusted on a cheese ball.
For a different twist you could try a mix of cream cheese and Manchego or Queso Fresco and then crust it with our Mexican flavors of San Miguel nut & spice mix. Or take it in a Mediterranean direction with a cream cheese and feta combination crusted with our Cairo nut & spice mix. Another fabulous cheese combination (and one I make often) is cream cheese and goat cheese crusted with our Provence nut & spice mix. There are so many combinations; each one has its own delicious flavor twist and they make a lovely presentation crusted in colorful seeds, nuts, herbs and spices.
I like to make the cheese ball ahead, refrigerate wrapped in plastic wrap, then serve at room temperature when the guests arrive so the cheese is soft and creamy for spreading. My favorite pairing is with fresh baguette slices but any type of cracker works perfectly as well.
With our Glory Kitchen spice blends on hand, you’ll always be ready to throw together a true crowd-pleasing appetizer. You don’t even need a recipe. It’s just that simple.
- about 1/4 cup Mumbai nut & spice mix
- 1 block (8 ounce) cream cheese
- 1 block Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
- fresh parsley, for garnish
- 1 jar cranberry jam or preserves (also would be great with fig jam, strawberry jam, or blackberry jam)
- crackers or slices of fresh baguette
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and Monterrey Jack cheese until they are incorporated well. I like to use my hands to get it well mixed together. Form into a ball.
- Take the Mumbai nut & spice mix and sprinkle it out onto a flat countertop, cutting board, or flat surface. Take the cheese ball and press it down firmly into the Mumbai nut & spice mix to crust the exterior of the ball. Move it around and continue pressing the cheese into the nut mix until the entire ball is completely covered in the blend. Wrap the cheese ball with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- I like to bring the cheese to room temperature before serving so it is creamy and easy to spread. Place the ball into the center of a serving dish and spoon a seasonal jam (I love cranberry at Christmas time but fig is delicious as well) all around the base of the cheese ball. Serve with slices of fresh baguette or with your favorite crackers.