This Christmas Wreath Cheese Ball recipe is the perfect holiday appetizer, a blend of creamy cheeses, bacon, and jalapeños.
Delight guests with this visually stunning Christmas Wreath Cheese Ball, a festive blend of creamy cheeses, savory bacon, and zesty jalapeños.
This is an easy-to-make, make-ahead holiday centerpiece perfect for adding flavor and flair to your seasonal gatherings.
This Christmas cheese ball wreath recipe is the perfect Christmas party appetizer. The creamy and savory blend of cheeses, bacon, and jalapeños are delightful taste experiences that many enjoy.
My mind usually goes to cheese balls when thinking about easy holiday appetizers. This Christmas Wreath Cheese Ball isn’t just a tasty treat; it’s a visually stunning centerpiece for any holiday table.
When I made my popular mini cheese balls recipe, I wanted to make a holiday cheese ball wreath, and now I finally have.
Its festive wreath shape, adorned with festive garnishes, instantly catches the eye and adds a decorative touch to your holiday table, pleasing cheese lovers at this time of year.
Its ease of preparation makes it an appealing option for hosts. Being able to assemble it beforehand allows hosts to enjoy the gathering more instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
This festive appetizer’s unique appearance and delightful taste make it a conversation starter at holiday parties. It’s the kind of dish that prompts guests to ask for the recipe, fostering connections and shared moments.
Who isn’t interested in an edible wreath?
Incorporating the Christmas Wreath Cheese Ball into the menu adds a festive touch to the overall spread. Its vibrant colors and holiday-themed presentation make it a delightful holiday appetizer addition for any holiday gathering.
Bacon Jalapeno Cheese Ball Ingredients
Cream Cheese, Softened to Room Temperature: Cream cheese is the main ingredient of the cheese ball, providing a creamy and smooth texture to the mixture.
Sour Cream: Sour cream adds a tangy flavor and contributes to the creamy consistency of the cheese ball.
Garlic Powder: Garlic powder enhances the savory profile of the cheese ball, adding depth of flavor.
Onion Powder: Onion powder complements the other spices, lending a subtle yet distinct onion flavor to the cheese ball mixture.
Cooked and Chopped Bacon: Crispy, smoky bacon pieces impart a smoky, savory taste and add texture to the cheese ball.
Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese contributes sharpness and richness to the cheese ball mixture.
Shredded Jalapeño Havarti Cheese: Shredded jalapeño Havarti cheese provides creaminess with a subtle kick of heat and a hint of jalapeño flavor.
Jalapeños, Minced (seeds and stems removed): Finely minced jalapeños, with seeds and stems removed, add a spicy kick to the cheese ball. Adjust the amount based on the desired heat level.
If you cannot find jalapeño Havarti cheese, you can use several alternative cheeses for this Christmas wreath cheese ball recipe.
- Pepper Jack Cheese: Pepper Jack cheese is a popular choice that combines Monterey Jack cheese with spicy peppers, often jalapeños or other hot peppers. It offers a similar level of heat and creaminess to jalapeño Havarti.
- Cheddar Cheese with Jalapeños: Sharp cheddar cheese combined with diced or sliced pickled jalapeños provides a flavorful substitute. The sharpness of cheddar pairs well with the heat from the jalapeños.
- Spiced Gouda or Smoked Gouda: Gouda cheese with spices or smoked varieties can offer a unique flavor profile. While it may not have the same heat as jalapeño Havarti, its smokiness can complement various dishes.
- Habanero Cheddar or Cheese Blends: Habanero cheddar cheese or blends that combine cheddar with habanero peppers can provide a higher heat level than jalapeño Havarti.
- Chipotle Cheddar: Chipotle cheddar cheese combines the smokiness of chipotle peppers with the sharpness of cheddar, offering a different but flavorful substitution.
- Regular Havarti Cheese: If the heat aspect is not essential, regular Havarti cheese can still provide the creamy texture without the spiciness.
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Tools and Supplies You Will Need
To make this bacon jalapeno cheese ball, you will need the following supplies:
- cutting board
- sharp knife for dicing
- cheese grater
- large mixing bowl
- electric mixer – hand mixer or stand mixer
- rubber spatula
- 6” cake pan
- 2” jar or drinking glass
- food-safe plastic wrap
- cooking spray
- large charcuterie board or round serving plate
Preparing the Cheese Ball Mixture
Making a cheese ball is simple, with just a few easy steps.
Ensure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature for more effortless blending. Combine the softened cream cheese and sour cream in a large mixing bowl.
Use a hand mixer or transfer everything to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese and sour cream quickly until well combined and achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.
Add the garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and ground black pepper to the cream cheese mixture. Continue to beat at high speed until all the spices are fully incorporated, and the mixture is smooth and evenly seasoned.
Adjust seasoning to taste preferences.
Once the soft cheese mixture is seasoned and smooth, switch to a spatula or a wooden spoon for the next step.
Add the cooked and chopped bacon to the cream cheese mixture bowl. Ensure the bacon is crispy and well-drained before adding it to avoid excess grease.
Add the shredded cheddar, Havarti, and minced jalapeños to the bowl. Gently fold and stir the ingredients into the cream cheese mixture until they are thoroughly combined and evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Take a moment to check the consistency and taste of the cheese mixture. Adjust the seasoning if needed by adding more salt, pepper, or other seasonings according to your preference for flavor.
Assembling the Christmas Wreath Cheese Ball Recipe
First things first, grab a 6-inch round cake pan. Line it up with food-safe plastic wrap, letting those wrap edges stand tall above the pan. This trick makes it a breeze to lift out your cheese ball later on.
Find a jar or drinking glass that’s about 2 inches wide. Wrap that baby in plastic wrap, too. Spray the outside lightly with cooking spray, and pop it in the center of your cake pan.
This move creates that all-important hole in the middle of your wreath and keeps the cheese ball in a round shape.
Keep that jar steady as you spoon your cheese ball mixture into the cake pan. Use a spatula to press the mixture down firmly – you want it snug!
Then, wrap the whole thing up in more plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least two hours. This step is like the cheese ball’s timeout to set and firm up.
After its chill time, take the cheese ball wreath out of the cake pan by gently lifting the plastic wrap. It should pop out nicely.
Place it in the middle of a serving platter like a charcuterie board or a large tray. Peel off the plastic wrap carefully.
Now, it’s time to ditch the jar in the center. Be gentle. We don’t want to mess up our beautiful cheese wreath.
If, by chance, there’s a tiny crack, no sweat! Dab your finger in water and press the cracked pieces together. Easy fix!
Final touch time! Sprinkle on the minced chives and dried cranberries in whatever pattern strikes your fancy. Gently press them into the cheese ball so they stick right on top.
Voila! You’ve got a stunning Christmas cheese ball wreath ready to be the star of your holiday spread.
Festive Decorations and Garnishes
If you’re looking for festive garnish ideas or different toppings, try these suggestions:
Fresh Chives: Fresh chives are finely chopped and sprinkled on top of the cheese ball, offering a mild onion-like flavor and a vibrant green color for decoration.
Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries are used as a festive garnish and placed around the base of the cheese ball to mimic holly berries. They add a pop of color and a touch of sweetness to the presentation.
Fresh Herbs: Arrange rosemary sprigs, thyme, or fresh parsley leaves around the base of the wreath to mimic a holiday wreath’s greenery.
Pomegranate Seeds: Scatter pomegranate seeds around the wreath for festive color and sweetness.
Edible Flowers: Use edible flowers like poinsettias, hibiscus, or pansies to add vibrant colors and an elegant touch to the wreath.
Toasted Nuts: Sprinkle toasted and chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts around the wreath for texture and a nutty flavor that complements the cheese ball.
Mini Bell Peppers: Slice mini bell peppers into rings or small pieces and place them strategically around the wreath to add more color and a mild pepper taste. Bell pepper slices are another excellent option.
Additional Bacon Crumbles: Sprinkle extra bits of crispy bacon over the top of the wreath for added flavor and a festive touch.
Jalapeño Slices or Rings: Thinly slice fresh jalapeños into rounds and arrange them on top or around the wreath for a spicy kick and visual appeal.
Holiday-shaped Cheese Cutouts: Use small cookie cutters to cut cheese into holiday shapes like stars, trees, or snowflakes. Place these on top or around the wreath for a decorative touch.
Assorted Crackers and Crostini: Imagine a variety of crackers – from buttery, flaky ones to crispy, whole-grain versions. Crostini or toasted baguette slices offer a sturdy base to spread that creamy goodness.
Crisp Fresh Vegetables: Go for a colorful mix of fresh veggies like celery sticks, carrot and cucumber slices, red bell pepper strips, and cherry tomatoes. They add a refreshing crunch and balance the richness of the cheese ball.
Pretzels and Breadsticks: Salty pretzels and crispy breadsticks provide a delightful contrast in texture and flavor, creating an addictive combo with the creamy cheese ball.
Holiday Party Food Inspiration
A Christmas wreath cheese ball can be the centerpiece of your party spread by adding just a few things to your table. Here are some of my favorite suggestions:
- Add sweetness with sliced fruits like apple wedges, grapes, or pear slices. They complement the savory cheese ball and add a fruity touch.
- A bowl of assorted nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans) and dried fruits (like apricots or figs) bring a delightful mix of textures and flavors that pair wonderfully with the cheese ball.
- Include a small selection of olives (green, black, stuffed – take your pick!) and pickles (gherkins, baby cornichons) for a tangy and briny addition that balances the richness of the cheese.
- For a twist, consider savory options like pita chips, popcorn, or seasoned nuts. They add variety and can be a fun departure from the usual pairings.
- Offer some optional spreads like honey, fig jam, cranberry relish, or chutneys. They create exciting flavor contrasts and allow guests to personalize their bites.
- To complement the cheese ball and accompaniments, a crisp white wine, a light-bodied red, or even sparkling cider can be a fantastic beverage choice.
- Serve it with some holiday cocktails, like Vanilla Cranberry Mimosa, Slow Cooker Kahlua Hot Chocolate, or Sparkling Bourbon Pear Cocktail.
- Infuse the holiday spirit with hot cocoa, mulled wine, or festive mocktails. They add warmth and coziness to the gathering.
Preparing the Cheese Ball in Advance
By preparing the cheese ball ahead of time, you’ll save valuable prep time during the busy holiday season. This allows you to focus on other tasks while ensuring your guests a delicious and visually appealing appetizer.
Follow the steps to prepare and shape the cheese ball as instructed until it needs to chill in the fridge.
Instead of chilling it for the recommended time, wrap the cheese ball tightly in several layers of plastic wrap. Ensure it’s completely covered to prevent drying out or absorbing other flavors from the fridge.
Place the wrapped cheese ball in the refrigerator. It can stay refrigerated for up to 24-48 hours before serving.
Cheese balls with cream cheese bases might not freeze well due to changes in texture when thawed. It’s recommended to keep it refrigerated rather than freezing it.
How to Store a Leftover Cheese Ball
Store the leftover cheese ball in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can I use canned jalapenos instead of fresh? Canned jalapenos are packed with liquid and are a lot softer. I’d recommend using fresh jalapenos to control the liquid added to this mixture.
Can I use dried chives instead of fresh? In this recipe, fresh is best for taste and appearance. You could substitute the chives for finely minced green onions.
The jar is stuck in the middle of the cheese wreath, and I can’t easily remove it. What now?
Gently wiggle the jar from side to side, both from the top and bottom of the wreath. If you need to, use a small spatula (sprayed lightly with non-stick cooking spray) to help separate the cheese ball mixture from the plastic wrap around the jar.
If the cheese ball breaks a bit, use a small amount of water on your finger to press the broken pieces back together.
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup cooked and chopped bacon
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded jalapeno Havarti cheese
- 2 large jalapeños, minced (seeds and stems removed)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper on high speed until smooth.
- Use a spatula to stir in bacon, cheddar, Havarti, and minced jalapenos. Stir until mixed well.
- Line the inside of a 6” round cake pan with food-safe plastic wrap and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Let the edges of the plastic wrap come higher than the cake pan so that you can easily lift the plastic wrap later to remove the cheese ball from the pan.
- Cover the outside of a 2” diameter jar or cup with food-safe plastic wrap and lightly spray the outside with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the covered jar in the middle of the 6” cake pan. This is used to create the hole in the middle of the wreath.
- Hold that jar in place while you use a spatula to fill the cake pan with the cheese ball mixture. Press the cheese firmly into the cake pan.
- Wrap the filled cake pan with food-safe plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
- After the cheese ball has set, remove the cheese ball wreath from the cake pan by gently lifting on the plastic wrap. Place the cheese ball wreath on a charcuterie board, large cutting board, or round serving dish. Remove the plastic wrap.
- Remove the plastic-wrapped jar from the middle of the cheese ball wreath. Remove it gently so you don’t crack the cheese ball.
- Add the minced chives and dried cranberries to the top of the cheese ball wreath in whatever pattern you’d like. Slightly press down to stick them to the top of the cheese ball.
Use the block style cream cheese, not the spreadable kind you’d use on a bagel.
Store the leftover cheese ball (in a sealed food-safe container) in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 384mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 9g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not be correct.