This Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball brings a taste of fall in every bite, made with dried cranberries, orange zest, and roasted pecans and walnuts. This Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball is the perfect festive holiday appetizer - and it can be paired with sweet or savory leaning accompaniments.
I love a good cheese ball. Mostly because it’s one of my favorite ways to eat cream cheese. If I was as beloved as Oprah and people cared about my favorite things, cream cheese would definitely be on this fictional list. Especially this Cranberry Goat Cheese Ball with nuts - pecans AND walnuts.
I’ve made dozens of cheese balls, admittedly mostly involving bacon. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday seasons, I decided to tap into some holiday flavors - cranberry and orange. The tart, citrusy flavors make this Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball with feel light, despite all the cheese involved - which includes cream cheese and tangy goat cheese.
The goat cheese adds a lovely tang that plays up the fruity attributes. And roasted walnuts and pecans add a brilliant texture and a lovely presentation to the finished product. Because you are going to want to coat the finished product in crushed nuts.
Plus, if you're looking for a Thanksgiving cheese ball recipe, look no further.
How to Make a Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball - Ingredients
You will need the following ingredients to make this fabulously fall-inspired Cranberry Goat Cheese Ball with Nuts.
- cream cheese
- goat cheese
- dried cranberries
- orange zest
- orange juice, fresh squeezed
- roasted walnut pieces
- roasted pecan pieces
Let the cream cheese and goat cheese come to room temperature.
Add the cream cheese and goat cheese to a bowl and cream with a hand mixer.
Chop up the dried cranberries into smaller pieces.
Add the chopped dried cranberries, pinch of salt, orange zest, and orange juice to the bowl. Mix to combine with the hand mixer.
Add the walnut and pecan pieces to a food processor and pulse until you get small pebble-sized pieces.
Add half of the nuts to the bowl and combine with a hand mixer.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. The cheese ball will be easier to form when chilled.
Put the chilled cheese ball mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a ball.
Spread the remaining crushed nuts onto a cutting board.
Remove the plastic wrap from the cheese ball. Roll the cheese ball over the nuts until completely coated.
Put the cheese ball onto a plate and serve with crackers. Enjoy!
Cheese Ball Serving Size
This recipe makes a cheese ball that’s ideal for a small holiday get-together. It uses one 8-ounce package of cream cheese and one 4-ounce package of goat cheese. I’d plan on doubling that for a larger gathering, but this is perfect for four people. My husband and I demolished ⅔ of this Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball in one sitting, #noshame.
Since the flavors in this cheese ball recipe aren't decidedly savory or sweet, you can get creative with your cheese ball accompaniments. Obviously, they pair well with your average neutral cracker (like Club), but I was pleasantly surprised with how good they were with Garlic Butter Ritz. I'm betting a Rosemary-flavored cracker (like a Triscuit) would also be bomb. And I'd also give this a go on a graham cracker. Why not, right?
Absolutely! If you'd prefer to serve this cheese ball as individual bite-sized cheese balls, go for it! I recommend using a cookie scoop to achieve even little cranberry cheese balls. Insert a pretzel stick into each bite-sized cheese ball for easy serving.
Sweet and Savory Substitutions
The beauty of a cheese ball recipe is that you can easily make substitutions! Here are a few you can easily make to this Cheese Ball with Cranberries and Goat Cheese.
- Instead of dried cranberries, you could also use dried blueberries, cherries, chokecherries, or lingonberries.
- Instead of a mix of roasted walnuts and pecans, feel free to use one or the other. You could also use cashews or almonds.
- I like using roasted nuts but you could easily use raw nuts, or a complimentary-flavored nut that's been honey-roasted.
Cranberry Cheese Ball - Suggested Additions
Try swapping in one or more of the following to customize this Cranberry Cheese Ball recipe to suit your tastes:
- Chives, green onions
- White cheddar cheese, crumbled blue cheese
- Fresh parsley
- Garlic powder
- Honey (a drizzle)
Storing Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball
Wrap the cranberry cheese ball in plastic wrap, then place it in a lidded container and refrigerate it until needed. You can easily make this a day ahead of time but is best eaten within 3 days.
If you like Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball, you may also enjoy these dishes that also feature cream cheese:
Cranberry Nut Cheese Ball
- Let the cream cheese and goat cheese come to room temperature.
- Add the cream cheese and goat cheese to a bowl and cream with a hand mixer.1 8 ounce package cream cheese, 1 4 ounce package goat cheese
- Chop up the dried cranberries into smaller pieces.
- Add the chopped dried cranberries, pinch of salt, orange zest, and orange juice to the bowl. Mix to combine with the hand mixer.¼ cup dried cranberries, ¼ teaspoon orange zest, 1 pinch salt, ½ teaspoon orange juice
- Add the walnut and pecan pieces to a food processor and pulse until you get small pebble-sized pieces.½ cup roasted walnut pieces, ½ cup roasted pecan pieces
- Add half of the nuts to the bowl and combine with a hand mixer.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. The cheese ball will be easier to form when chilled.
- Put the chilled cheese ball mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a ball.
- Spread the remaining crushed nuts onto a cutting board.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the cheese ball. Roll the cheese ball over the nuts until completely coated.
- Put the cheese ball onto a plate and serve with crackers. Enjoy!