Mini cheese balls with a pepperoni pizza flair! Bite-sized so they’re super easy to make and the best appetizer to eat. No double dipping, just grab a cracker and pop one in your mouth.
Easy Mini Cheese Balls
Who doesn’t love a cheese ball? It’s a classic party appetizer that always pleases. They’re simple to make and so versatile. This particular cheese ball recipe has a pizza flavor, made with cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, pepperoni, spices, and coated in smoked almonds. So good.
Unlike the traditional giant cheese balls you usually see, we converted this one into bite-sized cheese balls, which makes them easy to eat and you don’t need to worry about germs from double dipping!
Cheese Ball Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this mini cheese ball appetizer.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for all the measurements and details.)
- Cream cheese: Either full fat or reduced fat both work.
- Monterey Jack cheese: You could also use sharp cheddar instead. For optimal flavor, freshly grate the cheese instead of buying the pre-packaged kind. You will notice a difference!
- Pepperoni: Adds a delicious smokey flavor.
- Seasonings: Worcestershire sauce, dried Italian seasoning, and fresh chopped parsley.
- Smoked almonds: Blitz these in a food processor to make them into crumbs, so they’re easier to mold around the balls of cheese.
- Pretzel sticks (optional): In lieu of a toothpick, we break pretzel sticks in half and then insert them into the balls of cheese. Makes them easy to pick up and can take the place of a cracker.
How to Make Cheese Balls
There are just 4 easy steps to making these mini cheese balls. Here’s a summary.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for complete details.)
- Make the cream cheese mixture. Blend together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, pepperoni, Italian seasoning, and Worcestershire.
- Form the balls. Form into 16 small balls (1/2-inch round), then transfer back to the fridge for about 1-2 hours until firm.
- Make the outer coating. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until you have crumbs. Transfer to a shallow bowl with finely chopped fresh parsley and mix to combine.
- Coat the mini balls. Roll each cheese ball in the almond-parsley mixture, pressing lightly into the cheese so that it sticks.
Variation – Make it into a Giant Cheese Ball
Still prefer one giant cheese ball instead of mini ones? No problem. Just mold the cream cheese mixture into one single ball and coat with the almond crumbs. Cover and chill until ready to eat. Instead of inserting a pretzel into bite-sized portions, serve with whole pretzels or crackers on the side.
How to Serve Cheese Balls
Cream cheese pairs well with so many different types of crackers, so there really isn’t a wrong kind. We’re partial to ritz crackers or wheat thins. You also can’t go wrong with veggie sticks, crostini, or pretzel crackers if you’re not planning on inserting the pretzel sticks.
How to Store Cheese Balls
The cheese mixture and forming the balls can be made up to a 5 days in advance if you need to. Cover and keep chilled. Wait until close to serving time before you coat in the nuts, otherwise they’ll get soft.
Once assembled and if not serving immediately, loosely cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. Just before serving, insert a pretzel stick into each ball, but not before or it will get mushy. Enjoy!
More Party Appetizers:
- Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Mini Tortellini Kabobs
- Cucumber Sandwiches
- Jalapeno Poppers
- Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites
- Cheesy Corn Dip
Mini Pizza Cheese Balls
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened to room temperature
- 4 ounces (1 cup) finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese , room temperature
- 6 slices pepperoni , finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup smokehouse flavored almonds
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley , very finely chopped
- 8 pretzel sticks , broken in half, optional
- Place cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, pepperoni, Italian seasoning, and Worcestershire in a medium bowl; beat with a handheld mixer until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill for about 15 minutes or until firm enough to handle.
- Form into 16 small balls (1/2-inch round) and place on a baking sheet, then transfer back to the fridge for about 1-2 hours until firm.
- Place almonds in a food processor and pulse a few times until you have crumbs. Transfer to a shallow bowl with the parsley and mix to combine.
- Roll each cheese ball in the almond-parsley mixture, pressing lightly into the cheese so that it sticks.
- Just before serving, insert a pretzel stick (broken side down) into each ball. Enjoy!(If not serving immediately, loosely cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. But don’t insert the pretzel stick until right before serving or it will get mushy.)