I once saw someone refer to a cheese ball as the Brad Pitt of appetizers: always looks good, everyone likes it, and you’re always glad to see it. Sounds about right, yes? 😀
A cheese ball is quite simple and fun to make (certainly easier than getting Brad Pitt to your party) and easy to customize to individual tastes. This particular recipe is a product of combining my recipe cards with my mother’s.
Making the cheese ball into a football shape makes it a great choice for any game day gathering!
Cheese balls are easy to form into shapes
Cheese ball fun comes from forming it into different shapes. Of course, the classic round ball never goes out of style. But since it’s football season, why not a football shape?
How to make a Football shaped Cheese Ball
To begin, mix softened cream cheese with a little sour cream and spices. Once this mixture is smooth, add shredded cheese.
I did not use pre-shredded cheese for this; but I think using it would work just fine. I had a block of sharp cheddar already on hand, so that sufficed. If sharp isn’t your thing, use medium or mild cheddar.
Once the cheese is incorporated, refrigerate the mixture for an hour. This “firms up” the mixture in preparation for the ”shaping up.”
Once firm and ready to be shaped, remove the mixture from the bowl. Shape it, first with a spatula and then by hand, before rolling in chopped nuts (Note: using wax paper as your work surface really helps with this step).
A mold isn't necessary but it is a nice shortcut
I took a slight detour for the shaping step. Turns out, I have a plastic container shaped like a football.
I purchased it at the grocery store in the produce section filled with grape tomatoes. Keeping the container for something football-y seemed like good sense.
For this dip, I lined the football shaped mold with plastic wrap and then spooned the dip inside. Once it was full, I covered the mold and placed it in the fridge to set for an hour.
In my case, the mold has done 90+% of the shaping. But finishing touches are still needed. Invert the molded ball (flat side down) onto a work surface.
Once the plastic wrap is peeled away, smooth out the shape, either with lightly greased hands or a piece of plastic wrap.
Then, press chopped nuts into the surface all the way around, to cover all visible surfaces. At this point I transferred the ball to the serving platter.
The final touch? Laces, made with thin strips of white cheese. So fun!
Serve with your favorite crackers.
Feeds enough for all members of Ocean’s Eleven!
Football Shaped Cheese Ball
- 16 oz cream cheese softened
- ⅓ cup sour cream
- 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Dash of pepper
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- Place cream cheese, sour cream and spices in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add cheese and mix in using the mixer.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour.
- Remove from bowl and shape into a ball using a spatula and then lightly greased hands.
- Roll ball in chopped nuts and/or press the nuts into the sides of the ball with your hands.
- Serve with crackers, with a knife to help spread.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
More appetizer ideas
For all you Packer fans out there, check out this Packer Party Taco Dip.
No get together is complete without salsa and guacamole, but maybe you'd like to combine the flavors with Pico-Avocado Dip. And everyone loves Queso Dip. Or add some Mini Pepper Poppers and Cilantro-Lime Sauce to the selection.
And don't forget snack mix! Try ranch flavored snack mix with Bugles for a different twist.