Halloween is coming so, of course, we need an appetizer! This Pepperoni Cheese Ball works great because, like all cheese balls, you can pick the shape. So go ahead and make a football for a tailgate party, but if you’re having a Halloween party, use your head . . . or skull shape instead.
I adapted this recipe from sugardale.com and it’s a crowd pleaser. Almost all cheeseballs start with cream cheese and shredded cheese, but this one adds pepperoni and a packet of Italian dressing seasoning to rev up the flavor. Green olives are an optional add-in. I added some because I already had the olives out for decorative purposes.
The original recipe also calls for rolling the ball in Parmesan cheese. I skipped this, since I wasn’t making an actual ball and I didn’t think the Parmesan was strictly necessary. But, go ahead and try it if you wish. As we say in Wisconsin – MORE CHEESE!
This mixture comes together quickly. Simply let the cream cheese soften before you begin, then beat in the dry Italian dressing packet with an electric beater. To this, add the shredded cheese, pepperoni, and olives, if desired.
A note about the pepperoni: I bought the pre-sliced pepperoni, but of course it still needed to be diced smaller. I do not have a full-size food processor but I do have a mini-processor, which handled that pepperoni like a champ! If you’re like me (cheap), and still can’t commit to a big (expensive) food processor, you might want to consider the mini version. Mine has served me well.
Now to the decorating: For Halloween, I made this into a skull shape. Many cheeseballs need to be refrigerated before shaping, but this one is ready right way. I used the end of a rolling pin to make hollow eye sockets and halved an olive to make the eyes. The teeth are sliced almonds and the serving knife provides the perfect accent for a straight, steely (and creepy) mouth.
I also played a little with the eyes, leaving the pimento in the olive at first, then removing and finally re-stuffing with a little Kalamata olive. They all look good to me, so pick your favorite and go with it!
This Pepperoni Cheese Ball is Spook-tacular!
Pepperoni Cheese Ball
- 8 oz pepperoni diced
- 16 oz cream cheese softened
- 3 cups Italian cheese blended shredded
- 1 package 0.6 oz Italian dressing mix
- ¼ cup green olives chopped (optional)
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese optional for coating
- Soften cream cheese at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
- Place cream cheese and dressing mix in mixing bowl and beat until combined.
- Add shredded cheese, diced pepperoni and chopped olives (if desired).
- Form into two cheese balls or logs, or whatever shape is desired.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- If coating in Parmesan cheese is desired, do so after the shape has been refrigerated,