Jalapeño Christmas Cheese Ball

This jalapeño popper cheese ball is a delicious party snack that’s a little bit kitschy, a lot delicious, and sure to be a crowd pleaser!

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To me, Christmas season is cheese ball season. Woe is the holiday gathering that does not have at least one cheese ball for me to dip a zillion crackers into. Have I told you the story about the work Christmas party where my BFF and I ate approximately 3/4 of the mango chutney cheese ball so that we could avoid uncomfortable interactions with our coworkers? I’m pretty sure I have. I am definitely a “linger by the refreshment table” sort of girl. It’s a blessing and a curse, really.

I certainly do not need a holiday or a party to enjoy a cheese ball, though. Show me any random Saturday night and I will show you a cream cheese based snack that Philip and I can enjoy in front of our favorite shows on Hulu. Actually, we enjoyed this jalapeño popper on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, when I had been cooking all afternoon and just couldn’t quite bring myself to assemble a full meal. And then again for a mini-lunch on Thanksgiving day, because my family ate late in the day.

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Cheese balls seem pretty kitschy, and I’m sure that you could dig around in your mom or grandma or even great-grandma’s recipe file and find a few cheese ball recipes. You know what, though? Kitschy food can still be darn tasty, and I promise you that I’m only on board for flavor. I don’t care too much about trends (though I’ll hop on board if they’re delicious). You probably won’t catch me posting any aspics on here, but I will never apologize for my cheese balls.

My jalapeño popper cheese ball has all the flavors that I think that a perfect jalapeño popper should have: jalapeños (duh), cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, and ranch. There’s no stuffing, roasting, grilling, or frying involved, though, and that makes this jalapeño popper cheese ball approximately 1 million times easier and less mess than an actual jalapeño popper. I used canned diced jalapeños, which meant that I didn’t have to slice and dice a bunch of peppers, but you could definitely sub in 1/2 cup of diced fresh jalapeños, or add them to the canned peppers to increase the spice level if you’re brave. Me, I found the faint tinge of spice provided by the canned peppers to be perfect for my wimpy taste buds.

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Jalapeño Christmas Cheese Ball
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Serves: 1 cheeseball
Ingredients
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 ounce can diced jalapeños, drained
  • 4 ounce can diced fire-roasted green chilies, drained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
For the ranch seasoning (can sub in 2 packages of ranch dressing mix, like Hidden Valley)
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients, including ranch seasoning ingredients, EXCEPT pecans, in a large bowl. Stir until well combined (I used my Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed to do this). Form into a ball and roll in the chopped pecans until thoroughly coated. Chill for at least an hour. Serve with crackers.
 

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