This easy apple cheddar cheese ball recipe is sumptuously full of fall flavors from tangy apple and maple to sharp cheddar and toasted pecans. Two types of apples are diced with the peels on to give the cheese ball color and texture. The sharp cheddar cheese paired with sweet apples is a classic flavor combination that is perfect as part of a tray of easy holiday appetizers or served with your favorite crackers on game day.
For this recipe you’ll need: Honeycrisp apple, Granny Smith apple, cream cheese, sharp Cheddar, maple syrup, pecans
Cheddar cheese ball recipes are a dime a dozen. They are most often savory and sometimes even spicy. I decided to go a little different direction with this tangy-sweet apple and cheddar cheese ball, sweetened with maple syrup, and covered in toasted pecans. Serve this with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, butter crackers — just about any type of cracker or bread that isn’t highly flavored with savory herbs like garlic.
You can dice the apple in large or small dice – I just don’t recommend grating or shredding. When I was refining the recipe I thought it would be quick and easy to just pop everything in my food processor. HA! It turns into a very soft dip — really yummy but not what I wanted.
Toasting the pecans gives them more flavor and a crunchier texture. You don’t have to do it but I really like the difference it makes.
Once I had gotten my pictures of this apple and cheddar cheese ball I put it on the table with some vanilla wafers and butter crackers. When the kids got home from school it was like piranhas. Within minutes it was basically gone.
Tips for Creating and Serving a Cheddar Cheese Ball
While cheese balls are some of the most popular easy holiday appetizers ever there are a few tips and tricks to keep the task even easier! Cheese balls go together in 5 minutes or so and you can make them a couple of days ahead of time. It just doesn’t get easier without a caterer!
- If you have a little more time you can make mini cheese ball truffles. Be sure to cut the apple quite small if you decide to do this. Also, it’s a good idea to put the small, individual cheeseballs on toothpicks for ease of serving.
- Refrigerate the cheese mixture overnight before shaping into a ball. Not only does it make it easier to work with the cheese and shape it properly but the flavors meld together and it will taste better.
- Toasted nuts really do make a difference! To toast nuts in the oven, spread them in single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 min. or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Use full fat cream cheese. Trust me on this – it just works better.
- Make sure the cream cheese is room temperature before trying to mix the ingredients.
- Don’t roll the cheeseball in the nuts until just before serving – they’ll get soggy.
- Leave the peels on the apples for color.
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This cheeseboard allows you to write on it with chalk, holds spreaders and knives, and it pretty cool! Just click on the picture to see all the information.
Cheese balls make easy holiday appetizers that can be made up to 3 or 4 days ahead of time. If you like a little more sweetness add a tablespoon of brown sugar to the recipe. If you have some leftover (which is very unlikely!) use it as a spread for bagels OR freeze it for use as a dip.
Apple Cheddar Cheese Ball
- 1/2 cup Honeycrisp apple, ,peel left on - diced
- 1/2 cup Granny Smith apple, ,peel left on - diced
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups Sharp Cheddar, , shredded
- 1-1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1-1/2 cups pecans, , toasted and chopped
- Dice the apples.
- Blend the cream cheese and maple syrup until well mixed.
- Stir in the cheese and the diced apple.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Next day shape the cheese mixture into a ball.
- Gently press the chopped nuts into the cheese ball.
- Refrigerate until serving time.
If you liked this cheddar cheese ball here are some more easy holiday appetizers to consider
From left to right: Chicken Crescents, Italian Meatballs in Naan, Baked Brie Cheese Appetizer