Bacon, Cheddar Cheese and Jalapeno’s – could it get any better than that? It can, if you mix it into a cheeseball and eat it with crackers. This is a great recipe for a crowd, but make sure you get your share or it will be gone.
I’ve been playing around with making cheese balls for a while now – mostly because I have a friend who makes them every year as a “neighbor” gift for Christmas. I love her recipe, but wanted something a little different and with some spice to it. So, I came up with this version. I actually started with a bacon and sharp cheddar cheese ball and then progressed to adding the jalapenos.
I made this Bacon Cheddar Jalapeno Cheese Ball for a New Year’s Eve party we were going to at the home of our long-time friends, the Huntingtons. We’ve known them since 1991. That’s a loooonnnggg time.
When we were at Huntington’s house for New Year’s their daughter-in-law, Martina, (who you can find on her blog Diary of a Traveling Wheelchair) tasted the Bacon Cheddar Jalapeno Cheese Ball and promptly took off with it. We seriously had to Hunt. Her. Down. to get some of it. She liked it that much! I have to admit it was really good.
So, on to the directions -
First – soften your cream cheese. I take mine out of the cardboard so it gets softer faster. The cardboard acts as an insulator and it won’t get soft very fast if you leave it in.
Cut your bacon into small pieces and fry them in a frying pan until they are crispy and beautiful.
Then chop up your favorite brand of jarred jalapenos. I estimated that I was using 1 whole jalapeno from the rings from the jar. I wanted the brine-yness of the jarred jalapenos.
Once your cream cheese is smooth add the bacon, chopped jalapenos, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and the spices.
It should come out looking something like this –
It’s a good thing we roll this in some chopped nuts because that does not look super pretty!
Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl and that you get all the way to the bottom with your beaters. I’ve made cheese balls before where the bottom of the bowl only had cream cheese and no other flavors mixed in and had to remix.
I love chopped toasted pecans for this particular cheese ball. I’ve used chopped or slivered or shaved almonds for other flavors, but this one works really great with pecans. Roughly chop your pecans if you like bigger pieces or chop them more finely if you like smaller pieces. Easy peasy!
Wet your hands slightly before you pick up the cheese from the bowl. Yes, I did say you were going to pick up the cheese with your hands. I made enough for 2 cheese balls here – which was a good thing since Martina ate at least 1/2 of one herself!
Form your cheese mixture into a rough ball and plop it onto your chopped nuts that you have conveniently put on a plate. Roll and press the nuts into the cheese ball until it is covered in nuts.
You can make the cheese mixture more round when you get the nuts on there. They also help make it not so sticky.
Serve with your favorite crackers and enjoy. I try to use a sturdy cracker that won’t break under the weight of all the cheese ball goodness. It also tastes delicious on bread.
Do you have a favorite cheese ball flavor? Have you ever tried making your own? They are delicious and worth the effort. Try one today and let me know what you think.
- 2 8 oz. pkgs. Cream Cheese - softened
- ½ pkg. Bacon - chopped into pieces and fried
- 1 whole Jalapeno - I used jarred for the brine-y flavor - use more or less for the right spicy for you
- 2 C. finely grated Sharp Cheddar - I use pre-grated because it's easier
- 1 Tbsp.Cumin
- 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
- pinch of Cayenne Pepper
- 1 C. chopped Pecans
- Cream softened cream cheese with electric mixer until well mixed.
- Add bacon, chopped jalapeno, shredded cheese, cumin, garlic powder, salt and cayenne.
- Mix together well, scraping sides of bowl often with rubber scraper. Taste to see if you need to adjust any flavors.
- Divide cream cheese mix in half.
- Form into rough ball shape.
- Press and roll cheese mixture in to the chopped nuts - covering completely.
- Serve with crackers.
- This makes 2 cheese balls - one to eat all by yourself and the other to share. ;)