Hedgehog Cheeseball - this savory bacon cheddar ranch mixture with a festive presentation makes a great centerpiece on any holiday table. Serve with crackers, veggies, or crostini.
Cheeseballs are a classic appetizer, especially during the holidays. They are creamy and cheesy and just delicious! I love the flavors of bacon, cheddar, and ranch in this zesty version. I especially love the rustic, woodland feel of this Hedgehog cheeseball. The presentation is festive and fun - the perfect addition to any holiday table.
Cheeseballs are as easy as combining softened cream cheese with a variety of add-ins.
- cheddar cheese - cheddar is classic in cheeseballs, but Colby, Monterey Jack, and Pepper Jack are delicious too.
- bacon - adds a salty, meaty bite. For a vegetarian option, simply omit the bacon.
- ranch dressing mix - for ease, use the packet of powdered ranch dressing mix from the supermarket.
- chives - adds color and a hint of onion flavor. Scallions are a great option too!
To turn this bacon cheddar ranch cheeseball into a hedgehog cheeseball, we'll use pecans to create the spines.
Tips for making
- Start with room temperature cream cheese. This makes blending the ingredients together so much easier.
- Use plastic wrap to help shape the cheese mixture. Wrap the mixture loosely in plastic wrap and gently form it into an oval shape, with one end more rounded for the body and the other end slightly pointed. This will be the snout for the hedgehog cheeseball.
- Chill the cheeseball before decorating.
- Arrange pecans in rows to create the hedgehog's spines. Almonds can also be used. Add raisins for the eyes and a peppercorn for the nose.
- Wait to decorate until right before serving. The nuts will get soft if the decorated cheeseball is stored in the refrigerator.
Display and serving
- Display on a board surrounded by fresh herbs. Lay the hedgehog cheeseball on a bed of fresh dill or surround with sprigs of fresh rosemary.
- Serve with assorted crackers, veggies, or crostini.
Alternatives to making a hedgehog
If you're not feeling creative, no worries. Simply form the mixture into a ball and chill. When ready to serve, roll the ball in chopped pecans. The cheeseball will be equally festive and delicious!
Can I make this ahead of time?
Absolutely! The cheeseball can be made several days in advance. It will keep up to 7 days in the refrigerator. BUT, wait to decorate with the nuts until ready to serve so they nuts don't turn soggy.
How do I use the leftovers?
When serving as leftovers, remove the nuts that have turned soft. Use the cheese mixture as a filling for grilled cheese sandwiches or spread it on toasted bagels.
More cheeseball recipes you may enjoy
Other cheese-filled appetizer recipes to try
- Cranberry Brie Crostini
- Spicy Sausage Cheese Balls with Horseradish Cream
- Everything Bagel Crackers with Whipped Scallion Cream Cheese
- Roasted Radishes and Green Beans with Blue Cheese Butter
- Roasted Mini Sweet Peppers with Goat Cheese
- Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened at room temperature
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 6 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- 1 ounce ranch dressing mix (1 packet)
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- pecans for decorating
- raisins and peppercorns for decorating
- fresh dill for garnishing
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, shredded cheese, bacon, ranch dressing mix, and chives. Stir until well combined. (If using a stand mixer, fold the bacon and chives in by hand at the end).
- Transfer the cheese mixture to a piece of plastic wrap. Use the wrap to form the mixture into an oval shape with a slight point on one end. Wrap with the plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour (or as long as overnight).
- Decorate the chilled cheeseball with the pecans to create the hedgehog's spines. Add raisins for eyes and a peppercorn for the nose. Serve immediately. (Note 1)
- Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Wait to decorate with the pecans until just before serving. The nuts will turn soft and soggy if refrigerated in the cheeseball.