Classic Cheese Ball with Spiced Pecans

This iconic Southern hors d'oeuvre is a classic for good reason—it’s easy to put together, looks polished on a platter, and boasts an irresistible savory flavor. Be sure to take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes in advance so it has plenty of time to soften before mixing up the cheese ball.

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
10 to 12


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives, divided (from a 1/2-ounce package)

  • 1/2 cup raw pecan halves

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Crackers, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. Using a rubber spatula, stir together cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup of the chives in a large bowl until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Spoon mixture onto a work surface covered with plastic wrap; gather plastic around cheese, using your hands shape into a ball. Chill in plastic wrap until firm, about 2 hours.

  3. Meanwhile, stir together pecans, maple syrup, oil, smoked paprika, and salt in a small bowl until evenly coated; spread in an even layer on prepared baking sheet.

  4. Bake until browned, about 12 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Place baking sheet on a wire rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Finely chop pecans.

  5. Stir together chopped pecans and remaining 1 tablespoon chives in a medium bowl. Roll cheese ball in pecan mixture to coat; pressing lightly to adhere. Serve with crackers.

    Classic Cheeseball
    Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Kay Clarke
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