This quick and easy cranberry pecan cheese ball is a showstopping appetizer that is simple to create and features a great set of flavors all rolled into one.
Ready for the perfect party appetizer or snack? This Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball is just what you need! It’s an easy recipe that can come together in just minutes, and it’s perfect for any occasion. Serve it with your favorite veggies or crackers, and you’ve got the ultimate party food.
While I love serving this amazing appetizer during holiday entertaining, it has actually become a party staple throughout the year.
I love that it is easy to put together and that I can make it ahead of time, which is always a plus. I can whip this together whether I am going to tailgate at a Buffalo Bills game, or if I’m hosting my annual Christmas Eve gathering – and everything in between.
What Makes It Great
Cranberries – A perfect holiday (or anytime!) flavor that gives a bit of tartness that balances well with the mild taste of the cream cheese.
Pecans – The pecans give just the right amount of crunch to the cheese ball. Be sure to add them immediately before serving.
Cream Cheese – The cream cheese is the basis of the entire recipe. It adds a smooth texture with its spreadable goodness.
Orange – One element of this recipe that makes it a success is the addition of fresh orange juice and zest. The citrus fruit adds a subtle sweetness that elevates the cheese ball to another level.
Parsley – Fresh parsley is the perfect last-minute contribution to the greatness of this cheese ball because it provides a wonderful texture, color, and mild grassy flavor.
Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp orange zest
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped and divided
½ cup pecans, finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
How to Make The Recipe
Begin by bringing your cream cheese up to room temperature. While that is happening, finely chop your cranberries and zest your orange.
Grab a medium-size bowl and add in the cream cheese, water, orange juice, orange zest, and ⅓ cup of cranberries. Stir it all to combine. You’ll want to use a spatula (I like a silicone spatula for this) to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients have made their way into the mixture.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on a clean, dry work surface and use your spatula to gently scoop the cream cheese mixture on top of the plastic wrap.
Wrap the plastic wrap around the cream cheese and gently shape it into a ball with your hands. Cover the cheese ball completely in the plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
When you are getting ready to serve the cheese ball, chop the pecans and fresh parsley, add them with the remaining cranberries in a small bowl, and combine.
Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Place the ball on a serving plate and gently press the cranberry and pecan mixture into the surface to cover.
Transfer to a serving platter with your choice of crackers, fruit, or veggies.
Make-Ahead – Prepare this recipe in advance. Tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, it can be chilled for 5 days in the fridge. It can even be frozen – simply place the wrapped cheese ball into a freezer bag. freeze for up to one month, then thaw in the fridge.
Chill Out – The recipe calls for the cheese ball to be refrigerated for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer it chills, the more firm the ball will be so if time allows it to sit for a bit longer, I would recommend it. According to The Kitchn, when you’ve taken the cheese ball out of the refrigerator and rolled it in its coating, let it sit out at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Sit Out – Try not to keep the cheese ball out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours, at which point (depending on the room temperature) it will begin to lose firmness.
Form – Shaping the ball into a log is also popular. I like to do this when I double the recipe for serving a larger crowd.
This cranberry pecan cheese ball is made with just a few easy ingredients and can be served as an appetizer or as a snack. It’s the perfect go-to appetizer for any occasion!
Did you give this cheese ball a try? Let me know in the comments below or snap a photo and tag @coolbeanliving on Instagram. I’d love to see it!
Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- ½ cup dried cranberries chopped, divided
- ½ cup pecans finely chopped
- 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped
- Add the cream cheese, water, orange juice, orange zest, and ⅓ cup cranberries to a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir to combine. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated into the mixture.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on a clean, dry work surface and use the spatula to gently scoop the cream cheese mixture on top of it
- Wrap the plastic wrap around the cream cheese and gently shape into a ball with your hands. Cover the cheese ball completely in the plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss the pecans and fresh parsley with the remaining cranberries in a small bowl until combined.
- Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Place the ball on a serving plate and gently press the cranberry and pecan mixture into the surface to cover.
- Serve with your choice of crackers, fruit, or veggies.