The traditional cheddar cheese ball certainly deserves a place at the table with it’s savory, salty, spreadable goodness. But sometimes, you want to elevate your (cheese) ball game with fresh flavors! We have several delicious variations sure to please your palate! These Gourmet Cheese Ball Recipes feature simple ingredients that wow when brought together. They add a little spice and variety to the traditional cheese ball:)

Why make your own Cheese Balls?

Aside from the ease and frugality of these lovelies, one bite will show you why they are better than store bought versions. As in all things made in your own kitchen, YOU control the amount of salt, sugar, and all of the ingredients. You get all the things you like and want in your fresh, flavorful spread, and none of the additives or yucky ingredients you don’t want. No thanks to the cloyingly sweet and overly salty processed cheese balls! Plus, they are so so simple to make! Promise. Once you’ve gathered ingredients, each of our recipes can be made in five minutes so you can get on with the rest of your party preparations!

Do I have to make them with nuts?

I mean, balls and nuts are basically the same thing so it’s clearly a question on your mind. Balls, nuts, you know, we’re all thinking it. ; ) But… We have recipes with and without nuts. You do not have to include nuts in the recipe, however, the nuts give a nice crunchy dry texture to the outside of the cheese ball which contrasts nicely with the creamy interior. As an alternative, you can use chopped herbs, edible flowers, grated cheese, and spices as the outer layer. It adds an element of beauty and flavor. We recommend rolling the ball in the outer coating of nuts or herbs just before serving to keep nuts crunchy and keep your herbs looking their best and brightest.

Apricot Pistachio Chèvre Cheese Ball

This has become a favorite among my tasters! The flavors of apricot, pistachio, lemon, and honey come together for a bright, sweet, delicious addition to your cheese platter. Serve it with sliced apples, pears, blackberries, and baguette for a beautiful presentation and balance of flavors. If you are not a fan of goat cheese, this recipe also works well with traditional cream cheese, but the taste will be sweeter without the tang of the chèvre.

Fresh Flavorful Ingredients

Ground pistachios, apricots, lemon, and goat cheese on cutting board.

We think this is one of the best Cheese Ball recipes around. Check out my video below that shows how to make it!

You will need:

  • Ground pistachios– You can buy shelled pistachios and grind them yourself. Use a nut grinder, a mini food-processor, or place them in a baggie covered with a towel and give them a few whacks with the back of a spoon. Voila! Both roasted and salted or raw pistachios work well and I like the added salt of the roasted and salted variety. You can even shell your own if that’s what you have on hand because you only need a few Tablespoons for the recipe.
  • Lemon zest– Use a microplane to grate about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. You will use 1/2 of a lemon for this. Orange zest would work well in this recipe, too.
  • Chèvre– You will need 4 ounces of goat cheese for this cheese ball recipe. If you can’t find it or you don’t care for the taste, traditional cream cheese can be used.
  • Apricots– Finely chop 3-4 dried apricots to incorporate. Sulfured or unsulfered apricots can be used, but the sulfured ones will lend a brighter color to the cheese ball.
  • Honey- It only takes a touch of honey to add the desired sweetness. If using cream cheese, use a bit less.

Other Gourmet Cheese Ball Recipes

The skies the limit when it comes to creating new and exciting flavors. I use one of my favorite books to help me branch out to find new recipe combinations. If you have never perused The Flavor Bible, I highly recommend it! Here are some of the flavor combinations we love!

Bacon Cheddar Chive Cheese Ball: Smoky bacon, sharp cheddar, savory chives and Worcestershire sauce add tons of flavor to a base of cream cheese.

Southwest Zest: Add a teaspoon of Chipotle pepper, chopped scallions, minced red peppers, and cilantro to cream cheese for a smoky, zesty spread. Roll the finished ball in chopped cilantro and scallions.

Peachy Brie: Peach jam (or chutney), ginger, and chopped walnuts mixed into a soft brie make a sweet, dreamy, creamy delight. Cut the rind off the brie before mixing:) and finish the ball with chopped walnuts.

Cheeseball FAQ’s

Can I Make a Cheese Ball a Day Ahead?

Yes! In fact, we recommend making them a day ahead so the flavors have time to meld together. If you do, remember to roll the ball in the outer layer of chopped nuts or herbs right before serving to make sure the nuts hold their crunch and the herbs are vibrant colored.

Are Cheese Balls Gluten Free?

Almost all cheeses are gluten free, and if you are making your own cheese ball, you can be certain it is, too! Check the labels of your spices for hidden gluten-containing ingredients, and avoid using wheat-based items like soy-sauce.

How Long Will Cheese Balls Last?

A homemade cheese ball can safely be eaten up to 7 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The nuts, if used, will soften and the fresh herbs may lose some of their potency, but will be safe to eat. We recommend eating the cheese ball within 3-5 days. Even the best cheeseballs start to lose their luster after that!

Can You Freeze a Homemade Cheese Ball?

I never recommend freezing cheese, but can make the exception for cheeseballs made with cream cheese. The consistency is not noticeably different. However, this only works if using dried spices. Fresh herbs and minced fruits or vegetables do not hold up well to freezing.

How Long Can a Cheese Ball Sit Out?

On a buffet, a cheeseball can sit out for several hours (3-4) at room temperature, assuming room temperature is around 70 degrees F. If it’s an outdoor summer party, consider placing an ice pack beneath your serving tray to keep the cheese cooler, or it will not last as long. Discard any leftover cheese at the end of the party.

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Apricot Pistachio Cheese Ball Recipe

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  • Author: Colleen


The bright flavors of apricot, lemon, honey, and chèvre show off in a dress of pistachios in this delicious Gourmet Cheese Ball recipe.



4 ounces chèvre (soft, fresh, goat cheese) at room temperature;

2 Tablespoons finely chopped apricots (2-3);

1 Tablespoon honey;

1 teaspoon lemon zest (1/2 lemon);

1/4 cup ground pistachios;


  1. In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese with the apricots, honey, lemon zest and 1/2 the pistachios.
  2. Fold ingredients together until incorporated.
  3. Spread a square of plastic wrap or waxed paper and sprinkle with pistachios.
  4. Wrap and chill the cheese ball for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove from refrigerator and shape ball with hands into round. Roll in remaining pistachios to coat.
  6. Serve with sliced apples, pears, baguette, and garnish with blackberries.


*Traditional cream cheese can be used in place of the goat cheese if you prefer.


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