This Christmas Cheese Ball that looks like Rudolph will be the cutest addition to your holiday party. This festive Christmas appetizer is made with a simple, 5 ingredient, Italian seasoned cream cheese-based cheese ball and decorated to look just like a reindeer. This simple party recipe will be a hit with kids and adults alike.
Christmas Cheese Ball
This Christmas Cheese Ball is so darn adorable. This adorable Christmas appetizer looks fancy but is actually made with a simple 5 ingredient Italian Cream Cheese Cheese Ball that's decorated to look like Rudolph, everyone's favorite reindeer. This simple holiday cheese ball is brought to a new level with a few pretzels, olives, and a tomato! It's sure to make kids and adults smile.
You can serve this on its own or as part of a larger holiday or Christmas charcuterie board. Either way, it's great with everything from crackers to crunchy vegetables.
If making a cheese ball at home seems hard, don't worry, it's actually really simple. I'm sharing step-by-step instructions to make and prepare the cheese ball with ease. You can make it a day or two ahead of time and serve it at your party. And if you really need a shortcut, you can use a packaged cheeseball and follow my directions below to turn it into an extra special Christmas Cheese Ball that looks like Rudolph.Rudolph Christmas Cheese Ball - so cute! Click To Tweet
Why You'll Love this Reindeer Christmas Cheese Ball...
- This Christmas Cheese Ball is so adorable. Kids will love looking at it and eating it!
- It's actually really simple to make. Homemade cheese balls are super easy once you get the hang of it.
- You can customize the flavor of the cheese ball to your family's tastes. The recipe below uses Italian Seasoning, but I also included directions to make it a ranch cheese ball or cheddar cheese ball.
- Who doesn't love cheese!?
- You can make it ahead and decorate it right before serving.
Here's an overview of what you'll need to make this Christmas Cheese Ball recipe, but keep scrolling for the full recipe amounts.
For the Cheese Ball:
- Plain Cream Cheese: This Christmas Cheese Ball uses a base of regular cream cheese. You can use reduced fat or regular, depending on your dietary preferences. You'll need to pull it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you are mixing the recipe, so it is a bit softened. I like to use the brick kind because it's easier, but if you happen to have a tub in the fridge that works too.
- Vegetable Cream Cheese: Vegetable Cream Cheese is my secret ingredient to make a super flavorful cheese ball without a lot of fuss. Instead of just using plain cream cheese, I like to mix in some Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese that has cucumbers, red bell peppers, and carrots in the mix for even more flavor into the cheese ball. If you don't like it you could substitute Garlic Herb Cream Cheese, Chive and Onion Cream Cheese, or even Jalapeno Cream Cheese if you like a kick in your cheese.
- Italian Seasoning: I made this cheese ball Italian Seasoned with my Italian Seasoning Blend. It's a blend of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and sage. You can also use your favorite packaged Italian Seasoning.
- Italian Cheese Mix: I like to use pre-mixed Italian cheese which includes mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, asiago, and romano cheese. You can also substitute shredded mozzarella cheese if you have it.
- Walnuts: I like adding walnuts to the exterior of the cheese ball for texture, color, and flavor. To prep them partially crush and chop them so that they are fine enough to stick to the cheese ball.
Christmas Cheese Ball Dippers:
Serve this Christmas Cheese Ball with any of these fun dippers.
- Crackers - Ritz Crackers, Triscuit, Pita Crackers
- Tortilla Chips
- Pita Bread
- Bagel Chips
- Carrot Sticks
- Bell Pepper Slices
- Cucumber Slices
Rudolph Reindeer Decorations:
- Pretzel Braids: Use small to medium pretzel braids for the Christmas Cheese Ball ears.
- Tomatoes: A cherry tomato and you cut off the end, works perfectly for the red Rudolph nose.
- Black Olives: Black olives are great for the eyes. Cut off the very end where there is the star shaped hole in the olive.
This is an overview of the instructions to make this Christmas Cheese Ball recipe, but the full detailed printable recipe is below in the recipe card.
Step One: Mix the Cheese Ball
- The first step is to make the cheese ball mixture.
- The easiest way to mix it is in a stand mixer. In a medium bowl or a stand mixer, put the softened cream cheese, vegetable cream cheese, Italian Seasoning, onion powder, and the Italian cheese shredded cheese. Mix until well combined. You can also use an electric mixer if you don't have a stand mixer.
- With a spatula, push the cream cheese mixture down the sides of the bowl so a ball starts forming as shown in the second photo below.
Step Two: Form the Cheese Ball
- Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface like a counter or table.
- Sprinkle the chopped and crushed walnuts on the plastic wrap. You'll want the pieces to be small enough to stick to the cheese.
- Using your hands, form the cheese into a ball.
- Place the cheese ball on the walnuts on the plastic wrap. Press the walnuts into the cheese ball as well as you can.
- Carefully fold the plastic wrap around the cheeseball, making sure the walnuts coat the ball as much as possible. Sprinkle extra walnuts on top to get the top and push any into the sides. This takes a bit of finesse and patience.
- Transfer the cheese ball to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, but up to overnight. You can also make this up to two days ahead of time.
Step Three: Decorate the Christmas Cheese Ball
You can also skip steps one and two, buy a packaged cheese ball, and start here with the instructions on how to make a Christmas Cheese Ball.
- Ready to serve your Christmas Cheese Ball?
- Take it out of the fridge and carefully unwrap it.
- Place the pretzel braids at the top corners of Rudolph's ears.
- Place the cherry tomato in the center as the nose. If it's not sticking, use a small amount of cream cheese to get it to stick.
- Carefully put the black olive eyes onto the reindeer. A small amount of cream cheese will help it stick.
- Serve with crackers or your favorite dippers. Decorate the plate with rosemary or parsley.
I love this Christmas Cheese Ball recipe as written, but here are some fun variations.
- Make it a Ranch Cheese Ball: Easily make this a ranch cheese ball with ranch seasoning instead of Italian Seasoning.
- Try Other Seasonings: You can also mix up the seasonings and try my Cajun Spice Mix, Herbs de Provence, or Taco Spice Mix for different flavors in the cheese ball itself.
- Make it Bacon: Add bacon bits, if you like it!
- Add Cranberries: Add a touch of holiday flavor, by adding dried cranberries to the cheese mixture.
- Mix up the Nuts: Substitute chopped pecans or almonds for the walnuts.
- Make it by Hand: No mixer? It takes a bit of arm muscle, but you can mix this all together in a large bowl by hand.
- Make it Low Fat: Use your favorite brand of low-fat cheese to light this up.
- Mix Up the Cheese: You can swap out other cheese for sharp cheddar cheese, Colby, or mozzarella.
- Fun Mix-Ins: You can also add other fun mix-ins to the actual cheese ball like green onions, olives, scallions, diced onion, pimentos, chives, or even garlic.
- Make it Spicy: Add red pepper flakes or even Jalapeño.
Storage & Leftovers
Store any leftover of the Christmas Cheese Ball in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
You can make this a day or two ahead of time, just assemble Rudolph decorations and face right before serving. If you do it ahead of time and put it in the fridge it will get soggy.
Yes, You can freeze a completely made cheese ball without the Christmas toppings. Wrap it in foil and freeze it for up to three months.
What do you serve with a cheese ball?
A cheese ball makes a fabulous Christmas appetizer if you serve it with dippers like crackers, chips, or vegetables. You can also serve this as part of a larger Christmas Charcuterie spread or appetizer spread with other cheeses, meats, fruit, vegetables, and crackers.
This Christmas Cheese Ball recipe is So Fun!
This Christmas Cheese Ball recipe is so fun and festive. If you are looking for something fun and different for a Christmas appetizer this year, this is it. It's so cute and tastes amazing. Kids and adults will love it.
I hope you enjoy this adorable holiday treat as much as we did.
More Cheese Ball Recipes to Try:
- Pumpkin Cheese Ball (Shaped like a pumpkin!)
- Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving
- Mini Pimento Cheese Balls
Rudolph Christmas Cheese Ball - so cute! Click To Tweet
More Christmas Appetizers & Snacks to Try:
- Christmas Deviled Eggs
- Strawberry Santas
- 8 Holiday Energy Bites
- Christmas Granola
- Hot Crab Dip
- Cranberry Salsa
- Pomegranate Pistachio Goat Cheese Crostini
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Mini Bell Pepper
- Everything Bagel Cucumber Bites
- Stuffed Celery
- Healthy Smoked Salmon Dip
Christmas Cheese Ball
Cheese Ball Ingredients:
- 2 olives
- 1 cherry tomato
- 2 pretzels for ears
- In a medium bowl, or a stand mixer, put the softened cream cheese, vegetable cream cheese, Italian Seasoning, onion powder, and the Italian cheese.
- Mix until well combined. Push the cheese mixture down the sides of the bowl so a ball starts forming.
- On a flat surface, lay out a large piece of plastic wrap. Sprinkle the chopped and crushed walnuts on the surface.
- Using your hands, form the cheese into a ball. Set the ball onto the walnuts on the plastic wrap. Carefully push the walnuts into the ball.
- Fold the plastic wrap around the cheeseball, making sure the walnuts coat the ball as much as possible.
- Put the ball into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, but up to overnight.
- When ready to serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap from the cheese ball. Decorate the Christmas Cheese Ball with the olives for eyes, cherry tomato for a nose and pretzel braids for ears.
- Serve with crackers or your favorite dippers.
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