This Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving is the cutest festive appetizer! Dress up my simple Italian seasoned cream cheese-based cheese ball with a festive turkey head and feathers for an adorable addition to Thanksgiving dinner. This simple addition to your holiday meal will be a hit with kids and adults alike.
Love cheese balls? Also, try my Pumpkin Cheese Ball that's made with ranch seasoning and shaped like a pumpkin!
Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving
The Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving will be the talk of your family dinner this year! Made with a five-ingredient simple and savory blend of cream cheese, Italian cheese, homemade Italian Seasoning Mix, and walnuts, this simple cheese ball is elevated to an adorable level with pretzels for feathers and a neck, candy eyeballs, and candy corn for a nose. It's sure to make anyone smile!
Whether you serve this on its own or add it as part of a fall or Thanksgiving charcuterie board, this Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese ball is nothing but adorable. Serve it with fun crackers and vegetables as dippers for a fun and memorable appetizer.
If you've never made a homemade cheeseball before, don't worry! It's actually easier than it sounds and comes together in no time at all. You can even prep it a day or two ahead of time and then just dress it up on Thanksgiving day like the turkey. Just follow my step-by-step instructions below to make your own cheeseball.Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving Click To Tweet
Why You'll Love this Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving...
- This Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving is so stinking cute! My boys laughed when they saw it. It's great for kids and brings out the kid in adults.
- It's EASY to make. This looks like something you slaved over, but it's not.
- Making homemade cheese balls is actually easier than you might think! This one has Italian seasoning and is only five ingredients for the cheese ball itself. You can make it ahead for your Thanksgiving.
- If you don't want to make a homemade cheese ball, you can buy a store-bought one and still dress it up like a turkey following my instructions below.
- Did I mention it's filled with creamy cheese??? So delish!
Here's an overview of what you'll need to make this Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving, but keep scrolling for the full recipe amounts.
For the Cheese Ball:
- Plain Cream Cheese: The base of the Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving is regular cream cheese. I like to use the brick kind because it's easier. 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.
- Vegetable Cream Cheese: 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 love using my Italian Seasoning Blend in this recipe with 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.
Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving Dippers:
Serve this Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving with any of these fun dippers.
- Crackers - Ritz, Triscuit, Pita Crackers
- Veggies - Carrot Sticks, Bell Pepper Slices, Cucumber Slices
- Tortilla Chips
- Pita Bread
- Bagel Chips
- Candy Corn: The turkey cheese ball nose or turkey beak is made out of candy corn. Get yours here!
- Candy Eye Balls: Candy eyeballs or candy eyes are easy to use and make the cutest turkey face. They come in handy for other projects too. Get yours here.
- Small Pretzel Rods: Regular small pretzel rods work perfectly for the turkey "feathers." You can use the extra pretzels as dippers for the cheese ball. These work great.
- Large Pretzel Rod: Use one large pretzel rod for the turkey neck. I like these.
This is an overview of the instructions to make this Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving, but the full detailed printable recipe is below in the recipe card.
Step One: Mix the Cheese Ball
- Start by making the cheese mixture.
- 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.
- Push the cream cheese mixture with a spatula down the sides of the bowl so a ball starts forming as shown in the second photo below.
Step Two: Form the Cheese Ball
- On a flat surface like your counter, lay out a large plastic wrap.
- Sprinkle the chopped and crushed walnuts on the surface. You'll want the pieces to be small enough to stick to the cheese.
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer the cheese ball to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, but up to overnight.
Step Three: Decorate the Turkey Cheese Ball
- When ready to serve the Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving, carefully remove the plastic wrap from the cheese ball.
- Now you decorate the turkey!
- Use the small pretzel rods for the turkey feathers. Push them into the back or tail of the turkey at an angle to get the right look for the turkey tail feathers.
- Create the turkey body with a large pretzel rod. Break the pretzel to the correct size and carefully push it into the front of the turkey body.
- Using a small amount of cream cheese, stick the candy corn for the beak and eyeballs on the large pretzel for the face.
- Serve with crackers or your favorite dippers.
I love this Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving as written, but here are some fun variations.
- Make it Ranch: Easily make this a ranch cheese ball with ranch seasoning instead of Italian Seasoning.
- Make it Bacon: Add bacon bits, if you like it!
- Mix up the Nuts: Substitute 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, 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 leftovers of this Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese Ball in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
You can make this a day ahead of time, just assemble turkey decorations 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 turkey toppings. Wrap it in foil and freeze for up to three months.
Should cheese balls be served at room temperature?
You don't want to leave them out too long because they are made of cheese that can spoil, but it is helpful to take them out of the fridge for 15-30 minutes before serving. Just make sure it's not out of the fridge for longer than two hours before you are done eating for food safety.
This Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving recipe is so Fun!
This Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving is so fun and festive! I love how simple it comes together and how you can make your own cheese ball from just five ingredients or just dress up a store-bought cheeseball to look like a turkey. Either way, this is so fun for kids and adults.
More Cheese Ball Recipes to Try:
Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving Click To Tweet
More Thanksgiving Appetizers to Try:
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
- Cranberry Salsa
- Pomegranate Pistachio Goat Cheese Crostini
- Savory Pumpkin Hummus
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Mini Bell Pepper
- Everything Bagel Cucumber Bites
- Stuffed Celery
- Healthy Smoked Salmon Dip
Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving
Cheese Ball Ingredients:
- 1 candy corn
- 2 candy eye balls
- 12 small pretzel rods
- 1 large pretzel stick
- Start by making the cheese mixture. 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 with a spatula 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.
- Carefully fold the plastic wrap around the cheeseball, making sure the walnuts coat the ball as much as possible.
- Transfer the cheese 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.
- Now you decorate the turkey! Use the small pretzel rods for the turkey feathers. Create the turkey body with a large pretzel rod. Using a small amount of cream cheese, stick the candy corn and eyeballs on the large pretzel for the face.
- Serve with crackers or your favorite dippers.
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