Handy Flexible Cheese Balls for Holiday Parties

With another week of Christmas and New Year gatherings still to enjoy, here is a handy, flexible recipe for an appetizer I collected from my friend Kathy Kerr who picked it up from her sister. Called cheese balls, they aren’t the spread-on-a-cracker kind, rather instead a pop-in-your-mouth sort.

Here are all the ways this recipes flexes. You can serve these hot or cold. You can make the dough ahead and bake off as many as you need at a time. You can bake them ahead, store them like you would cookies, and warm them in the oven briefly or serve them at room temperature. You can use cheddar, or jack cheese, or even a spicy jack. You can add different spices: instead of mustard, use black pepper; instead of plain paprika, use smoked paprika; curry, cumin, dried garlic, or dried dill.

And as a boon to those who must avoid gluten, this recipe adapts well to the use of a gluten-less flour. Obviously, these will be a yummy addition to holiday parties, or Super Bowl, or Easter Dinner appetizers, or any old time of year.

Handy Flexible Cheese Balls for Holiday Parties
  • ½ pound or 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 pound of sharp cheese, grated
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  1. Heat an oven t0 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Form the dough into small balls no more than one inch in diameter.
  4. Bake for ten to 12 minutes.
  5. Makes about six dozen, depending on size.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.