bacon cheddar ranch cheese ball featured image
This Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball recipe is made with a simple mixture of creamy ranch and cheese plus plenty of bacon with a crunchy coating. Mixed, shaped, chilled and rolled, this cheese ball is an easy make-ahead appetizer.
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Table of Contents
  1. Best Cheese Ball Recipe
  2. Why We Love This Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe
  3. Ingredients / Shopping List
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
  6. How to Make the Recipe
  7. Storage Tips
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Other Easy Appetizer Recipes
  10. Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe

This Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball recipe is made with a simple seasoned mixture of creamy ranch and cheese plus plenty of bacon with a crunchy coating of bacon crumbles, chives, and nuts. Quickly mixed, shaped, chilled, and rolled, this cheese ball is the easiest make-ahead appetizer and a fun way to feed a crowd.

bacon cheddar ranch cheese ball hero

Best Cheese Ball Recipe

A Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball is the ultimate layered flavor and texture combination–nutty and crunchy on the outside, tangy and creamy on the inside, and addictively delicious in every cheesy bacon bite!

Loaded with cheese, colorful chopped chives, crumbled bacon, and all dressed in Ranch, the mixture is so easy to roll in a tight ball and then coat after it’s chilled.

The most important part of the holidays may be spending them with loved ones, but the best part of these festivities is the food! This Bacon Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball recipe is the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer and always a favorite part of any party.

It is so easy to make a beautiful spread by placing your cheese ball in the center of a platter and surrounding it with crackers for serious scooping. Perfect appetizer for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner menu!

So good you’ll want to get it before it’s gone!

Why We Love This Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe

  • Quick and easy to make using simple ingredients.
  • Delicious flavor and texture combination.
  • Ideal cracker spread because it’s a loaded cheese ball bursting with flavorful ingredients and looks beautiful. 
  • Every party needs a crowd-pleasing appetizer–everyone loves this one!
  • You can make it in advance leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
  • Perfect for holiday parties and family get-togethers.
bacon cheddar ranch cheese ball served with crackers

Ingredients / Shopping List

  • Cream cheese blocks
  • Bottled ranch dressing: I used Hidden Valley Ranch original for this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite brand.  My suggestion is to use a thick and creamy one.
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Chives
  • Sharp cheddar cheese (finely shredded): I like using the bagged, pre-shredded, cheese for this recipe because you can buy the very finely shredded kinds and it tends to mix into the cream cheese better and not clump up.
  • Center-cut bacon (cooked & crumbled): Do Not use thick slice bacon for this recipe. Center cut works best because it is less fatty and not too thick to mix with the cream cheese.
  • Walnuts (finely chopped)

Substitutions and Additions

  • Nuts: Chopped pecans or slivered almonds make a great alternative to walnuts for this recipe.
  • Make Mini Cheese Ball Bites:  Instead of shaping the mixture into a single ball, you can use a small ice cream scoop to form mini cheese balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and chill until firm. Roll in outer coating and insert a pretzel stick to make them a fun, portable, personal party food!
  • Change The Cheese: Instead of cheddar, you can try jalapeño for a bit of a kick, Monterey Jack or Colby Jack cheese.
bacon ranch cheese ball
  • Large skillet
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring tools
  • Rubber spatula
  • Large plate
  • Plastic wrap

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How to Make the Recipe

This Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball recipe super easy and perfect for your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner menu! An easy make-ahead appetizer and a fun way to feed a crowd.

  1. Cook bacon until crisp, drain, cool, and chop. Set aside.
    Pro-Tip: I like to pre-chop my raw bacon before cooking it. I find it cooks a little faster and also yields more evenly sized bacon crumbles. You can also use the Ready-Cook bacon. Just cook it according to package directions, in the microwave, and make sure that you have ¾ total bacon crumbles. This is a great option if you do not like to make a mess in the kitchen cooking your bacon on the stove top.
  2. Cream together the cream cheese, ranch dressing, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper and chopped chives until smooth.
    Pro-Tip: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. If it’s chilled, you’ll have a hard time mixing everything smoothly. Instead of bottled Ranch dressing, you can mix 3 tablespoons of sour cream with 2 tablespoons of dry ranch packet mix. 
    Cream together the cream cheese, ranch dressing, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper and chopped chives
  3. Fold cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the bacon crumbles into the cream cheese mixture until completely combined.
    Pro-Tip: If you prefer to shred your own cheese, I suggest you place your block of cheese into the freezer about 20 minutes prior to shredding it. It helps the cheese shred better on the fine side of your box grater.
    Fold cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the bacon crumbles into the cream cheese mixture
  4. Mix together remaining bacon crumbles, chopped chives and chopped walnuts and spread on a plate.
    Pro-Tip: You can lightly toast your walnuts prior to chopping them. This adds a great elevated flavor but is not necessary.
    Mix together remaining  bacon crumbles, chopped chives and chopped walnuts and spread on a plate.
  5. Form the cream cheese mixture into a large ball with a rubber spatula while it is in the bowl.
    Form the cream cheese mixture into a large ball
  6. Roll your cheese ball in the walnut mixture and use your hands to press the mixture in the cheese so that it is coated on all sides. 
    Roll cheese ball in the walnut mixture
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap, place on a plate, and put it in the refrigerator to chill for 4 hours prior to serving.
    Wrap in plastic wrap
  8. Enjoy!
    bacon cheese ball

Storage Tips

  • To Store: This cheese ball can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days in total.
  • To Freeze: This will freeze well in the freezer in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to one month. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and place on a tray to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once soft, serve and enjoy!
bacon cheese ball on a wooden tray

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I serve with my Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball?

My personal favorite way to serve this cheese ball is with buttery crackers (like RITZ brand), but pretzels, bagel chips, pita chips, or even some toasted baguette slices would be a nice accompaniment. For a healthier alternative, serve with carrots, celery sticks or even apple slices.

Can I freeze my cheese ball?

You can freeze your cheese ball. I suggest you freeze it before you roll it in the outer coating. After forming the cream cheese mixture into a ball, add it to a freezer resealable bag, and freeze for up to 1 month.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll in outer coating and serve!

Do I have to use nuts in my coating?

If you’d like to make this cheese ball nut-free, you can roll it in more bacon bits or fresh herbs. Or you can coat your cheese ball in Everything Bagel seasoning. The pops of sesame, poppy seeds, onion, and garlic will work well too. For some crunch, you can also try toasted breadcrumbs.

bacon cheese ball served with crackers

Other Easy Appetizer Recipes

5 from 1 vote
bacon cheddar ranch cheese ball featured image

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball

Serves — 24
This Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball recipe is made with a simple mixture of creamy ranch and cheese plus plenty of bacon with a crunchy coating. Mixed, shaped, chilled and rolled, this cheese ball is an easy make-ahead appetizer.
Prep Time 15 mins
Chill Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounce cream cheese blocks room-temperature
  • 3 tbsp bottled ranch dressing (I used Hidden Valley Ranch original)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped chives divided
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese finely shredded
  • 12 ounce package center-cut bacon cooked & crumbled, divided. **Note- this will yield about ¾ cup bacon crumbles**
  • 1 cup walnuts finely chopped
  • Butter crackers option: RITZ brand

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, on medium-low heat, cook your bacon until crisp (this can take anywhere between 10-15 minutes). Once cooked, drain your bacon on a paper towel lined plate. Once cooled, chop your bacon then set aside.
  • In a large bowl, with a rubber spatula, combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper and 2 tablespoons chopped chives. Cream together until smooth and all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  • Add the finely shredded cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the bacon crumbles. Gently fold them into the cream cheese mixture until all the ingredients are completely combined.
  • On a large plate add the remaining ¼ cup bacon crumbles, 1 tablespoon chopped chives and the finely chopped walnuts. Gently mix them all together then spread them out in an even layer on your plate. This will make it easier to roll and coat your cheese ball.
  • While your cream cheese mixture is still in the bowl, take your rubber spatula and gently form it into a large ball.
  • Very carefully place your cheese ball onto your plate with your walnut mixture. Using your hands gently press the walnut coating all over the outside of your cheese ball. You can roll your cheese ball around on your plate to make sure that all sides are evenly coated.
  • Wrap your cheese ball in plastic wrap and place on a plate, in the refrigerator, to chill for 4 hours prior to serving.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: This cheese ball can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days in total.
  • To Freeze: This will freeze well in the freezer in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to one month. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and place on a tray to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once soft, serve and enjoy!
Tips:
  • Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. If it’s chilled, you’ll have a hard time mixing everything smoothly.
  • I like to pre-chop my raw bacon before cooking it. I find it cooks a little faster and also yields more evenly sized bacon crumbles.
  • You can also use the Ready-Cook bacon. Just cook it according to package directions, in the microwave, and make sure that you have ¾ total bacon crumbles. This is a great option if you do not like to make a mess in the kitchen cooking your bacon on the stove top.
  • If you prefer to shred your own cheese, I suggest you place your block of cheese into the freezer about 20 minutes prior to shredding it. It helps the cheese shred better on the fine side of your box grater.
  • Instead of bottled Ranch dressing, you can mix 3 tablespoons of sour cream with 2 tablespoons of dry ranch packet mix.
  • You can lightly toast your walnuts prior to chopping them. This adds a great elevated flavor but is not necessary.

Video

Nutrition Info

Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 366IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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