This no-bake Circus Animal Cheese Ball recipe is easy to make in 10 minutes by combining cream cheese, butter, sugar cookie mix, and crushed circus animal cookies and rolling it in rainbow sprinkles.

Sweet, creamy, crunchy, and tons of fun to eat, this pretty pink mixture tastes like a bite of cheesecake but is served as an appetizer spread or dessert dip.

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Our Circus Animal Cheese Ball is a cool and creamy treat with a sweet twist from the traditional savory party starter.

Easily made with a cream cheese and cookie mix base, this cheesecake cookie ball has all the flavor of the classic pink coated vanilla shortbread circus cookie, all covered in crunchy rainbow nonpareils.

This sweet cheeseball is filled with crushed cookie pieces and plenty of colorful sprinkles that will brighten up any boring balls of finger food.

Pair it with your favorite crunchy companions and turn a traditional holiday party platter into a fun and festive dessert treat – perfect for dipping with your favorite circus cookies, pretzels, and graham crackers.

  • Quick and easy to make in 10 minutes.
  • Uses simple kitchen staple ingredients.
  • Creamy sweet treat that can be served as an appetizer or dessert dip.
  • Fun and unique way to serve a sweet spread to your football fans, family, or friends.
  • Perfect Super Bowl snack, game day dessert, or anytime party appetizer.
Circus Animal Cheesecake Ball ingredients

Circus Animal Cheese Ball Ingredients

  • Cream cheese
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sugar cookie mix 
  • Red food coloring
  • Circus animal cookies
  • Nonpareils sprinkles

Substitutions and Additions

  • Double Dippers: Use your favorite cookies and crackers to double as a dessert and a dipper. You can try chocolate graham crackers, animal crackers, gingersnap cookies, vanilla wafers, pretzels, mini Hershey’s bars, apple slices, broken pieces of sugar cones, or any of your other sweet or savory snacks.
  • Customize Your Colors: Feel free to use festive colors of candy coating for different holidays and special occasions. Cover your cheese ball with green and red M&Ms for Christmas, red, pink, and white candy for Valentine’s Day, or customize your creation with your favorite football team’s colors.
  • Skip The Dip: Instead of using this spread as a dip, you can use it as a creamy filling for cookie sandwiches or use it to frost cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or brownies. It even tastes delicious as a spread for toast and bagels.
dipping crackers into Circus Animal Cheesecake Ball
  • Stand Mixer or handheld mixer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Plastic wrap
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How to Make Circus Animal Cheese Ball

  1. Heat Treat: Microwave the dry sugar cookie mix in two 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval. Cool completely before mixing into the cream cheese.
  2. Make The Cheese Ball Mixture: Beat together the cream cheese, unsalted butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Blend in the sugar cookie mix and red food coloring. Stir in the crushed cookies and sprinkles. 
  3. Wrap and Roll: Place the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap, cover, and roll into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. 
  4. Serve: Roll the cheese ball onto the sprinkles to evenly coat. Allow the cheese ball to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tips From Our Recipe Developer

  • Use softened cream cheese to make it easier to mix and to prevent lumps.

It is important to heat treat the dry sugar cookie mix before adding it to the cream cheese. Flour in uncooked batter can cause sickness and can carry bacteria. So, a quick heat treatment is needed to ensure that those germs are killed off. It’s super easy to do this by placing it in the microwave or oven for 1-2 minutes.

How to Store a cheesecake ball

  • To Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5-7 days.
Circus Animal Cheesecake Ball with pretzels

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this cheese ball in advance?

Yes, this cheese ball can be made the night before but wait until you are ready to serve to roll it in the sprinkles.

What is the best way to soften cream cheese?

The best way to soften your cream cheese is by keeping it in the package for a few hours at room temperature. However, you can carefully heat it up in the microwave (be sure to remove the wrapper first!) in increments of 20 seconds at a lower power. If you don’t soften your cream cheese, your dip will come out lumpy.

Does this cheese ball need to be refrigerated?

Yes, anything made with cream cheese should be placed in the fridge to keep it from spoiling. 

top shot of Circus Animal Cheesecake Ball

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5 from 5 votes
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Circus Animal Cheese Ball

Serves — 16
Circus Animal Cheese Ball is a no-bake dessert dip with a fun twist on the traditional savory spread. This easy-to-make appetizer is perfect for a party, a tailgate, or to feed your football fans.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces package of cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups sugar cookie mix
  • Red food coloring
  • 1 cup crushed circus animal cookies
  • ½ cup and 1 tablespoon Nonpareils sprinkles divided

Instructions
 

  • Before adding the sugar cookie mix, it is important to heat treat the dry sugar cookie mix. Pour the dry cookie mix into a medium-sized heat-safe bowl. Microwave the cookie mix in two 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Allow the cookie mix to cool completely before mixing it into the cream cheese.
  • Beat together cream cheese, unsalted butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Add in sugar cookie mix and blend until well combined.
  • Mix in a few drops of red food coloring to make the batter pink.
  • Stir in the crushed circus animal cookies and tablespoon of sprinkles.
  • Scoop the cheese ball mixture into the center of a piece of plastic wrap, cover and roll into a ball.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.
  • When ready to serve, place the remaining sprinkles onto a plate. Remove the plastic wrap and roll the cheese ball onto the sprinkles to evenly coat. Allow the cheese ball to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving, enjoy!

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5-7 days.
Tips:
  • Use softened cream cheese to make it easier to mix and to prevent lumps.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

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Comments

  1. This is a cute idea, but sugar cookie mix has raw flour in it, and flour is meant to be baked otherwise it can have harmful bacteria in it. You may want to consider replacing the “sugar cookie mix” ingredient with something safer to eat than raw flour.