Learn how to make an easy football cheese ball for all of your football parties. This is a fun recipe to make and great for presentation. The cream cheese ball is flavored with cheddar, hot sauce, and seasoning for a savory spread – just add your favorite crackers for scooping!
If there's anything that a game-day party needs, it's a savory and creamy cheese football with crackers. This is a really fun and easy snack recipe that is always a hit when we make it.
There are several things I love about making this football cheese ball recipe. First, it looks like a football, so there's no question what the party's theme is! But, it's also easy to make, and you can make it ahead, so you're not trying to get it assembled right before the party.
Cheese balls have been around forever, and it's not hard to figure out why. They're a crowd-pleaser and the perfect centerpiece for your game-day party snack spread.
Cheese Ball Ingredients
- Softened cream cheese
- Grated cheddar cheese
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce – we love Tapatio brand
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Crackers – we like to serve Wheat Thins
- String cheese
- Chopped green onion
How to Make It
In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board or work surface. Scoop the cheese mixture on the wrap. Take another big piece of plastic wrap and lay it on top of the cheese mixture. Use your hands to mold the mixture into a football shape. Refrigerate it for two to four hours.
Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium heat. Add the pecans and toast them for about five minutes or so. Stir them frequently, and once they are turning brown and fragrant, take them off the heat. Finely chop them and set them aside.
Take the football cheeseball out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Coat the ball with the chopped pecans by gently pressing them into the surface of the cheese.
Make the football laces by pulling the cheese stick apart, so you have several strands. You will need one long strip for the middle of the lace and two long strands for each end. You will need four short strands for the laces.
Start by laying one long strand down the center lengthwise. Next, place the two other long strands crosswise at each end, going the opposite way. Finally, apply the short strands so they look like laces. Gently press to adhere the string cheese to the ball, but don't push too hard that you flatten the football shape.
Place the cheese ball on a serving platter and place the crackers around it. Sprinkle the green onions over the top. At this point, you can cover the platter with plastic wrap and chill it until you're ready to serve it.
We like toasted chopped pecans, but you can also use toasted walnuts or almonds.
You can use other kinds of cheese if you want to switch the cheddar. Just use a cheese that you can grate and has a lot of flavor. For example, I would avoid Monterey jack and mozzarella as they have a more subtle flavor.
For a twist, cook and crumble some crispy bacon and mix it with the nuts before you coat the cheese ball.
Be sure to use sturdy crackers for serving, so they don't break when you try to scoop up some cheese.
If you refrigerate the ball before serving, take it out ahead of time so it can soften a bit at room temperature.
How far in advance can you make a cheese ball?
You can make the cheese ball up to a week in advance as long as it's tightly wrapped. Just wait to add the nuts and the laces until several hours before you serve it. The nuts can get soft if they sit in the refrigerator too long.
How long will leftovers last?
Leftovers will keep for two days or so in the refrigerator. Just keep in mind, the nuts will soften and won't be as crunchy.
Can you freeze a cheese ball?
Yes, you can freeze it. For best results, tightly wrap it and keep it in a freezer-safe container. It should keep well for up to a month. To thaw, leave it in the refrigerator. Add this football cheese ball to your list for the next game day. You’ll love how easy it is to make and your guests will love how great it tastes. Enjoy!
More Game Day Meals to Make
Football Cheese Ball Recipe
- 2-8 ounce packages of cream cheese softened
- 1-1/4 cup pecans browned whole and then finely chopped
- 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Tapatio hot sauce or your favorite hot sauce
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 box wheat thins or a good dipping cracker
- 1 string cheese round
- ¼ cup green onion chopped for garnish
- In a large bowl combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Use a hand mixer to incorporate all ingredients.
- Put a layer of plastic wrap on top of a large cutting board. Transfer the cheese mixture onto the plastic. Cover the cheese mixture with another layer of plastic wrap. Slowly mold the cheese mixture into the shape of a football. Place in refrigerator for 2-4 hours to firm up.
- Heat cooking spray in a large skillet over medium heat. Add whole pecans and stir often until they start to brown. Keep a close eye on them as they tend to burn quickly. It should take 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes and then finely chop them.
- Remove cheese ball from refrigerator and place on cutting board. Carefully remove the plastic wrap. Cover the cheese ball with the pecans and press gently to bind them to the cheese ball. Pull the string cheese into sever strands. You will need three longer strands (one for each end and one down the middle). You will need four short strands to use for laces. Just gently push. It may not fully adhere but you can cover the ends that wrap around the football with crackers. Find a serving tray or platter that is the right size for the cheese ball and surround the cheese ball with crackers and sprinkle green onion over the top. Serve!!
Mel is an IT guy turned blogger and is discovering his love of cooking and photography. If you ever have Fantasy Football questions, he's your guy.