Score big on game day with this irresistible Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball! Packed with jalapenos, bacon, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese, this appetizer is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Easy to prepare and perfect for sharing, it's the ultimate addition to any game day spread. Serve jalapeno cheese ball with crackers and get ready to cheer on your favorite team in style. Great for tailgating, Halloween, holiday celebrations, and parties.
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What Makes This Jalapeño Popper Cheese Ball Perfect for Company?
Believe it or not, cheese balls are back in style. After being ultra-popular in the 60s and 70s, these cheesy concoctions fell out of favor for a long time, but most food trends don't disappear forever, and now cheese balls are popping up as the wow factor on plenty of party platters.
It's no surprise. Cheese balls are easy to make, inexpensive, and taste darn good.
Why You Should Try This Recipe
Cheese balls are ideal for any get-together. You can easily change their size to accommodate any number of guests, and adjusting ingredients and seasoning to suit your tastes isn't a problem.
Maybe the best part of making this recipe is you don't even have to be good in the kitchen! Messing this dish up is almost impossible! That means it is a perfect project for someone intimidated by cooking but still wants to serve homemade food.
Jalapeno Cheese Ball Ingredients
For a Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball, you'll need:
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Cheddar jack cheese, shredded
- Worcestershire sauce
- Chipotle powder
- Dry ranch dressing mix
- Bacon, cooked until crisp
- Pickled jalapeno peppers
- Panko bread crumbs
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
If you can't find cheddar jack cheese, you can use pepper jack cheese or sharp cheddar cheese or any cheese you love.
Using pre-shredded cheese is convenient and cuts down on prep time. However freshly grated has better flavor and it's worth the time and effort.
Smoked paprika is a fine substitute for chipotle powder.
For an easy method of cooking bacon, try making it in the oven!
How to Make a Bacon Jalapeno Cheese Ball
To prepare this Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball recipe:
- Making this recipe is much easier with room-temperature ingredients, so take the cream cheese, sour cream, and cheddar jack cheese out of the fridge about 20 minutes in advance.
- While the ingredients are shaking off the chill in the fridge, chop the cooked bacon into bits and finely mince the pickled jalapeno peppers.
- Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle powder, dry ranch dressing mix, half of the cheddar jack cheese, half of the bacon bits, and half of the minced jalapeno peppers.
- Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter. You will use it for wrapping the cream cheese mixture after you form it. You may need to overlap the sides of two plastic sheets to ensure it is large enough.
- Lightly oil your clean hands and form the mixture into a large ball. Feel free to experiment with other shapes and sizes.
- Wrap the cheese ball tightly in plastic and chill for at least an hour.
- While the cheese ball is in the fridge, make the coating by combining the panko bread crumb with the unused cheddar jack cheese, bacon bits, and minced pickled jalapeno peppers.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the cheese ball.
- Place the coating in a large bowl and roll the cheese ball in it.
- Serve immediately.
Equipment You Might Need
You don't need any special equipment to make this recipe.
What to Serve With a Jalapeno Bacon Cheese Ball
Although crackers, toasted bread, hard pretzels, and pita chips may be the first sides to come to mind, many more options exist.
The sweet crispness of apple and pear slices balances out the salty and spicy flavors of the cheese ball. Carrot and celery sticks also make great bases and add great texture.
Variations to Try
It's easy to customize a cheese ball to suit your tastes:
- Make a vegetarian version by substituting the real bacon with plant-based bacon.
- Add some chopped green onions for extra flavor.
- Add other spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, or black pepper.
Are you hosting a more sophisticated affair? Make mini cheese balls and serve them on a charcuterie plate.
How to Store It
Once you serve a cheese ball, it is best to throw out any leftovers just to be safe, but you can save them if you want. Wrap the cheese ball in a layer of plastic and then in aluminum foil for better protection.
Can you freeze cheese balls? Yes, you can! Put the double-wrapped cheese ball in a hard-sided container to prevent it from getting squished before freezing. Thaw the frozen cheese ball in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving.
If you are making the cheese ball in advance, try saving it without the coating. Coat the cheese ball the same day you serve it to prevent the panko bread crumbs from getting soft.
How Long Will It Last?
A jalapeno bacon cheese ball will stay safe to eat for three or four days in the fridge and up to a month in the freezer.
More Game Day Appetizers
- Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
- Buffalo Chicken Crescent Ring
- Deviled Ham Cheese Ball
- Dry Rub Smoked Chicken Wings
- Smoked Jalapeno Poppers
Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked paprika
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar jack cheese divided use
- 16 ounces bacon cooked until crisp, crumbled
- 4 tablespoons finely minced pickled jalapeño peppers divided use
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 package ranch dressing mix
- crackers to serve
- In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, and chipotle powder or smoked paprika, along with half of the cheddar jack cheese, half of the cooked bacon pieces, and half of the jalapeño peppers. Mix well.
- Use your hands to shape the mixture into a ball. You can also shape it into a log, a cone, or any other shape you prefer. If the cheese is sticking to your hands, lightly oil your hands or use plastic wrap to shape the cheese.
- Once the cheese has been shaped into the desired shape, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.
- Create the cheese ball coating by combining the panko bread crumbs with the remaining cheddar jack cheese, bacon, and jalapeño peppers in a shallow dish. Gently stir to combine.
- Unwrap the hardened cheeseball, roll it in the coating, and serve immediately with crackers.