A Duet of Party Cheese Balls

PImento Cheese Pecan Balls

Our good friends, Kevin and Matt, are heading out of town for the Big Apple. Even though I’ll miss them, this is a great career move for Kevin and I applaud his success. To celebrate this next chapter of their lives in New York, we hosted a cocktail party on Saturday night.

Several years ago, I would have been a basket case on party day, cooking all day and expending all my energy during the party replenishing drinks and food for everyone. Not any more…I decided a long time ago that if i was throwing a party I should enjoy it. Plus, after a glass of wine or two, all my organizational skills go right out the door!

Pimento Cheese Pecan Balls

I now employ Ina Garten’s philosophy that if you’re entertaining you should make some things and buy some things. I like her philosophy a lot! It really takes some of the pressure off of the cook (i.e., me). Additionally, making some of the food a day ahead makes for a more relaxed party day.

Pimento Cheese Pecan Balls

For this gathering, I made two different types of cheese balls. I’m a Mississippi boy and I learned to make pimento cheese almost as soon as I could reach the kitchen counter. It’s a staple snack in my neck of the woods. For this recipe, I rolled the pimento cheese into balls and coated them with chopped pecans.

The other cheese balls are a variation on a recipe I posted several months ago for Pistachio and Cranberry Crusted Goat Cheese. As with the pimento cheese balls, I rolled the goat cheese into balls and coated them with chopped pistachios and dried cherries. Both types of cheese balls can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.

Pistachio Cherry Cheese Balls

I’m excited about Kevin’s and Matt’s move to the Big Apple because now we’ll have a good excuse to visit!

Party Cheese Balls

Prep Time: 2 hours

Yield: 30-40 Pimento Cheese Balls and 20-25 Goat Cheese Balls

Party Cheese Balls


For the Pimento Cheese Pecan Balls:

1 1/4 pounds extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated, room temperature

4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons grated onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Tabasco sauce to taste

2 4 ounce jars of pimento peppers

2 cups pecan halves, finely chopped

For the Pistachio, Cherry, and Goat Cheese Balls:

20 ounces goat cheese, chilled

1 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped

1 cup dried cherries, finely chopped (dried cranberries can be used alternatively)


For the Pimento Cheese Pecan Balls:

1. Combine cheese, goat cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, salt, sugar, Tabasco sauce, and pimento peppers in a bowl. Using a fork, mash all ingredients together until well combined. Transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.

2. Roll mixture into one inch balls in the palms of your hands. Place chopped pecans on a plate and roll balls in the pecans to completely cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

For the Pistachio, Cherry, and Goat Cheese Balls:

1. Roll the goat cheese into one inch balls.

2. Mix chopped pistachios and cherries on a plate. Roll the goat cheese balls in the pistachio and cherry mixture to completely cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

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Bill Harris

I grew up in small town Mississippi eating traditional southern fare.A lifelong foodie, I started cooking and experimenting with food at a very young age. I started Southern Boy Dishes as a creative outlet and a way to share my love of food.

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Speak Your Mind

  1. says

    When I see cheese balls at a party, I just want to hang out by the plate. :) Look at all of the ingredients in this cheese ball. Quite different but utterly delicious looking! Love the roll in the pistachios and dried cherries. What a great twist on a classic!

  2. says

    That’s pretty classy pimento cheese! I stick to a more basic recipe, but I should try yours – it looks super. I’ve never actually made a cheese ball before – I should definitely try it sometime. Usually this is the type of thing I buy! 😉 But I always make my own pimento cheese – what I find in the stores around here isn’t eating, much less buying.

  3. says

    Oh what fabulous party food, Bill! I agree with you completely about not running yourself ragged when entertaining – it takes all the fun out of it if you’re passed out on the kitchen floor in a sea of canapés, because you’ve been over doing it… though if it’s the wine you’ve been over doing – a good time was had by all 😉

  4. says

    How much do we all love Ina Garten’s philosophy?..A LOT.
    I would work for weeks planning, setting the table, now it’s like let’s have fun and chill.
    The party sounds great, the cheese ball idea is perfect.

  5. says

    I would have a hard time choosing between the two so I think I’ll have to make both for my next party. Great appetizer and fabulous with wine.

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