Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball Recipe

Appetizers are essential when it comes to holiday parties, though you don't want to exert too much energy on making one. After all, the holidays are about relaxing and enjoying the company of loved ones, not spending hours in the kitchen. Luckily, delicious appetizers don't have to take a long time to make, and this cranberry orange cheese ball recipe, courtesy of recipe developer Erin Johnson, is proof of that. A cheese ball is the perfect appetizer for nearly any occasion, but thanks to the addition of cranberries, orange juice, and pecans, this recipe has a particularly festive flair.

"I love this recipe because it's delicious, colorful, and feels so festive," Johnson raves about this cheese ball. Of course, the aesthetic isn't the only thing she likes about it. Johnson also notes that you can "make this up to two days before you plan to serve it," and simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge in the meantime. So, not only does it look festive and taste great, but this cheese ball is also convenient for busy schedules.

Gather the ingredients to make this cranberry orange cheese ball

Before you can make this cranberry orange cheese ball recipe, you'll want to make sure that you have the right ingredients. Luckily, this won't be a very difficult task, because this recipe only requires five ingredients: cream cheese, an orange, dried and chopped cranberries, chopped pecans, and fresh parsley. The cream cheese will serve as the base of the ball, and you'll mix in orange zest and juice, along with some of the cranberries and pecans. On the outside of the ball, you'll use the cranberries, pecans, fresh parsley, and more zest for the coating. "If you want to add a pop of flavor, consider using fresh chives instead of parsley," Johnson suggests as a possible ingredient swap. And, when it comes to serving, she also recommends a side of crackers or sliced baguette.

Make the cream cheese base

Grab a large bowl, and add in the cream cheese, ½ of the orange zest, and the orange juice. Using a hand mixer, blend these ingredients until they're evenly combined. Then, fold in ¼ of the cranberries and ¼ cup of the pecans, ensuring that they become evenly distributed throughout the cream cheese mixture. 

Now, line a separate bowl with plastic wrap, then dump in the cream cheese mixture. Use the plastic wrap to hold in the cream cheese and form it into a uniform ball. After you form the ball, you can optionally allow it to chill in the fridge for an hour. "I like to chill the cheese ball once I shape it until a ball for at least an hour so that it's easier to work with and to firm the cream cheese back up," Johnson explains. "It's not required, but will result it the best presentation."

Mix the cranberry coating, then roll the cream cheese ball in it

Now, it's time to give this cheese ball a festive flair! In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the remaining orange zest, chopped cranberries, chopped pecans, and the fresh parsley. Make sure that all of these ingredients are evenly mixed together. Then, grab the cheese ball, and place it onto the cranberry mixture. Roll it all around on the plate, ensuring that the entire surface area of the ball is covered in the sweet, crunchy coating. 

Serve your cranberry orange cheese ball with crackers or bread

Once you've finished rolling the cheese ball in the coating, you're ready to serve and enjoy. You'll notice that this appetizer has the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and salty flavors, and it pairs wonderfully with crackers or bread. As Johnson previously noted, you can make this cheese ball in advance, so if you aren't quite ready to serve yet, simply keep it stored in your fridge. And, if you happen to have any leftovers after serving, Johnson says, "[The cheese ball] also tastes amazing on turkey burgers." So, be sure to hold on to any leftovers to add some cheesy, festive delight to a new meal.

Cranberry Orange Cheese Ball Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
Delicious appetizers don't have to take a long time to make, and this cranberry orange cheese ball recipe is proof of that.
Prep Time
Cook Time
cheese ball with crackers
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • zest from 1 orange, divided
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • ½ cup chopped dried, sweetened cranberries, divided
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Using a hand mixer, blend together the cream cheese, ½ the orange zest, and the orange juice until well combined.
  2. Fold in ¼ cup each of the cranberries and pecans until evenly distributed.
  3. Line a bowl with plastic wrap, and add the cheese mixture. Use the plastic wrap to shape the cheese into a ball.
  4. In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the remaining orange zest, pecans, cranberries and the fresh parsley.
  5. Roll the cheese ball in the mixture until coated.
  6. Serve with crackers or sliced baguette slices.
Calories per Serving 157
Total Fat 14.7 g
Saturated Fat 5.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 31.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 3.3 g
Sodium 104.2 mg
Protein 2.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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