This Bacon Ranch Cheeseball is the perfect appetizer for any gathering. Easy to make with simple ingredients, this cheese ball tastes amazing and is a real crowd pleaser.
The holiday season is here which means party food! When working on your menu you can’t forget the appetizers, and cheeseballs always make for the perfect recipe to serve. Kids love it, grown ups love it, and I love it because it’s got all of my favorite things. Bacon? Good! Cheese? Good! Ranch? So good!!
Every party needs a cheeseball. Whether it’s my Crab Dip Cheese Ball or my Olive Cheese Ball with Parmesan Toasted Walnuts, one is going to make an appearance at every holiday event. They are easy to make, easy to serve and always a real crowd pleaser.
Ultimate Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball
There are just 5 of us in our household and that means 5 places at our Thanksgiving table this year. Despite it being a smaller Thanksgiving celebration than usual, I have big plans to make the day extra special, like decorating the table with beautiful new linens and candles, having everyone dress up for a fun “mocktail” hour before dinner.
During our mocktail hour we’ll enjoy a delicious holiday punch and some yummy appetizers, like my epic Antipasto Platter, some veggies and dip, and of course the Ultimate Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball.
The best thing about a cheeseball is that is totally low maintenance. It’s classic and rustic and takes minutes to prepare. I love that I can quickly make it ahead of time so I can be free to work on the dinner menu the day of.
What is a cheese ball made of?
This Bacon Ranch Cheeseball recipe is simple – there are only five ingredients! Traditionally there is cream cheese and some kind of shredded cheese, and often other ingredients that can be chopped up and mixed in.
- Cream cheese – You really want a good quality, full fat, brick-style cream cheese for this since it’s the base of your cheeseball.
- Dry Ranch seasoning mix – This is a full packet of the powder dressing mix. Any brand is fine. If you happen to have the large container of mix, you need about 2 tablespoons.
- Freshly grated Cheddar Cheese – Off the block is the only way to go with cheese! So much tastier. Feel free to play around with the flavor of cheese; pepper jack would be tasty, or a mild verses sharp cheddar.
- Bacon – Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crisp, then chop it up and pat with paper towels to get out as much grease as possible.
- Green Onions – Slice thinly, and you can use both the bottoms and top of the onions. Save a bunch of the greens for the outside, or use chives.
How to Make a Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball from Scratch
The recipe is easy as can be. Just 5 simple ingredients mixed together then it’s ready.
- Mix the ingredients. Beat the cream cheese and ranch mix with an electric mixer until smooth, then stir in shredded cheddar, bacon, and chopped green onions. Use high quality ingredients and a block cheese (not pre-shredded).
- Form the cheeseball. Using a rubber spatula and your hands, form the mixture into a ball. Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray to keep them from sticking.
- Coat the outside. Spread some shredded cheddar, chopped bacon and green onions in a shallow dish and set the cheese ball on top. Scoop up the cheese, bacon and greens and gently press them into the sides of the cheese ball until the whole ball is coated.
- Chill. Wrap the cheeseball tightly with plastic wrap, using your hands to help keep its shape. Chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before serving.
I typically serve this with butter crackers, but just about any crispy hand held will do. Try some crostini, bagel chips, pretzels, potato or tortilla chips or any of your favorite crackers. Raw vegetables are also delicious, and healthy!
Remember that this isn’t a dip, so make sure you include a spreading knife. Crackers and chips tend to break easily if you try to dip them.
Storage and Make Ahead Instructions
Make Ahead: You can make this recipe up to a week in advance if you leave the outside uncoated. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. About an hour before serving, unwrap and let the cheeseball sit out for about 10 minutes, then coat with shredded cheese, bacon and chives. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
How long will a cheeseball last? Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Of course, the actual window of freshness depends on the freshness of the ingredients used. Make sure to check the expiration dates of the cheese and bacon and use fresh green onions.
Can you freeze a cheeseball? Yes! As long as you haven’t coated the outside, it will be fine. You want to make sure to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then with foil before placing in the freezer. It should be good for up to 3 months.
Recipe Notes and Top Tips
- Up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Just make sure it’s wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container.
- Make sure to let the cream cheese sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature. You can speed up the process by unwrapping it and cutting it into chunks. If you need to quickly soften, place in the microwave for a few second.
- For smoothest results use an electric mixer to blend the cheeses.
- Make sure to have plenty of shredded cheddar, bacon and sliced green onions for coating the outside. Or add some chopped pecans for crunch.
- When I am making a recipe that calls for cooked bacon I like to cook bacon in the oven for breakfast. We eat some and then I keep some for later. One mess to clean up, but it will serve two purposes!
- Spice it up and add some heat with a few dashes of hot sauce.
- Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray to keep them from sticking.
More Appetizers to Love
- Pesto Bruschetta
- Everything Bagel Pigs in a Blanket
- Boneless Buffalo Wings
- Queso Fundido with Chorizo
Bacon Ranch Cheeseball
- 16 ounces brick cream cheese, room temp full fat, brick-style (not spreadable)
- 1 ounce dry ranch mix
- 1 1/4 cup freshly shredded Cheddar cheese divided
- 3-4 green onions thinly sliced, divided
- 8 slices bacon fully cooked and crumbled, divided
- Crackers, chips, bread or veggies for serving
- In a large bowl and with an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and dry ranch mix until smooth.
- Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, half of the green onions, and half of the bacon. Using a rubber spatula and your hands, shape the mixture into a ball.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- In a small bowl, combine 1/4 of shredded cheddar and the rest of the green onions and bacon. Store in a airtight container in the fridge next to the cheese ball until ready to coat.
- Just before serving or up to an hour in advance, take the cheese ball out of the fridge. Spread the cheese/bacon.onion mixture out in a shallow dish and set the cheese ball in the middle. Gently press the mixture into the cheeseball, coating all sides. Chill until ready to serve.
- Make Ahead: You can make this recipe up to a week in advance leaving the outside uncoated. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Coat with the shredded cheese, bacon and chives before serving and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, depending on the freshness of the ingredients.
- Freezing: Tightly wrap (without outer coating) in plastic wrap then with foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray to keep them from sticking.