The College Housewife » Recipes » Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Ball

Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Ball

A soft, creamy cheese ball that is the star at any party. Prepared in just five minutes with creamy cheese, herbs, sweet cranberries, and pistachios for extra texture and crunch.

Prep this cranberry pistachio cheese ball ahead of time for a simple holiday appetizer recipe that can be served on it’s own or on cheeseboard.

Cranberry pistachio cheese ball on a white platter with pretzels around it.

I think the cheese ball has made quite a comeback this year and for good reason. I have had so many DM’s from people that made the jalapeno popper cheese ball and how much they loved it that I knew a holiday cheeseball would need to make an appearance. 

Enter in: the cranberry pistachio cheese ball! 

This cheese ball makes for the perfect holiday appetizer or perfect for any game day gathering. The top is so colorful and cheery, it looks like a straight up cheese ball ornament and will be the star of the show during appetizer hour. 

While this appetizer recipe is every bit tasty and addicting, it’s also VERY easy to make. Everything comes together in one bowl and then topped with toppings before serving. Put it on your favorite serving platter with plenty of salty crackers and dippers. 

You can make this ahead of time, in fact, it’s encouraged! If I can make a really cool make ahead appetizer, it’s an instant save for me. Prep the cheese ball the night before (or even days before! -see instructions below). Top it with toppings an hour (or the morning of!) any party and pop it in the fridge until serving. Just be sure to bring it out 20-30 minutes before eating or it may be a bit hard!

Green onions, dried cranberries, pistachios, garlic powder, onion powder, cream cheese, white cheddar cheese, sour cream, salt, rosemary.

Ingredients:

  • cream cheese
  • sour cream
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • rosemary
  • dried cranberries
  • green onions
  • white cheddar cheese
  • chopped pistachios
  • A step by step grid on how to make a cranberry pistachio cheese ball.

How to make this cranberry pistachio cheese ball: 

  1. Mix the ingredients: In a medium bowl mix together cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, kosher salt, rosemary, dried cranberries, green onions, white cheddar cheese and pistachios. 
  2. Shape into a ball: Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap onto a flat surface and transfer the cheese mixture to the center. Wrap the cream cheese and form into a ball.
  3. Chill: Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until the ball is semi-firm.
  4. Mix toppings together: Add remaining 2 tbsp rosemary, 1/3 cup dried cranberries, 1 tbsp green onions, ½ cup cheese, and ¼ cup of pistachios to a baking sheet. Mix together until evenly dispersed.
  5. Roll in toppings: Remove the cheese ball from the plastic wrap and onto the baking sheet. Roll the ball into toppings until evenly coated.
  6. Serve: Transfer to a serving platter and serve with a variety of crackers, pretzels, chips and veggies

A pretzel being dipped into the cranberry pistachio cheese ball.

How to make this cheese ball ahead of time:

You can certainly make this cranberry pistachio cheese ball ahead of time for a party or gathering.

Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days before serving. Prep the toppings ahead of time and leave in a bag with the ball or prep the day of serving. A half an hour before serving the ball dip into the toppings and serve.

It’s best to let the ball come to room temp for 10-20 minutes before serving. Serve with a variety of crackers, veggies and snacks!

Recipe tips and variations: 

  • Use room temp cream cheese: You will be using some serious elbow grease if not. The cheeseball comes together in 5 minutes or less if the cream cheese is a room temperature and all the flavors incorporate much easier and faster. 
  • Try a different dried fruit: I love using dried cranberries or cherries but you could use chopped apricots, dates, raisins, etc. 
  • Use an electric stand mixer or handheld mixer if you’re feeling lazy. I made this cheese ball by hand, but an electric mixer is your next best option. Beat the cream cheese, sour cream and seasonings on medium speed until combined, then reduce the speed to low and mix in the remaining ingredients. Shape and chill as instructed.
  • For a smaller crowd: This makes a large cheese ball! If you’re serving 2-4 people, try halving the recipe for a little less. 
  • Skip the nuts! If pistachios aren’t your favorite, you can swap them for pecans! And if anyone has a nut allergy coming over, simply omit them all together! You can add in crispy bacon for a bit of extra texture and saltiness. 

Cheese ball on a white platter with pretzels around it and a cheese spreader in the center of the ball.

More Appetizer Recipes to Try: 

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A cheese ball on a white platter with pretzels around it.

Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Ball

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes chill time
  • Total Time: 4 minute
  • Yield: 10-12 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Fridge
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

(2) Packages 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp

2 tbsp sour cream

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp black pepper

Heavy Pinch of kosher salt, or to taste

2 tbsp minced rosemary, reserve 1 tbsp for topping

⅓ cup dried cranberries or cherries, reserve 2 tbsp for topping

3 tbsp green onions, finely diced reserve 1 tbsp for topping

1 ½ cups sharp white cheddar cheese (reserve ½ cup for topping)

¼ cup chopped pistachios, +2 tbsp for topping


Instructions

  1. Mix the ingredients: In a medium bowl mix together cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, kosher salt, rosemary, dried cranberries, green onions, white cheddar cheese and pistachios. 
  2. Shape into a ball: Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap onto a flat surface and transfer the cheese mixture to the center. Wrap the cream cheese and form into a ball.
  3. Chill: Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until the ball is semi-firm.
  4. Mix toppings together: Add remaining 2 tbsp rosemary, 1/3 cup dried cranberries, 1 tbsp green onions, ½ cup cheese, and ¼ cup of pistachios to a baking sheet. Mix together until evenly dispersed.
  5. Roll in toppings: Remove the cheese ball from the plastic wrap and onto the baking sheet. Roll the ball into toppings until evenly coated.
  6. Serve: Transfer to a serving platter and serve with a variety of crackers, pretzels, chips and veggies

Notes

*The cream cheese is easier to incorporate when it’s at room temperature. 

Electric stand or hand mixer: Beat the cream cheese, sour cream and seasonings on medium speed until combined, then reduce the speed to low and mix in the remaining ingredients. Shape and chill as instructed.

Keywords: party, crackers, holiday

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