These goat cheese balls only have six ingredients, are quick and easy to make, and are a great Christmas or New Year’s Eve appetizer. They’re naturally gluten-free and grain-free and can be made nut-free, as well.
In nine years of blogging, I’ve never posted a holiday appetizer. It’s kind of ridiculous, I know.
I’m just not a huge fan. But these are basically just cheese. How can I say no to that!
Actually, the only other appetizer I’ve posted is this Mozzarella Bruschetta. So another cheesy treat. I do love my cheesy carbs.
For this recipe, all you do is mix together three types of cheese – cream cheese, goat cheese and cheddar cheese. Add some salt if you like things especially salty, like me, and some pecans and dried cranberries.
Then you roll them in a coating of dried cranberries, parsley and pecans. You can omit one and use more of another type, or use just cranberries, pecans or parsley, or whatever you want.
You should use the normal brick-style cream cheese.
If you live outside of North America and you only have the kind of cream cheese that’s meant for toast (it comes in a little plastic tub) rather than American style brick cream cheese, then get 300 grams of cream cheese, place it in the center of a cheesecloth or tea towel, and wring out the liquid until you have 225 grams of cream cheese left.
It’s annoying but necessary to make sure that your cream cheese is firm enough. If it’s too liquidy, then these goat cheese balls will be too watery and probably won’t stick together.
Like I mentioned in my Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Salad recipe, goat cheese can mean different things in different countries. I know I’m always confused when I just see “goat cheese” listed in a recipe.
For this recipe, I used Chavrie Original Goat Cheese – the spreadable kind. It comes in a little pyramid-shaped container. I think a Chevre log would also work but I haven’t tried it.
I used white cheddar to keep the cheese balls white but you can of course use regular orange cheddar. If you don’t want to use cheddar, keep in mind that the cheese you use in its place might not go well with the cream cheese and goat cheese. For example, I think mozzarella would be kind of weird.
If you don’t want to use dried cranberries, toasted pecans, or parsley, simply leave it out. Or add more of the other toppings.
But you need to coat the cheese balls in something. Otherwise, the balls are too messy.
Also, feel free to omit the dried cranberries and pecans in the cheese mix. I did that to add more texture but it’s just as tasty without them. And for a similar treat, try this Cranberry Goat Cheese Log!
A grain-free appetizer
These goat cheese balls are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. You just need to be sure to serve them alongside some grain- and gluten-free crackers, if needed.
I love the grain-free Almond Flour Crackers from Simple Mills. They are so addictive. I might have eaten nine boxes during election week. I wish I were exaggerating!
There aren’t any yucky ingredients in them but if you prefer homemade – which would definitely save quite a bit of money if you go through them as I do – check out these sesame cheese crackers from Beauty and the Foodie.
Goat Cheese Balls
For the cheese mixture:
- 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese room temperature
- 5.3- ounce (150-gram) container goat cheese (spreadable Chevre)
- 1/2 cup or 2 ounces (56 grams) grated white cheddar
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup (28 grams) chopped roasted pecans
- 1/4 cup (38 grams) chopped dried cranberries
For the coating:
- 3/4 cup (28 grams) chopped roasted pecans
- 3/4 cup (114 grams) chopped dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup (20 grams) freshly parsley minced
- In a large bowl, mix together the 3 cheeses until well combined. Add salt, if needed. Stir in the pecans and cranberries.
- Use a small or medium cooke scoop to out cheese balls.
- Then roll that into a more neat ball shape using your hands.
- Mix together the pecans, cranberries and parsley in a small bowl, big enough to roll a cheese ball in.
- Roll each ball in the coating.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve with crackers.