This fun Pumpkin Cheese Ball is going to be a hit at your next Fall gathering! Tangy cream cheese, fresh bell pepper, and cheddar cheese transform into an adorable pumpkin shape. It's just as flavorful as it is cute!
📋 About the Recipe
- The perfect appetizer! In addition to being perfect for Halloween, this fun pumpkin appetizer can be brought to any Fall dinner party or Thanksgiving celebration.
- Easy to make in advance. Many appetizers are best served fresh and must be made day of. But this festive pumpkin cheese ball can be prepared completely in advance, making hosting a breeze!
- Made with 5 simple ingredients. If you're a novice chef, this delicious appetizer is a great starting place. It's made with easy-to-find ingredients, requires no cooking, and will impress whoever you serve it to.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Cream cheese: Softened cream cheese serves as the base of this cheese ball recipe and is the source of both creaminess and tanginess. In order to give this pumpkin ball the best depth of flavor, I recommend combining a brick of plain cream cheese and a container of chive cream cheese.
- Seasonings: Most of the flavor in this homemade cheese ball comes from the combination of cream cheeses and is just lightly seasoned with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
- Red bell pepper: In addition to adding diced red bell pepper for a refreshing crunch and subtle sweetness, we're also repurposing the stem of the bell pepper as the pumpkin stem.
- Cheddar cheese: You'll need your favorite cheddar cheese to coat the outside of the wrapped cheese ball. I recommend shredding it yourself, instead of buying pre-shredded. This helps the cheese stick better, while make the outside of the cheese ball orange, just like a pumpkin!
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Red bell pepper substitutions: You can substitute a different color of bell pepper or use another crunchy vegetable, such as chopped celery or carrots. If you do this, however, you will need to get creative for a stem to complete the pumpkin look!
- Beat the cheese ball ingredients together. In a large bowl, add the cream cheeses, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, red bell pepper, and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.
- Prep to wrap the cheese ball. Place a large double layer of plastic wrap on your kitchen counter or a large work surface. Sprinkle ⅓ cup of cheddar cheese in the center of the plastic wrap.
- Form the cheese into a ball. Place the cheese ball mixture in the center of the sprinkled cheese on the plastic wrap, then form it into a ball with your hands.
- Stick additional cheese to the top and sides of the cheese ball. Using the remaining ⅔ cup of cheese, cover the remainder of the cheese ball, making sure it sticks to both the top and sides.
- Wrap the cheese ball. Wrap the cheese ball in the plastic wrap. Use thick rubber bands to double wrap the ball into a pumpkin shape. Place in the refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 2 hours, or ideally overnight.
- Serve. When ready to serve, remove the cheese ball from the fridge and gently remove the rubber bands and plastic wrap. Place the pumpkin in the center of a serving tray and stick the reserved bell pepper stem in the top of the cheese ball. Pair with your favorite crackers and enjoy on its own or with additional fall appetizers!
❄️ How to Store
To store: This cute appetizer can be fully prepped 1 to 2 days ahead of your Halloween parties or Thanksgiving dinner. Keep wrapped with plastic wrap and rubber bands until ready to serve. Remove the red bell pepper stem and place the cheese ball in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To freeze: Freezing is not recommended.
🔍 Recipe FAQs
Despite its shape, this cheese ball does not contain any actual pumpkin flavor and therefore pairs well with virtually any flavored cracker!
Try whole grain crackers, herb or garlic crackers, crostini, pita chips, or sturdy crackers like rye crackers for an earthy flavor. You could also serve this easy pumpkin cheese ball with Air Fryer Tortilla Chips, too.
If you're planning your menu for your yearly Halloween party, I highly recommend serving with a few other Halloween favorites like this Spooky 7 Layer Halloween Spiderweb Taco Dip, a Spooky Halloween Snack Board and Halloween Trail Mix.
Or, if you're planning a complete holiday menu, check out all of my favorite Halloween Recipes and Thanksgiving Recipes!
If you don't have any rubber bands that will work, wrap the cheese ball with a bit of kitchen twine, decorative ribbon, or any similar thin string.
While these kitchen tools are certainly helpful, you can make this pumpkin cheese ball recipe by pulsing the ingredients together in a food processor until well combined and creamy.
💭 One More Tip
Make sure to start with softened cream cheese. If the cream cheese is straight from the refrigerator, it will be very difficult to combine with the remaining ingredients.
For best results, set the cream cheese on the kitchen counter at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Or, if you're short on time, cut the cream cheese into small cubes to help it soften quicker. The smaller chunks will thaw faster than a full brick of cream cheese.
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Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I'd love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!
Pumpkin Cheese Ball
- 8 ounces (1 brick) plain cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 ounces (1 container) chive cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced (stem removed and saved)
- 2 cups freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- crackers, for serving
- Add both cream cheeses, salt, pepper, garlic powder, diced bell pepper, and 1 cup cheddar cheese to a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until fully combined.
- Place a large double layer of plastic wrap on your counter. Sprinkle ⅓ cup of cheddar cheese on the plastic wrap.
- Place the cream cheese mixture in the center of the shredded cheese on the plastic wrap, forming cream cheese into a ball with your hands.
- Pour the rest of the cheese over top. Make sure it sticks to the top and sides of the ball.
- Wrap the ball in the plastic wrap. Use thick rubber bands to double wrap the ball into a pumpkin shape (see step by step photos above for visual guidance). Chill the pumpkin-shaped ball in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, remove cheese ball from the fridge. Carefully, remove the rubber bands and plastic wrap. Set in the center of a serving tray. Stick the reserved pepper stem in the top to look like the stem of the pumpkin. Serve your favorite crackers on the side.
- Make sure to use room temperature cream cheese for easier mixing.
- I recommend shredding the cheddar cheese yourself. instead of buying pre-shredded. This helps the cheese stick better, while making the outside of the cheese ball orange, just like a pumpkin!
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