This spicy cheese ball recipe is a great party or game day appetizer. This tex mex cheese ball is an easy appetizer recipe that is great served with your favorite crackers, pretzels, or fresh veggies for dipping.
Cheese balls are a classic party appetizer that are classically made with mellow cheeses and rolled in nuts. This tex mex cheese ball is a zingy twist on this classic appetizer for those who like it a little spicy.
This easy cheese ball recipe without nuts is the perfect party appetizer, great for a game day watch party, and a fun option for a movie or game night too!
Hosting a party? This spicy cheese ball would be great served alongside Layered Greek Dip, Cowboy Caviar, and Homemade Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip and veggies!
Why you’ll Love This Spicy Cheese Ball Recipe
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Flavor: Spicy and creamy, with pops of fresh pepper and cilantro
Time: It will take you approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to make your tex mex cheese ball. This includes prep time and two hours of chill time.
TIP: Use block cheese and shred it (do NOT use packaged shredded cheese). This may seem like a strange tip, but packaged shredded cheeses often have additives to prevent it from clumping, which can translate to a cheese ball that does not stick together very well. Shredding your own cheese avoids this potential issue.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Make a Cheese Ball
Step 1: Place all ingredients into a food processor.
Step 2: Pulse / process until well blended.
Step 3: Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed and continue to blend.
Step 4: Pour blended ingredients onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and roll into a ball.
Step 5: Refrigerate the cheese ball for at least two hours to firm up and hold it’s shape.
Step 6: Serve with crackers, pretzels, fresh veggies, or anything else you’d like to use for dipping and enjoy!
Possible Dietary Restrictions?
This spicy cheese ball recipe is vegetarian and gluten free as written.
If you are serving this tex mex cheese ball to someone with a gluten intolerance, there are a few things you will want to confirm:
- Verify the hot sauce selected is certified as gluten free (most are naturally, but not all are certified to be gluten free)
- Ensure there are gluten free crackers or gluten free pretzels available for them to dip into this appetizer. Fresh veggies are another great option that could be enjoyed by someone with a gluten intolerance
Due to the high quantity of dairy in this recipe, I do not recommend trying to modify this specific recipe into a vegan or dairy-free appetizer.
Serve your spicy cheese ball with a variety of things to dip in it! Great options include:
- Pretzels or Pretzel Thins
- Tortilla Chips
- Fresh Veggies (bell peppers and carrots are my go-to)
- Pita Bread
- Pita Chips
- Naan Crisps
- Crostini Toasts
I also recommend setting out a small butter knife to help spread the cheese ball onto the crackers if desired. Because depending on the cracker, diving right in sometimes results in a broken cracker.
Make Ahead Instructions
You can make your spicy cheese ball ahead of time, making your party planning easier!
In the fridge: You can store this tex mex cheese ball in the fridge for up to one week. If kept in the fridge longer than one night, place in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
In the freezer: You can also store a formed cheese ball without nuts in the freezer for up to one month. To do this, wrap it in plastic wrap and then place it in a ziplock bag or wrap in a layer of aluminum foil. Place the cheese ball in the refrigerator overnight to thaw prior to serving.
Use block cheese and shred it (do NOT use packaged shredded cheese). This may seem like a strange tip, but packaged shredded cheeses often have additives to prevent it from clumping, which can translate to a cheese ball that does not stick together very well. Shredding your own cheese avoids this potential issue.
If you do not have a food processor, you can mix your ingredients by hand. Instead of placing all ingredients into a food processor, beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Then mix in the remaining ingredients until well distributed throughout. Then follow the same instructions to form and chill your tex mex cheese ball.
PARTY TIP: Let the cheese ball sit out at room temperature prior for at least 10 minutes prior to serving. This allows the cheese ball to soften up just enough for easier dipping!
Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Using freshly grated block cheese is a must when making a cheese ball. Using a simple box grater is my go-to for grating cheeses (and veggies too!)
A high quality food processor is my favorite way to make a cheese ball. It makes mixing your ingredients together super fast and easy.
Yes! Cheese balls freeze well. To do so, wrap the formed cheese ball in 1 layer of plastic wrap and then place it in a ziplock bag or wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil. Store the cheese ball in the freezer for up to one month.
When ready to enjoy, place the cheese ball in the refrigerator overnight to thaw prior to serving.
Refrigerate the cheese ball for at least two hours (up to overnight) prior to serving so the cheese ball will firm up and hold it’s shape.
Be sure to serve your cheese ball with a variety of items to dip into it. I also recommend setting out a small butter knife to help spread the cheese ball onto the crackers if desired.
Things to dip into a cheese ball: Crackers (Ritz, Wheat Thins, Triscuits, etc.), Pretzels or Pretzel Thins, Tortilla Chips, Fresh Veggies like bell peppers and carrots, Pita Bread, Pita Chips, Naan Crisps, and Crostini Toasts are all great options.
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Tex Mex Cheese Ball
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 4 oz cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 oz pepper jack cheese shredded
- ¼ C finely chopped red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until well blended
- Pour blended ingredients onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and roll into a ball
- Refrigerate the cheese ball for 2-hours (up to overnight) to firm up and hold it’s shape
- Serve with crackers, pretzels, fresh veggies, or anything else you’d like to use for dipping and enjoy!
Cynthia - via Foodtalk Daily says
I am so glad you recommended block cheese. It is the difference between success and failure not to mention cheaper. Instead of red pepper, I used 2 jalapeño peppers. One red one green (what I had). Great recipe
I’m so glad the recommendation was helpful, and that you enjoyed this recipe Cynthia!! Thanks so much for making my recipe.
This was SO EASY and a big hit at the party I took it to!
glad to hear everyone enjoyed it! thanks for making this cheese ball recipe.