Bacon-Cheddar Football Cheese Ball

from 1 votes

This Bacon-Cheddar Football Cheese Ball is the ultimate make-ahead appetizer for game day! It’s packed with bacon, plenty of cheese and spices, and coated in crushed pecans. That’s a whole lot of flavor! Keep the football-shaped food party going with recipes for puff pastry football and Nutella football truffles.

A football-shaped cheese ball on a white platter surrounded by cucumber slices, pretzels, pita chips, tortilla chips and carrot sticks.

I’ve never considered myself a cheese ball enthusiast. More often than not, the old fashioned appetizer is a flavorless concoction of veggies and cheeses that’s molded into a vaguely-shaped ball before being poked and prodded by assorted dippers.

But this ain’t your grandma’s cheese ball!

I never realized how much flavor you can pack into a cheeseball. We’re talking bacon, cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, pimiento peppers, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and an optional jalapeño. That is a whole lot of flavor.

But one other ingredient lends a creamy tanginess to this insanely addicting football cheese ball: sour cream.

Coat the entire thing in crushed pecans then place the cheese “laces” on top and you are the MVP of your gameday snack lineup. Pretzels, crackers and crudité are all welcome dippers.

Make It Ahead: In a rush? Prep the cheese ball a day in advance and store it (covered securely) in plastic wrap. Coat it in pecans right before serving and then get ready to dig in!

Ingredients

Various sizes of glass bowls containing ingredients to make a cheese ball, including shredded cheddar cheese, sliced scallions, crispy bacon, sour cream, diced jalapeño, string cheese, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, crushed pecans and pimento peppers.
  • Bacon: Fry the bacon until it’s crispy to add a satisfying crunch to each bite.
  • Cream cheese: Soften to room temp for a smooth consistency and for easier blending with the other ingredients. 
  • Sour cream: If you prefer a tangier flavor, Greek yogurt can be a tasty substitute.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: Grab your favorite variety—whether it’s mild for a subtle touch, sharp for a bold flavor or extra-sharp for an intense, tangy kick.
  • Pimiento peppers: Look for a jar of these in the condiment aisle of your grocery store. Pat the pimiento peppers dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. 
  • Worcestershire sauce: Adds depth and umami. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preferences.
  • Jalapeño: Not a fan of spice? Simply omit this ingredient. You can also adjust the spiciness by leaving in or removing the seeds.
  • Crushed pecans: Roll the cheeseball in the finely crushed pecans just before serving to maintain their crunchiness.
  • String cheese or slice white cheese: This will become the football laces. I prefer to use string cheese but thinly sliced white cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese can be used, too.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make a Football-Shaped Cheese Ball

Get ready to kick off your game day festivities with a winning snack that’s as fun to make as it is to devour! Forget the ordinary dips – I’m bringing you a football-shaped cheese ball that will steal the spotlight at your football party. 

  1. Cook the bacon. Add the bacon to a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Cook until all the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Kelly’s Note: The rendered fat adds flavor, so don’t discard it—consider using it for sautéing vegetables or brushing onto crackers for an extra bacon touch.

  1. Mix the ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the bacon, cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, pimiento peppers, Worcestershire, garlic powder, jalapeño (optional) and scallions. Mix until combined then taste and season with salt and pepper.
A glass bowl containing a cheddar, cream cheese and bacon mixture with a spatula.
  1. Shape the cheese ball into a football. Arrange a large piece of plastic wrap on your work surface. Transfer the cheese mixture into the center then fold the plastic up and around it. Using your hands, carefully shape it into a football. 
A hand holds a cheeseball shaped like a football wrapped in plastic wrap.
  1. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Chilling the cheeseball allows it to firm up, making it easier to handle during the pecan coating step.
  2. Coat with the crushed pecans.
  3. Add the football “laces” and serve.

Serve It With

Offer a variety of dippable options like sturdy crackers, pretzels and fresh veggies for your guests to choose from. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Toasted baguette slices
  • Pita chips
  • Tortilla chips
  • Mini bagels

And don’t forget the cheese spreading knife!

Storing Instructions

To keep your bacon-cheddar cheeseball fresh, wrap it tightly in plastic or store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. Don’t freeze it, as the texture, because of the cream cheese base, will change when thawed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if my cheeseball is too soft?

If your cheeseball is too soft, briefly place it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes before serving. This helps firm it up without compromising the flavor.

How do I prevent the pecans or coating from getting soggy?

To keep the coating crisp, add it just before serving. If you’re making the cheeseball ahead of time, store it without the coating and add it just before your guests arrive.

Can I customize the shape of my cheeseball for different occasions?

Absolutely! Get creative with the shape to match the theme of your event. Whether it’s a football shape for game day or a round ball for a classic presentation, the possibilities are endless!

More Snack Recipes Pefect for Game Day

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Appetizer

Bacon-Cheddar Football Cheese Ball

Transform a simple snack into a gameday touchdown with a recipe for the best Bacon-Cheddar Football Cheese Ball.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 1 vote
A football-shaped cheese ball on a white platter surrounded by cucumber slices, pretzels, pita chips, tortilla chips and carrot sticks.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 6 slices bacon, cut into lardons
  • 2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (4-oz.) jar pimiento peppers, drained
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and minced (option)
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed pecans
  • 1 string cheese or slice white cheese, cut into thin strips
  • Crackers, pretzels or crudité, for serving

Instructions 

  • Add the bacon to a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Cook until all the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • In a large bowl, combine the bacon, cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese, pimiento peppers, Worcestershire, garlic powder, jalapeño (optional) and scallions. Mix until combined then taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Arrange a large piece of plastic wrap on your work surface. Transfer the cheese mixture into the center then fold the plastic up and around it. Using your hands, carefully shape it into a football. Refrigerate the cheese ball for 15 minutes.
  • Unwrap the plastic then coat the cheese ball with the crushed pecans.
  • Arrange the sliced string cheese on top to form the football “laces.” Serve with crackers, pretzels or crudité for dipping.

Kelly’s Notes

  • To keep the coating crisp, add it just before serving. If you’re making the cheeseball ahead of time, store it without the coating and add it just before your guests arrive.
  • To keep your bacon-cheddar cheeseball fresh, wrap it tightly in plastic or store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. Don’t freeze it, as the texture, because of the cream cheese base, will change when thawed. 
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Nutrition

Calories: 217kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 319mg, Potassium: 118mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 414IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 225mg, Iron: 1mg

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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.


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5 from 1 vote

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Comments

  1. Made this for Super Bowl, and it was a hit! Just FYI, the instructions don’t say to include the bacon in the cheese ball mixture. It’s obviously pretty self-explanatory, but just wanted to let you know :)

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this today for the Super Bowl Party. It’s delicious and the bacon is a great addition. Thank You! Enjoy the game.

  3. Nice! I always add a bit of beer to mine, but have never added bacon. Will give that a go for sure. Thanks for posting

  4. Looks Fantastic.
    I know what I will be making when the Super Bowl rolls around. (of course beer for the guys & wine for us ladies) :)
    Thank you.