What Type Of Cheese Should You Use For Cheese Balls?

Say cheese! An oldie but a goodie, cheese balls have been making a major comeback in recent years, so much so that Epicurious even has tips and tricks on how to host a cheese ball-themed party. Recipes can range from sweet to savory, being shaped spherically to oblong, and include just about any imaginable ingredient. Needless to say, you're at liberty to build your ball as you see fit. However, the one important question when it comes to crafting these dairy domes is which type of cheese you should be using.

A retro delicacy of the past, Culture reports that mention of the first cheese ball actually dates back to the 1800s. Still, it didn't become a dinner party superstar until being adopted by U.S. housewives throwing humble war-era dinner parties. So while they might not seem like the classiest of appetizers in the present day, that's actually starting to change thanks to some ingredient tweaks — we're looking at you, cheese.

Skip hard or crumbly cheeses in favor of softer varieties

Traditionally, Bon Appétit explains that cheese balls are made by combining cream cheese with some sort of shredded cheese and add-ins like herbs, spices, or ingredients such as crumbled bacon, chopped pickles, and caramelized onions, or anything else that inspires you. The mixture is then shaped and rolled in something crunchy (namely, nuts) for a bit of texture.

Although you should always start with a cream cheese base, SimplyRecipes explains that when it comes to adding other cheeses, it's best to stick to semi-soft or semi-firm cheeses. Think Gouda, cheddar, Fontina, goat cheese, Brie, blue cheese, or Monterey Jack. This is because a firm or dry cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano has a totally different consistency that will be too crumbly, grainy, and gritty, making it difficult to blend into a ball when compared to a softer, more malleable cheese. Essentially, like goes with like.

Where you can have some more experimental fun is choosing how to shape, coat, and serve your belle of the ball. While crackers are the standard pairing for spreading, The Takeout recommends sturdier fare like sliced bread, pita chips, and even crudités like carrots or radishes. So grab your cheese knife and get tasting!