Enjoy ultimate spicy and savory appetizer with our Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball. Packed with creamy cheese, smoky bacon, and a kick of jalapeno heat, this snack food is a party favorite that will leave your taste buds begging for more.
It's perfect for your next gathering, game day, or snack time treat!
Why you'll love this recipe
Cheese appetizers are one of my favorite make ahead recipes for entertaining. Whether is a cranberry goat cheese log or a
I mean, why stress when you can impress? It's so easy-peasy to put together a jalapeno cheese ball that even your pet parrot could do it (okay, maybe not, but you get the idea).
This cheese ball doesn't just please the crowd; it turns your gathering into a true party. A cool and creamy cream cheese base? Yes, please? Savory, salty bacon with a lil kick from jalapeno? Yesssssss!
- bacon slices - this combined with chipolte powder make the perfect savory, salty combination. Use regular sliced bacon to get it nice and crispy.
- jalapeño pepper - It wouldn't be a popper cheese ball without jalapeno peppers! This variety isn't overly spicy and is even less spicy if you remove the seeds. Be sure to wash your hands after handling these, too.
- Mexican-blend cheese - this is usually a blend of Monterey Jack cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, and other cheeses like Asadero, and Queso Quesadilla. Finely shredded is my preference here.
- cream cheese - A necessary component of almost every cheese ball I make. Tip: take your cream cheese out of the package before you even think about starting your popper prep. When it’s softened all the ingredients in the cream cheese mixture will come together easily.
For the cream cheese - you can use a low fat cream cheese, sometimes labeled as Neufchatel at the grocery store.
For the cheese blend - If you don't have a Mexican cheese blend, use finely grated or shredded cheddar cheese or sharp cheddar. For extra zing use pepper jack cheese.
For the fresh jalapeno - Jarred jalapeno slices can be used in place of fresh.
For the chipotle powder - this is ground up smoked chipotle powder. If you're ever able to take a smell of this stuff, you'll understand it more. Sounds weird, but trust me. If you don't have this, you can use chili powder, which is a blend of several spices. It's not exactly the same, but is an acceptable dupe.
How to make a jalapeno cheese ball
Step 1: Make the outside topping of the cheese ball. Transfer bacon bits to a medium sized bowl, along with half the jalapeño pepper and green onions. Stir to combine and set aside.
Note: I like to use a bowl instead of a plate to keep all the bits in place. You'll see what I'm talking about it in minute.
Step 2: Make the cheese ball. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
Step 3: Stir vigorously to combine.
Alternatively you can use a hand mixer to combine the ingredients, but if your cheese is softened, you shouldn't have any trouble.
Step 4: Wrap it up and refrigerate. Transfer the mixture to a generous piece of plastic wrap.
Shape into a bowl and twist the ends to secure. Refrigerate to let it set up.
Step 5: Make it into a jalapeno popper cheese ball! Remove the cheese ball from refrigerator and gently coat the outside of the cheese ball in the chopped bacon jalapeño mixture until thoroughly coated.
Serve with crackers or dipping ingredients of choice.
By default this is a gluten free jalapeno cheese ball. Just make sure to use gluten free crackers. If you have a mixed crowd, try making two smaller cheese balls - one to serve with regular crackers and one to serve with gluten free crackers, to avoid cross contamination.
Make this jalapeno bacon cheese ball into the shape of a football for your Super Bowl or football tailgate party! Game day never tasted so good!
Assemble as directed and store in an airtight container. Pull it out at least an hour before you're ready to serve so it will be ready for spreading!
Absolutely! This simplifies holiday and event planning. To get it ready for freezing, create the cheese ball, securely wrap it in plastic wrap, and then stash it in a freezer-friendly bag.
- You can make bacon in the microwave by placing it on a plate sandwiched between paper towels. But my favorite way to cook bacon is in the oven. Even better, I love making batches of cooked bacon and freezing it for later.
How to serve this appetizer
Serve this up with veggies like celery, or with your favorite crackers for dipping. Or, try dipping it into some air fryer pretzel bites - yum!
If you tried this jalapeno popper cheese ball or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments.
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More appetizer recipes
Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball
- 8 slices of bacon
- ½ large jalapeño pepper finely minced, divided
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup Mexican-blend cheese finely shredded
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Line a large plate with paper towels and place 4 slices of bacon on top. Cover with additional paper towels. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. Remove from microwave and discard paper towels. Repeat process with additional paper towels and remaining slices of bacon.
- Place crispy bacon in a food processor and pulse briefly until roughly chopped. Transfer bacon crumbs to a large bowl, along with half the jalapeño pepper, and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Combine the remaining minced jalapeño pepper, cream cheese, Mexican cheese, smoked paprika, oregano, chipotle powder, and garlic powder in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir vigorously to combine.
- Shape the cheese mixture into a ball with your hands or wrap into plastic wrap and transfer to a serving plate. Place in the refrigerator to firm up a bit, approximately 5-10 minutes.
- Remove cheese ball from refrigerator and gently roll in the bacon jalapeño mixture until thoroughly coated. Return to serving dish and serve immediately with sliced vegetables and/or crackers.