Make a crowd pleasing jalapeño cheese ball for your next party. This flavorful cheese spread is made with cream cheese, jalapeños, and a dash of hot sauce, then rolled in crunchy toasted bread crumbs.
Cheese balls, like my everything bagel cheese ball (a reader favorite!), make great party appetizers because they are assembled in minutes and everyone loves them. Cream cheese and cheddar cheese are paired with jalapeños and hot sauce in this flavor packed jalapeño cheese spread.
Serve a cheese ball with a variety of crackers and sliced veggies - it will be the first empty plate on the appetizer table! Plus, it's easy to customize the heat - leave the seeds in or take them out depending on the heat level you're looking for.
Make a jalapeño cheese ball for your next party, picnic, barbecue, or birthday. It's perfect for summer events like Fourth of July and tailgating in the fall.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Cream cheese - Regular block-style cream cheese or light cream cheese can be used in this recipe.
- Sharp cheddar - Can be substituted with pepper jack or monterey jack cheeses.
- Jalapeños - Leave the seeds and membranes in your jalapeños for more heat - or remove them for a mild flavor.
- Hot sauce - Use your favorite hot sauce you have on hand - add as much as you'd like for hotter flavor.
- Green onion - Can be substituted with a small amount of diced red onion.
- Seasoning - Salt and garlic powder enhance the flavor of your cheese ball.
- Panko bread crumbs - You'll be toasting your bread crumbs and using them to coat the outside of your cheese ball. These can be omitted if desired, or substituted with crumbled bacon pieces.
Toasting bread crumbs
One step you won't want to skip in this recipe is toasting the bread crumbs. They turn a lovely golden brown color and add crunchy texture that makes the perfect cheese ball coating!
Toasting bread crumbs is easier than you think. Simply warm a stainless steel skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Add your bread crumbs and stir frequently until golden brown.
Don't walk away - your bread crumbs can go from golden brown to burnt in a few seconds! The entire process only takes about 3-4 minutes.
Your cheese ball can be made and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days ahead of an event.
If you'd like to make it a day or more ahead of time, store your cheese ball in the refrigerator and the bread crumbs separately at room temperature. Your bread crumbs will lose their crunchy texture in the refrigerator, so plan on rolling the cheese ball just before serving.
When ready to serve, allow the cheese ball to set at room temperature for about 15 minutes, making it easier to spread.
What to serve with a cheese ball
There are many ways to enjoy a cheese ball. Here are a few of my favorites:
- fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell pepper slices
- pretzel chips
- bagel chips
- apple slices
Jalapeño Cheese Ball
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 1 green onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- In a bowl, add cream cheese, sharp cheddar, jalapeño, onion, hot sauce, salt, and garlic powder. Mash ingredients together until evenly incorporated. Add more hot sauce as desired.
- Form cheese mixture into a ball using plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until firm.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add bread crumbs. Stir frequently until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Unwrap cheese ball and gently roll in bread crumbs until evenly coated. Serve with crackers and sliced vegetables. Or, refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Cheese ball can be made ahead and refrigerated for 2-3 days before serving. Seal tightly in plastic wrap and place in a sealed container until ready to serve.
- If refrigerating cheese ball for more than 1 day, refrain from rolling in bread crumbs until day of serving.
- Remove cheese ball and allow to set at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving - this will make it easier for guests to spread onto crackers.