This festive roasted jalapeno & bacon Pumpkin Cheese Ball is a lot of fun! Rolled in crushed Cheezies, this is sure to be a huge hit at your Thanksgiving dinner or Halloween party!
It’s our favourite time of year, and we’ve been having so much fun working on all manner of recipes for fall festivities and Halloween parties.
Finger foods and appetizer recipes have been more of a focus this year - last year, we were pretty much 100% about the desserts.
I still have no idea how we managed not to post ANY Thanksgiving appetizers at all. Whoops!
Anyway, today I’m sharing a delicious appetizer recipe, and the best cheese ball to serve at all fall party.
While there’s no actual pumpkin in this festive party appetizer, there is plenty of interest in the form of roasted jalapenos, bacon, and seasonings .. And a flavorful orange coating.
A cute idea AND a delicious appetizer - what more could you want?
So, next time you consider making a cheese ball for a holiday party appetizer, try this one out - It’s fun to make AND eat!
PS: I have a classier version of this idea over on my gluten-free blog, Beyond Flour: Garlic & White Wine Pumpkin Cheese Ball
This is a simple recipe, with ingredients that should be readily available at any grocery store:
I use cream cheese and shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or extra-sharp cheddar cheese) as the base ingredients for this cheese ball, as I love the cheddar/jalapeno/bacon flavour combo.
You can use a white cheddar if you like - the shredded cheese doesn’t add much in the way of color to the ball, anyway!
No, not cheeses.... CHEEZIES!
Crushed up Cheezies provide great flavor and a nice orange color for the coating.
Can’t find actual Cheezies? Crunchy Cheetos will work, they’ll just be saltier and not quite as flavourful.
Jalapeno peppers are used in two ways - flavouring the cheese mixture, and also as the pumpkin stem.
The roasting takes most of the heat out, and the rest of the heat is pretty muted by all of the cheese - this is not a spicy cheese ball.
That said, you can use a small green pepper instead of the jalapenos if you prefer, and a bell pepper stem for the top of the pumpkin.
We generally use actual bacon for this, but you can use chicken bacon, turkey bacon, or even a vegan bacon if you’d like.
I don’t roast those types of bacon, I cook them on the stove top as the jalapenos roast. I just haven’t found a baking method I like for poultry bacons!
Rounding out this recipe, I have:
... and no real commentary on those. 🙂
Note: the full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, this is the pictorial walk through with step by step instructions..
Preheat oven to 400 F, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice the tops off the jalapenos, reserving one with a stem.
Arrange the bacon slices and jalapenos on the prepared baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes or until the bacon is as crispy as you’d like it.
Note: The bacon will crisp up a bit after it’s out of the oven.
Blot bacon and jalapenos with a paper towel to remove excess grease. Finely chop bacon and peppers, place in a small bowl, and set aside.
Stir in the chopped jalapenos and bacon, stir well.
Season cheese ball mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.
Lay out 2 rectangles of cling wrap, in an X shape. Using clean wet hands, form the cream cheese mixture into a ball, place in the middle of the large sheet of plastic wrap.
Gather the plastic wrap up around the cream cheese ball, securing at the top with a twist tie, elastic, or kitchen twine.
Chill wrapped cheese ball for at least two hours.
Immediately before serving
Blitz Cheezies in a mini food processor to form a fine crumb, place in a shallow bowl.
Gently pack the Cheezies dust over the exposed surface of the entire cheeese ball - making sure to get it into the vertical grooves as well.
You can go as heavy or as lightly as you’d like with the coating, we sort of gave it a light dusting.
Place cheese ball on serving plate, and stick the reserved jalapeno stem into the top of the cheese ball.
Leftovers can be transferred to an airtight container and kept in the fridge for about a week.
We love this recipe as-is, but there’s definitely room for customization! Here are a few ideas:
Mini Pumpkin Cheese Balls
Instead of one big cheese ball, you can divide this out into smaller portions and use smaller elastics, to make individual cheese balls. Everyone can have their own cute little pumpkin!
Smaller jalapeno stems will work, but you might want to use green onion for really small cheese balls.
Change The Seasoning
Feel free to add a little bit of cayenne pepper, some red pepper flakes, or a dash of Worcestershire sauce to the cheese mix, if you like.
Ranch seasoning is also a popular option - you can use a packet of ranch mix in place of OR in addition to the seasonings in the recipe.
Change the Coating
Personally, I think Cheezies are the BEST way to coat this particular cheese ball filling, but other options will work as well.
Nacho Cheese Doritos, for instance, work well with the flavours in the recipe.
Nacho average cheese ball, if you will 🙂
More Holiday Recipes
Looking for more inspiration for your holiday spread? Whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any of the other holidays, here's a few ideas for you!
Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brandied Apple Upside Down Cake
Chicken Based Potato Sausage Recipe - Potatiskorv
Egg Nog Sticky Buns
Gouda Mashed Potatoes
Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots
Mushroom Brie Turnovers
Noelles - Holiday Cookies
Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Spice Nanaimo Bars
Savoury Mushroom Chestnut Stuffing
Southern Comfort Glazed Ham
Southern Comfort Pecan Pie
Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Glaze
Also, be sure to check out our Holidays Category for more ideas - divided out by event!
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Pumpkin Cheese Ball - Rosted Jalapeno & Bacon
- 2-3 Jalapenos
- 6 Slices bacon
- 16 oz Bricks Cream Cheese softened
- 1 ½ teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 1 lb Shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- Cheezies or crunchy cheetos 3 lunch packs
- Preheat oven to 400 F, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the tops off the jalapenos, reserving one with a stem. Seed the peppers and cut into strips.
- Arrange the bacon slices and jalapenos on the prepared baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes or until the bacon is as crispy as you’d like it.
- Note: The bacon will crisp up a bit after it’s out of the oven.
- Blot bacon and jalapenos with a paper towel to remove excess grease. Finely chop bacon and peppers, set aside.
- Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika, stir to combine.
- Stir in the chopped jalapenos and bacon, stir well.
- Add shredded cheese, stirring well to combine. Note: I’ll usually do this in two batches, half the cheese m get that stirred in, then add the rest.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Lay out 2 rectangles of plastic wrap, in an X shape. Using clean wet hands, form the cheese mixture into a ball, place in the middle of the plastic wrap.
- Gather the plastic wrap up around the ball of cheese, securing at the top with a twist tie, elastic, or twine.
- Use 3 wide-ish elastics to divide the cheese ball into 6 segments. They don’t have to be perfectly even, pumpkins rarely are!
- Chill for at least two hours.
Immediately before serving:
- Blitz Cheezies in a mini food processor to form a fine meal, place in a shallow bowl.
- Remove cheese ball from the fridge. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap, place the cheese ball in the bowl of Cheezie dust.
- Gently pack the Cheezies dust over the exposed surface of the entire cheeese ball. You can go as heavy or as lightly as you’d like, we sort of gave it a light dusting.
- Place cheese ball on serving plate, top with the reserved jalapeno stem, and serve with crackers.