This rich and delicious dill pickle cheese ball is one of my best appetizers. A creamy ball of cream cheese seasoned with dill pickles and rolled in more cheese; it can hardly get any better.
Get your crackers ready and dig into this amazingly creamy and savory dill pickle cheese ball! It’s so good, flavorful, and rich tasting that you won’t stop dipping everything into it - the perfect appetizer for your next party, game day, or any other holiday gathering.
What do we love about this dill pickle cheese ball recipe?
- The flavors: The use of dill pickles makes this cream cheese ball stand out from the rest of the cheese balls. This is an excellent recipe for pickle lovers!
- Make ahead: You can prepare the ball 2-3 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Absolute crowd-pleaser: It goes faster than any other appetizer on the table; I can’t even recall how many times I had to hand out the recipe.
- Quicker version: If you don’t feel like it, you don’t have to form the mixture into a ball. Spoon it into a bowl, top it with some cheese, dill, and sesame seeds, and serve it that way. It will taste just as delicious!
- Cream cheese: Full-fat tastes best; there is no doubt about that. If you want to reduce the calories, don’t go lower than 16-17% fat content or mix full fat with lower-fat cream cheese.
- Cheddar: I use sharp, but medium cheddar is also fine. Alternatively, use aged Gouda or another sharp-tasting cheese you like. It’s preferable to avoid mild-tasting sorts of cheese.
- I shredded the Cheddar I needed for the cream cheese mixture and chopped the amount required for the coating into very small pieces.
- Dill pickles and a little dill pickle juice: The most popular kind of cucumber pickles, a vinegar-based pickle flavored with dill weed and mustard seeds.
- Sour cream: Its primary purpose is to loosen the cream cheese slightly. If you don’t have it, you can replace it with thick Greek yogurt or leave it out and loosen the mixture slightly with 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Don’t add too much, though; the mixture should still be able to hold its shape when formed into a ball.
- Green onions: Very finely chopped.
- Fresh dill: You do need fresh herbs for this recipe. Frozen dill, a very good substitute in most other recipes, is too wet for this recipe, and it won’t look nice if you roll the ball into it. Dried dill is NO option at all!
- Sesame seeds: They add crunch and even more flavor. Ensure you use toasted sesame seeds; they are more flavorful than raw ones.
- Flavoring ingredients: Dijon mustard, garlic powder, sweet paprika, fine sea or Kosher salt, and ground black pepper.
How to make this easy cheese ball recipe?
- Combine cream cheese, pickle juice, and sour cream in a large bowl until smooth. The cream cheese should be at room temperature; it will be easier to mix it (1).
- Add the chopped pickles and the remaining ingredients, except for the sesame seeds, cheese, and dill needed for the coating. Mix well to combine (2). Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- Form the cheese ball: Place the cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap (3). Bring up its edges and pull and twist the wrap to form mixture into a ball. Close the wrap, tightening it to smooth and form the ball (4).
- Refrigerate the dill cheese ball for at least 3 hours or until firm. I make the ball one day ahead most of the time; more time spent in the fridge helps get it firm and gives the flavors a chance to develop (5).
- Coat the ball: On a large plate, spread the coating ingredients (finely chopped Cheddar cheese, chopped fresh dill, and toasted sesame seeds) (6). Then, carefully unwrap the ball and roll it into the mixture until evenly coated on all sides.
- Don’t use pre-grated cheese for this recipe; it is just not as delicious as freshly grated from a good quality block of cheese.
- Don’t leave the cream cheese ball with dill pickles stand at room temperature for over 2 hours (even less if the weather is hot). It will not spoil so quickly, but it will soften too much.
- It’s preferable to make the pickle cheese ball one day ahead of time; so that the flavors have more time to mingle and develop.
- Simplify the recipe by not forming the ball but serving the dill pickle dip directly from a bowl.
- Toast the sesame seeds if they are not already toasted. Place them in a frying pan without adding any oil. Toast them until they are fragrant and start to pop, shaking the pan very often to prevent them from burning. Transfer them immediately to a large plate and allow them to cool before using them for the coating.
We love Ritz crackers or similar products. But rest assured, your favorite crackers will be a great match too. For example, we often serve the dill pickle ball with grissini, pita chips, olive oil and salt crackers, mini-pretzels or pretzel crisps, tortilla chips, spelt crackers, etc.
Of course. You can make them as small as to fit on a cracker and serve them as a one-bite appetizer.
You can substitute the sesame seeds with other roasted and chopped nuts or seeds, like pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, or sunflower seeds. Add some crumbled bacon to the coating
Refrigerate them in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Cream cheese balls are not suitable for freezing.
How to serve?
- Serve the dill pickle cheese ball straight from the fridge with the crackers of your choice. Cut some carrots, cucumbers, kohlrabi, and bell peppers into sticks and use them as dippers as well.
- The cream cheese and dill pickle mixture also makes a great bread spread.
More Party Appetizers
Give my quick recipes a try for your next family meal! Feel free to reach out if you need any assistance!
The Best Dill Pickle Cheese Ball
- Plastic wrap
Dill pickle cream cheese ball:
- 16 oz cream cheese full-fat, 450 g, Note 1
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon pickle juice
- 1 cup dill pickles finely chopped, 145 g
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- 1 cup Cheddar finely shredded, 65 g, Note 1
- 2 tablespoons dill fresh, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup Cheddar chopped, 55 g
- 1 tablespoon dill fresh, chopped
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds toasted, Note 3
- Combine ingredients: Beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and pickle juice until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.1 cup dill pickles (145 g) + 2 green onions + 1 cup Cheddar (65 g) + 2 tablespoon dill + 1 teaspoon mustard + ½ teaspoon garlic powder + ½ teaspoon sweet paprika + ½ teaspoon salt + ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Form the cheese ball: Spoon the mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap. Bring up the wrap’s edges, then pull and twist the wrap to form the ball. Close the wrap, tightening it to smooth and form the ball. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until firm (Note 4).
- Coat the dill cheese ball: Spread the coating ingredients on a large plate. Unwrap the cream cheese ball and roll it into the mixture until evenly coated on all sides.½ cup finely chopped Cheddar cheese (55 g) + 1 tablespoon dill + toasted sesame seeds
- Serve with crackers and vegetable sticks (Note 5). The mixture makes a great bread spread as well.
- Full-fat tastes best. If you want to reduce the calories, don’t go lower than 16-17% fat content or mix full fat with lower-fat cream cheese.
- Sharp or medium Cheddar. You can choose another strong-flavored cheese if you like.
- Toast the sesame seeds if not already toasted (See blog post for instructions).
- I form the cheese balls one day ahead; the flavor will develop during this waiting time, and the ball will be firmer.
- Crackers: For instance, Ritz crackers or similar products. Grissini, olive oil and salt crackers, mini-pretzels or pretzel crisps, tortilla chips, spelt crackers, etc., are all great.