Make this turkey cheese ball to wow your dinner guests during the holidays. Perfect for fending off hungry guests, this easy Thanksgiving appetizer can be assembled and served in under 5 minutes. Whether you’re aiming to keep little hands busy on the big day or adding a quirky touch to your Friendsgiving, this cheesy centerpiece is sure to be a hit.
As Thanksgiving and Christmas are quickly approaching, potluck and party recipes that you can throw together for last-minute holiday gatherings are a must! I’ve made this turkey cheese ball for a few gatherings now, and every single time, I get so many compliments on how adorable it looks.
Since it’s not really even a “recipe” recipe, it’s a fun way to get your kids involved in helping in the kitchen! You can task them with this activity to entertain them while you put the finishing touches on Thanksgiving Dinner.
Why I Love This Recipe
- Festive: A turkey cheese ball makes an adorable centerpiece for holiday gatherings.
- Rich & creamy: The blend of different cheeses ensures every bite melts in your mouth.
- Easy to make: This simple recipe can be assembled and served in under 5 minutes!
- Versatile: Serve your turkey cheese ball with any of your favorite sides, like crackers, fresh veggies, or even crusty bread.
What Is A Turkey Cheese Ball?
A turkey cheese ball is a playful take on traditional cheese ball appetizers, designed to resemble a turkey. It’s one of my favorite ways to add a touch of festivity to holiday spreads!
Featuring ingredients like cream cheese, cheddar, and crunchy toppings, each bite is packed with bold, tangy, and comforting flavors. Plus, if you make your own cheese ball, you can really get creative with the mix-ins!
Think onions, red bell peppers, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to add more depth and zest. In fact, you can use this Kraft cheese ball recipe if you’re up for it! For the ideal appetizer, serve it with a variety of crackers and veggies, allowing guests to choose their perfect pairing.
The Best Cheese For A Turkey Cheese Ball
If you’re making your own turkey-shaped cheese ball, choosing the perfect cheese is essential to impress your guests! Here are some of the best options to try:
- Cream cheese: A staple in almost all cheese ball recipes, cream cheese provides a creamy and easily moldable base that complements most other flavors.
- Sharp cheddar: Cheddar lends a rich, tangy flavor. When it’s grated and mixed in, it gives the cheese ball a savory depth.
- Blue cheese: For those who love a robust flavor, blue cheese can add a pungent kick. It pairs nicely with sweeter ingredients like dried cranberries or blueberries.
- Gouda: Gouda offers a mild, slightly sweet flavor, making it a great choice as well.
- Monterey Jack: I love Monterey Jack because of its mild flavor and ability to blend well with other cheeses and ingredients.
- Feta: Feta is crumbly, salty, and tangy, and can add a Mediterranean twist to your cheese ball. It’s especially delicious when paired with olives or sun-dried tomatoes.
- Goat cheese: Goat cheese provides a soft, creamy texture and tangy flavor profile. If you’re using goat cheese, consider adding herbs like thyme, rosemary, or dill.
Ingredients For This Turkey Cheese Ball
- Prepared cheese ball: The star of this recipe! I recommend a basic cheese ball, but you can use a pineapple cheese ball, a cheese ball without nuts, ham, turkey, or whatever you fancy! You can also pick up a store-bought version from the grocery store.
- Candy eyes: I usually have the best luck finding edible candy eyes on Amazon, but you may be able to find them in the baking aisle of large craft stores. If you can’t find candy eyes, try small purple carrot slices or gel food coloring.
- Pretzel sticks: To make the turkey tail! You can also add thin carrot sticks for a fresh twist. Or, just use regular-shaped pretzels.
- Candy corn: Acts as the turkey’s nose. You can also use a piece of bell pepper, carrot, or any other bright vegetable that could act as the nose.
- Ritz crackers: To surround the turkey cheese ball for dipping. Feel free to use any buttery cracker you prefer, or swap in other cracker varieties.
How To Make A Turkey Cheese Ball
This recipe is incredibly simple to create and fun to make. The handy tips below and a few minutes in the kitchen will have everyone at the party asking just how you did it!
Step 1: Remove A Cheese Scoop
First, take your cheese ball and scoop out a tiny chunk of cheese from the bottom. Hang on to this because you will be using this scoop of cheese later as “glue” for the eyes and feathers.
Step 2: Insert The Pretzel Sticks
Flip the cheese ball over and place it on a plate or serving platter. Using pretzel sticks, poke one in the front of your cheese ball to create a turkey neck, and then poke several pretzel sticks in the back to make turkey feathers.
Step 3: Decorate The Turkey Face
Using the scoop of cheese as glue, stick your candy corn onto the turkey neck pretzel stick. Then, add the edible candy eyes.
Step 4: Add The Final Touches
Surround the “bird” with crackers and your turkey-shaped cheese ball is ready for his big debut. Watch as your guests devour it!
Surround the “bird” with crackers and your Turkey Cheese ball is ready for his big debut!
More Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas
If you need even more appetizers to complete your Thanksgiving menu, check out some of my favorites like these:
- Charcuterie board
- Caprese Salad
- Spinach and artichoke dip
- Bisquick sausage balls
- Air Fryer Buffalo Wings
- Fruit: Add chopped dried cranberries for a sweet twist.
- Salty: Swap pecans with crushed pretzels for added saltiness.
- Smoky: Mix in some smoked paprika for a smoky undertone.
- Spicy: Add finely chopped jalapeños for extra heat.
- Roasted garlic: Incorporate some roasted garlic for a deeper flavor.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: Mix in sun-dried tomatoes for a Mediterranean twist.
- Herbs: Add some freshly chopped herbs like dill or chives for a freshness factor.
Tips For The Best Cheese Ball
If you’re making your own turkey cheese ball, keep these tips in mind:
- Soften the cheese: Make sure the cream cheese is softened so it mixes more easily.
- Toasted nuts: Toast any nuts beforehand to intensify their flavor.
- Shape: For an even turkey look, make sure your cheese ball is well-rounded.
- Refrigerate: Keep the cheese ball refrigerated until serving time.
- Chill before shaping: If the cheese ball mixture is too soft, refrigerate it before shaping.
What To Do With Leftovers
In the unlikely event that you can’t finish your turkey-shaped cheese ball, follow these storage tips:
- Fridge: If you don’t eat the whole cheese ball, store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: Cheese balls can be frozen for up to a month without the crackers. When you’re ready to eat again, just thaw it in the fridge.
- Prep ahead: The cheese mixture can be prepared a day or two in advance and shaped just before serving.
For a complete holiday spread, add these mains and side dishes to the menu:
Frequently Asked Questions
Can this recipe be made vegan?
Of course! There are many vegan cream cheese and shredded cheese varieties available that will work perfectly for this recipe. You’ll also want to double-check the ingredients in the crackers to make sure they don’t contain milk ingredients.
How long can this sit out at a party?
It’s best to eat the turkey cheese ball within 2 hours to ensure it stays fresh and flavorful. If it’s going to be any longer than that, wrap it up and store it in the fridge.
What can I do if my mixture is too dry?
If your mixture is too dry, you can add a bit more cream cheese or a splash of milk to adjust the consistency. From there, just mix it thoroughly until you achieve the desired texture.
Easy Turkey Cheese Ball
- Take your cheese ball and scoop out a tiny scoop of cheese from the bottom. Set aside. Use this scoop of cheese later as “glue” for the eyes and feathers.
- Using pretzel sticks, poke one in the front of your cheese ball to create a turkey neck, and then poke several pretzel sticks in the back to make turkey feathers.
- Using the scoop of cheese as a glue, glue your candy corn onto the turkey neck pretzel stick. Then, add the eyes.
- Place on to a service dish and surround the “bird” with crackers. Serve & Enjoy!