I am happy to partner with Hatfield Quality Meats and let you know they sponsored my development of this Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites recipe made with their delicious bacon. All opinions, photos, and bacon-loving-madness remain -as always- my own.
Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites. Can we let that sink in a moment? They are every bit as glorious as they sound. We’re talking about a classic cheese ball made infinitely more exciting; cream cheese mixed with ranch dressing mix (homemade is best, of course), cheddar, shredded chicken, and crisp bacon rolled into two-bite sized cheese balls and then completely coated with more crispy bacon and some fresh parsley. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? The flavor combination is obviously a winner, but that isn’t all. These little bacon-crusted beauties are the ultimate party food because they keep the table clear of people who park themselves by the cheese ball. I’m looking at myself in the mirror on that accusation. The aforementioned cheese ball hogs can take a couple of little Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites and a handful of crackers or bread and move along. The handy-dandy appetizer picks are obviously a great plate-to-mouth-delivery-device, but also double as knives to help break up the Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites and spread them on crackers for eaters who possess more will-power in the presence of bite-sized cheese. I grudgingly admit that it’s a better form of portion control than any other when it comes to cheese balls. I’d feel far worse about skipping away from the party table with 8 mini cheese balls than I would standing there and eating the equivalent from a large cheese ball while chatting.
There is one other hugely wonderful thing about the Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites for a party or buffet. This recipe is ideal for all of us germ-phobes out there. Everyone gets their own servings and those servings have not been poked and prodded by everyone else in attendance. Chicken, bacon, ranch, cream cheese, cheddar, and germ control. Glory hallelujah!
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites are a job for crispy bacon. Remember that the bacon will be in and around the cheese and will soften slightly, so don’t leave your bacon floppy. Crisp it up properly! I like to use Hatfield Quality Meats Applewood Smoked Bacon for this. It crisps beautifully!
- Speaking of the bacon, please chop it finely before adding it to the cheese ball mixture or rolling the cheese balls in it. It will disperse more evenly throughout the mixture and it will adhere better to the cheese ball bites.
- I use leftover rotisserie chicken for the chicken portion of the recipe program, but any good, leftover shredded chicken will do.
- Let’s talk about options for mixing this stuff all together. The easiest way is to use a stand mixer with the batter blade. This is followed closely by a hand mixer. If you don’t have either, though, don’t despair. You can still mix up your Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites with good old elbow grease and a sturdy spatula or spoon.
Use This to Make Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites
Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Bites
- 2 packages Hatfield Quality Meats Applewood Smoked Bacon 1 pound
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 packages of cream cheese 8 ounce, softened to room temperature
- 1 brick of sharp cheddar 8 ounce, about 2 cups, grated
- 2 cups shredded fully-cooked chicken
- 4 green onions trimmed of the root ends, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons Dry ranch dressing mix homemade or purchased
Slice the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Add them to a large frying pan over medium heat and fry until crispy, stirring frequently to separate and cook evenly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the crispy bacon bits to a paper towel lined plate. Let them cool slightly, then chop finely. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the chopped parsley and set aside.
Use a hand mixer, stand mixer, or sturdy spoon to combine the cream cheese, shredded cheddar, chicken, green onions, ranch dressing mix, and 1/3 cup of the bacon and parsley mixture until it is homogeneous and even in texture. Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop the mixture onto a plate. If you don't have a medium cookie scoop, you can divide it out in generous tablespoon servings. Roll each serving into a ball with your hands then roll each ball in the remaining bacon and parsley mixture. Arrange on a serving plate and insert an appetizer pick into the top of each Chicken Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 12 hours before serving for best quality.
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