I love miniature, bite-sized food, and these Mini Cheese Balls are my new favourites. These gorgeous little two-bite, miniature cheese balls are dressed up with smoked salmon, chives, and everything bagel seasoning.
Serve them with bagel chips and you’ll be thrilled. If you add side dishes of quick pickled red onions and capers, they’ll taste just like a New York City bagel breakfast!
This mini cheese ball appetizer recipe is so easy!
Cheese balls are a great go to appetizer for parties, but this mini cheese ball appetizer recipe takes it to the next level. Having miniature cheese balls instead of a big one has a few advantages you may not have thought of yet.
For instance, a big cheese ball looks great until you dig into it, then it looks pretty sad. That doesn’t keep people from eating it, because a cheese ball is irresistible, but the mini cheese balls look good from start to finish and are easier to transfer to your plate without making a mess.
What should I use to serve my mini cheese balls?
You have so many fun options for serving these party perfect mini cheese balls. Serve them on a platter with tongs to pick them up, but my preference is to give them each their own little handle. Use pretzel sticks to make the entire package edible, or opt for toothpicks or skewers, as I did here.
Whichever way you serve them, they’ll be the hit of your party. Be prepared to be asked for the recipe.
What kind of cheese is best for cheese balls?
The standard cheese ball always starts with cream cheese. That gives it the signature spreadability. Many cheese balls add shredded cheddar or other semi-hard cheeses to help stretch it and give it more body and flavour.
Our mini cheese balls stick with cream cheese only because the smoked salmon provides the body and flavour that cheddar usually adds.
What kind of smoked salmon should I use with cream cheese?
My preference is to use refrigerated smoked salmon that is sold on little trays at the grocery store. I think it’s the freshest tasting and easiest to work with in this recipe. If your budget doesn’t allow that, though, you can purchase canned, cooked salmon and pick through it to remove the bones and skin. Add 1 drop of liquid smoke, and you’ll be in business.
These mini cheese balls make a spectacular party appetizer served with champagne or vodka, but don’t confine them to the big shindigs. They’re also the ultimate in brunch. Imagine this for your Christmas or New Year’s Day brunch with friends or just with your own family.
When it comes to time to lay this out at the table, I highly recommend serving it with garlic or rye bagel chips, pickled or thinly sliced red onions, capers that have been drained and rinsed, and a handful of mini or micro greens. Pea shoots or baby arugula are both great choices.
Aside from those accoutrements, we have a lot of other great dishes and drinks here on Foodie with Family that would be delicious with our mini cheese balls. Consider Dot’s pretzels, everything soft pretzels, pizza salad, Lady Greyhound Cocktails, Dark and Stormy Orchard Cocktails, spinach bacon cheddar munchy cakes, and Berry Kombucha Margaritas.
Where can I buy everything bagel seasoning?
If you’re near a Trader Joe’s, hop on down and grab a bottle or two from their spices and seasonings section. If Trader Joe’s is nowhere near you, check any local well-stocked grocery store in the spice section, or order this from Amazon. Are you the DIY type? Make your own everything seasoning with this recipe.
To make your life a little easier while rolling these tasty little bad boys, do yourself a favour and order a cookie scoop/disher. I love to use this size for my mini cheese balls.
And folks, if you lose your gumption to roll these into cheese balls, the mixture tastes absolutely wonderful spread on bagels, too! You might even plan ahead and make a double batch, roll half of them, and save half for your bagels.
And cheese lovers, take note! There are a great many cheese recipes here on Foodie with Family. Our Provoleta – Fried Cheese appetizer is straight out of Argentina and makes something heavenly out of provolone cheese.
Mini Cheese Balls
- Add your softened cream cheese to a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or wooden spoon to beat the cream cheese until smooth and loosened.
- Roughly chop the smoked salmon and stir it vigorously into the softened cream cheese along with the dill.
- Smooth the surface of the mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to chill for at least an hour but up to 48 hours in advance.
- Scoop the mixture by tablespoons full and roll into balls before rolling in minced chives and everything bagel seasoning.
Mini Cheese Balls – NY Bagel Style
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature for about 1 hour
- 4 ounces smoked salmon roughly chopped, see posts for alternatives
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 bunch chives minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons everything seasoning
To Make the Mini Cheese Ball Mixture
- Use a hand mixer or a sturdy spoon to beat the softened cream cheese until it is smooth and loose.
- Roughly chop the smoked salmon and stir it and the dill weed vigorously into the cream cheese. Smooth the top of the mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 48 hours.
To Form the Mini Cheese Balls
- Stir the minced chives and everything seasoning together in a pie plate.
- Scoop the mixture into 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon portions, roll into a ball. Roll each ball in the chive mixture, pressing gently to make sure chives and seasoning stick to the exterior of each ball.
- Arrange the balls on a platter. These can be served right away or refrigerated before serving. The chives will be prettiest if they’re served within 8 hours of being made, but will hold well for three more days in the refrigerator.
- Just before serving, if desired, insert a toothpick, skewer, or pretzel stick into each ball.