A spin on the traditional appetizer, this Pecan Crusted Apple Butter and Bacon Cheese Ball includes apple butter, crispy bacon, hot sauce and is crusted with buttery toasted pecans.
Cheese balls are such a fun party app and they can really dress up a table! You can find many interesting variations these days. Today I'm giving you one of our favorites that includes a surprising little ingredient -- apple butter!
I keep Musselman's Apple Butter on hand at all times. There's always an open jar in my fridge, and an unopened one in my pantry in case I run out. The great, unique taste takes many traditional dishes to the next level with just a spoonful added in. You saw me do it with my butternut squash soup, and now I'm doing it again with this cheese ball.
Apples and cheese go together really well, so I knew the addition of apple butter was going to be perfect. Then the hot sauce combined with the sweetness of the apple butter really balanced it out. The pecan crust and the bacon are a given, right?
This cheese ball looks complex, however, it comes together very easily. It's beautiful and impressive, but any home cook can get these same gorgeous results. The most difficult step in the recipe is the waiting period while the cheese ball firms in the fridge.
Once the cheese ball is chilled and firm, roll it in the toasted chopped pecans and serve immediately with crackers. You can even serve with apple slices or baguettes, pretzels, etc. Our neighbors came over for a play date and both parents and kids ate it right up! The next day, Judah was asking for more and kept saying "Mom, I'm so glad you made that cheese ball yesterday!"
I've teamed with Musselman's Apple Butter to develop recipes because it's a product we use and love as more than just a spread.
Pecan Crusted Apple Butter and Bacon Cheese Ball
- 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup apple butter
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 8 slices bacon , cooked crispy and crumbled
- 1 cup raw pecans , roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, apple butter and hot sauce until smooth. Stir in the cheddar and bacon until evenly mixed. Divide mixture in half and form each half into a ball. Chill both cheese balls in the fridge until firm.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chopped pecans on an ungreased baking sheet and toss with the melted butter and salt. Bake for 8 minutes, tossing halfway through the baking time.
- Remove the pecans from the oven and let cool completely. Transfer to a cutting board and give them another rough chop. Roll the surface of the chilled cheese balls in the pecans right before serving. Serve with crackers.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Musselman’s Apple Butter. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love.