Jalapeno Popper Football Cheese Ball

This jalapeno popper football cheese ball is a MUST HAVE at your next game day party!

A jalapeno popper cheese ball in the shape of a football being cut into with a cheese knife.

Football season is upon us loves! And you know how I know that? Because I basically loose all form of communication with my husband every Monday and Thursday night and all day Sunday. (He’s a bit of fan in case you couldn’t tell.) And let’s not even mention the amount of times he checks his phone for updates on his fantasy teams… I think he’s in about 5 different leagues now?🥴 Ayyy yay yay… BUT there is one thing I love about this time of year that helps me look past my preoccupied spouse – ALL THE YUMMY SNACKS! Chips and dips, wings, fun finger foodd – you name it, I’m all about it! And I love that I can make them look all cute and football themed and no one can say a thing about it. Just like this jalapeno popper football cheese ball!

It’s super easy to make, perfect for a crowd and loaded with so much cheesy goodness!

Ingredients to make a jalapeno popper cheese ball

Ingredients for your jalapeno popper cheese ball

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this game day appetizer:

  • Cream cheese: Use regular block cream cheese for the best results. (I love using the reduced fat version from Philedelphia.)
  • Sharp cheddar & monterey jack cheese: Both are a neccesity for this appetizer!
  • Pickled jalapenos: Find ones that are already diced to cut down on prep time.
  • Fresh jalapenos: Adds that jalapeno-y flavor without overdoing it with spice. (Plus it adds a pop of color to your coating too!😉)
  • Green onion: Mild in flavor but really helps to highlight the rest of your ingredients.
  • Bacon: I highly suggest using real bacon for this recipe because it adds so much flavor! (Store bought bacon bits work too if you’re rush for time.)
  • Garlic powder: Just a pinch is all you need!
  • Pecans: Gives a crunchy coating to your cheese ball without overpowering your flavors!
A football shaped cheese ball surrounded by Ritz cracker and pretzels on a serving tray

How to make a football cheese ball

  1. Cook your bacon. Cut your bacon into bite size pieces and cook them in a pan over medium heat until brown and crispy. (About 14-16 minutes.) Then transfer the pieces to a plate lined with a paper towel and let them cool completely. (Tip for cutting bacon: Freeze your bacon for a few minutes beforehand and use a very sharp knife to cut. This helps your bacon to firm up a bit making it so much easier to cut.)
  2. Make your coating. Mix your chopped pecans, fresh jalapenos and half of your bacon together then set it aside.
  3. Mix your cheese ball ingredients. Stir the cream cheese, cheddar & monterey jack cheese, pickled jalapenos, green onion, garlic powder and the other half of bacon together in a bowl.
  4. Form your cheese ball. Roll your cheese ball into a ball then place it on a tray and form it into the shape of a football. Sprinkle your coating over the top and all around the sides and gentley press it in to your cheese ball.
  5. Make the “laces”. Cut a piece of white cheese into 1 long thin piece and at least 4 other shorter pieces. (Mozzarella works the best!) Then lay them on top of your cheese ball to form the laces.
  6. Serve! Serve immediately with your favorite crackers or chips!

What to serve with a jalapeno popper football cheese ball

Some of you might be thinking “what the heck do I eat with a cheese ball?” Our personal opinion? Crackers or chips! They’re salty and crunchy texture pairs perfectly with your jalapeno and cheddar flavors and provides a sturdy base for the cheese too. Here’s a few of our favorites options to serve with it:

  • Ritz crackers
  • Milton’s gluten free crackers (Best crackers ever! Highly reccommend!)
  • Pretzels/pretzel thins
  • Wheat thins
  • Mutligrain crackers
A cheese ball covered in chopped jalapenos and bacon bits served with crackers and pretzel thins

FAQ’s about making this cheese ball

  • Can I make this cheese ball in advance? Absolutely! You can form the cheese ball 1-2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge in an air tight container. For the coating, combine the bacon bits and pecans together and add your chopped jalapenos the day of.
  • How do I store a cheese ball if I have leftovers? First, take off as much of the coating as possible. (It will become soggy if you don’t.) Then wrap your cheese ball in saran wrap and keep it stored in the fridge in an air tight container. Your cheese ball should stay good for 3 days – 2 weeks.
  • Can I freeze my cheese ball? I personally wouldn’t suggest it. The internet says you can but every time I’ve tried to the cheese becomes a weird consistency after it thaws.

Why you’ll love this jalapeno popper cheese ball recipe

  • A simple & easy appetizer! Mix your ingredients the night before and serve it right at game time! The hardest part is deciding what crackers to serve with it! (And to not eat it all yourself!)
  • Tastes just like a jalapeno popper! It has all the flavor of your favorite spicy appetizer without all the work!

Need it gluten free? Great news it already is!

More game day appetizer recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

Jalapeno Popper Football Cheese Ball

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese ball, easy, football cheese ball, jalapeno cheddar, jalapeno popper


  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapenos, deseeded & finely diced
  • ¼ cup green onion, sliced
  • 8-10 Tbsp bacon strips
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
  • White cheese, cut into strips (to make the laces)


  • Heat a large pan over medium heat and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Then dice your raw bacon and add it to the pan once it's hot. Cook the bacon until it's brown and crispy (about 14-16 minutes). Then transfer it to a plate lined with a paper towel and let it cool completely. Discard the oil.
  • Next mix your cream cheese, cheddar & monterey jack cheese, pickled jalapeno, green onion, garlic powder and half of your cooled bacon together. Roll it into a ball and set it aside while you make the coating.
  • Next mix your pecans, fresh jalapeno and remaining bacon together. Then place your cheese ball on a tray and form it into the shape of a football. Sprinkle your coating over the top and around all the sides pressing in slightly to make sure it sticks.
  • Lay your white cheese strips on top to form the "laces" and serve with your favorite crackers or chips.


  1. This is the cutest idea! So much fun and perfect for football mania:) Can’t wait to make this one for the family this week!🏈🏈🏈

  2. Not only does that football look spot on, but this recipe sounds so yummy! Jalapeno poppers and football are the way to my husband’s heart too:) I can’t wait to make this recipe for him, he will be thrilled!

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