Cheesy, loaded with bacon & everything you love about jalapeño poppers! This jalapeño popper football cheese ball is a MUST HAVE appetizer for your next game day!
When it comes to appetizers, cheese balls are always one of my go-tos! They’re easy to make, prep them beforehand, perfect for a crowd and the flavor possibilites are endless! Especially when the Super Bowl is right around the corner, this jalapeno popper football cheese ball is a MUST! Bacon, cheddar cheese, 2 types of jalapeños, more cheese…what could be better?!
This cheese ball would be perfect for any game day party, football themed birthday party and of course Super Bowl Sunday! It’s the best Super Bowl snack that your guests are going to love! Creamy, cheesy, a slight kick from the jalapeño & coated in crispy crunchy bacon!
Ingredients For Your Jalapeño Popper Cheese Ball
- Cream cheese: You’ll need 2 8oz. blocks of cream cheese for this recipe.
- Cheddar & Monterey jack cheese: We use sharp cheddar cheese for ours! (I love the bold flavor and richness it adds to cheese ball.) Make sure to leave enough Monterey jack cheese to cut/use for the laces later!
- Pickled jalapeños: Using mild, medium or hot jalapeños will determine the spice level of your cheese ball. (We love spicy food so we always use hot!)
- Fresh jalapeño: You’ll need 1 fresh jalapeño chopped finely for the outer coating. (Remove all the seeds for the best results – we just want the pepper’s flavor and texture, not the heat!)
- Green onion: Always use the green and white parts of the onion for maximum flavor!
- Bacon: Freshly cooked bacon works the best and adds so much flavor! (Store bought bacon bits can be used instead. They just won’t have the same crunchy texture for the outside of your cheese ball.)
- Garlic powder: A ½ teaspoon goes into your cheese ball mixture for some added flavor!
- Pecans: Also used for your outer coating! (I usually chop these pretty finely because I want the bacon to stand out more.)
How To Make A Jalapeño Popper Football Cheese Ball
1. Cook your bacon (if using fresh 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 beforehand for a few minutes and use a very sharp knife to cut it. It’s much easier to cut this way!)
2. Make your outer coating. Mix your chopped pecans, fresh jalapeños and half of your cooked bacon together then set it aside.
3. Mix your cheese ball ingredients. Stir the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, pickled jalapeños, green onion, garlic powder and the other half of your bacon together in a bowl.
4. Form your cheese ball. Then roll your mixure into a ball, place it on a serving tray and form it into the shape of a football. Sprinkle your coating over the top and all around the sides and gently press it in to your cheese ball so it sticks.
5. Make the “laces”. Cut one long strip and 4 smaller strips of your leftover Monterey jack cheese and lay them on top of your cheese ball to form the “laces”. (I’ll usually push them down slightly so they stick better.)
6. Serve! Serve immediately with your favorite crackers or chips and enjoy!
This cheese ball would be perfect to serve for Super Bowl weekend!
I could think of so many things to sere with this cheese ball (or who am I kidding…I’ll just eat it with a spoon!😉) When it comes to serving sugegstions – think sturdy, salty & crunchy! Especially if you’re refrigerating it beforehand, the cheese ball can get pretty firm so make sure to use a good cracker/chip for the base! Here’s a few of our favorites options:
- Ritz crackers
- Milton’s gluten free crackers (Gotta be their crispy sea salt crackers! They’re the BEST!)
- Kettle style potato chips
- Wheat thins
FAQ’s & Tips
- Can I prep this cheese ball beforehand? Yes! Mix and form the cheese ball 1-2 days in advance, then wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container. For the coating, you can store your cooked bacon and chopped pecans together then add your fresh jalapeños right before you’re ready to coat the cheese ball.
- Can I keep my leftover cheese ball? Yes! Place your leftover cheese ball in an air tight container and keep it stored in the refrigerator. It should stay good for 3 days – 2 weeks if stored properly. (Your bacon won’t stay crunchy once it’s placed in the refrigerator but will still taste delicious!)
- If making your cheese ball beforehand – leave it out at room temperature to soften a little bit before adding your coating. (This helps the coating to stick better.)
Why you’ll love this jalapeño popper cheese ball recipe!
- So simple to make! Easy every day ingredients + a little prep work! This cheese ball comes together in no time at all!
- Prep it beforehand! Make up the cheese ball “filling” the night before, then roll it in your coating right before serving!
- Perfect appetizer for a crowd! This recipe makes a pretty large cheese ball – making it perfect for hosting a large party! Make sure to have a variety of crackers and chips for serving!
- Flavor on flavor! Creamy, cheesy, spicy, salty, crunchy – it’s got it all!
Need it gluten free? Great news it already is!
More game day appetizer recipes you might like:
- Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Dip
- Easy Mexican Street Corn Dip
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Wings
- Chile Lime Shrimp & Guacamole Bites
- Pomegranate & White Cheddar Cheese Ball
[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!]
Jalapeño Popper Football Cheese Ball
- 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded (plus extra to make the "laces")
- ½ cup pickled jalapeños, chopped
- 1 fresh jalapeño, deseeded & finely diced
- ¼ cup green onion, sliced (green & white parts are ok)
- 8-10 slices of bacon, cooked & cooled*
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
- Mix your chopped pecans, fresh jalapeño and half of your cooked bacon together in a bowl then set it aside. (This is your outer coating!)
- Next mix your cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, pickled jalapeños, green onion, garlic powder and the remaining bacon together in a large bowl.
- Then roll the mixture into a ball, 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 pressing in slightly to help it stick to the cheese ball.
- Then cut one long strip and 4 smaller strips of your leftover Monterey jack cheese and lay them on top of your cheese ball to form the "laces". (I'll usually push mine down slightly so they stick better.)
- Serve immediately with your favorite crackers or chips!
- Cut your bacon into bite size pieces.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add your bacon once it’s hot.
- Cook the bacon until brown & crispy, stirring occasionally (about 14-16 minutes).
- Then transfer the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel and let it cool completely.
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!🏈🏈🏈
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!