Pineapple Cheese Ball

Pineapple Cheese Ball

Crackers and a pineapple cheese ball

In my family, it’s not a party until the cheese ball arrives. This Hawaiian-inspired Pineapple Cheese Ball is a sweet and savory version that makes a unique, crowd-pleasing addition to any appetizer spread.

Crackers and a pineapple cheese ball

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Growing up, every New Year’s Eve, my mom had special snacks for my sisters and me to make the night feel festive.

While she changed up the mix every year, one item that never left the menu was a cheese ball.

My sisters and I revered cheese balls as the epitome of fancy and gourmet (I present these elegant mini Goat Cheese Balls as further evidence).

Whether or not you agree with us on the “gourmet” front, it cannot be denied that cheese balls have magical powers.

Set this sweet pineapple cheese ball down at a party and watch it disappear!

A bite of pineapple cheese ball on a cracker

My usual go-to recipe is this Cream Cheese Ball, which is based on the stellar cheese ring my Grammy makes every Christmas Eve.

Pineapple cheese ball is more laid back and slightly quirky, but in the best possible way.

Guests love it, always ask me for the recipe, and they don’t stop talking about it long after the party has ended.

Pineapple cheese ball with pecans

How to Make Pineapple Cheese Ball

This easy recipe can be made up to a full day in advance and has a refreshingly short ingredient list.

As written the recipe is not at all spicy, but if you want to play on the wild side, you can certainly add in a few (or more) dashes of hot sauce or up the amount of cayenne.


The Ingredients

  • Pineapple. Sweet and juicy pineapple is the perfect addition to our creamy, savory cheese ball. It adds an unexpectedly refreshing flavor and subtle texture.

Ingredient Note

Be sure to purchase pineapple in 100% juice, not pineapple in heavy syrup. Drain the pineapple VERY well before adding it to the cream cheese so that your cheese ball isn’t runny.

  • Cream Cheese. The key to the cheese ball’s decadent flavor and velvety texture. Cream cheese works well for cheese balls because it adds a hint of tanginess and holds everything together.
  • Pecans. Creates the irresistibly crunchy and toasty exterior.
  • Red Pepper. Crisp, fresh, and sweet. It adds beautiful color and subtle sweetness.

Market Swap

I make my Pineapple Cheese ball without green pepper, as I prefer the sweeter, more mild flavor of red pepper. If you prefer, you can swap a green pepper instead.

  • Garlic Powder. Adds a hint of garlicky flavor.
  • Cayenne. To balance the sweetness of the pineapple. The cayenne does not make the cheese ball spicy.

Substitution Tip

Instead of kosher salt and cayenne, you can make this pineapple cheese ball with Lawry’s seasoned salt. Start with 1 teaspoon, then taste and adjust the seasoning further if you wish.

  • Green Onion. Color, freshness, and zip.

Tip!

For another Hawaiian cheese ball recipe variation, stir in ¼ cup cooked and crumbled bacon or very finely minced ham.

The Directions

Pecans on a baking sheet
  1. Toast and chop the pecans.
Cream cheese being whisked in a bowl with spices
  1. Mix the cream cheese and spices together.
Fruit, peppers, and green onions in a bowl
  1. Stir in the pineapple, pepper, and onion.
A mixing bowl with nuts and cheese mixture
  1. Add half of the pecans.
Pineapple cheese ball being made
  1. Transfer the mixture to a large sheet of plastic wrap, forming it into a mound.
Cheese ball wrapped in plastic
  1. Wrap the plastic around it. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
A cheesy, easy appetizer recipe in a bowl
  1. Coat it in the remaining pecans. Transfer it to a serving plate and DIG IN!
Pecans on a pineapple cheese ball with crackers

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Cover and refrigerate leftover cheese ball for up to 3 days. 

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the cheese ball as directed through Step 6. Refrigerate it in the plastic wrap. Coat the cheese ball in pecans within a few hours of serving. 

Pineapple cheese ball with a bite removed

What to Serve with Pineapple Cheese Ball

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Mixing Bowls. Perfect for making pineapple cheese ball.
  • Chef’s Knife. A high-quality, sharp chef’s knife makes all the difference.
  • Baking Sheet. One of the most versatile tools in my kitchen.

The Best Mixing Bowls

This set of mixing bowls will help you prepare any recipe. The bowls are safe to use in the microwave and dishwasher too.

Crackers and a pineapple cheese ball

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

The pineapple cheese ball is in the building.

Let the party begin!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Freeze Pineapple Cheese Ball?

I don’t recommend freezing this cheese ball, as it will negatively impact the texture.

Can I Use Regular Cream Cheese?

While I used reduced-fat cream cheese to keep things lighter, you can certainly swap in regular cream cheese if you prefer.

How Can I Make This Pineapple Cheese Ball Spicy?

This recipe includes a pinch of cayenne, which does not make the cheese ball spicy. If you want your cheese ball to have a kick, increase the amount of cayenne to taste or add hot sauce.

Crackers and a pineapple cheese ball

Print

Pineapple Cheese Ball

Sweet and savory pineapple cheese ball is a unique, delicious party appetizer. Guests love it! Cream cheese, crushed pineapple, bell pepper and crunchy pecans.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 23 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 218kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw pecan halves
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages reduced fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 1 small red bell pepper finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions plus additional for garnish

FOR SERVING:

  • Crackers (our family loves Triscuits or Ritz)
  • Toasted baguette slices

Instructions

  • Toast the pecans: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until toasted and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. DO NOT WALK AWAY. Nuts love to burn at the last second. Let cool, then chop go for a medium chop, a little bit finer than rough chopped (but they certainly don’t need to be microscopic pieces).
    Pecans on a baking sheet
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with the garlic powder, salt, and cayenne until smooth and combined.
    Cream cheese being whisked in a bowl with spices
  • By hand, stir in the pineapple, bell pepper, and green onion.
    Fruit, peppers, and green onions in a bowl
  • Add half of the chopped pecans.
    A mixing bowl with nuts and cheese mixture
  • Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Scrape the cheese pineapple mixture into the center in as globe-like of a mound as you can. It will not be a perfect sphere at this point.
    Pineapple cheese ball being made
  • Wrap the edges of the plastic around it to seal and encourage it to form a round ball. Place the wrapped cream cheese in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
    Cheese ball wrapped in plastic
  • When ready to serve, remove the chilled cheese ball from the refrigerator. Place the chopped pecans on a plate. (I find it’s easiest to use a plate with edges that curve up a little. A pie dish works well too.) Unwrap the cheese ball and place it on the plate with the pecans, coating well. The cheese ball won’t roll like a real ball. Gently lift and turn it, patting the pecans all over the outside. Carefully transfer it to a serving plate. Serve with crackers or baguette slices and a sprinkle of additional green onion for garnish.
    An easy appetizer recipe in a bowl

Notes

  • TO STORE: Cover and refrigerate leftover cheese ball for up to 3 days. 
  • TO MAKE AHEAD: Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the cheese ball as directed through Step 6. Refrigerate it in the plastic wrap. Coat the cheese ball in pecans just before serving. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 12) | Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 638IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 1mg

More Simple Appetizer Recipes

READ: Pineapple Cheese Ball

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