This keto cheese ball recipe is a low-carb, high-fat appetizer perfect for holiday parties, game nights, and potlucks. With only 15 minutes of hands-on time, this gluten-free and nut-free cheese ball is made with a handful of ingredients and then coated in herbs for an easy and delicious snack or appetizer.
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Nut-Free Cheese Ball
A nut-free cheese ball is a savory appetizer made from cheese, fresh green onions, and seasonings. This cheesy spread is rolled into a shape of a ball and coated with herbs.
The key feature of my nut-free cheese ball is that it is made entirely without any nuts, making it a safe option for people with nut allergies or those who prefer to avoid nuts.
I personally don’t do that well with nuts, and I completely understand if people have allergies or sensitivities. That’s why we have so many nut-free recipes here on the blog.
A cheese ball recipe with no nuts is particularly challenging to find because most recipes use nuts to coat the cheesy goodness for a nice crunch. But you don’t have to compromise on health to enjoy a tasty snack or appetizer. Especially if you are hosting a party or gathering where you have to accommodate food allergies or dietary restrictions. In that case, you will appreciate having a nut-free cheese ball to serve your family and friends.
Best of all, this cheesy comfort food can be served at various informal or formal occasions, like holiday parties or any event where you have to serve an appetizer. It can also be the highlight of a cheese platter. Line it up with other keto holiday recipes and impress your guests. Or include it on keto charcuterie board before digging into keto Christmas dinner recipes.
This easy cheese ball is also a great option to bring to a gathering or to have on hand as a snack for game nights or potlucks. Its creamy and tangy flavor pairs well with crackers, vegetables, and fruit, making it a versatile and delicious addition to any occasion.
What to Roll Cheese Ball in Besides Nuts?
If you’re looking for the best cheese ball recipe without nuts, you’ve come to the right place. This cheese ball recipe has so much flavor and texture, you won’t even miss the crunch.
So if we’re skipping nuts, what do we roll the cheese ball in? This cheesy recipe is rolled in a few tablespoons of dried thyme. Thyme has a slightly earthy flavor that adds amazing depth to this cheesy appetizer. It especially pairs well with green onions and adds a pop of herbal flavor to the savory cheese and seasonings.
If you don’t have thyme on hand or want to try other cheese ball coatings, consider these options:
- Cilantro: with a bright, fresh flavor that complements the mild sweetness of green onions.
- Parsley: slightly bitter and peppery flavor that adds a nice contrast to the sweetness of green onions.
- Dill: with a distinctive anise-like flavor, it pairs well with sweet green onions.
- Chives: featuring a mild onion flavor, it elevates the sweetness of the green onions.
How to Make a Cheese Ball without Nuts
Gather four simple ingredients plus seasonings, and you’re halfway to making an easy keto cheese ball recipe. There are only 10 minutes of active hands-on time, but you want to give the cheese ball at least an hour for all the flavors to meld.
- Cream cheese – softened at room temperature; this will provide a creamy base for the cheese ball
- Cheddar cheese – shredded cheddar cheese adds a sharp and tangy flavor
- Green onions – for a mild onion flavor and pop of color
- Dried seasonings – garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper help add a depth of flavor and a spicy kick to the cheese ball
- Fresh thyme – used as the coating; provides an earthy and herby flavor and a fragrant aroma
- I buy my herbs in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs because I find them to be a consistently good source of high-quality organic herbs and have a great selection of culinary and medicinal products.
Substitutions and Variations
Making traditional cheese balls is a great way to showcase your favorite ingredients in a savory cheese spread and shape it into a festive ball. This nut-free cheese ball is no different.
Feel free to swap out green onions and thyme for other herbs like fresh parsley, chives, dill, and cilantro.
This keto cheese ball recipe is already naturally gluten-free and nut-free, but you might have an additional specific dietary need.
Here are some notes and suggestions on how to make it work for you:
- Keto diet – This is a naturally low-carb keto cheese ball recipe.
- Carnivore diet – Because this is a zero/low-fiber recipe, this is keto carnivore-friendly already. Omit green onions for a strict carnivore recipe.
- Low oxalate diet – All ingredients in the recipe below are naturally low in oxalates, so no modifications are needed.
- GAPS – Use homemade cream cheese and serve with GAPS compliant vegetables and crackers.
Follow these simple directions, and you can’t go wrong! There are only ten minutes of hands-on time, but allow an hour for all the flavors to meld and develop before serving.
Soften cream cheese: Before beginning the recipe, it’s important to pull the cream cheese out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. This will help soften it naturally without melting.
If you’re short on time:
- You can soften the cream cheese in the microwave in ten-second increments until it has reached the desired level of softness.
- Submerge the sealed cream cheese block in a bowl of warm water. Let it sit for about ten minutes, flipping it over once after about five minutes. Once soft, remove from the water, shake off any drops, and unwrap.
Watch the Pioneer Woman to see these methods in action.
Step One: Mix
In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
Mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Step Two: Shape
Once the mixture is well combined, use your hands to form it into a ball. Place the ball on a large sheet of plastic wrap and wrap it tightly. Refrigerate the cheese ball for at least one hour (or up to 24 hours) to allow it to firm up.
Step Three: Coat
Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator and transfer it to a tray or cutting board. Sprinkle thyme over the surface and press in gently. Roll the cheese ball over any herb that falls on the tray or board below, so the loose pieces get stuck back on the ball.
One tablespoon is enough to coat most of the top and sides. Use the second tablespoon to fill in the gaps and cover the bottom thoroughly.
Once the cheese ball is coated with thyme, place it on a serving platter and serve it with your favorite keto-friendly crackers or sliced vegetables.
The cheese ball is best eaten when slightly softened, as it’s easier to scoop and spread. You can transfer it straight from the refrigerator, to the table and let it warm up naturally as guests help themselves over time.
This keto cheese ball recipe with no nuts makes 12 servings.
Each serving contains:
- 107 calories
- 3 g protein
- 10 g fat
- 2 g total carbs
- 2 g net carbs
Please note that the nutritional value will change if you substitute ingredients. Use a nutrition app of your choice to recalculate and reflect any changes.
Homemade Cheese Ball FAQ
Although the cheese ball recipe is pretty simple, it’s common to have questions, especially if this is your first time making it.
Yes, you can freeze a cheese ball, but it’s important to remember that freezing can affect the texture and flavor once thawed. Dairy tends to become crumbly and mealy after freezing and thawing. However, if you are okay with a slightly different texture, then freezing can be a great way to preserve your cheese ball.
To freeze, wrap the cheese ball tightly in plastic wrap, making sure it’s well-sealed to prevent freezer burn. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator when ready to serve.
Cheese balls can vary depending on the ingredients. Generally, a cheese ball made with cream cheese will last for five to seven days when stored properly in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
The great thing about a homemade cheese ball is that you can make it ahead of time. In fact, it’s best to make it at least a few hours in advance to allow the flavors to meld and develop. This easy cheese ball recipe with cream cheese and green onion can be made up to one to two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. When you’re ready to serve it the cheese ball, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to soften slightly.
More Easy Keto Holiday Appetizers and Snacks
I have a large collection of crowd-friendly keto holiday appetizers but will share a few favorites in a list for you here:
- Easy Keto Crack Dip – a creamy, savory dip made with bacon, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and seasonings
- Sugar-Free Pickled Eggs – hard-boiled eggs pickled in a tangy sugar-free vinegar brine
- Keto Chicken Liver Pate – a spreadable mixture made with cooked chicken liver, butter, and seasonings
- Tuna Salad Cucumber Bites – top sliced cucumber with dairy-free tuna salad
Healthy Cheese Ball Recipe without Nuts
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.8 oz cream cheese, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup chopped green onions, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Once the mixture is well combined, use your hands to form it into a ball. Place the ball on a large sheet of plastic wrap and wrap it tightly. Refrigerate the cheese ball for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours) to allow it to firm up.
- Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator, place it on a tray or cutting board. Sprinkle thyme over the surface and press in gently. Roll the cheese ball over any herb that falls on the tray or board below, so the loose pieces get stuck back on the ball.2 tbsp thyme
- Once the cheese ball is coated with thyme, place it on a serving platter and serve with your favorite keto-friendly crackers or sliced vegetables.
Nutrition & Macros
To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, please calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients and amounts used, using your preferred nutrition calculator. Under no circumstances shall the this website and the author be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the given nutritional information.