This savory Pumpkin Shaped Cheese Ball is loaded with cheese, packed with warm spices, and incorporates real pumpkin puree! It’s much easier than it looks. Your guests will think it took you hours to prepare.
Best of all, it uses simple ingredients and can be mixed together in less than 5 minutes. All you need is some rubber bands, pretzels and a few sage leaves and you'll be in pumpkin heaven! It's an easy but festive Make Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizer guests will love!
I love fall because it means pumpkin season is finally here and I get to finally serve all the warm, comforting pumpkin dishes like this festive pumpkin cheese ball, my pumpkin hummus and this spiced bourbon cocktail.
It’s loaded with creamy, cheesy goodness, warm fall herbs and spices, and the best part, real pumpkin puree!
While this appetizer may look impressive, and give you major brownie points with your guests, it really couldn't be simpler to make. Simply whip some cream cheese with pumpkin puree, spices, coat it in cheese, and shape into a pumpkin.
You can even make this 2-3 days ahead of time and save yourself some stress the day of your party!
Once it’s time to serve, pair your cheese ball with assorted crackers and dive into this addictive appetizer. It’s sure to be a standout dish at any gathering!
Follow this cheese ball with my Pumpkin & Maple Sausage Flatbread as an appetizer, serve my 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Puree Pudding Dip for dessert along with my Pumpkin Puree Martini and I can confidently say, your guests will be in pumpkin heaven.
🛒What You Need To Make A Pumpkin Shaped Cheese Ball
- Cream cheese: For the best flavor and the creamiest texture, I recommend using full-fat cream cheese.
- Cheddar cheese: This is used for both flavor AND color! Shredding your own cheese will give this dip the most flavor.
- Pumpkin puree: The pumpkin puree adds such a warm, sweet, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the cheese and spices. I like to use Libby’s because it is good quality and always tastes great.
- Sage: Fresh sage is a must. It's warm and fragrant and pairs incredibly with Pumpkin.
- Spices: You need just a handful of spices to get that yummy, warm, fall flavor.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese on high speed until it’s smooth and creamy
- Next, add in the pumpkin puree, sage, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well until everything is well incorporated
- Set the cheese ball mixture aside and tear off a large piece of plastic wrap.
- Lay the plastic wrap on a flat surface and sprinkle a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese into the center of it
- Next, use a spatula to scrape the cheese ball mixture out of the bowl and mound it into a ball shape on top of the cheese
- Take the rest of the shredded cheese and use your hands to press it onto the tops and sides of the cheese ball to fully coat it
- Wrap it up tightly (you may want two layers of plastic wrap) and prepare to shape it into a pumpkin with the rubber bands
- To make the pumpkin shape you’re going to take 2 thick rubber bands and cross them over the wrapped cheese ball to make an “Cross” shape, and then take the remaining 2 rubber bands and make an “X” shape that intersects the cross
- Once your pumpkin cheese ball is shaped, place it into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours (Overnight is best)
- When you’re ready to serve, carefully snip the rubber bands with kitchen scissors and unwrap your cheese ball. Set it onto a platter, add your stem, and dig in!
📃 NOTE: You can print the FULL recipe with all ingredients & detailed instructions below!
✔️Make Ahead Tips
You can make this 2-3 days in advance and save some time on the day of your party! If you’re making it in advance, here’s a few things I recommend:
- Leave wrapped in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
- If any of the cheese falls off the sides, use your fingers to gently patch up the cracks.
- Let your cheese ball rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving,
You can serve your cheese ball with numerous crunchy snacks. My favorites are:
- Assorted crackers
- Tortilla chips
- Carrot or celery sticks
- Grilled pita bread
How To Store Your Cheeseball
You can store any leftovers of this pumpkin shaped cheese ball in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
To make it look like a pumpkin again, just RE-ROLL and RE_WRAP your pumpkin into a smaller one if you want. Just repeat the process with the rubberbands.
What can I use for the pumpkin stem?
For the stem, you can use a bell pepper top, the stem of a real smaller pumpkin (if they’re in season), or a thick, hard sourdough pretzel. If you want to get really detailed, you could even order a fake pumpkin stem from Amazon!
Other Fall Recipes You Will Love!
Savory Pumpkin Shaped Cheese Ball
- 3-4 wide rubber bands
- saran wrap
- 16 oz. cream cheese (softened)
- 12 oz. cheddar cheese (finely shredded)
- 8 oz. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt (to taste*)
- 2 tablespoon finely minced sage leaves + 2 leaves for the vine
- 1 thick dark pretzel (for the stem)
- In a large mixing bowl, add in HALF the shredded cheddar cheese (6 oz) and everything else. Keep the rest of the cheese in the fridge.
- Mix everything on high speed using a hand mixer or standing mixer. Taste and adjust seasonings (salt) to your liking.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape down sides of the bowl doing your best to form the mixture into a ball shape. Leave in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. (This will help the mixture to firm up a bit allowing you to shape it easily.)
- Place a large piece of saran wrap on the counter and pour the second bag of shredded cheese onto a plate.
- Scoop the mixture out of the bowl and directly onto the shredded cheese. Roll it around so it is fully covered. It's okay if you do not use it all.
- Next, place the cheese ball in the center of the plastic wrap and using your hands, wrap the plastic around it carefully shaping it into a ball.
- Place 3-4 wide rubber bands evenly around the ball.
- Pop the cheese ball in the freezer for 30 minutes or up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, remove rubber bands and saran wrap carefully. The ball should resemble a pumpkin. Wet your fingers and patch up any dings or holes.
- Use a thick broken pretzel piece as the pumpkin stem and two whole sage leaves for the vine. Serve cold or at room temperature with pretzels or crackers!
- goat cheese (swap for cream cheese or use half/half)