Hot Honey Cranberry Goat Cheese Balls
Ruby and emerald-crusted cranberry goat cheese balls are sweet, spicy, savory, and so festive! These crunchy, creamy appetizers are oh-so addicting. Goat cheese truffles are fun little finger foods to make for the holidays, parties, book club, or date night in!
Yes, as in goat cheese. But more importantly Greatest Of All Time.
These little goat cheese balls have got it all. Creamy, spicy, savory, and sweet. They are a whole party happening in your mouth. The best part about this appetizer is that it’s easy to make but it makes a big impression. You did what? Whipped goat cheese with hot honey?
That sounds like a lot of work.
But it’s not. It’s a no bake, no fry, low-effort appetizer that yields amazing results. All you do is toss a few ingredients in a bowl and mixing together flavors like cinnamon, minced jalapenos, and hot honey with pecans, parsley, and dried cranberries. And before you stop and think that sounds horrible – I promise you it’s not.
Do you like hot pepper jelly? It’s totally giving that. But also, it’s sweet like Christmas, with a little kick. It’s not spicy, it just has a little heat at the end which is so welcoming. And these little goat cheese balls are about to be the talk of the party!
Serve them with water crackers, melba toast, or freshly baked crostini, I’m sure you’ll find guests gathered around the cheese table.
Ingredients for goat cheese balls:
- Goat Cheese: You’ll need two small logs of goat cheese or about 10 ounces of goat chèvre in total. You can use goat cheese that already contains a flavor or one that’s plain. Make sure to soften the goat cheese to room temperature for a few minutes. You don’t need to leave it out too long though.
- Softened Cream Cheese: I use a combination of goat cheese and softened cream cheese for my goat cheese balls. I know not everyone loves the natural tang and flavor of goat cheese so mixing the two helps cut back on it a bit and allows the other flavors to stand out more than just the goat cheese.
- Hot Honey: I use hot honey to help flavor the goat cheese balls because it gives a baby kick to the bites. I use store-bought hot honey instead of homemade (which I normally prefer.) Store-bought hot honey is stabilized and not as runny so it makes the goat cheese mixture a bit easier to roll. You’ll need 2 tablespoons of the hot honey for the goat cheese mixture and extra to drizzle on the crackers! This is the one I used.
- Ground Cinnamon: Adds a festive holiday flavor that pairs so well with the minced jalapeno and the hot honey in the recipe.
- A Jalapeño: I use a teaspoon of minced jalapeños in the goat cheese mixture. The freshness of peppers gives them a unique flavor. But don’t worry, it’s just a teaspoon so in no way are these goat cheese ball appetizers actually super spicy.
- Pecans: You’ll need chopped-up toasted pecan bits for this recipe. We’ll make the goat cheese mixture; allow it to cool if it’s so thin to handle. And then we’ll use the pecans, dried cranberries and fresh parsley as a dipping or rolling crumb.
- Dried Cranberries: I like to chop up the dried parsley so that the crumbs adhere to the goatcheese balls in small pieces so they look bejeweled.
- Fresh Parsley: I love using fresh parsley for these goat cheese balls because I think it plays up really nicely with all the other flavors but you could certainly use a tablespoon of thyme, fresh rosemary, or a medley of herbs that you like as well.
How to make goat cheese balls:
- Whip it good. Add the logs of goat cheese, softened cream cheese, hot honey, cinnamon, and minced peppers together to a bowl and run with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until combined. You don’t want to overmix the goat cheese because otherwise, it’ll be difficult to roll into balls. Add a 1/4 cup of the pecans and a couple of tablespoons of the parsley to the mixture and stir just long enough to combine. Feel free to season with a pinch of salt if you’d like. I felt there was plenty of sodium in the cheeses we’re using so I usually don’t add any.
- Scoop it out. Grab two small baking sheets. You can line them with parchment paper to make cleanup easier if you’d like. Add the chopped pecans, parsley, and dried cranberries to one sheet pan and stir to combine. Scoop the goat cheese mixture using a 1½ tablespoon cookie scoop and pop the balls onto the baking sheet and freeze them for 15 minutes or until they’re slightly firm enough to handle.
- Cheese truffles: Gently roll each individual goat cheese ball between your hands to make a nice ball. Then dip each ball into the pecan and parsley crumb mixture until evenly coated. Move the balls to a shallow dish or directly to a serving platter. Repeat rolling the balls in batches and then coating them in the crumb mixture. I like to refrigerate the balls for at least an hour so that the flavors have a chance to meld together.
- Serve them up. Remove the cheese balls from the refrigerator 10 minutes before serving. I think they taste a bit better that way! Then you’ll want to pop these onto a cheese board, serve with water crackers, melba toast, or freshly baked crostini from the oven if you’re fancy like that.
FAQs about this recipe:
You can make this recipe with all cream cheese or do a mixture of cream cheese and mascarpone. Keep in mind that using a different cheese will yield slightly different results in terms of taste and texture.
The recipe is easy enough to where you can make a half batch if you didn’t want as many goat cheese balls around. You can also make smaller goat cheese balls and use them on salads for yourself or for parties as a nice touch.
The possibilities are endless! You could go the savory route and use some garlic powder or a minced garlic clove in the goat cheese, I’m thinking either truffle goat cheese or even a splash of truffle oil into the goat cheese will make this flavorful. You could use different herbs for the crust or even different nuts. Add in cheddar cheese to give it an even richer cheese flavor. Dried cherries, raisins, or even apricots would be nice to roll the goat cheese in.
Unfortunately, this isn’t that kind of recipe. You can’t simply dip these in panko breadcrumbs and fry them. That type of recipe needs flour, vegetable oil, egg wash, and a completely different preparation.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Caramelized Onion Bites
- Spinach and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
- Baked Tomato Goat Cheese Recipe
- Cranberry Brie Bites in Puff Pastry
- Crispy Coconut Shrimp (Air Fryer + Fried)
- 10 ounce goat cheese log (or chèvre)
- 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temp
- 2 tablespoons hot honey (I like this one)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeño (optional)
- 1¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
- ¾ cup dried cranberries, chopped
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- WHIP: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cheeses, honey, cinnamon and jalapeño together until fluffy; about 1 minute. Stir in a ¼ cup of pecans and 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley with a rubber spatula.
- SCOOP: Grab two small baking sheets. Toss the remaining pecans, parsley, and cranberries together on one sheet pan and stir to combine. Scoop out the goat cheese mixture using a 1½ tablespoon cookie scoop and place the scoops on the second baking sheet. Pop the goat cheese balls into the freezer to harden for a quick 15 minutes or until they’re firm enough to handle.
- TRUFFLES: Gently roll each individual goat cheese ball between the palm of your hands to round it off, then roll them in the prepared pecan mixture until each truffle is evenly coated in the pecan crumbs. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- SERVE: I prefer to remove them from the refrigerator 10 minutes before serving as they seem to taste better that way. Serve with melba toast, water crackers, or freshly baked crostini on their own or on a cheese board to be extra fancy.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 4g
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