Beefy Cheese Ball Appetizer

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend

Beefy Cheese Ball Appetizer

By Sarah Meighen

I’ll never forget the year that I got a stack of handwritten recipe cards from my grandma for Christmas. Sure, it was just a stack of standard 5x7 white note cards with blue lines, and a simple red ribbon tied around it.  But it was what was on the note cards that made them super special: family recipes. Over the years I’ve built up quite a collection of tried and true family recipes, but if there is one particular recipe that all of the women in my family favor…it’s my mom’s cheese ball.

Perfect for easy entertaining, this cheese ball originally came from my mom’s best friend, Laurie, in high school. Mom and Laurie are still best friends to this day and her cheese ball recipe has been passed around to all of the women in my family.  It even got published in a cookbook, but my cousin Melissa got the credit for it!  It’s a long story as to how her name got published next to the recipe, but we sure are going to have a big time teasing her for years to come about it!

One of the reasons I love this recipe (aside from being so easy to prepare) is its ingredient packaging. The dried beef comes in a little glass jar with stars stamped along the rim. The glasses are perfect for reusing as juice glasses, or the larger ones can be repurposed as cracker holders alongside your cheese ball. My mom gave me a whole box of these little star stamped glasses for Christmas a couple of years ago. It was a humorous gift, but also very meaningful because she saved the jars one by one, each cheese ball that she made, until she had a whole box full of them to give to me. Now when I open my cupboard and see the glasses all lined up in a row, I think of my mom, and it brings back memories of family gatherings, undoubtedly with her cheese ball present.

As for the apron in this photo, in all truth…it was chosen around my sweater. I wanted an apron that would match perfectly with my berry-colored cashmere sweater, and this vintage apron was the right one for the job!  Kudos to the food stylists for the same pop of color in the cracker jar! I can’t take credit for that like my cousin took credit for the cheese ball recipe. How does that saying go?...“Imitation is the finest form of flattery.”  I’ll take after my mom any day of the week.

Rebecca’s Beefy Cheese Ball

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 jar dried beef cut finely
Some onion
4 oz grated cheddar cheese
Flat leaf parsley for garnish
Crackers for serving

Mix all ingredients in a bowl together and turn out onto a sheet of wax paper.  Mold the cheese into a ball and chill in the refrigerator.  Before serving, chop up a handful of flat leaf parsley and roll the cheese ball in it. Serve with crackers.

Yield:  6 people
Prep Time:  10mins
Cook Time:  Zero
Difficulty:  Easy

More Perfect Party Appetizers! Get the recipes here.

A stylish Kentucky native, Sarah Meighen, rode a wave into Savannah nearly 5 years ago wearing only a bikini and pair of Christian Louboutins. The surf and city that drew her here hasn't loosened its pull since. Sarah is a scheduler extraordinaire for Paula Deen and serves as the executive assistant to the Deen Brothers. When she is not booking flights, confirming appointments, and putting out fires around the office, Sarah loves being a beach bum and baking bread at the Tybee Island home she shares with her rescued Persian cat, Elliott.

Read More From Apron Strings Recipes.

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

You May Also Like These Articles:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:


Add diced jalepenos....ummmm!

By tami campbell on February 15, 2012


This recipe is as delicious as it looks!

By A Thyme to Celebrate on June 29, 2011


I made the beefy cheese ball for a Christmas Day appetizer before our late dinner, and everyone loved it! I skipped the parsley for the garnish and used chopped pecans instead. It truly was delicious, and so easy!

By Debby Brooks on December 28, 2010


Sarah, What a wonderful story about your mom and me and food! Good food and best friends are timeless! Rememdering this recipe will give your mom and I more "fun things" to talk about. This appetizer is still a favorite in my family too. I hope everyone who makes this will enjoy it! Laurie

By Laurie on December 26, 2010


I have already made my cheese ball and it is similar to this one. Mine has 8 oz. of cream cheese and one stick of margarine, green onion, dried minced onions, dried beef, and rolled in pecans. (the margarine really gives it a good taste). I am disappointed that the dried beef (at my store) is no longer in the little glass jars, but in a plastic package. Boo!

By Sandra Klenke on December 23, 2010


I add a couple of dashes of hot sauce too

By Anonymous on December 21, 2010


I make this same cheeseball, with one exception. I always rinse off the meat, dry on paper towel, before chopping. If you don't do that, the meat will be super salty.

By Deb Dorman on December 21, 2010


Your cheese ball sounds delicious. I will have to try it but I already have mine made for the holidays but mine does not have meat (beef) in it. It is really so simple and not expensive to make. 2 pkgs cream cheese, 1 small can crushed pineapple (drained), 1 pkg onion soup mix and 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans. Mix thourghly and chill in sealed bowl overnight. Form into ball and roll in chopped pecans and I serve with Town House crackers. Paula, I love watching you as you always make cooking a joyous experience.

By jnean$1 on December 21, 2010


I like cheesy balls. My grandma used to love chocolate salty balls the best but she loved cheesy balls too. I was so happy when i got them for Christmas but then when you get the chocolate salty balls all year around you get sic of it. This cheesy ball recipe sounds good but maybe instead of beef you could put tofurky so they would be softer and so my vegan friend Tom would eat them. But he would probably not know because he likes them so much. This one time he say Meat is murder but then he was eating these little balls that was on the table and then someone told him what it was and he pretended not to like it but that was all just an act. thanks for the recipe and maybe instead of parsley I will use cream cheese with lots of nuts like you get in the wine bar.

By Anson on December 21, 2010



By paam hammonds on December 17, 2010


I use dried beef in my cheese spread except I also put in red sweet onion finely chopped up and diced red and green bell pepper..Makes a festive Christmas cheese spread,served with Vegetable crackers..everyone raves about easy to make.Merry Christmas,CANDY TAYLOR

By Candy on December 17, 2010


Paula I watch your show almost everyday. You cook a lot like I do. I heard you say one time that you didn't like to cook frozen green beans. May I tell you how my Mama taught me how to cook them. They are wonderful.Fry about six strips of bacon until it is crisp. Add 1/2 of a chopped medium onion. Cook in the bacon grease with the bacon until the onion is a little soft. Add the frozen green beans and stir to coat all the beans cook until the are heated . Add 1 cup of water cover and cook on medium heat until the besns are done to your liking. Hope you try this. You will be surprised. Keep up the good work. Your loyal fan Sue Ann

By Sue Ann Tincher on December 16, 2010


The dried beef Sarah used in this recipe is Armour brand. It is found in almost all grocery stores. In the canned sausages, potted meats isle.

By Libbie Summers on December 15, 2010


I have made this cheese ball for years only a little different I use the green scalion onions instead of parsley yum, also Paula try this twist use crab meat (imitation is fine) instead of beef, and your onion, then make a dent in the ball like a volcano and pour in some good shrimp cocktail sauce let it drizzle down the side put shirmp around the plate and crackers makes a great appitizer for the holidays with the red and greens very yummy for those seafood lovers i.e. (Michael). Love you Paula, Tina Mae in Ohio P.s. have lots of those little jars and love the idea of putting my round crackers in them wish they came with a reusable lid what ideas I have to use them for.

By TinaMae on December 15, 2010



By carol witt on December 14, 2010


I have used the jarred sliced beef to make sh*t on a shingle and found that it was way too salty. I then read that you are supposed to soak the meat at least 8 hours to get rid of the salt. You don't mention doing this. I am afraid to make this cheeseball for that reason.

By Donna Churchill on December 14, 2010


This sounds wonderful!! (and like something I can't screw up....) LOLL I remember Mother making creamed chipped beef as a child and I think the brand of dried beef was Armour... It's not a specialty item and you should be able to find it in any grocery store. I would guess near Spam and tuna?? LOLLL You can always ask a sales associate to help you locate it!

By Patti O' on December 14, 2010


So good to see this recipe again. I have made this for many parties and family gatherings and, sometimes I make a couple minor changes. I sometimes add Ranch Dressing Mix while mixing (taste before adding entire pkg.) and I also add a little mayo. I roll ball in crushed pecans also. I also have added FINELY chopped celery. Many different ways to serve this "tried and true" appetizer. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family, Paula.

By spanky on December 14, 2010


I love this story, because my mom made the same exact cheeseball with the same jars of meat. Only she rolled hers in walnuts or pecans. I still make it to this day, but I leave out the onions and the nuts. I think I'll have to try it with the parsley on the outside next time. Greg

By Greg Kantner on December 14, 2010


Thanks 4 another wndrfl recipe !!! My dad used to love that dried beef and I do remember those cute lil jars too. wink Thanks again 4 bringing back some good ol memories of my dad.

By Amy Cooper on December 14, 2010

My Recipe Box |

Paula's Upcoming Schedule

  • August 27: Paula Deen Live! Nashville, TN

    Come see Paula’s live show at the TPAC: Andrew Jackson Hall in Nashville, TN and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
    Tickets available from Tennessee Performing Arts Center here!
    Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.

  • September 12: Deen Family Book Signing

    Join the Deen Family for a Book Signing at The Lady & Sons from 10 am to 12 pm.
    The event is free; 350 wristbands to be distributed starting at 9 am.

  • September 16: Paula Deen Live! Birmingham, AL

    Come see Paula’s live show at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, AL and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
    Tickets available from Ticketmaster here!
    Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.

  • View Paula's Full Schedule