I love to take an old school dish and create an updated version that evokes my childhood. A classic cheeseball recipe brings back memories of holiday gatherings, school events, and those potlucks where everyone eagerly waits for its appearance. A cheeseball is one of those delights that make me feel like I’m home for the holidays.

I share about and partner with only the most fabulous brands. This blog post and the recipe that goes with it were sponsored by the wonderful folks at California Prunes.

California Prunes: The Unexpected Superhero in Your Cheeseball Recipe

I am always hunting for ways to make classic recipes healthier without sacrificing flavor. Enter the ingredient that is often the surprising hero in my kitchen: California prunes!

Here are a few reasons why I love prunes and enjoy incorporating them into my day.

  1. Absolutely delicious.
  2. A healthful alternative sweetener.
  3. Loaded with fiber.
  4. And for me, they are a health tonic.
prunes on a cutting board

Not just a delicious treat, prunes offer a plethora of health benefits.

They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, aiding digestion and providing a natural sweetness that can replace artificial sugars.

Click here to learn more about California Prunes.

A Modern Twist to a Classic Cheeseball Recipe

Ditching the mundane, my updated cheeseball recipe stands out with its winning combo of sharp cheddar, fresh chives, and crunchy pecans. But what truly sets it apart is the Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onions that are folded right into the cheeseball. Trust me, it’s fabulous!

Every Day is a Cheeseball Day

While cheeseballs are a staple for Thanksgiving appetizers and a crowd-pleaser during Sunday football games, there’s no hard and fast rule about when to indulge in a cheeseball. It’s equally scrumptious paired with a Friday night steak dinner or accompanying a fresh arugula salad.

Teri’s tips: Cheeseballs are lovely to keep on hand in the fridge and can make entertaining easy! This cheeseball is a perfect appetizer for four people. If bringing to a party, I recommend making two or three. People are going to devour them!

Pairing It Right

There is no better way to relish this cheeseball than to smear it generously over a buttery cracker. That crisp bite combined with the creamy texture of the cheeseball is, in all honesty, addictive. I don’t blame you if you can’t stop at one!

Stay Ahead of the Game

The best part about this Magic Elixir? It’s perfect for impromptu gatherings or when you’re simply craving a cheesy delight. Make it in advance, refrigerate, and you’ll always be ready to whip up the perfect cheeseball whenever the craving–or an unexpected guest–arrives.

Or you can put this Magic Elixir to work like I do in one of the recipes below!

Teri holding a burger.

A Recipe For Cheeseburger Sliders That Is Better Than Any Other

My recipe for Cheeseburger Sliders isn’t just a decent burger; it’s a life-changing one thanks to California prune-laced caramelized onions.

Crunchy Grilled Cheese with Sweet & Savory Caramelized Onions

Crunchy Grilled Cheese with Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onions

This grilled cheese sandwich is so delicious, and it’s the perfect comfort food for lunch or dinner!

If you make my Old School Cheeseball recipe, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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The Best Old School Cheeseball Recipe shown on a cracker.

The Best Old School Cheeseball Recipe

  • Author: Teri Turner
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 cheeseball
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Assembled
  • Cuisine: American


This cheeseball recipe is a stand-out with sharp cheddar, fresh chives, crunchy pecans, and prune-laced Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onions.


For the Sweet & Savory Caramelized Onion Magic Elixir:

  •   6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  •   6 cups thinly sliced in half-moons, Spanish onions or sweet onions (about 2 large onions)
  •   1 teaspoon kosher salt
  •   ½ cup California Prunes (about 10 to 12 prunes), chopped very fine

For the cheeseball:

  •   4 ounces cheddar cheese block
  •   4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  •   ½ cup chopped Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onion Magic Elixir
  •   ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  •   ¼ teaspoon salt
  •   ¼ teaspoon paprika
  •   ¼ cup finely chopped chives
  •   ¼ cup chopped pecans
  •   ¼ cup chopped California prunes, finely chopped


Make the Sweet & Savory Caramelized Onion Elixir

  1.   In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil to the pan to warm. Add the onions to the pan. Stirring continuously and watching carefully to not scorch the onions, cook until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Add the salt and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to cook until the onion starts to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes.
  2.   Avoiding any clumping, add the prunes to the pan and, stirring continuously, cook until the prunes are mostly broken down and well incorporated with the onions, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Let cool completely. This magic elixir can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator but make sure your bring it up to room temperature before using it in the next step.

Make the cheeseball

  1.   Shred your cheddar cheese.
  2.   In a large bowl, add the cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese and stir to evenly combine.
  3.   Add ½ cup of the chopped Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onion Magic Elixir (at room temperature), garlic powder, salt and paprika. Using a spatula or a fork, mix to combine thoroughly. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Transfer the mixture to the middle of the plastic wrap and form a ball by bringing the wrap up over the cheese then twisting the ends to seal it closed. You’ll want to layer 3-4 long pieces of plastic wrap together, having a couple of the pieces going vertically and one or two going across. They should be large enough to hold the cheese mixture and have room to twist into a ball without the mixture spilling out.
  4.   Place it in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight, to set.  You can take the cheeseball out of the fridge after an hour to help shape into a ball if you’d like.
  5.   To a wide shallow bowl, add the chives, pecans and prunes. Stir and mix to combine. Remove the cheeseball from the fridge and gently place it in the bowl. Using both hands, roll the ball in the mixture to coat completely.
  6.   Serve this at room temperature with crackers or bread of choice.


For a spicy cheeseball variation:

If you like a little heat, as many of us do in my kitchen, I suggest taking a tablespoon of chopped chipotle peppers and mixing it into the cheese mixture along with the spices and Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onion Magic Elixir and another tablespoon of chopped chipotle peppers into the dry crumb mixture to coat the cheeseball as well. It’s a nice kick of heat that complements the sweetness of the prunes and balances the creaminess of the cheese beautifully.

If the chipotle is too smoky or spicy for some, serving with a little of hot honey on the side is also quite delicious.

Vegan Cheeseball Spread Variation

For the Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onion Magic Elixir:

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 cups thinly sliced in half-moons, Spanish onions or sweet onions (about 2 large onions)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup California Prunes (about 10 to 12 prunes), chopped very fine

For the cheeseball spread:

2 cups cashews 

8 ounces vegan cream cheese, at room temperature 

1/2 teaspoon salt  

¼ teaspoon garlic powder  

¼ teaspoon paprika 

¼ teaspoon cayenne 

¾ cup chopped Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onion Magic Elixir 

¼ cup chopped pecans  

1/4 cup finely chopped chives 


Food Processor


Follow the steps to make the Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onion Elixir.

Make the cashew cheese: Place the cashews in a pan cover them with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down and keep it at a gentle boil for ten minutes. Take the pan of the heat and rinse the cashews. Add the cashews to a food processor and blend. Add two tablespoons of cold water to the food processor and keep blending until it’s smooth about three minutes.  

Make the Cheeseball spread: To the cashew cheese in the food processor, add the vegan cream cheese, salt,  garlic powder,  paprika, cayenne, and a tablespoon of the Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onion Elixir and blend until just blended. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onion Elixir and half the pecans and gently fold them in.  Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the chives and remaining pecans. Serve with crackers of choice and enjoy.  

Keywords: cheeseball, cheeseball recipe, holiday, appetizer, prune, Magic Elixir, Sweet and Savory Caramelized Onions

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