Appetizer

Texas chili powder cheese ball

Texas chili powder cheese ball | Homesick Texan

The first time I wrote about cheese balls on this site, I featured a character named Aunt Betty. She was a fancy relation who impressed everyone with her culinary prowess, which included a cheese ball rolled in chili powder.

Now, when I posted the recipe, my grandmother had sent me two cheese appetizers, so instead of photographing Aunt Betty’s splendid cheese ball, I made a cheese log recipe that a neighbor of my grandma’s had given to her.

This Roquefort cheese log (for the uninitiated, a cheese log is a cylindrical cheese appetizer, also called a cheese roll; a cheese ball is a sphere, as the name implies) was formed with a softened mixture of cream cheese, blue cheese, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce then rolled in chopped pecans.

The cheese ball, however, was made with cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, nuts, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce before being rolled in a chili powder blend. Clearly, the two are very different recipes, both in appearance and taste, so I’ve decided to split the recipes on the site for simpler navigation.

Texas chili powder cheese ball | Homesick Texan


While cheese balls are welcome at any time, I find myself sharing them with friends and family most often during the holidays. And as I reevaluated my original cheese ball post, I realized that not only were the photos for the cheese log (which is incredibly delicious and always a hit—you should make it!) but that I probably hadn’t had Aunt Betty’s cheese ball since I was a child. It was time to change this.

My uncle has fond memories of this appetizer, marveling how it appeared to him to be this oversized globe. Instead of being covered in chopped nuts, like most cheese balls are, Aunt Betty’s cheese ball stood out as it was rolled in chili powder. It was unlike any cheese appetizer he’d ever seen.

This was the first cheese ball that I’d ever made, as it was my grandmother’s go-to in the 1970s. But over the years, I’d been sharing my bacon-jalapeño cheese ball and the Roquefort cheese log as a party treat instead. So, when my family gathered for Thanksgiving this year, I decided to surprise them with this old family favorite.

The cheese ball is not hard to make, as you simply blend softened cream cheese, minced onions and garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and chopped pecans then form it into a ball. You then roll the ball in chili powder and it’s ready to serve. (You may chill it if you prefer a firmer ball; it can be prepared a couple of days ahead, too.)

After making it, I took a taste and was amazed at how addicting it was. The savory aromatics combined with the nuts and soft cheese are always welcome, but the surprise was how the heavy coating of chili powder gave this a true Texan flavor. It was so good, in fact, that I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing.

When I arrived at my uncle’s house for Thanksgiving this year, there were already several cheese balls on offer (my family loves cheese) so when I set out Aunt Betty’s Texas cheese ball out for eating, I wondered how it would fare.

Texas chili powder cheese ball | Homesick Texan

Immediately, one family member said, “Is that Aunt Betty’s cheese ball?” I replied that it was. Another came over, spread some of it on a buttery round cracker, took a bite and declared it incredibly delicious. Even though my family had been snacking all morning, more room was made for this Texas cheese ball rich with pecans and chili powder. Aunt Betty may have been gone for many years, but everyone was happy to welcome her signature snack back to the family table.

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Texas chili powder cheese ball | Homesick Texan
5 from 1 vote
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Texas chili powder cheese ball

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temeperature
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • Crackers, for serving

Instructions

  1. Mix together the cream cheese, Cheddar, pecans, onions, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce until well blended. Taste and add salt if needed.

  2. Roll the cheese mixture into a ball. Spoon the chili powder on a plate, the roll the cheese ball in the chili powder until evenly coated. If there are any bald spots, sprinkle some of the chili powder directly onto the cheese ball, as needed.

  3. You may serve it immediately with crackers, or chill it covered for up to 3 days before serving.

Recipe Notes

You may substitute paprika for the chili powder if you want a milder flavor. 

  1. mary a kettle

    OMG, what memories this brings back. My Mother used to make the exact same thing in the 60’s except it was in log form. I remember as a little girl watching her lay out the chili powder and pecans on wax paper and rolling it into a log. I thought it was magic that it all got covered. This was delicious back then as it is now. Thanks for the memories. Happy Holidays!

    • Lisa Fain

      Mary–Yes! I also thought it was like magic when I was young! Love that this brings back such good memories for you!

    • Yes, the recipe I have was rolled into logs, also. I lived in Oklahoma at the time, and my neighbor was from Texas and he gave me the recipe nearly 50 years ago. It’s always a big hit! My recipe is slightly different……no chopped onion but has the addition of a couple tablespoons of mayo and more garlic. It is soooo good, my mouth is already watering! Thanks for sharing, Lisa. This is an oldie but goodie recipe, for sure.

      • Lisa Fain

        Louise–You’re welcome! The mayo is certainly an interesting addition. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cheese ball with it but I’m guessing it gives it a bit of tang like pimento cheese.

  2. Betsy Payne Watson

    Lisa

    This recipe is one of my all time holiday favorites. My mother would make this every year during the holidays for their holiday open house as I was growing up. Rather than making it into a ball as you have pointed out she would make into a log, actually 2 logs. Then as guests sliced it, the slice would easy fit perfectly on Melba toast rounds, I can remember as a child sneaking a slice or two when guest were not looking. Back then children were not invited to these open house events.

    • Lisa Fain

      Betsy–Another vote for making this in logs! I love that each slice fits perfectly on melba toast. I had served mine with buttery round crackers, and I’m guessing it would also fit just as well. Plus, I hadn’t considered serving it with melba toast but that also sounds delicious.

  3. Shieilah

    This chili cheese ball has been a part of every Christmas memory I have only in log form!!! I am so proud to say I have raised 2 daughters who now as adults can say the same! Cherish the recipe that is written in a cookbook my mother hand wrote all my favorite family recipes in when I got married. It is a treasure. I hope everyone who tries this recipe finds the same magic!!

    • Lisa Fain

      Shieilah–Handwritten family recipes are such a treasure! I love that you’ve long served this, and I’ll definitely have to try it in log form.

  4. Sharron Turner

    This was my mothers cheese log recipe also. It was always a treat to have this for the holidays. It brings back warm memories of my lovely mom. Thanks for show casing this.

    • Lisa Fain

      Sharron–I’m so glad this brings back memories of your mom!

  5. Jill Anderson

    I’ve made four of these this holiday season; one for each party I’ve attended. The guests have all raved about it. I used Hatch Hot Red Chile powder and also, I formed it into a log. Thanks so much!

    • Lisa Fain

      Jill–I’m delighted it’s been such a hit! And I haven’t tried it yet with red Hatch chile powder but will definitely be doing that next! Happy New Year!

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