Olive Cheese Balls

Olive Cheese Balls – Flaky, tender, cheesy dough surrounds a warm and salty-juicy olive. A fun and easy baked appetizer recipe, perfect for entertaining!

baked olive cheese balls on a plate with a cup of buttermilk ranch dip on the side

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Hey, hey, hey! We’re goin’ retro today!

Anybody else grow up with baked Olive Cheese Balls? On Mom’s worn, handwritten recipe card, they’re titled “Olive Surprises”. You just gotta love it. My copies of old church and family cookbooks are full of recipe names like that. Another oldie-but-goodie appetizer from my mom is this Shrimp Dip that uses cream cheese – my family enjoys this every Christmas Eve.

This fun little olives and cheese appetizer is easy to make. Simply wrap pimento-stuffed green olives in a buttery cheddar cheese dough, pop them in the oven, and you are now the hostess with the mostess.

But don’t stop there.

I broke tradition with this recipe, thinking it would be fun to #UnfollowTheRecipe. So I’m also offering you a kicked-up version with the flavors of jalapeno, Parmesan, and ranch. I’m giving you two times the fun with olives and cheese!

*  This is a sponsored post, created in partnership with Crystal Farms® Cheese.

baked olive cheese balls on a plate - with a cup of buttermilk ranch dip and package of Crystal Farms Sharp Cheddar cheese on the side

If you’ve ever been to Wisconsin, you know that cheese is a way of life there.

I’ve always loved driving past all the dairy farms (there are over 1.2 million cows in Wisconsin!), through the state’s beautiful rolling countryside. And just east of Madison is the town of Lake Mills (population 5,708), where Crystal Farms is located.

Crystal Farms was born of humble beginnings, the product of two immigrant families dedicated to hard work and quality products. That tradition continues to this day, bringing only the best quality cheese to cheese lovers everywhere.

shredded sharp cheddar cheese and butter in a clear bowl, a package of Crystal Farms Sharp Cheddar on the side

How to make olive cheese balls

First, you’ll need some shredded sharp cheddar and softened butter. Stir together until combined.

shredded sharp cheddar cheese, butter, flour, paprika, salt, and black pepper in a clear bowl with a wooden spoon

Then add flour and a bit of paprika, kosher salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine, and then bring it altogether with your hands to form a dense, moist dough.

four steps to make an olive cheese ball: all of dough in a ball, smaller portions of dough portioned into balls, dough flattened with an olive in the middle, wrapping flattened dough around an olive

The dough should stick together like a ball.

Then portion out the dough (I like to use a small scoop) and roll each portion into smaller balls.

Using your thumb, flatten each round of dough in the palm of your hand, and then rest an olive in the center of the dough.

Mold the dough around the olive, stretching and pinching as needed. And then lightly roll the olive cheese ball between the palms of your hands to finish shaping.

olives wrapped in cheese dough, lined up on a rimmed baking pan

Line those little cuties up on an ungreased baking pan (this 10″ x 15″ pan works perfectly!), let them chill in the refrigerator for an hour, and then bake them. Just 15 minutes in the oven is all they need.

baked olive cheese balls on a plate - with a cup of buttermilk ranch dip and package of Crystal Farms Sharp Cheddar cheese on the side

I’ve always been an olive and cheese fan. But this recipe takes that combination to a whole new level.

The cheesy dough bakes up flaky and tender on the outside, while the olive is warm and salty-juicy on the inside. Biting into one of these olive cheese balls is a surprising burst of both flavor and texture.

dipping a baked olive cheese ball into buttermilk ranch dip

For even more entertaining fun, offer homemade buttermilk ranch for dipping.

Because nobody ever turns down the opportunity to dip.

baked olive jalapeno cheese balls on a plate - with a cup of buttermilk ranch dip on the side

Now here’s that jalapeno option I was telling you about earlier. Because you know me. Variety is truly the spice of my life.

baked olive jalapeno cheese balls on a plate - with a package of Crystal Farms Parmesan cheese and a cup of buttermilk ranch dip on the side

In this version, I trade the sharp cheddar for Parmesan, swap out pimento-stuffed olives for those with jalapenos, and add dry ranch seasoning to the dough.

For those who like some heat, this is a marvelous combination.

baked olive jalapeno cheese balls on a plate and a cup of buttermilk ranch dip on the side

Holidays, game days, sit-on-the-porch-with-a-glass-of-wine-days, they’re all prime times for a platter of warm olive cheese balls.

Like this appetizer recipe? Pin it!

baked olive cheese balls on a plate - with a cup of buttermilk ranch dip and package of Crystal Farms Sharp Cheddar cheese on the side

Here are a few more cheesy-wonderful appetizers for you!

Olive Cheese Balls

Olive Cheese Balls

Flaky, tender, cheesy dough surrounds a warm and salty-juicy olive. A fun and easy baked appetizer recipe, perfect for entertaining!

Yield: 18 olive cheese balls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 18 queen olives stuffed with pimento
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, at very soft room temperature (but not melty)
  • 4 oz. Crystal Farms® Shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • 1/2 c. + 1 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Drain olives and place them on a paper towel to dry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter and sharp cheddar with a wooden spoon. Add flour, paprika, kosher salt, and black pepper. Mix as well as you can with the wooden spoon, and then finish by combining with your hands. It will turn into a moist, dense dough that can easily be formed into a ball.
  3. With a small scoop, portion out 18 balls of tightly packed dough. My small scoop holds a little more than 2 teaspoons of dough when tightly packed. Roll each portion into a ball and place it in the palm of one hand. With the thumb of your other hand, press the dough ball to flatten it. Place an olive in the center of the flattened dough and mold the dough up around the olive. Give it a gently roll between your palms to finish. Place two inches apart on ungreased baking sheet - this 10" x 15" rimmed pan works perfectly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 400° F. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool on pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. These are best when eaten while still warm. Serve with homemade buttermilk ranch if you like to dip!


For a fun twist, try my Jalapeno Parmesan Ranch version! Just make these changes to the original recipe: Substitute 4 ounces of Crystal Farms Shredded Parmesan for the sharp cheddar. Delete the kosher salt. And add in 1-1/2 teaspoons of dry ranch seasoning blend. (Flour and black pepper remain the same.) The texture of the combined dough will be a bit drier than the sharp cheddar mixture, but there will still be plenty of moisture to mold it around the olives. This recipe version does not need to chill before baking. Just bake at 400° F on an ungreased baking sheet for 15 minutes. Serve warm with homemade buttermilk ranch if desired.

Notes

Adapted from my mom's recipe box, originally from Betty Crocker. Jalapeno Parmesan Ranch version from a farmgirl's dabbles.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 304mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

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baked olive cheese balls on a plate
olive cheese balls and Christmas ornaments
olive cheese balls and dip
Crystal Farms logo

For more cheesy goodness, find Crystal Farms on their web site, and on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram.

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