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!
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.
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.
How to make olive cheese balls
First, you’ll need some shredded sharp cheddar and softened butter. Stir together until combined.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For even more entertaining fun, offer homemade buttermilk ranch for dipping.
Because nobody ever turns down the opportunity to dip.
Now here’s that jalapeno option I was telling you about earlier. Because you know me. Variety is truly the spice of my life.
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.
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? Save it to Pinterest!
Here are a few more cheesy-wonderful appetizers for you!
- Dill Pickle Dip – with cream cheese, this is a super fun dip with puckery dill pickle flavor!
- Baked Reuben Dip – with Swiss cheese, this tastes like a deconstructed Reuben sandwich.
- Layered Creamy Chili Shrimp Dip – with cream cheese, this festive dip has been one of my family’s Christmas Eve traditions for as long as I can remember.
- Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms Grilled on a Cedar Plank – with Mozzarella and Gouda cheeses, these stuffed mushrooms are infused with a wonderful woodsy flavor from the grill.
Olive Cheese Balls
Flaky, tender, cheesy dough surrounds a warm and salty-juicy olive. A fun and easy baked appetizer recipe, perfect for entertaining!
- 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
- Drain olives and place them on a paper towel to dry.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
For more cheesy goodness, find Crystal Farms on their web site, and on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Have been making these for years & years! What I do now…less fuss! Roll dough into a log. I have a tiny tart pan, 1 3/4 inch diameter…. Cut dough into slices….press into tart pan…..place a olive inside each pastry. The pastry puffs up almost covering the olive as it bakes. Looks like a olive tart, but same taste as the balls & a whole lot easier!
Well that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing!
Could these be frozen and baked later?
We use old English cheese spread in little glass jars instead of grated cheese. Flour and butter and cayenne pepper. Make a dough and roll the green olives in and bake. Basically this recipe different cheese. So good.
What do you think about making a day ahead? Will they get soggy if kept in too long before baking?
These were a huge HIT!!! I made them for New Years Eve and everyone enjoyed them so much!!! I didn’t have cheddar cheese in the house so I used pepper jack cheese which gave them a little kick and poof they were gone. Thank you for the great recipe that I will surely make over and over again. Happy New Year!!
I love to hear this, Karen! And I like the pepper jack substitution. ALOT. :)
what a fun recipe or appetizer for entertaining as you write and great flavors too, thank you!
Talk about Karma. I was JUST telling someone the other day that my mom used to make these and how much I hated them as a kid. I have been wanting to try them as an adult because they contain some of my favorite things and I can’t believe I didn’t like them. Wallah! I will definitely be making these.
PERFECT timing! Enjoy!!
Oh my! It has been a long time since I have made these. Looking at your photos makes my mouth water.
I love that Grandma remembered these, too!! Thanks for sharing the recipe, Mom. :)
I am so excited about this recipe! These look so delicious. I am going to make them this weekend!! Thanks for this recipe!