Pinecone Shaped Cheese Ball

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Cue the carols, because nothing screams “it’s the holiday season!!” quite like making a cheese ball that looks like a pinecone. And I’m here for it. 

This stunning appetizer will surely put you and your guests in a festive mood. It’s tasty, it’s easy to make (you can make it a day in advance, just do the nuts day-of), and it makes for an excellent centerpiece to any holiday snack spread. 

If you are in the mood for smaller cheese balls, for single servings or easy social distancing snacks, head over to my bite-sized cheese balls shaped like a turkey (you could easily shape them into a tree too).

How to Make a Pinecone Shaped Cheese Ball

Cheese balls are so simple to make, they are delicious, and this pinecone-shaped one is out-of-this-world festive. I used this delicious recipe from SnackWorks. Here are some tips for making this particular cheese ball. 

Ingredient list and recipe below.

  • I used Neufchatel cheese for this but you can use cream cheese. They are very similar in flavor and texture. More on the differences below! 
  • Make sure your cheese (whichever you choose) is softened before mixing. It will make your life a lot easier and the mixing much faster. 
  • Pro tip, I used gruyere like the recipe called for here. It’s so rich in flavor and tasty! Any shredded cheese will do okay, but I highly recommend the gruyere. 
  • To shape this beauty, I just used my hands. It can get a little sticky but it worked okay. I’m sure an offset spatula, or large flat spoon could work too. I’ve heard that allowing the cheese mixture to harden up in the fridge a bit first can help make the shaping easier. 
  • When you go to serve it, it’s best to let the pinecones stand at room temperature for 15 minutes (so that it can soften just a bit) before trying to stick a cracker into it. 

Two Versions Using Two Different Nuts 

I made two different versions of the pinecone using two different kinds of almonds, whole and sliced. They actually look wildly different! Apparently your nut choice can give your cheese ball a different personality all together. Play around and find which one you like best. Here are some options: 

  • Regular almonds: The ones I use are plain, unsalted, roasted almonds. Depending on the flavors in your cheese ball you could try flavored almonds as well. Using whole almonds will give your pinecone cheese ball more of a classic pinecone look. 
  • Slivered almonds: I usually reserve these for salads and baking projects, but they look so cool next to the whole almonds. The color variation on each one, white inside and dark brown outside, lends an interesting depth and design element. Plus they’re a bit easier to eat. 
  • Pecans: These will give your pinecone more visual texture. Pecans are softer nuts than almonds, but they have a great flavor. 

How to Garnish Your Pinecone Cheese Platter

The pinecone really doesn’t need much around it, it’s such a show stopper! But adding in a bit of greenery can make it look less like a porcupine and more like an actual pinecone. To add some holiday flair to your board or platter, here are few things to help make it a real centerpiece. 

  • Greenery, any herbs like rosemary or sage look so festive, just make sure guests know not to eat them.
  • Edible flowers, if you want to add a pop of color and really play up the nature theme. 
  • Crackers or baguette slices, tastefully surrounding your cheese ball with a beautiful array of dipping vessels. 

Cream Cheese vs. Neufchatel

They are so similar in taste, it’s really hard to tell them apart. But, they do actually have very distinct differences.  

Neufchatel Cheese is French, and it is thought to be the oldest cheese from that region. It is name-protected, meaning that only cheese made in that specific region can be labeled Neufchatel. (Just like Parmigiano Reggiano!) 

The only ingredient difference is Neufchatel is made from milk, rather than cream cheese which is made with milk and cream—this creates a slightly higher fat content in cream cheese, but slightly higher moisture content in Neufchatel. Which one do you like better? 

How-To Video

Here’s an instagram REEL I posted of the making-of the pine cone cheese balls.

Show Me Your Cheese Balls

I want to see the pinecone cheese balls that you make! Nothing makes me happier than seeing cheese boards inspired by my posts. If you make a pinecone cheese ball, please tag @ainttoooproudtomeg and #AintTooProudToCheese so I can see and share! 

And, If you liked this recipe, please rate and review.

Pinecone Shaped Cheese Ball

5 from 58 votes

Description

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pkg. 8oz each Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1 env. 1 oz. Dry onion soup mix
  • 4 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup Sliced Almonds, Toasted
  • 6 Sprigs 5 inches Fresh Rosemary
  • Wheat Thins

Instructions

  • Beat Neufchatel cheese and dry soup mix in medium bowl until blended.
  • Add shredded cheese; mix well.
  • Divide cheese mixture in half.
  • Shape each half into 5×2-1/2-inch oval that is slightly pointed at one end to resemble a pinecone.
  • Place on serving plate, leaving spaces around sides of both pinecones.
  • Insert nuts, at a slight angle and in horizontal rows, into cheese mixture as shown in photo
  • Tuck rosemary sprigs around pinecones to resemble tree branches.
  • Refrigerate 2 hours. Let pinecones stand at room temperature 15 min. before serving to soften slightly.
  • Serve with Wheat Thins
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe Rating




75 Comments

  1. Julianne wrote:

    5 stars
    What a festive and wonderful idea! Definitely trying this!

    Posted 12.17.20 Reply
    • Jody wrote:

      5 stars
      So elegant! I’m going to try this with some vegan cream cheese & shredded cheese….I can’t wait to taste them!

      Posted 12.20.20 Reply
  2. Janelle wrote:

    This is so creative! Can’t wait to try it

    Posted 12.17.20 Reply
  3. Gina Tiedemann wrote:

    5 stars
    I made this for a quiet evening at home tonight. I “might” have tasted it as I was putting it together. It was delicious and looks soooo pretty! It was also super easy to make. I will definitely be making it again very soon!

    Posted 12.20.20 Reply
  4. Gabbie wrote:

    So cute and festive!

    Posted 12.20.20 Reply
  5. Sarah M wrote:

    5 stars
    Almost too cute to eat!

    Posted 12.20.20 Reply
  6. Vicki wrote:

    5 stars
    I am going to make these pretty little pine cones for Christmas Eve. The beautiful pictures and clear instructions give this newbie confidence!

    Posted 12.20.20 Reply
  7. Tomiko wrote:

    5 stars
    I love this so much! So festive and so fun! I cannot wait to give this a try!!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  8. Kendra wrote:

    5 stars
    So pretty! Especially with the sugared cranberries and rosemary. the perfect touch.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  9. Susan Lewen wrote:

    5 stars
    I talk so incessantly about adorable cheese boards that I turned my officemate onto @ainttooproudtomeg. She sent me this post and said it’s the cutest thing she’s ever seen… And I need to make it for her! As soon as our office opens again, I’m going to show up with it!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  10. Karlee wrote:

    Omg this is too cute. Must recreate on a board!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  11. Izzy wrote:

    5 stars
    SO CUTE! I’m gonna see if I can make these using vegan cheeses!!! <3

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
    • Meg Quinn (Ain't Too Proud To Meg) wrote:

      ohhhhh that sounds amazing. let me know how it goes.

      Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  12. Jeanny wrote:

    Love this and am going to try this for one of my boards during the holidays!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  13. Robyn wrote:

    5 stars
    So clever! Almost too cute to eat!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  14. Mary Lou wrote:

    5 stars
    The sugared cranberries are the perfect finishing touch.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  15. ChampagneChatcha wrote:

    5 stars
    I made this for girls night the other night and let me tell you, everyone loved it!! Super cute and super yummy!!!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
    • Meg Quinn (Ain't Too Proud To Meg) wrote:

      That makes me so happy! Glad you all loved it!

      Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  16. Holly wrote:

    5 stars
    Can’t wait to do this for Christmas!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  17. Dana wrote:

    5 stars
    This is such a cute idea!!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  18. Dana wrote:

    5 stars
    How festive! ????

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  19. Sara wrote:

    5 stars
    It’s so beautiful and I’m pretty sure it’s so delicious ????

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  20. Marlylouwho wrote:

    5 stars
    This looks easy to make & a super cute holiday app!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  21. Babz510 wrote:

    5 stars
    This is Gorgeous! I will definitely add it to my holiday board this year.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  22. Kimberly wrote:

    5 stars
    Fun and creative idea!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  23. Haley Smith wrote:

    5 stars
    I love how cute and creative these are! I can not wait to try.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  24. Kayla M. wrote:

    5 stars
    Used the pinecone recipe for a wedding I did this weekend! The crowd loved it! I’ll be tagging you in the pictures this week!!!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
    • Meg Quinn (Ain't Too Proud To Meg) wrote:

      so exciting!!! yay!

      Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  25. Wendy wrote:

    5 stars
    These look great! I love the idea of the 2 different almond choices.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  26. Amanda Truiano wrote:

    5 stars
    I love these pinecones! The tips and suggested alternative ingredients are so helpful. I need to try this with pecans ASAP!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  27. Lee W. Cockrum wrote:

    5 stars
    These look fantastic!! And seem like something I could manage to create!!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  28. Angela Sanchez wrote:

    5 stars
    This is absolutely incredible! Your boards are always so creative! And delicious!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  29. Anita wrote:

    5 stars
    This seems like a great way to just add that little extra umph!!! I’m absolutely going to have to remember to give this a try!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  30. Michelle Hewgley wrote:

    5 stars
    Your creativity astounds me! Can’t wait to make these pine cones! ✨

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  31. Rani Craft wrote:

    Love this look! Very elegant! I cant wait to try it!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  32. Ryan P wrote:

    5 stars
    This is too cute. I’m hoping to wow my book club ladies with mini ones in snack packs.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  33. Robin wrote:

    5 stars
    I can’t wait to make this over Christmas break!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  34. Lindsay wrote:

    5 stars
    I love this idea! This is so festive and so unique! Definitely giving this a try!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  35. Yvonne wrote:

    5 stars
    This fits my skill set perfectly! I’m making this for Christmas Day snacking.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  36. Ann wrote:

    5 stars
    These look so delicious!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  37. Gabby wrote:

    These pinecones are so dArn cute , now I want to make one !

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  38. Megan Davis wrote:

    5 stars
    These are adorable!!!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  39. Kristen wrote:

    5 stars
    Brilliant! Cheese balls are so tasty but imo they generally look gross. This is the cutest way to give them the appeal they deserve!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  40. Susan wrote:

    Love these!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  41. Leslie wrote:

    5 stars
    I love the colors and texture of this! And it’s a different spin on the holiday board I want to try at my next gathering!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  42. Norma wrote:

    These are so pretty! Big wow factor, yet something I could easily make. Who doesn’t live a good cheese ball?, but make it cute! Love it and can’t wait to try this!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  43. Bianca Serna @beeesern wrote:

    Very interested in making these cheese balls! They look so freakin cute!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  44. Bianca Serna @beeesern wrote:

    5 stars
    I cannot wait to make this cheese ball recipe. It’s so cute!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  45. Kristina wrote:

    This is amazing and I am doing this for my Christmas app ;):)

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  46. Annette wrote:

    5 stars
    This is wonderful! Saving for 2021. Can’t wait to gather again with family! Happy Holidays ????????

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  47. Caroline Benefield wrote:

    5 stars
    Love this! So festive!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  48. ShamrockCharlie wrote:

    I had just pinned this! I love a cheeseball and hoping that Christmas 2020 we will be able to have friends and family over and I am definitely making this????

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  49. Jennifer Gordon wrote:

    5 stars
    So creative and festive! Love it!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  50. Kathy wrote:

    5 stars
    So cute! Can’t wait to make it!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  51. Stacey wrote:

    5 stars
    These are so cute! I’m making these for our Christmas Eve and New year’s festivities!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  52. Kristin wrote:

    5 stars
    Can’t wait to try!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  53. Hillary Puckett wrote:

    5 stars
    This looks stunning! I would love to try this sometime.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  54. Hannah wrote:

    5 stars
    Yummyyyyy

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  55. eliza wrote:

    5 stars
    game changer!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  56. Tracy Chapman wrote:

    5 stars
    These looks so fun and easy to do. Thanks for the inspiration for holiday yum!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  57. Sue wrote:

    5 stars
    Love this – so doable for so many of us and striking! Started following you after seeing you on Home and family!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  58. Gina wrote:

    5 stars
    So cute! Definitely gonna give this a try

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  59. Laura Walker wrote:

    5 stars
    These are so cute and will be perfect for the holidays- I love anything with gruyere! Thank you for telling us the difference between cream cheese and Neuf… I don’t know how to spell it lol, but I have always wondered! ❤️

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  60. lauren wrote:

    5 stars
    will be making this for christmas!! so excited ❤️

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  61. Shannon wrote:

    5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this!! Looks amazing!!

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  62. Brooke wrote:

    5 stars