Woodland hedgehog cheese ball is a simple, savory appetizer that will be a stunning centerpiece at a woodland baby shower or first birthday.  Cream cheese, cheddar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices make this vegetarian snack idea a super cute, gender neutral munchie.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
closeup of woodland hedgehog cheese ball with rosemary sprigs and a bowl of crackers
Appetizers, Snacks

Woodland Hedgehog Cheese Ball

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This post was originally published on November 23, 2017.

One of my favorite appetizers at parties are cheese balls.  I love this recipe because it’s so cute, and it also has a wonderful onion flavor and creamy texture.  It keeps fantastically in the fridge for up to a week, and leftovers can even be frozen for later!

woodland hedgehog cheese ball with rosemary sprigs and pine cones

This cheese ball is perfect for a boy’s baby shower, a woodland themed first birthday party, church potlucks or casual parties with friends or colleagues.  It’s not spicy, so kids love it.  With only 35 minutes of prep time, plus some chilling time, it’s super easy to make ahead, and bring to your next party.

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woodland hedgehog cheese ball with rosemary sprigs, frozen cranberries, and a bowl of crackers

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What can you serve with this cheese ball?

Try crackers, toast, or just spread on bread for a special sandwich.  It’s even perfect by itself, so be warned that you just might get addicted, like I did when I was developing this recipe!

Are cheese balls gluten free?

Yes, they are gluten free because they don’t contain wheat flour.  Just as a precaution, make sure your ingredients say gluten free on the package.  Be sure to serve it with gluten free crackers or gluten free bread.

hedgehog cheese ball with a bowl of crackers

Can you make hedgehog cheese ball ahead of time?

  • Absolutely! It can easily be made ahead of time.
  • Make up the mixture and chill it until ready to serve.
  • You can shape the hedgehog in advance and keep him in the fridge until needed.
  • Don’t put the nuts, dried bean eyes, or raisin nose on the hedgehog until right before serving.  The nuts go soft when they’re in the fridge.

What to do if your hedgehog doesn’t look as cute as you want?

  • Don’t panic!  It should be easy to fix.
  • Don’t like how the face looks?  Take off the eyes, nose, and nuts if necessary and reposition them as desired.
  • Is the body the wrong shape?  Re-shape the hedgehog, making his body round and head pointed.
  • Is the mixture too sticky?  Chill it until firm and wrap it in plastic wrap as you shape it.

How long will a cheese ball last in the fridge?

It should last for a week in the fridge.  Make sure to keep it tightly covered with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container to seal out fridge odors and to keep it fresh.

closeup of hedgehog cheese ball

Can you freeze a cheese ball?

  • Yes, you can!
  • Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, place it on a piece of clean cardboard, then wrap in aluminum foil.
  • Seal it inside a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Defrost the it in the fridge overnight before serving.

How to Make a Healthier Hedgehog Cheese Ball

  • Use the homemade onion soup mix instead of store-bought to reduce preservatives and sodium.
  • Use low fat cream cheese or the American version of Neufchâtel cheese.
  • Reduce the amount of nuts on the hedgehog.
  • Serve it with carrots and celery instead of crackers and bread.

holding the woodland hedgehog cheese ball

How to Use up Leftover Cheese Ball

  • Crumble up a leftovers and sprinkle over hot pasta.  Stir until melted and combined.
  • Cut into cubes and toss with a green salad.
  • Spread on bread and make a sandwich.
  • Melt it in a saucepan and serve as a warm, cheesy dip.
  • Add to omelettes or frittatas.
  • Stuff chicken breasts or pork tenderloin with the cheese mixture.
  • Serve with crudités.

How to Display the Cheese Ball

Here are some creative ways you can serve the hedgehog for a first birthday party or baby shower.  The guests will love this adorable snack!

  • Place the hedgehog on a slice of wood, wooden cutting board, or a piece of thick cardboard.
  • Decorate the hedgehog with rosemary sprigs to look like pine branches.
  • You can also decorate the serving plate with candied cranberries to look like frosty winter berries.
  • Serve with rustic crackers or artisan bread chunks.
  • Serve the crackers in a rustic bowl made of ceramic, metal, or wood.
  • Use a wooden-handled knife for serving.
  • Make a cute sign to go beside it on your food table.
  • Surround it with fresh pine boughs, pinecones, fabric, and wood stumps.

How to Make Woodland Hedgehog Cheese Ball

Gather the ingredients for the homemade onion soup mix.

ingredients for homemade onion soup mix

Mix all the spices together, then grind them smaller with a mortar and pestle.  If you don’t have one, use a spice grinder or blender.

grinding onion soup mix in a mortar and pestle

Gather the ingredients for the cheese mixture.

ingredients for hedgehog cheese ball

Beat together the cream cheese and grated cheddar until fluffy and smooth.

whipped cream cheese and cheddar cheese in a bowl

Add all the other ingredients, including the onion soup mix to taste.  Scrape down the sides and mix until well blended.

adding spices to the cheese mixture

Chill the mixture for 2 hours, then place the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a ball.  Shape part of the ball into a point to make the hedgehog’s body.  If you need to re-do the shape, don’t worry about it–the mixture is very forgiving.

shaping the cheese ball wrapped in plastic wrap

Unwrap the hedgehog and put him on the serving board.  Stick rows of pecans and walnuts on his back to create his spines, then add dried beans for eyes and a raisin for the nose.

putting pecans and walnuts on hedgehog cheese ball

Garnish the hedgehog with sprigs of fresh rosemary, then serve with crackers.  Everyone will be impressed with this adorable appetizer!

woodland hedgehog cheese ball with fresh rosemary

Pro Tips

  • Make your own onion soup mix for less sodium and a better flavor than store bought.
  • Use freshly grated cheddar instead of the pre-grated kind for the best flavor and texture.
  • Be sure to chill the mixture before shaping it into a hedgehog.
  • Wrap the mixture in plastic wrap as you’re shaping it to keep your hands clean, then peel it off when you’re done.
  • Want this appetizer spicy?  Add additional cayenne pepper.
  • Making this ahead of time?  Poke a few toothpicks into the hedgehog and cover securely with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it.
  • Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 1 week, and also may be frozen.

kitchen tools used to make hedgehog cheese ball

Kitchen Tools We Used for this Recipe

I encourage you to make this delicious and super easy appetizer recipe for your next get-together.  It’s definitely a crowd pleaser!

Check out these other yummy appetizer recipes for baby showers or first birthdays.

Pigs in a Blanket Rolls: easy pigs in a blanket with smoked sausage and homemade bread dough instead of Pillsbury crescent rolls. These healthier appetizers are perfect for kids and adults alike! | www.savortheflavour.com #pigsinablanket #appetizer #sausage #recipe Easter Chick Deviled Eggs + Egg Peeling Secrets: this classic appetizer is low carb, gluten free, and super cute! Your kids will love eating these fancy chicks at an Easter breakfast or brunch. Plus, check out some awesome hacks for easily peeling eggs perfectly! | www.savortheflavour.com #deviledeggs #appetizers #spring #easter #chicks Easy Tomato and Basil Bruschetta: this easy recipe for a classic Italian appetizer is a perfect finger food for a crowd! Slices of toasted baguette topped with fresh tomatoes and basil? You can’t go wrong! | www.savortheflavour.com #tomatoes #Italian #appetizers #vegetarianrecipe #basil

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closeup of woodland hedgehog cheese ball with rosemary sprigs and a bowl of crackers

Woodland Hedgehog Cheese Ball


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups 1x

Description

Woodland hedgehog cheese ball is a simple, savory appetizer that will be a stunning centerpiece at a woodland baby shower or first birthday.  Cream cheese, cheddar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices make this vegetarian snack idea a super cute, gender neutral munchie.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Homemade Onion Soup Mix (1/3 cup, 42g)

  • 1/4 cup dried minced onion
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

For the Cheese Ball

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened (453g)
  • 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (240g)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (60 ml)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

For the Decoration

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 dried black beans for the eyes
  • 1 raisin for the nose
  • Few sprigs of fresh rosemary

For Serving

  • Crackers of your choice

Instructions

Making the Homemade Onion Soup Mix (5 minutes)

  1. Stir together all the spices in a small bowl until well combined.
  2. In a few batches, grind the spices a little smaller using a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

Making the Cheese Ball (10 minutes + 2 hours chilling)

  1. Beat the cream cheese and cheddar with a hand-held electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat in the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and additional spices.  Add the homemade onion soup mix to taste.
  2. Blend until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides for an even mix.
  3. Chill the cheese mixture in the fridge for about 2 hours to firm up the mixture.  You can keep it in the fridge for a few days at this point if you want to make it ahead.

Shaping & Decorating the Cheese Ball (15 minutes)

  1. Once the mixture has chilled enough to handle, place the mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Fold the wrap around the cheese, then shape it into a smooth ball.  Use your hands to shape one end into a point to make the hedgehog’s head.
  2. Unwrap the hedgehog and place him on the serving board.  Make any adjustments to the shape, smoothing holes or creases with the back of a spoon.
  3. Once you’re satisfied with the hedgehog’s shape, stick on the two dried beans for eyes and the raisin for a nose.  Decorate the hedgehog’s back with rows of pecan halves and walnut pieces to look like spines.
  4. Curl a few sprigs of fresh rosemary around the hedgehog to look like pine branches in a forest.  Serve with crackers.

Notes

  • The pleasure of a 5-star review of this recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Mixer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: woodland hedgehog, cheese ball

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38 thoughts on “Woodland Hedgehog Cheese Ball

  1. Made this for an autumn potluck and it was a big hit! Very tasty! I also used the DIY seasoning-so easy! I used raisins for eyes & nose as I had no dried beans. I plan to do for a baby shower app. (woodland theme)

  2. I got so many compliments on this cheeseball at my daughters baby shower! My daughter took the little that was left over home with her she liked it so much! I decorated with almonds just because I prefer the flavor of them more. Thank you for your easy to follow instructions.

  3. Emma,
    What a delightful way to serve cheese! Anyone would be pleased to see this cute creature on their dinner table! I love cheese too.

  4. One of the best cheeseballs I’ve had. Love the thyme in it. Great presentation also! It looks very nice!

    1. I’m planning on making this adorable cheese ball for my sister in law’s baby shower this weekend! One question, how much of the onion mix do I put in? 1/3 cup? Thanks!

      1. You can add all of the onion soup mix, or you can start with 1/4 cup and gradually add the rest to taste, whichever you prefer. I hope the cheese ball is popular at the shower!

  5. Cute presentation. I would like a little more kick, but flavor was good, and I have a preference to hot things. My Mother would love it!

  6. This tastes amazing and it is the cutest cheese ball on the Internet! I love the alternating walnuts and pecans.

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