Party Cheese Ball – A Mid-Century Holiday Recipe Test

Posted on Dec 28 2011 - 6:14am by RetroRuth

So, here is the plan: Tom and I are going to eat a TON of vintage appetizers on New Year’s Eve.

What do you think? Good plan?

This plan has been…oh…several weeks in the making. Originally, I was going to post a vintage appetizer a week for twelve weeks, but when that plan fell through due to my crappy food-planning skills and Tom deciding that Pork Cake trumped all other plans, I decided to wing it. So, instead of twelve posts you are only going to get like…four. But one of them is going to be of our rockin’ retro New Year’s Eve table, so it will all even out*.

*No, it won’t even out. Ever.

But that’s okay. You know why? Because we have Party Cheese Ball!


See? Don’t you feel better already?

I have to admit that if I’d be lying if said I had any doubts about whether or not this cheese ball would be good. I KNOW it’s good. It’s freaking good. And it’s good every year at Christmas when my mom makes it. It’s the first thing to disappear off of her table and the last thing we stop talking about. But the magical thing about this post is that I found the recipe for it in a vintage pamphlet!


Why is this so amazing?  Well, it’s amazing because for years my mom has been winging it with the recipe. It was something my grandmother made during the holiday, but never wrote down, so my mom had to roll up her sleeves and recreate the recipe from scratch. There was a lot of experiments (which we were happy to eat) before she got it close enough to satisfy her, but I think she did a darn good job. Her recreated recipe is almost exactly the same as this one I found in the Good Food Ideas from The Kraft Kitchens pamphlet from 1971. The only difference was that my mom used red and green bell peppers instead of green bell pepper and pimiento.


So, to kind of make up for the fact that I am not posting as many appetizers as originally planned, I thought I would give you one really good vintage one, one fool-proof recipe that you can add to your New Year’s Eve table this year and not be ashamed to say that it is a retro recipe.

But just wait until people try it before you tell them that it retro. Whenever I tell anyone that what they are eating was featured on the Mid-Century Menu, they slowly lower their bite and look at it suspiciously, as if they are expecting to find mid-century mold or something. Wait until they eat a couple bites and they are hooked. Then tell them.

However, even though we know this one is a winner, this just wouldn’t be the MCMenu unless I showed Tom stuffing his gourd.


Magic hands!


It’s recommended that you use two hands when eating Party Cheese Ball. It shovels in faster that way.

The Verdict: Really, really good! The cheddar kind of melts into the cream cheese and is just yummy, and the bits of green pepper and onion add a nice crispness to it. Best with Ritz crackers and is a great retro addition to a party table!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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18 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Jen O December 28, 2011 at 9:22 am - Reply

    I love this! The Triscuit box used to have a recipe alot like this, but with blue cheese–I swear it is exactly the same, but subbed in that cheese instead (it was always a monster success), you are making my mouth water just thinking about these crazy cheese balls!

    • RetroRuth December 28, 2011 at 9:34 am - Reply

      Hey Jen O! Nice to hear that this recipe was kept in circulation, in any form. It’s a great one and deserves to be served forever.

      And it sounds like you are going to need to make this now! 🙂

  2. Eartha Kitsch December 28, 2011 at 11:24 am - Reply

    Oh yum! I’m going to make the Mister one for New Year’s Eve. His family always has the presenting of the cheeseball. Then they all stand around oohing and ahhing and then it’s game on! This might help make him feel like he’s in Kansas. 🙂

  3. Sara In AZ December 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    I am so gonna make this, Mike will go crazy for it!!!! Yay for yummy Cheese Balls! 🙂

  4. Elise December 31, 2011 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    I just made it, your post was that convincing! And the pre-chilling taste test made me want to eat multiple spoonfuls so I can’t wait for it to be balled and properly crackered.

    • RetroRuth January 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      Awesome, Elise! Glad to hear you liked it!

  5. veg-o-matic January 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    It’s so weird that you made this! This is Keith’s Mom’s recipe, and I’ve been making it every Christmas since we’ve been together. It is a sad day, indeed, when we finish the cheese ball. Sadder, even, than taking down the Christmas decorations.
    But you know what we discovered on New Year’s Eve? That you can make Party Cheeseball even more awesome. How?
    Bake it.
    Seriously. I put some in a little Corningware dish and baked it at 350 for maybe 15 minutes, until it got bubbly and brownish on top. Totally awesome with Triscuits and Fritos Scoops. We couldn’t shovel it in fast enough.

    • RetroRuth January 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      Oh my god, Veg, you are a GOD! That is the most awesome idea I have ever heard. You bet your boots I am going to try it!

      And yes, this cheeseball might be the world’s most perfect Mid-Century Holiday food. 🙂

  6. Cristina July 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Oh my god! This is my first time making home made cheese dip! I made it tonight as a snack for my husband and I and this is amazing!!! I will make this more often so delicious!! Thank you!! =)

  7. Narmowen November 3, 2013 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    My family still makes a variation of this, and it’s always a hit.

    24 oz cream cheese (chilled is best)
    6 or so green onions (cut fine, white park included)
    1 jar of chipped beef, cut fine (little chunks/squares are good)
    1 tsp of accent (can leave this part out)
    enough Worcestershire sauce to turn the cheese a light brown when thoroughly mixed

    Mix by hand. Chill. Enjoy on ritz crackers. Also really good on gluten free crackers. 🙂

  8. Jacquie November 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I tried this at an ex-boyfriend’s house one Christmas and now I can recreate it! The one I had (prepared by true Southern women so you know it was good) was rolled in pecans which made it a little hard to eat without a spoon, but made it look so lovely. I remember her saying she would make a few before the holidays and that they would freeze well.

    Love your blog!

  9. Edana August 27, 2016 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    This is reeeeeeally close to my family’s Traditional Cheeseball Recipe. The main differences are that instead of just sharp cheddar in with the cream cheese, it’s explicitly “a mix of as many kinds of cheese as you can find”. And instead of the veggies we put in sliced green olives.

    I might try the sliced scallions from above next time though. That sounds amazing.

  10. Rose December 7, 2016 at 9:47 am - Reply

    I’d love to try this, what kind of onions work best for this?

    • RetroRuth December 11, 2016 at 3:07 pm - Reply

      Any kind! My mom usually uses scallions!

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