A cheese ball gets props for being a party food that's incredibly easy to assemble. It requires just a short list of ingredients and can quickly become the hit of the party when paired with crudité and more. It does, however, require a little time to make, since the cheese needs to come to room temperature before forming the ball and then needs to firm back up in the refrigerator before serving. The good news is that it can definitely be made ahead — it can keep well for up to a week in the refrigerator — which means you can prepare it on your schedule and have it ready to go when party time arrives. Here are three tips to keep in mind to achieve make-ahead success.
1. Wrap the cheese ball tightly in both plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
After you've formed the cheese ball and it's ready to be tucked into the refrigerator, it's important that it's wrapped well. Not only does this allow for the ball to keep its shape, but it also prevents any spoilage from quickly occurring. Shape the ball in plastic wrap, then collect all the plastic pieces at the top and twist them together, creating a bundle. Then wrap the plastic-wrapped cheese ball completely in aluminum foil and shape again with your hands before storing.
2. Reserve the crunchy coating for before serving.
While the cheese ball itself keeps well for up to a week in the refrigerator, the crunchy coating it's rolled in doesn't — it can get soft and mushy in a matter of hours. Hold off on rolling the ball in any chopped nuts, toasted seeds, or crushed chips or pretzels until you're ready to serve it. This rule applies to bacon, too!
3. Take the chill off it before guests dig in.
When you've taken the cheese ball out of the refrigerator and rolled it in its coating, let it sit out at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This will take the chill off of it so it's not only more spreadable but also tastes better — all those flavors come alive when they're not so cold.