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TIP OF THE DAY: Cream Cheese Balls At Brunch

“Now shmear this!” says Hannah Kaminsky, one of our favorite food writer/photographers, about today’s tip: gourmet cream cheese balls.

Hannah focuses on vegan cooking and baking, but everyone will find her recipes to be simply delicious. They’re a boon for people who are kosher, lactose-intolerant or simply cutting back on cholesterol. The recipe below can be made as conventional or vegan fare.

Considering how to use a new brand of cream cheese*, Hannah decided to add “a bit more of a savory spin to things.” Her individual-size, gourmet cream cheese balls look almost too pretty to eat.

She serves them at parties, with toast or crackers. We served them with bagels, elevating the familiar to the sophisticated.

You can serve more than one “flavor” of cream cheese balls—perhaps a spicy option if your guests like heat, or a cutting edge blend if they like nouvelle flavors.


Cream cheese balls are festive fare. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

Convenience alert: You can make the cream cheese balls in advance and freeze them. You can also make one large ball for the center of a party tray.



  • Cream cheese
  • Garnishes: fresh chives, lemon zest, chopped nuts†
    Don’t hold back on garnish ingredients; check around to see what you have at hand:

  • Bacon bits, coconut, dried cranberries‡, honey-roasted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds or roasted garlic, for example.
  • You can even try cheese-on-cheese, with finely crumbled blue cheese or fresh-grated Parmesan.
  • You can also spice things up, with chili flakes, curry, paprika or wasabi powder.
    *Hannah used Galaxy Food’s vegan cream cheese.
    †Hannah used pine nuts. Use your favorite: almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, etc.
    ‡Tip: We find it easier to use a scissors rather than a knife to cut small dried fruits.


    1. MINCE and combine the garnishes.

    2. ROLL the cream cheese balls into 1- or 1-1/2 inch diameter (what looks right to you). You can use wood butter paddles or your hands (you can use plastic kitchen gloves). If the cream cheese warms and starts to lose its shape, stick it in the fridge or freezer until it hardens enough to be smoothed into a round ball.

    3. ROLL the cream cheese balls in the mix to coat.

    4. SERVE on a bright colored plate or on a bed of greens, as in the photo.

    Check out Hannah’s Bittersweet Blog and sign up for the feed. You’ll enjoy every morsel.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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