This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy.

Turkey Cheese Ball is such a fun addition for your Thanksgiving day celebrations. An easy cheese ball that’s made to look like a turkey complete with pretzel ‘feathers’ and a turkey head with a candy corn beak. Serve with your favorite crackers for a fun and festive appetizer.

For another turkey decorated recipe be sure and also make these adorable Turkey Cookies.

Hero shot of a cheese ball that looks like a turkey.

Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese Ball Recipe

Make this perfect appetizer for everyone to munch on while preparing the big thanksgiving feast. This turkey head cheese ball is complete with all edible turkey feathers, candy eyes, and even a beak! 

We always love having some food to munch on the morning of thanksgiving day – whether it’s spinach artichoke dip or crockpot jelly meatballs, it’s always fun to snack while you wait for the big meal later in the day. Not only is this easy turkey cheese ball so festive, it’s actually super cute and really delicious too!

It also makes for a great addition to a meat & cheese charcuterie board for thanksgiving dinner. With it’s impressive look, it’s sure to be a crowd favorite. 

Finished cheese ball with some taken out of it to show the center.
A cracker with some of the cheeseball on it.

Simple Ingredients Needed To Make This Festive Turkey Cheese Ball Appetizer

  1. Cream Cheese : This easy cheese ball recipe that’s made to look like a turkey needs two bars of cream cheese. It’s best to use full-fat cream cheese as it’s thicker, has better texture, and tastes so much better. Make sure you are using the bars of cream cheese and not the tub of spreadable or whipped cream cheese. 
  2. Sour Cream : I recommend using full-fat sour cream for the best thick texture and taste. 
  3. Shredded Medium Cheddar Cheese : Mild or sharp cheddar cheese works also. I recommend shredding the cheese from a block, on a cheese grater, for the best smooth texture and taste. 
  4. Fresh or Parsley or Dried Parsley : Use 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or use 1 teaspoon dried parsley. 
  5. Ranch Seasoning Packet
  6. Crispy Bacon : Cook bacon strips or use already cooked chopped bacon bits. Bacon goes inside the cheese ball as well as on the outside of the turkey cheese ball. 
  7. Pecan Halves, Pretzel Twists, Pretzel Sticks, Edible Eyeballs, Candy Corn : The decorations to make the cheeseball look like a turkey. 
Labeled ingredients

How To Make A Gobble Gobble Thanksgiving Cheese Ball

Into a large bowl, add the room temperature cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, parsley, and ranch seasoning packet. Use an electric mixer to beat until everything is well combined and creamy. You can also mix it with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon if wanted, but it mixes much more thoroughly when using a hand mixer. 

Stir the bacon into the cream cheese mixture until combined.

Process images for this appetizer

Place a large piece of plastic wrap onto a cutting board or the countertop. Dump the cheeseball mixture onto the middle of the plastic wrap. Reserve a golf ball size amount in a small bowl for the head (for later). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge. 

Use the plastic wrap to mold and shape the cheese ball mixture into a ball. Wrap the plastic wrap all around the cheeseball and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. 

Process images for this appetizer

Once chilled, let’s decorate the turkey! First, unwrap the cheeseball and the head that was set aside from earlier. Roll each one in the bacon pieces making sure to gently press the bacon into the cheeseball to help it adhere and secure the toppings. 

Process images for this appetizer

Place the larger cheese ball onto a serving plate or platter. Stick two rows of pretzel sticks in the back of the turkey. Continue with another row of pretzel twists (in front of the pretzel sticks) and then a row of halved pecans (in front of the pretzel twists). This creates the turkey tail feathers. 

Process images for this appetizer

 Push 2-3 pretzel sticks halfway into the head (the smaller cheeseball) and insert it towards the front of the turkey’s body. Use the candy eyeballs for the eyes and then the piece of candy corn for the beak. 

Process images for this appetizer

Surround the turkey cheeseball with all your favorite crackers and enjoy!

Process images for this appetizer

Changes & Substitutions

  • Bacon : Use turkey bacon or use bacon bits that are ready to go! I normally use bacon bits because I hate cooking bacon for recipes – haha, it’s just one of those things that I will avoid at all costs! You will need enough bacon bits to cover the exterior of each cheese ball. The head and the turkey body. About 1 1/2 cups of bacon.
  • Vegetarian Option : Use chopped pecans on the exterior of the turkey cheese ball if you’re wanting a non-meat version.
  • Lower Fat Option : Use reduced-fat cream cheese, light sour cream, or substitute the sour cream with plain Greek yogurt or even light mayonnaise works also.
Process images for this appetizer

Tips For Making Thanksgiving Turkey Cheeseball

  • Make It Ahead of Time : This is the perfect appetizer to make the day before. My family always loves to munch on a treat while we’re all cooking in the kitchen for the big day. Let the cheese ball refrigerate overnight and decorate it the morning of Thanksgiving. It might look complicated, but it does not take long at all to decorate the turkey cheese ball. 
  • Fridge Time : Don’t rush that 2 hour chill time. The cheeseball needs at least 2 hours, more if you’re able to, in order for it to set and thicken so it holds up well to the decorative turkey toppings. It also helps the flavors meld together and I promise that the cheese ball will taste so much better after some chill time. 
  • Use Full-Fat Dairy Products : For the best taste and texture I highly recommend using full-fat cream cheese and full-fat sour cream. The reduced-fat or lite versions have added water into them which makes them not as thick and not taste as good (more bland). 
  • Serving Suggestions : Serve this cheese ball with an assortment of dipping options like red pepper slices, green pepper slices, cucumber, carrot sticks, celery sticks, or the most popular option is with an assortment of crackers. We love Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Club Crackers, Ritz Crackers, gluten-free nut crackers, or try some slices of baguette bread or pita chips. Nana bread is another great option as well. 
  • Proper Storage : The turkey cheese ball should not be left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. It’s best served immediately after decorating it as the pretzels will begin to soften. If there are leftovers, store the cheeseball leftovers in an airtight container, with the decorations removed, for up to 3-4 days. The bacon on the outside will begin to soften the longer it sits in the fridge. 
A appetizer on a plate with pretzels around it.
A cheeseball with pretzels in it and a head to make it look like a turkey.

More Thanksgiving Recipes

Try These Other Cheese Ball Recipes

A cheeseball with pretzels in it and a head to make it look like a turkey.
Together As Family Logo

Turkey Cheese Ball


Author Jessica – Together as Family
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12
Turkey Cheese Ball is such a fun addition for your Thanksgiving day celebrations. An easy cheese ball that's made to look like a turkey complete with pretzel 'feathers' and a turkey head with a candy corn beak. Serve with your favorite crackers for a fun and festive appetizer.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 bars (8 oz each) cream cheese room temperature
  • cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 1 packet (1 oz) ranch seasoning mix
  • 6 strips bacon (cooked to crispy, chopped)

Turkey Decorations

  • 6 strips bacon (cooked to crispy, chopped)
  • 15 pretzel sticks
  • 5 pretzel twists
  • 6 pecan halves
  • edible eyeballs
  • candy corn (for the beak)

Instructions

  • Into a large bowl, add the cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, parsley, and ranch seasoning packet. Use an electric mixer to beat until everything is well combined and creamy.
    * You can also mix it with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon if wanted, but it mixes much more thoroughly when using a hand mixer. 
    2 bars (8 oz each) cream cheese, 1½ cups shredded medium cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1 packet (1 oz) ranch seasoning mix
  • Stir the bacon into the cream cheese mixture until combined.
    6 strips bacon
  • Take a golf ball sized amount of the cheese ball mixture and roll it into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for later.
  • Place a large piece of plastic wrap onto a cutting board or the countertop. Dump the cheeseball mixture onto the middle of the plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to mold and shape the cheese ball mixture into a ball. Wrap the plastic wrap all around the cheeseball and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours (along with the golf ball sized cheese ball).
  • Once chilled, let's decorate the turkey! First, unwrap the cheeseball and the head that was set aside from earlier. Roll each one in the bacon pieces making sure to gently press the bacon into the cheeseball to help it adhere and secure the toppings.
    * The eyes and beak/nose adhere better to the head if you don't coat the front of the head in the bacon pieces. Leave it as just the cheeseball.
    6 strips bacon
  • Place the larger cheese ball onto a serving plate or platter. Stick two rows of pretzel sticks in the back of the turkey. Continue with another row of pretzel twists (in front of the pretzel sticks) and then a row of halved pecans (in front of the pretzel twists). This creates the turkey tail feathers. 
    6 pecan halves, 5 pretzel twists, 15 pretzel sticks
  •  Push 2-3 pretzel sticks halfway into the head (the smaller cheeseball) and insert it towards the front of the turkey's body. Use the candy eyeballs for the eyes and then the piece of candy corn for the beak. 
    edible eyeballs, candy corn
  • Surround the turkey cheeseball with all your favorite crackers and enjoy!

Notes

Bacon : You can also use real bacon bits. You will need about 1 cup to 1.5 cups of real bacon bits. 
Tip: The pretzels will get soggy after a couple hours so I highly recommend not decorating the cheeseball as the ‘turkey’ until right before serving. The cheese ball itself, the small head and the larger cheeseball, can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge 1-2 days ahead of when you need it. Wait to decorate it until right before serving time.
Use Full-Fat Dairy Products : For the best taste and texture I highly recommend using full-fat cream cheese and full-fat sour cream. The reduced-fat or lite versions have added water into them which makes them not as thick and not taste as good (more bland). 
Serving Suggestions : Serve this cheese ball with an assortment of dipping options like red pepper slices, green pepper slices, cucumber, carrot sticks, celery sticks, or the most popular option is with an assortment of crackers. We love Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Club Crackers, Ritz Crackers, gluten-free nut crackers, or try some slices of baguette bread or pita chips. Nana bread is another great option as well. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 365mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 0.01g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 715IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

I’d love to see it! You can share it with me on @togetherasfamilyblog and follow on Pinterest @together-as-family-blog-recipes or Facebook @togetherasfamilyblog for more!

Did you love this recipe?

Make sure to comment below so we can chat about it! Or follow on your favorite social network for even more family recipes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating