Why do cheese balls always have to be savory? This chocolate chip dessert cheese ball has been a hit in our family for years and is easy to make up to a week before you need it. The blend of cream cheese, vanilla, chocolate chips and pecans can be adjusted with your favorite treats too–it’s a delicious way to serve a crowd!
Everybody loves a good cheese ball–stuff it with chipped beef, green onions and who knows what else and you have a classic appetizer that is as familiar as it is delicious. But do you ever think about them for dessert?
There are about a million reasons to love the idea of a dessert cheese ball–for me it’s so simple to make way ahead…like a week ahead if you need to. Leave it wrapped in the fridge and it will be just fine when you’re ready to serve it.
Taking the pressure off yourself to create something on a moment’s notice is sometimes all you need from a recipe, I’m tellin’ ya.
Tips for the best chocolate chip dessert cheese ball
-Use a good cream cheese, of course. Anytime you are making a recipe that only has a few ingredients each one needs to be its best. You can certainly use a Greek yogurt based cream cheese or a reduced fat version if you choose to but of course I’m going to tell you that full fat is best.
-Don’t skip the brown sugar. The depth of flavor it gives is really important.
-Use real butter–not stuff in a tub and not margarine. Neither of those are even butter at all and if you use something in a tub, it won’t firm up as the dessert cheese ball chills.
-Mini chocolate chips are essential to keep you from getting massive mouthfuls of chocolate or making it hard to dip. Use the little guys.
-Feel free to toast the pecans you roll your dessert cheese ball in if you’d like to. That will deepen their flavor.
Variations for an even more delicious dessert cheese ball
You can go totally crazy with this and add just about anything you want without hurting this recipe. Simply skip the chocolate chips and swap in your favorite finely chopped candies, fruit or flavors.
Berries and Cream: Swirl in a few tablespoons of whole fruit jam, cranberry sauce or preserves (don’t mix it all the way in, just swirl it) roll it in nuts or leave it plain and serve it with pretzels or sugar cookies.
Pineapple: Swap in well drained chopped pineapple chunks and a little natural instant vanilla pudding mix. Serve it with graham crackers.
Birthday Cake: Add in some dry cake mix to your cream cheese (sounds nuts to me too) and roll the outside in sprinkles (I’d say use natural ones because of the color…but if that’s your jam…here’s a recipe.)
Peanut butter: Mix some in to the cream cheese, toss in some chopped peanut butter cups or salted caramel and roll it in peanuts.
Oreo/Cookies and Cream: Throw in a combination of chocolate cookies and chocolate chips, and roll the outside in crushed cookies.
So you get the idea. Double this dessert cheese ball, triple it–whatever you need. It will feed 6 or 60 and works as an appetizer or an actual dessert and it will be gone every single time you make it.
Chocolate Chip and Pecan Dessert Cheese Ball
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), not tub butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup miniature semi sweet chocolate chips
- graham crackers, fruit or cookies for dipping
For rolling the cheese ball:
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup miniature semi sweet chocolate chips
- In a bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat with a mixer until smooth and the sugar is mostly dissolved. About 4 minutes.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Pile the mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap. Roll or shape gently with your hands to make a circle. Store in the fridge for at least 24 hours or up to a week.
- When you are ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and place the remaining chocolate chips and pecans on a plate. Roll the ball in them until covered or use your hands to add pieces as needed to fill holes.
- Serve with graham crackers, fruit or your favorite vanilla cookies.