This Turkey Cheese Ball is an exciting way to serve your company a finger-licking Thanksgiving appetizer or dessert. Made with a sweet cream cheese base and decorated to the nines to look like an adorable little turkey bird, this is a favorite recipe your friends and family will want for years to come.
Reasons You’ll Love This Recipe
Cheesy Turkey – Literally and figuratively! The base for this cheese ball is so rich, sweet, and creamy it’ll be hard to have just “one more bite”
For the “Gram” – This is the type of appetizer that makes people wait before digging in, because you just HAVE to take a picture.
Go All Out! – If you’re the party host who loves to go all out for any occasion, this is the perfect recipe for you.
Get Dip Crazy – The great thing about this recipe is you can have as many sides as you can think of! Fruit, crackers, pretzels, toasted bread, graham crackers, nila wafers, cookies, or quite literally anything you can think of.
Gobble Gobble – Let’s just say this Thanksgiving turkey cheese ball recipe does not last long on the Thanksgiving table.
Keep those hungry hands out of the kitchen, and distract your Thanksgiving guests with this delicious cheese ball turkey for an appetizer! This easy turkey cheese ball is not only the cutest thing you’ll ever see, but it tastes incredible, and can be served with so many different “dippers.”
Ingredients and Substitutions
Let’s discuss how to make this recipe, what you’ll need, go over some expert tips and answer some FAQs. If you *just* want the recipe itself, scroll down. The full printable recipe itself, with exact measurements and instructions, is found at the bottom of this page.
- Cream Cheese – Make sure this is softened. You’ll have better luck working with the package cream cheese instead of the tub.
- Brown Sugar – This will be combined with the cream cheese mixture. I wouldn’t recommend substituting a different kind of sugar because it could affect the consistency of the cheese ball.
- Chopped Pecans – If you’re not a fan of pecans, walnuts work as well. Or, you can skip it if you have a guest with allergies, and substitute it for more chocolate chips, or a different flavor of chocolate chips.
- Semi-Sweet Baking Chips – This will be for the outside of the cute turkey cheeseball to resemble the brown feathers of a turkey. You can use any kind of chopped baking chocolate, or Hershey’s chocolate if you prefer. Brown M&M’s could work as well.
- Candy Corn – This will just be used for the nose, the rest of the bag is for you to snack on!
- Candy Eyes – You can buy these in packs at the grocery store or at most craft stores
- Candy Melts – You can either buy red, orange, and yellow candy melts, or buy white chocolate melts and add red, orange, and yellow gel food coloring. If using food coloring, make sure you use the gel.
How To Make A Turkey Cheeseball
- Start with a large bowl and beat together the softened cream cheese, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with a hand or stand mixer. Don’t over mix, or the cheese ball will not hold its shape.
- Next, fold in ½ a cup of chopped pecans and ½ a cup of chocolate chips and stir cream cheese until combined.
- Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and scrape the sides of the bowl so the cheese ball mixture falls onto the center of the plastic wrap. Round out the mixture so it looks like a large ball or mound, then cover it with the plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Once you’re ready to assemble the turkey body, grab a serving tray or serving plate and pour the remaining chocolate chips and pecan halves onto a plate and mix them around a bit.
- Next, carefully roll the cheese ball in the chocolate and pecans to completely cover it. Press pecan pieces and chocolate into the cheese ball with your hands or a utensil. Keep this in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble.
- Start to prepare the turkey tail feathers. Melt the candy melts in separate bowls according to the packaging. I recommend using paper plates or bowls to make cleaning up easier.
- Line a baking sheet or flat surface with parchment paper and add teaspoons of melted chocolate melts. Form a “leaf” shape with the back of a spoon. Make as many that will fit on your parchment paper, then put them in the fridge so the chocolate cools.
- Once hardened, add your turkey feathers to the back of the cheese ball, and melt a few chocolates so you can attach the eyes and the nose for the face of the turkey. (I recommend using kitchen tweezers to do this!) Keep this in the fridge until you’re ready to serve, then pair with your favorite dippers and enjoy!
Recipe Tips and Advice
Storage – If this dip has sat out at room temperature for a few hours, I don’t recommend saving it for leftovers the next day. Use your best judgment when saving the leftovers for this recipe.
Materials – For this recipe you’ll want to have some mixing bowls, a hand or stand electric mixer, a rubber spatula, a serving tray and plastic wrap on hand. Highly recommend assembling this cheese ball on the tray that you plan to serve it on because this cheeseball is difficult to move.
Making Ahead – If you want to make this a day or two before you plan to serve it, just keep the cheese ball wrapped in the plastic wrap in the fridge separate from the chocolate, pecans and candy feathers. Moments before you’re ready to serve add your decorations.
Easy Clean Up – I always use paper plates and plastic spoons when working with candy melts because they’re much easier to toss than clean up.
Serve It Up – I recommend that you assemble the turkey ball on the tray or plate that you plan to serve it on because it’s not easy to move once made.
This could be because you over mixed the cream cheese mixture, you didn’t allow it to cool for at least 2 hours before serving, or it sat out before you got the chance to assemble it.
I wouldn’t recommend allowing this cheese spread to sit out for longer than 2-3 hours. If it has, it might be wise to throw out the rest. I wouldn’t try to save it.
What To Serve With A Cheese Ball
Serve this dip with sliced apples, Nilla wafers, pretzels, strawberries, toasted bread, crackers, Biscoff cookies or anything you heart desires.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
If you’re looking for more fun and easy dessert recipes for your Thanksgiving feast to impress your guests, look no further than right here!
- Pumpkin Pie With Graham Cracker Crust
- Apple Slab Pie
- Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes
- Pumpkin Roll
- Pecan Pie Bars
- Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats
- Libbys Pumpkin Pie
- Pecan Pie Without Corn Syrup
Turkey Cheese Ball
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans separated
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 candy corn
- 2 candy eyes
- 1 plain red M&M
- Candy Melts in Red, Orange and Yellow about 1/2 cup of wafers prior to melting, of each color
- 1 – 2 tablespoons chocolate chips to be melted and attached the turkey's face
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened cream cheese and softened butter. Next, beat in brown sugar, vanilla and ½ a cup of chopped pecans along with ½ a cup of semi-sweet chocolates until just combined. Do not overbeat.
- Using a spatula, scrape the cheese ball mixture into a mound onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Place the cheese ball into the refrigerator for at least two hours, or overnight if preparing the day before.
- While the cheese ball is chilling, make the candy melt feathers. Melt orange, red and yellow candy melt wafers in separate bowls according to the package instructions.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add a small dollop of melted chocolate and form a leaf shape using a spoon. I recommend making as many as will fit on your baking sheet (but at least 12-15). Place the feathers on the baking sheet in the refrigerator to harden.
- Once the cheese ball has completely set, take it out of the refrigerator and mix together the remaining cup of semi-sweet chocolates and pecans and pour them out on a tray or plate. Then carefully roll the cheese ball in the chocolates/ pecans and cover all over. You might need to use your hands to pack extra on and fill in the sparse areas.
- Now press in the feathers to the back third of the cheese ball to look like turkey feathers.
- Melt a few semi-sweet chocolates in the microwave to attach the nose, eyes and gobbler to the front of the cheese ball to create a face! I recommend that you use kitchen tweezers to dip the facial pieces into the melted chocolate and to attach them to the cheese ball since they are so small!
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.