Vegan Cheese Ball

This vegan cheese ball recipe is an easy party appetizer made with vegan cream cheese, pecans, green onions, and the perfect blend of seasonings. It’s a quick and easy vegan party food that looks gourmet, but takes minutes to make!

I love making easy vegan party appetizers, like Vegan Queso served with Air Fryer Tortilla Chips, Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, Stuffed Dates, or Cauliflower Wings.

A hand holds a cracker with a bite of vegan cheese ball on it. The cheese ball is behind it with more crackers around it.

I love creamy and savory combined, especially when you add some crunchy toasted pecans into the mix. The combination of flavors and textures in this vegan cheese ball is simply amazing!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Toasting the pecans increases their nutty flavor while adding a bit of a crunch to this dip
  • Green onions add the perfect mild onion flavor and color that makes this cheese ball stand out
  • Cooking sage in butter until crispy makes the flavor and texture amazing!
A cheeseball sits next to crackers and has a wedge cut out of it.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Pecans — You’ll need 3/4 of a cup of pecans. You can find these in the baking section of most grocery stores, but I buy them in bulk during my Vegan Shopping Trips at Costco.
  • Vegan butter — I recommend Earth Balance, Miyoko’s, or homemade vegan butter, but you can substitute tub margarine for this recipe.
  • Fresh sage leaves — Fresh sage is great, but if you don’t have that handy, dried rubbed sage works.
  • Garlic — You’ll need a couple of cloves of garlic.
  • Vegan cream cheese — You can find vegan cream cheese in health food stores or the health food section of many major grocery stores.
  • Vegan Cheese — I prefer Daiya blocks for this recipe because they have a great firm texture. You can use any of their flavors, cheddar, Monterey jack, jalapeño Havarti, or smoked gouda.
  • Green onions — One or two stalks of green onions should give you enough for this recipe.
  • Salt — You can use plain table salt or sea salt.

Ingredient Spotlight

A wooden spoon holds cream cheese in the middle.

What is Vegan Cream Cheese?

Vegan cream cheese can be made from a variety of ingredients, such as cashews or soy. The mixture is usually combined with lemon juice or vinegar to create a creamy but tart mixture, just like regular cream cheese. For cheese balls, I will make homemade vegan cream cheese or use store-bought Tofutti’s, Kite Hill, or Follow Your Heart.

How to Make Vegan Cheese Balls

It’s so easy to make a vegetarian cheese ball recipe:

  1. Toast pecans in the oven.
  2. Cook sage and garlic with vegan butter.
  3. Add the vegan cream cheese, vegan cheese, butter, sage, and garlic in a food processor and pulse it all together.
  4. Wrap it in plastic and place it in the fridge to firm up.
  5. Prepare the topping by chopping toasted nuts and adding remaining chopped green onions.
  6. Press topping ingredients into the chilled cheese ball.
  7. Serve immediately with crackers.

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions:

Step One: Toast Pecans

Toasting the pecans brings out their nutty flavors and adds a bit of crunch to this recipe.

Pecans sit in a white bowl on a white counter.
  1. Place pecans on a prepared pan, spreading them about.
  2. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, until the nuts are toasted.
  3. Watch them closely, as nuts can burn easily.

Step Two: Sautée Herbs and Garlic

  1. Cook fresh sage leaves (or dried sage) in a skillet with melted vegan butter.
  2. Toss and cook the leaves until crispy.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add chopped garlic.
  4. Cook for approximately 1 minute until tender. Remove from heat.

Step Three: Prepare the Cheese Ball

  1. Pulse vegan cream cheese, chopped or shredded vegan cheese, salt, contents from the skillet, and a couple of the toasted nuts in a food processor.
    Ingredients for a vegan cheese ball are in a food processor, waiting to be pulsed.
  2. Use a spatula to push down ingredients and to break up any large chunks. Repeat until the mixture is combined and mostly smooth.
  3. Add 1/3 cup toasted pecans and half of the chopped green onions and pulse again until broken down, leaving bits throughout the mixture.
    A creamy mixture in a food processor bowl. A red rubber spatula is being used to stir the ingredients. There are nuts and herbs added to the mixture as well.
  4. Use a spatula to transfer ingredients from the food processor onto a piece of plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Step Four: Add the Topping

  1. Place the remaining toasted pecans on a chopping board and chop them into fine bits.
  2. Add remaining chopped green onions.
  3. Remove the chilled cheese ball from the fridge, peel off the plastic wrap, and place it on a serving dish.
  4. Use your hands or the back of a spoon to shape it into a ball.
  5. Press the topping into the cheeseball.
  6. Serve with crackers.

Storage Tips

Cover any leftovers in an airtight container or with foil and refrigerate. It will keep in the fridge up to 5 days.

Marly’s Tips

  • Regarding Toppings: I love using toasted pecans combined with chopped green onions. However, you can substitute dried cranberries for a colorful and tasty display.
  • Marbled Cheese Balls. Don’t over process the ingredients. It’s nice to see bits of the pecans and green onions throughout the vegan cheeseball.
  • Firming Things Up. The mixture straight from the food processor is soft. It will firm up as it chills.

Serve the cheeseball immediately with crackers or place back in the fridge to serve later.

A cheese ball has a bite taken out of and lots of crackers around it.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your vegan cheese ball at parties with any of the following:

Frequently-Asked Questions

What can I roll a cheese ball in besides nuts?

Nuts are great to roll cheese balls in, but you have other options. For example, you can roll a cheeseball in dried cranberries, chopped green onions, or seeds, like chopped pumpkin seeds.

How many days ahead can you make a cheese ball?

A cheese ball is perfect party food because you can make it a day or two ahead and pull it out in time for your party. Properly stored, your cheese ball should keep easily for 3 to 4 days and even up to a week.

A cheeseball sits on a plate with crackers around it.

More Vegan Appetizers

If you love this vegan cheese ball, you’ll be itching to try even more vegan appetizers. Here are some favorites:

That’s it for this vegan cheese ball recipe. Enjoy!

A cheese ball has a bite taken out of and lots of crackers around it.

Vegan Cheese Ball

You're gonna love this vegan cheese ball with crispy sage and toasted pecans encrusted with toasted pecans. Because it's dairy-free, it's a cheese ball everyone will love!
5 from 2 votes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 331kcal
Author: Namely Marly

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 15 fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz container vegan cream cheese
  • 7 oz package vegan cheese, chopped or shredded (see note)
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • crackers for serving

Instructions

Toasted Nuts and Seeds

  • Preheat your oven to 300°F/150°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Place pecans on the pan, spreading them about. Bake for approximately 5 minutes until the nuts are toasted. Do not overbake, as nuts can burn easily.

Sauté Herbs and Garlic

  • Place the butter in a skillet over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to sizzle, add the fresh sage leaves (or dried sage). Toss the herbs in the melted butter to combine and cook until the leaves are crispy.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add chopped garlic. Cook for approximately 1 minute until tender. Remove from heat.

Make the Cheeseball

  • Place the vegan cream cheese, vegan cheese, salt, contents from the skillet, and a few of the toasted pecans in a food processor bowl. Pulse several times. Then use a spatula to push down ingredients from the side of the bowl and to break up any large chunks. Pulse several times again. Repeat until the mixture is combined and mostly smooth.
  • Add ⅓ cup toasted pecans and half of the chopped green onions and pulse again until broken down, but leaving bits throughout the cheeseball.
  • Tear off a piece of plastic wrap and place it on the counter. Use a spatula to transfer ingredients from the food processor onto the plastic wrap. It's very soft at this point. Wrap the plastic wrap up tight and place it in a small bowl. Place in the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.

Prepare Topping

  • Chop the remaining toasted pecans into fine bits. Add remaining chopped green onions.
  • Remove the plastic wrap from the chilled cheese ball mixture. Transfer it to a serving plate or tray. Use your hands or the back of a spoon to shape it into a ball.
  • Press the topping mixture around the outside of the cheese ball.
  • Serve immediately with crackers. Cover any leftovers in an airtight container or with foil and refrigerate. It will keep in the fridge up to 5 days.

Recommended Equipment

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Notes

I use whatever Daiya block cheese I can find for this recipe. That could include Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Smoked Gouda, or Jalapeño Havarti.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Cheese Ball
Amount Per Serving
Calories 331 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Sodium 701mg29%
Potassium 47mg1%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 195IU4%
Calcium 54mg5%
Iron 1.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2020.

19 Responses to Vegan Cheese Ball

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNutmeg Nanny Reply

    This looks fabulous! I might not even miss the cheese 😉

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAbby @ The Frosted Vegan Reply

    Ohhh goodness, this looks amazing! I’m still finding that cheese is hard to give up, but this could change my mind!

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyheather @french press Reply

    this recipe has convinced me to give it another try – I’ve tried vegan “cheese” before and was not that impressed, but this looks incredible

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Oh, that’s a lot of pressure Heather. I’ve shared it with lots of people and everyone has loved it so far. I sure hope you will too! 🙂

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRhondda Reply

    I was amazed. This has the rich aroma of smoked gouda, the mouth-feel of real cheese. It tasted grrrreat. I am going to (sshhh!) adapt this recipe three ways (probably herb and shallots for one and nuts for the other) and take it for a Solstice gathering of family and friends. I hope I can find the vegan smoked gouda….

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRhondda

      If you click the Daiya link in the ingredients list above, there is a zip code locator to find a local market that carries it. Marly, what brand of vegan cream cheese did you use for the batch I tasted? I am going to make those Stealth Cheese Balls this weekend 😉

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Rhondda! Thanks for adding that point about the zip code. Great idea. I used Tofutti Cream Cheese. I think it has the best consistency of the ones I’ve tried.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Ooh, love your adaptations! Herb and shallots? Yum! Well, you know, if you can’t find the vegan smoked gouda, you could always add a little smoke sauce to the mixture and just choose whatever variety of block vegan cheese they have at the store. I can find Daiya at Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, and our local whole food grocery store which is now called Natural Grocers. Happy Winter Solstice!!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRhondda

      Hunh. Neither HyVee nor PriceChopper came up in the zip code search. I did see WholeFoods in OPKS but that’s quite far…I am going to cross my fingers and try the HyVee in Mission.

      What I can’t understand is why Nature’s Own in midtown doesn’t have it; you’d think they would…Tsk tsk.

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyThalia @ butter and brioche Reply

    This vegan cheese ball looks incredibly delicious! I have never made a cheese ball but after seeing this post, it is definitely something I need to make for the holidays.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      That’s awesome Thalia! I hope you love it as much as we do. We having people over tonight and I’m making it…again! 🙂

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKay Reply

    I really miss cream cheese, and cheese balls, but don’t like the taste of any vegan cream cheeses, do you think this would change my mind?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Kay. It’s impossible to say for sure, but all I CAN say is that I shared this with friends and they all loved it. Raved about it. I even have one friend who is a cheese enthusiast who said she wasn’t so fond of vegan cheese either…and she loved it. Will you let me know if you give it a try? I really recommend The Tofutti Brand Cream Cheese. It seems to be the best one for flavor and consistency.

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyshannon Reply

    Has anyone made this ahead and then frozen? For travel purposes? I really want to make it for Christmas!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Shannon. I haven’t frozen this cheese ball before, but what I’m wondering is if you could pack the ingredients in one of those bags that keeps things cool (and throw in an ice pack or two) and then you could make it there. I have done that with vegan cheeses before and it’s been fine for travel. Let me know how it goes!! 🙂

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKaren Reply

    I keep reading the recipe over and over and can’t figure out when the toasted seeds and nuts are incorporated. Also do you use the leftover sage oil in the recipe?

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Karen – thanks so much for this feedback. I adapted the instructions to make things more clear. ♡

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarcel Heidt Reply

    Made this for Thanksgiving and it was a hit with everyone. We’ll be making this a lot and it’ll be great to bring to gatherings. Found it on the Veganricha Instagram account, you should post on your account because more people should know about this secret.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Marcel! I’m so glad you liked this vegan cheese ball recipe! I will definitely share on IG soon!

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