A pineapple cheese ball is a spherical ball of cream cheese made with pineapple and other flavorings. Usually served with crackers, cheese balls are a kind of spread often used in party platters and snack trays for gatherings and can also be served as appetizers. Pineapple cheese balls offer a sweeter flavor than many other cheese ball alternatives.
Easy to make, there is very little variation in pineapple cheese ball recipes. Crushed canned pineapple is used, either unsweetened or sweetened. It is extremely important the pineapple is well drained because too much liquid will make the cheese ball runny and not firm enough to shape.
Plain cream cheese, green bell peppers, onions, and seasoned salt are also usually included. A combination of red and green bell peppers may be used instead, and onions can be yellow or green. If yellow onions are used they may be chopped or grated, whereas green onions are always chopped.
To prepare the pineapple cheese ball, the cream cheese is first softened. Softening cream cheese allows the cheese to easily mix with other ingredients and can be done simply by leaving it on a counter to warm to near room temperature. Unlike butter, which can be softened in a microwave, microwaving cream cheese is not suggested.
After the cream cheese is softened, all the ingredients are beaten or mixed together in a bowl. Then, the mixture is shaped into a sphere. If the mixture seems too soft to properly shape, it should be chilled for half and hour or an hour to help firm it enough to shape into the desired ball. The completed cheese ball is then refrigerated overnight or, at minimum, for eight hours.
Finely chopped nuts are also included in these cheese balls. Most often pecans are used, but walnuts may be used instead. Depending on the version, some nuts may be included inside the cheese ball. Most pineapple cheese ball versions roll the finished ball in the chopped nuts to coat it. This rolling may be done before or after the ball has chilled overnight.
A pineapple cheese ball can be simple or fancy, depending on its presentation. Often a centerpiece for trays of crackers, they can be garnished with sliced pineapple or maraschino cherries. The crackers may also be arranged artistically around the ball or may simply be placed in stacks. If garnishing the ball, the garnish should be added directly before serving.