Come Dasher, and Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen… and make the most famous reindeer of all cheese balls! (hehe!)

These little cheeseballs are super party friendly, and easy to make. They are salty, nutty, and super festive. Plus, you can make them ahead of time and just add the faces and antlers.

My teachers making the appetizer!

(I actually created this recipe as a way for all my elementary school staff to do something fun, so make sure you check out the photos of what my staff did, including their variation of two reindeer… and of course, you can get creative and just make one ball if in a rush.)

And when you add the very last little red M&M nose, some may even say that your appetizer glows! 😉

Enjoy your holiday!


  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp ranch seasoning mix (1/2 packet)
  • 1 cups pecans, finely ground
  • mini m&ms
  • mini pretzels (wheels best)


Mix cream cheese, cheddar & ranch seasoning. (If too firm to stir, can use a mixer with a paddle attachment or microwave for no more than 30 seconds.)

(Note- If time allows, cool cheese mixture for 30 minutes- 2 hours, (or even overnight.) This will allow the balls to firm up before rolling, but I made my first batch without cooling and you just have to be gentle.)

Use the food processor to grind the pecans. (You can pound them, but the processor makes it look more reindeer hair.) Lay out the finely ground pecans on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Double batch here

Divide mixture into 9-11 balls. (If it’s not an odd number, you an snack on one!) Roll each ball in the pecan pieces.

(If needing to make ahead, you can refrigerate before or after the pecan step. Do not add antlers or m&ms the night ahead… They look like Ewoks if you do!)

To make the face, each peanut-crusted ball will need 2 m&m eyes and 1 nose. (Don’t forget to make Rudolph have the only red nose!)

Break the pretzel wheels in half, and additional breaks needed to make each pretzel look like an antler. (use mini-pretzels if you can’t find wheels.)

Serve chilled with extra pretzels or crackers.

(Alternative option for the eyes and nose: olive slices and one pimento.)

And lastly… Then one foggy Christmas Party, Santa came to say,
“Rudolph, with your cheese ball so bright,
Won’t you guide my party tonight?”

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