Something was wrong with me as a kid. I mean really wrong with me. I had some bizarre aversion to certain cheese products. I think I mentioned here before that something in my brain thought that the pimentos in pimento cheese were pieces of fish (I really have no explanation for this), therefore I was well into college before ever trying pimento cheese. Obviously, I’ve made serious changes in my life to rectify the situation. And again, with the cheese ball I had this notion that it was just wrong and bad and no. The holiday cheese ball that always came out for parties. I never tried my grandmother’s — who we called Mimi — cheese ball, always sitting there in a perfect globe amongst festively fanned out crackers, that little cheese spreader resting next to the tray.

my grandmothers cheese ball

Again, I was missing out on amazing cheese creations for no reason. Luckily, my dad has a repository of my Mimi’s very 70s-tastic recipes for me to draw from to bring back a little bit of that holiday nostalgia that we all could benefit from. I made him taste it at Christmas dinner this year to verify that it was the same as he remembered, even though he doesn’t like pimentos either … but not because he thinks they are fish, because he is extremely aware that they are vegetable matter.

my grandmother's cheese ball recipe

Mimi’s Cheese Ball


  • 1 large cream cheese
  • 12 oz cheddar cheese
  • 1 jar drained pimentos
  • dash salt/pepper
  • 1 small package pecan pieces


  1. Let the cream cheese soften at room temperature while you grate the cheddar cheese.
  2. Once the cheeses are softened and grated, respectively, combine the cheeses, the drained jar of pimentos, and the salt and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Use a rubber spatula to begin coaxing the cheese into a vaguely ball-like shape once all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour pecan pieces onto a flat plate and use your fingers to get them to be in a single layer on the plate, and use the spatula to drop the cheese ball in the center of the nuts.
  5. Use your hands to coat the ball with the nuts. Sprinkle nuts over the ball, and gently roll it around the plate until the whole thing is covered.
  6. Lightly wrap in saran wrap and put in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes, or for a day or so if making in advance.
  7. Remove about 15 more minutes prior to serving and transfer to a different platter if desired.
  8. Garnish the tray with an assortment of crackers and a cheese spreader for easy dipping.
As you can see below, I got really festive with the cheese this Christmas, and went a little crazy with the cheese-based appetizers, including this cheese tray that I’m really excited to do many times over in the future. But they’re just so fun! In fact, I might still be eating remnants of that tray for dinner, a few days later. But just maybe…
festive cheese plate