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Turkey Cheese Ball Recipe

Turkey Cheese Ball Recipe

While the real bird is roasting, you can present your guests with this tasty Thanksgiving turkey. It also makes for a fun centerpiece. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 45 min. + chilling YIELD:24 servings


  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 6 ounces deli smoked turkey, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • Brown, orange and yellow paste food coloring
  • 6 large oval crackers
  • 1 large sweet red pepper
  • 1 small yellow summer squash
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • Assorted crackers


  • 1. In a small bowl, beat the first six ingredients until combined. Shape into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
  • 2. In another small bowl, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth. Divide among four small bowls. With food coloring, tint one bowl brown, one dark orange and one light orange (using yellow and orange); leave one bowl plain.
  • 3. Transfer each mixture to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of each bag.
  • 4. For turkey tail feathers, decorate the top halves of large oval crackers with tinted cream cheese.
  • 5. Using the red pepper, form the turkey head, neck and wattle. For beak, cut a small triangle from summer squash; attach with cream cheese. Add eyes, using brown and plain cream cheese. Insert pecan halves and decorated crackers into cheese ball. Serve with assorted crackers. Yield: 1 cheese ball (3 cups).

Nutritional Facts

2 tablespoons (calculated without decorati: 72 calories, 5g fat (4g saturated fat), 21mg cholesterol, 168mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (1g sugars, trace fiber), 5g protein

Reviews for Turkey Cheese Ball

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Reviewed Dec. 12, 2015

"This was so good! It makes a nice size cheese ball and there wasn't a thing left including the eyeball! I also let it sit overnight and I do believe it is the best way to do this adorable cheese ball."

Reviewed Nov. 2, 2014

"So creative but doable"

Reviewed Feb. 18, 2014

"My family looks forward to this "turkey" every thanksgiving! Easy, yummy and a cute display for the holiday table."

Reviewed Nov. 29, 2013

"Made this cheese ball for Thanksgiving and it was awesome! I had read to let it sit over night and I'm SOOO glad I did. It tastes completely different!! The flavors really come out and it tastes much more savory. Loved how easy it was to make! I didn't add the smoked turkey and had a little less Worchestershire and was perfect for me."

Reviewed Nov. 11, 2013

"When I worked as the cooking class instructor at an adult residential care facility, we made this cheese ball as one of the resident's cooking projects. Although it took a little time to assemble and decorate, it was a fun project that turned out really cute - and the cheese ball was delicious."

Reviewed Nov. 25, 2012

"I'm afraid I managed to fail the presentation of this dish. When I used the cream cheese decoration on the 'feather' crackers, I came out with some really terrible colors and a really big mess. BUT, the actual cheese ball was delicious. I'll make this recipe again, but I think next time I'll just decorate the rim with an assortment of crackers and leave the cheese ball as just a cheese ball. Tasty recipe, I'll be making this again."

Reviewed Dec. 4, 2011

"This was a hit! I used pretzels rather than pecans and the squeeze-type of icing so it was easier for the kids to use...also used cheese for the orange. Decorated with green icing leaves around the tray."

Reviewed Dec. 3, 2011

"Couldn't find the townhouse bistro crackers, or any other large oval cracker so I "glued" two oval townhouse crackers together with the cream cheese mixture. It worked, but the larger oval crackers would have been much better."

Reviewed Nov. 18, 2011

"This has become a family favorite during the holidays. One friend comes over just for this cheese ball. Last year, a picture of this cheese ball made it into our family calendar!"

Reviewed Nov. 17, 2011

"Like other reviews have stated..I was not able to find the oval shaped crackers used in this recipe. Plus, crackers get soggy if you assemble it too far in advance. I made and took to relatives house for Thanksgiving Dinner, although cute, it was falling apart pretty quick because of soggy crackers."

Reviewed Nov. 10, 2011

"very fun to make with kids! We do a cheeseball every year anyway, so this was fun twist on an old tradition for us. You can really use any cheese ball recipe you have and decorate as shown. the only thing was it was hard to find those big oval crackers. I did eventually find them in our supermarket's gourmet section."

Reviewed Oct. 26, 2011

"I would like to know what kind of crackers do you find that big?"

Reviewed Oct. 22, 2011

"My family loved it! It amazed even the harshest critic, making it worth the hassle. The crackers used are hard to find and if decorated and assembled too early the tail feathers get soggy and fall apart."

Reviewed Jul. 31, 2011

"Geez. . . I can't wait to make this for Thanksgiving with our grand kids. They love crafts and will absolutely love to make this turkey to share with everyone.

I have to say 'Thanks so much' to all of you for the recipes you have tested and given to the rest of us.
You have made my life a heck of a lot easier. I receive nice compliments and tell everyone where I found my recipes "Taste of Home.' Thanks again for making my cooking fun and creative too. Love your magazine also.

Reviewed Dec. 20, 2010

"Looked great but was quick to make crackers instructions said, mixed 9 ozs. cream cheese to decorate 6 crackers...way to much leftover. Nothing spectacular in taste...pretty mundane. Does not kept well past the inital half hour. NOT a keeper for me!"

Reviewed Dec. 4, 2010

"My Son is a teacher, I had made the monster cheese ball for Halloween and made the turkey for his Teachers luncheon, everyone loved them both. I added Armour Dried Beef chopped up into the cheese ball and it was great."

Reviewed Nov. 26, 2010

"very good... i used yellow cream cheese for the beak instead of squash. its a lot easier and you dont have to worry about it falling off"

Reviewed Nov. 19, 2010

"I need help. To make the head do you cut two identical pieces and put together with toothpick if not explain how this cut.

Thank You"

Reviewed Nov. 2, 2010

"This was so cute as an appetizer. Just a note to anyone making it. Attach the feathers to the cheeseball at the very last minute before serving. Otherwise, they do get soggy. I would definately make this again."

Reviewed Dec. 28, 2009

"DELICIOUS! Everyone raved on how cute it was!"

Reviewed Dec. 23, 2009

"A big hit. This si the first time the kids have helped to cook. Because of tree nut allergies we replaced the pecans with pretzel twists. I broke apart into arcs and stuffed into the cheese ball."

Reviewed Dec. 13, 2009

"Everybody loved this for it's looks and it's taste and it was easy to make. Use your imagination. We used a row of large pretzels , with a row of small pretzels in place of the pecans and we cut a piece of yellow pepper for the beak in place of the squash. We also used Easy Cheese in a can to decorate the crackers. Be sure to try and find the longest skinny red pepper you can for the neck, it looks better that way. This cheese ball will become a tradition on our Thanksgiving table, makes a great center piece!"

Reviewed Dec. 2, 2009

"Although it took a couple hours to actually make, it was well worth it! It was the centerpiece for our Thanksgiving dinner! For the actual cheese ball: I used real cream cheese (not reduced fat) and sharp cheddar, omitted the deli smoked turkey & onions, and added only 2 tsp Worcestershire, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 1/2 pkg of Ranch DRESSING mix (not the dip. only use half or it will be too salty). For the "feathers" I didn't need to add milk, I just softened in microwave for about 20 secs. before adding food coloring. My colors weren't as dark as ones in photo, more pastel. But it still looked fabulous! Luckily, I found the Townhouse Bistro Crackers after searching at 3 different groceries stores (Gerbes is where I found it). I had so much fun making this... it was definitely a hit! I served with Holiday Ritz Crackers shaped like snowflakes. And I surrounded the turkey with yellow, orange, and green leaves made out of cream cheese & powdered sugar in a press. It turned out beautiful! Wish there was somewhere to upload a photo! :)"

Reviewed Nov. 30, 2009

"I skipped a few steps so my niece (5-year-old) could help with dinner. I gave her icing pens for the crackers and we bought store-made cheese balls to save time and to stay out of Mom's kitchen! She was so proud, she stood guard and wouldn't let anyone touch it!"

Reviewed Nov. 24, 2009

"I made this last year for Christmas and it was a hit. I dont think anybody wanted to eat it just look at it. I didnt use the bell pepper for the neck and head. I molded cream cheese into the shape of a neck and head and then colored more cream cheese and used my cake decorating tips to decorate it."

Reviewed Nov. 19, 2009

"I made this and nobody wanted to eat it because it was so cute. Eventually it was eaten but only after everybody took pictures of it."

Reviewed Nov. 2, 2009

"This was so easy to make as so delicious"

Reviewed Oct. 15, 2009

"This was a huge hit! It is fun and easy to make and tastes wonderful! It has become a family tradition."

Reviewed Mar. 30, 2009

"I replaced the cheese ball with butter and used the same decorating tips to create a butter turkey for my Thanksgiving meal. He was adorable and the highlight of my Thanksgiving table."

Reviewed Dec. 26, 2008

"Lovin' this cheeseball. Forgot to get a bell pepper and squash for the turkey's face, so I just got another cracker and made a face on it. It's REALLY good..."

Reviewed Nov. 30, 2008

"I made this turkey cheese ball for an Thanksgiving appetizer with assorted crackers. You can refrigerate the cheese ball mixture overnight and assemble the next day. I think the flavor is better this way. And it is adorable!"

Reviewed Nov. 23, 2008

"Maybe use a tooth pick?"

Reviewed Nov. 22, 2008

" Hi, we put a toothpick inside of the red pepper to make it stand up and also to conect the nose.

Good luck! Happy Thanksgiving!!!Smile

Reviewed Nov. 10, 2008

"How do you get the red pepper to stand up for a neck, and also, how does the cream cheese adhere to the pepper for eyes and nose?"

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