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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 decorations and additional crackers): 72 calories, 5g fat (4g saturated fat), 21mg cholesterol, 168mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 5g protein.

Reviews for Turkey Cheese Ball

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shortbreadlover User ID: 960739 256583
Reviewed Nov. 9, 2016

"this is a fun center piece for the table plus your guests can enjoy it. i made it with a group of kids and they had so much fun."

patbus User ID: 8021002 239217
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."

stgonly User ID: 7875234 99739
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2014

"So creative but doable"

kcrihfield89 User ID: 5121811 169476
Reviewed Feb. 18, 2014

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

parw455 User ID: 7513380 154998
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."

becky66 User ID: 1915904 169457
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."

shiny0torchic User ID: 6958458 168918
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."

barnsnip User ID: 966001 99738
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."

kmauk User ID: 5520821 99737
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."

chocorich User ID: 2156319 172268
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!"

schatzlein99 User ID: 4597332 153827
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."

gossmarian User ID: 4543190 80781
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."

dianeivie User ID: 3389859 169455
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2011

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

ButterLovingGirl User ID: 2638029 99736
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."

lorettasylvia User ID: 5357358 169944
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.

02Leo1937 User ID: 2611993 153823
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!"

peggy1830 User ID: 1881357 98122
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."

northstar72 User ID: 5634852 209212
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"

Aunt B User ID: 5614866 108200
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"

Mary K T User ID: 5562743 209211
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."

Swthrtlane User ID: 4555827 99735
Reviewed Dec. 28, 2009

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

mkmbrll0496 User ID: 4559617 98121
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."

justhair User ID: 4614996 153822
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!"

wildflowerbyheart User ID: 4640699 209210
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! :)"

lorajean18 User ID: 1392520 169943
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!"

kizzthecook User ID: 4096139 209209
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."

[email protected] User ID: 1698405 80779
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."

stephjamie2008 User ID: 4483299 99734
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2009

"This was so easy to make as so delicious"

Apple26 User ID: 1332436 209208
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."

mgreenmier User ID: 1826966 80728
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."

CherryTree3 User ID: 3543413 76099
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..."

twooftwo User ID: 774457 154997
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!"

mbandboys User ID: 2680134 99733
Reviewed Nov. 23, 2008

"Maybe use a tooth pick?"

xiomis User ID: 3609656 153816
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!!!

egb333 User ID: 1238775 98120
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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