Be a winner on Super Bowl Sunday with this festive, easy and delicious Touchdown Pepperoni Cheese Ball
The Touchdown Pepperoni Cheese Ball features a medley of popular pizza flavors including mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, olives, jalapeños, onion, garlic, crushed red peppers, oregano and pepperoni.
FARGO — My favorite part of Super Bowl Sunday is planning – and eating – the food, and this week I have a fun and easy recipe to add flair and flavor to your Super Bowl spread. Inspired by pizza (another Super Bowl party food favorite), this Touchdown Pepperoni Cheese Ball features a medley of popular pizza flavors including mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, olives, jalapeños, onion, garlic, crushed red peppers, oregano and pepperoni.
I use two blocks of cream cheese as the base for this cheese ball, and it is important that they are softened to room temperature before mixing the ingredients together. You can use your microwave on short bursts to do this or leave the opened packages on the counter for 30 minutes.
Once softened, I start by combining the cream cheese with shredded mozzarella and finely grated Parmesan cheese. You don’t need to buy expensive cheese for this recipe, Kraft Parmesan cheese and pre-shredded mozzarella will work fine. I use my stand mixer with the paddle attachment to make the dip, and you could also use a handheld mixer or a wooden spoon and some good old-fashioned elbow grease. It’s up to you.
To shape the football, I place the cheese mixture on a serving platter or party board and use my hands to press the cheese into an oval shape. If you think you might be a little messy in this step, you can form the football on a clean work surface and then transfer it onto the platter, but the ball will be surrounded by crackers so it doesn’t really matter.
Once shaped, I cover the entire surface of the ball with slices of pepperoni, working from the bottom up in a single layer, with the pieces slightly overlapping one another. To finish the football, I cut a piece of provolone cheese into strips to form the laces across the top of the ball, and you could also use Monterey and Pepper Jack or your favorite semi-hard cheese.
When the football is complete, I place a layer of plastic wrap snuggly around the ball and refrigerate it for at least two hours. You can prepare this cheese ball up to two days in advance and refrigerate it until half an hour before serving.
This is a versatile recipe that can be altered to suit your taste and budget. To keep it simple, I use green olives stuffed with jalapeños so that I don’t have to buy two different ingredients. If you don’t have fresh garlic and green onions on hand, you could use a teaspoon of garlic powder and any onion you like.
For the pepperoni, I use regular, standard sized slices but you could also use large or mini slices as desired, or even other meats like Italian salami, soppressata and capocollo. You could also scrap the pepperoni entirely and coat the outside with toasted nuts. Hearty crackers like Wheat Thins and pita chips are perfect partners for this party dip, and crostini or good, crusty bread also work well.
No matter the outcome of the game, you can be a winner on Super Bowl Sunday with this festive, easy and delicious Touchdown Pepperoni Cheese Ball.
Touchdown Pepperoni Cheese Ball
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 scallions, finely chopped (green and white parts)
1/3 cup green olives stuffed with jalapeno or pimento, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
1 cup pepperoni slices (can use regular, low-fat or turkey)
Provolone cheese, cut into thin strips for football decoration
Firm crackers for serving, like Wheat Thins or pita chips
Place the cream cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Use a handheld or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) to beat the cheeses on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the scallions, olives, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and pepper and beat again on medium for 1 minute. Taste and add kosher salt as desired.
Turn the mixture out onto a clean surface and use your hands to mold it into a football shape. Transfer to a serving plate. Starting at the bottom, place the pepperoni slices onto the cheese in a single layer, slightly overlapping one another. Press gently with your hands as you work, to get the pepperoni to adhere.
When fully coated, place one long strip of provolone cheese horizontally across the top of the football, and then place 4 to 5 smaller pieces over that strip, lace-style. Cover the ball well with a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
Let the cheese ball sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with firm crackers or your favorite hearty chips, veggies, etc.
Recipe Time Capsule:
This week in...
- 2022: Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
- 2021: Penne alla Vodka
- 2020: Strawberries & Cream Scones
- 2019: Savory Sicilian Palmiers
- 2018: How to Make Water
- 2017: Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin Roast
- 2016: Seared Sea Scallops with Basil Pesto Cream Sauce
- 2015: Blackened Tilapia with Red Onion Caper Vinaigrette
- 2014: Clipper Chipper Cookies
- 2013: Flourless Chocolate Torte