Need a quick and easy appetizer for your next family and friends get together? Cheese balls are always a hit, and this one will be ready to serve in no time. You can even make it a day or two ahead of time.

With the November 2014 issue of Our State magazine focusing on music, let me share my music story with you. Most of my working life was spent as a local radio announcer. I’ve always loved broadcasting, and I could share lots of stories with you, but what has that got to do with this recipe?

During my last couple of years on-the-air, I had the pleasure of meeting one of our listeners that everyone at the station loved dearly. Everyone called her “Mama Ruth.” Several of the full time employees at the station were already favorites of Mama Ruth’s. When I came along, she added me to the bunch, and I will forever be grateful for her friendship.

On your birthday, Mama Ruth would bring in a great big cake, the one you told her you liked, along with cookies, crackers, and a chicken cheese ball. She liked us, and we were blessed that she did.

Mama Ruth’s cheese balls were the absolute best in my opinion. She’d bring a box of Ritz crackers along with it, which she says are the best ones to serve. Of course, that cheese ball didn’t last very long once everyone discovered it was in the break room. It was just too good not to enjoy.

I’ve been out of radio for a couple of years now, but I still trade a few emails with Mama Ruth. I asked her recently if she would share her recipe, so I could share it with you. She seemed happy to oblige.

This cheese ball is easy to prepare and all your family and friends will love you for it – Mama Ruth and I promise. So, if you’re ready for a quick treat that’s good for birthdays, holidays and more…let’s get cooking!

What you’ll need to make the dish:

  • 1 5 oz. can of chicken breast, drained and chopped
  • 1 package Hidden Valley seasoning mix
  • 2 8 oz. packs of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cup pecans, chopped

Chicken Cheese Ball Recipe (PDF).


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Mama Ruth’s Chicken Cheese Ball Recipe: You’ll need these ingredients.


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Carefully drain all the liquid out of the can of chicken meat. Scoop the meat out onto a cutting board and chop it very fine. Place the chopped chicken meat, cream cheese, and the seasoning mix into a medium sized mixing bowl. Use a strong wooden spoon and stir the mixture well. You could also do this with a mixer, but why dirty up an appliance that you’ll have to clean afterwards?

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Spoon the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Gather the edges of the wrap up around the mixture and begin to shape it into a ball. Then close up the loose ends firmly around the ball. Place this in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or more to let it firm before adding the pecans.

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Place a large section of waxed or parchment paper on your counter top and spread the chopped pecans in a thin layer on top of the paper. Place the top of the cheese ball down onto the pecans. Roll it around until it’s fully covered, top and bottom, with pecans.


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Once you’ve got it shaped correctly, wrap the completed cheese ball in another layer of plastic wrap and place it back in the refrigerator until ready to serve. See how easy that was?

This chicken cheese ball will keep up to 7 days in the refrigerator, so it’s easy to make this a day or two ahead of time. For best results, let it come to room temperature before serving.


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Enjoy!


Steve Gordon is a writer, recipe tester, and lover of all things Southern. You can read more of his writing and step-by-step recipes at tasteofsouthern.com. Click here to find more of his recipes.


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Erin Reitz is the digital content specialist at Our State.

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