Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer with Horizon Organic

Impress your dinner guests with this adorable Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer. Holiday flavors like cranberries and toasted pecans are mixed with organic dairy for a Thanksgiving cheese ball that looks as good as it tastes.

Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving

We are thrilled to be working with Horizon Organic, who paid us for this post and video. We choose to work with Horizon Organic because we love their products, and believe in their company values.

Turkey Cheese Ball Recipe


In my ongoing pursuit of making cute food easy, I try to come up with a new idea for every holiday. A couple of years ago we went viral with our turkey veggie tray. Last year was the not at all healthy, but super easy, ten minute turkey cake.

So this year, of course, I had to make a Thanksgiving turkey cheese ball!

Turkey Cheese Ball Appetizer Horizon Organic

Cheese ball recipes are pretty limitless. There’s usually a creamy cheese, like cream cheese or goat cheese. This is the cheese “glue” that holds all the other ingredients together.

In this recipe I also used softened butter. Butter adds to the creamy texture, and gives a nice richness to the flavor. I decided to include a little whole milk as well to help make everything easier to mix.

The cheese mixture also typically contains a shredded cheese. In this case I went with cheddar because it goes so well with the dried cranberries and toasted pecans.

How to Make a Turkey Cheese Ball

You can include any variety of fruits or veggies, herbs, nuts, spices, or even meat like bacon. Just make sure it’s all chopped finely to incorporate well into the mix.


As always, we recommend using organic dairy products whenever possible. We love Horizon Organic because of their fundamental belief that organic farming is the only truly sustainable agricultural production system in the world.

Horizon Organic Turkey Cheese Ball Ingredients

If you think about it, anything that is put into a cow’s body goes to the cow’s milk.

With organic dairy, cows must eat a diet of organic food including grass, grains, and feed. That means no toxic or persistent pesticides are used in their feed.

Our family also has a variety of medication allergies. So it’s especially important to us that organic dairy does not allow the cows to receive antibiotics.

Thanksgiving Cheese Ball Turkey

By using organic cheese, milk, and butter, we know just what’s going into our bodies.


First of all, if you forget to let your butter and cream cheese get to room temperature, soften them faster by cutting into cubes. NEVER microwave them! See How to Soften Butter Quickly for more on why.

Cubed Butter Cream Cheese and Milk for Turkey Cheese Ball

Start by mixing softened Horizon Organic Salted Butter, cream cheese, and Horizon Organic Whole Milk in a large bowl.

Butter Cream Cheese and Milk Mixed for Turkey Cheese Ball

Add all your chopped and shredded mix in ingredients: dried cranberries, pecans, parsley, green onions, and Horizon Organic Shredded Cheddar Cheese. I also like to add a little salt to help bring out the flavors.

Ingredients in a Bowl for Turkey Cheese Ball

Mix well until everything is incorporated.

Turkey Cheese Ball Ingredients Mixed Together

Shape the cheese mixture into a small (2.5 inch diameter) ball and a large egg.

Shaping Cheese Mixture for Turkey Cheese Ball

Poke half of a pretzel rod into the ball and refrigerate. This will be the head for your turkey. The first I time I made this turkey cheese ball I wrapped the head in plastic. The second time I realized it’s not in the fridge long enough to need wrapping. You can just stick it on a plate in the fridge.

Making the Turkey Head for a Turkey Cheese Ball

Place the larger cheese ball on your platter or plate, with the wider end at the back. Slip some matchstick carrots under the front on each side for turkey feet.

Building the Body of a Turkey Cheese Ball

Poke pretzel rods and sticks into the back of the turkey, fanned out like tail feathers.

How to Make a Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving

Next place square shaped whole grain crackers into the cheese. Notice how the crackers are point up, and each layer gets shorter toward the front of the turkey cheese ball.

How to Make a Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer

Finally add a row of whole pecans. I like using toasted pecans for extra flavor but raw ones are great too.

Tail Feathers for a Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese Ball

To finish the turkey head, make two little balls of organic cream cheese and press them onto the round cheese ball. Press two olive ends into each ball for the turkey’s eyes. Use another pecan for its beak. Then peel off a strip of red bell pepper and press that in for the turkey wattle. Poke the other end of the pretzel rod down into the front of your larger turkey cheese ball.

Cute Turkey Cheese Ball Tutorial

I suggest mixing your turkey cheese ball at least a couple hours before serving to let the flavors meld together. You can wait to decorate your turkey until just before guests arrive.

You can also make the whole turkey the night before and refrigerate overnight. It’s a little tough to wrap the whole turkey cheese ball in plastic, so I place it in a large bowl and then cover the bowl with plastic.

Turkey Cheese Ball Recipe

Just make sure to pull the turkey out at least 30 minutes before serving so the cheese has time to soften. You can place more crackers and pretzels on the platter, or in bowls next to the cheese ball.


Don’t lose the recipe! Save the turkey cheese ball to Pinterest, then upload a photo to the pin when you make your own. We love seeing your creations!

Turkey Cheese Ball Edible Centerpiece


Here are some more adorable cheese balls that would be great with Horizon Organic dairy products!

Halloween Mummy Cheese Ball

Snowman Cheese Ball for Christmas

Cheese Ball Cauldron


Yield: 20

Turkey Cheese Ball Recipe with Horizon Organic

Turkey Cheese Ball

Impress your dinner guests with this adorable Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer. Holiday flavors like cranberries and toasted pecans are mixed with organic dairy for a Thanksgiving cheese ball that looks as good as it tastes.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


Cheese Ball Ingredients

  • 8 ounces organic cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Horizon Organic Salted Butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Horizon Organic Whole Milk
  • 6 ounces Horizon Organic Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic pecan halves, toasted or raw
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped organic green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic kosher salt

Decorating Ingredients

  • 8 organic pretzel rods
  • 1 organic baby carrot
  • 11 organic pretzel sticks
  • 10 square organic whole grain crackers
  • 8 organic pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon organic cream cheese
  • 2 organic olives, kalamata or black
  • 1 organic red bell pepper


  1. Start by mixing cream cheese, butter, and milk in a large bowl. Butter Cream Cheese and Milk Mixed for Turkey Cheese Ball
  2. Mix in the remaining cheese ball ingredients. Turkey Cheese Ball Ingredients Mixed Together
  3. Form the mixture into two cheese balls. One should be a ball about 2.5 inches in diameter. Use the rest to make a large egg shaped cheese ball. Shaping Cheese Mixture for Turkey Cheese Ball
  4. Place half a pretzel rod (from the decorations) into the small ball and refrigerate it until ready to decorate the head. Making the Turkey Head for a Turkey Cheese Ball
  5. Place your large cheese ball on a platter. Cut the baby carrot into matchsticks and slip three under each side of the small end of your cheese ball. These are the turkey's feet. Building the Body of a Turkey Cheese Ball
  6. Poke the pretzel rods and sticks into the back wider end of the cheese ball. I broke the rods into different lengths to help fan them out like a turkey's tail. How to Make a Turkey Cheese Ball for Thanksgiving
  7. Poke crackers, point side down in front of the pretzels to create two more rows of feathers. How to Make a Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer
  8. Poke pecan halves in front of the crackers for your last row of turkey tail feathers. Make sure to save one pecan for the beak. Tail Feathers for a Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese Ball
  9. Roll the cream cheese for decorating into two balls, slice the ends off of your olives, and use a vegetable peeler to peel a strip from your red pepper.
  10. Pull your turkey head from the fridge and decorate. Press the cream cheese balls toward the top of the head. Press the olive ends into them so they flatten out. Poke a pecan half under the eyes, then press the end of the red pepper strip above the pecan so it hangs to one side. Cute Turkey Cheese Ball Tutorial
  11. You can serve immediately, or refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

20 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Saturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 5gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

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26 thoughts on “Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer with Horizon Organic”

  1. This cute turkey cheeseball really made me smile! It’s so darn adorable. Thank you so much for this Thanksgiving appetizer inspiration!

  2. Wow is an incredible appetizer for Thanksgiving! You are a genius! This is really a great job and it looks very creative. I think everyone would be delighted with this. I can not wait to try to cook it.

  3. I might actually have to make this. The step by step instructions are perfect! My kids would be so in love with helping!

  4. What a fun appetizer idea! This is a great way to get kids into the kitchen to help, and the cheeseball has all ingredients I love. Definitely adding this to the party list

  5. The turkey cheeseball looks so amazing! perfect appetizer for a family gathering. Love the fact that it looks adorable . 🙂

  6. Just the cutest Thanksgiving treat ever! I love that you made a turkey out of the cheese. This is a must make and my youngest is going to love helping me make this for Thanksgiving!

  7. My adult son just looked over my shoulder and said “mom, that turkey is so cool. Make one would you?” I agree it is the cutest! My sister and my daughter are the cooks in this family so I’ll be giving them the recipe.

  8. This turkey cheeseball appetizer will be perfect for my Thanksgiving table. I think it is just this year that I have decided to expand the appetizers choice so this comes in perfectly!

  9. This is such an adorable idea! We usually serve a cheese ball as an appetizer at Thanksgiving and the kids always devour it! I am sure they would love this one even more shaped as a turkey!

  10. What an awesome variation from the traditional cheese ball. I like this one so much better. It has so much character. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Cute and delicious. This would be a fun little treat to make with the kids so they feel like they are contributing to the Thanksgiving meal.

  12. Oh my goodness, this is seriously the cutest cheese ball ever and perfect for the holidays or even just serving to the kiddos at parties. 🙂


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