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Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese Ball

This Thanksgiving turkey cheese ball is cute, delicious and easy to make. You can easily prep this Thanksgiving appetizer ahead of time!
People get a real kick out of him, so go ahead and make one for Thanksgiving this year! This turkey cheese ball recipe has been one of the most visited posts on the blog for several years!
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Easy Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese ball Appetizer
I mean, really.  Have you ever seen such a cute turkey cheese ball?! No you haven’t! My mom was in town last week and we whipped up a lot of fun holiday treats, so get ready the next 2 months are going to be filled with so many adorable eats you wont even be able to handle it. 😉 So today I give you Mr. gobbler Thanksgiving turkey cheese ball decoration he is tasty and adorable and is sure to be the hit of the party or appetizer table on Thanksgiving day.  Keep reading for the recipe
Cute cheeseball that looks like a turkey!

Ingredients for Turkey Cheese Ball Thanksgiving Appetizer:

There are 2 sets of ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. The cheese ball is a recipe strait from my great grandmother. The ingredients sound a little strange but I promise it’s a perfect mix for both sweet and savory flavor. They all taste great combined together in cheese ball form. The best part is you can make this ahead of time so you can save your precious Thanksgiving morning hours cooking the rest of your Thanksgiving meal.

Cheese ball Ingredients:

  • Cream Cheese – The base of any cheese ball is cream cheese, it’s the perfect mild tasting cheese that keeps everything together.
  • Dried Minced Onion –  Comes in a jar in the spice isle. It’s a great way to add onion flavor with out cutting up an onion!
  • Minced Bell Pepper – This recipe for turkey cheese ball only calls for a small amount of minced bell pepper. If you don’t have a bell pepper on hand you can omit it, but it does add some extra flavor.
  • Crushed Canned Pineapple – Make sure to drain the can of crushed pineapple well. You don’t want a ton of extra moisture in your cheese ball or it will be super wet and hard to form into a ball.
  • Salt, Garlic Powder & Onion Powder – Adding these spices gives flavor to the cheese ball.
  • Chopped Pecans – Rolling the entire cheese ball in chopped nuts, like pecans, gives the appetizer stability and an added crunch when spread on crackers or dipped in with a vegetable.

Turkey Decoration Ingredients:

The turkey head is purely for decoration on your turkey cheese ball. I don’t love use ingredients that get thrown away but this combination of items I don’t encourage you to eat. Fair warning, this will also have you going to all kinds of random aisles in the grocery store. ha!

  • Pretzel Sticks – this ingredient does double duty! Stuck into the back of the turkey cheese ball they act as feathers and also are great when people start to eat! Just grab a pretzel and enjoy!
  • Whopper Candy – 1 whopper candy is the perfect size for the turkey’s head
  • Beef Jerky Stick – 1 beef jerky stick acts a great base and the turkey’s neck.
  • Candy Eyes – I always grab these when they are on the shelves at Halloween time. You can usually find them in the cake decorating section or HERE on Amazon.
  • Candy Corn – You’ll need 1 candy corn for the nose of the turkey cheese ball face. Thankfully they are usually still on the shelf in November at most stores.
  • Fruit Roll Up – Cutting just a little bitty strip of fruit roll up for the gobbler makes all the difference!
  • Melted Chocolate – You can use chocolate chips or baking chocolate to melt and use as the glue for the entire turkey head.
all the ingredients needed to make a thanksgiving turkey cheeseball
I have now made this cheese ball too many times to count I love that it doesn’t take any fancy decorating skills, I promise you can make this as cute as the pictures!
Turkey Head Making TIP: First of all use melted chocolate, it’s so much better than icing. The chocolate hardens so that the entire head doesn’t fall apart the second you move it to take it to a party. I just melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments and then place it in a ziplock bag and snip a tiny point off the end for the chocolate to come out.

How to assemble the Head of the Turkey Cheese Ball:

photo tutorial for making a turkey cheeseball for thanksgiving, step 1

Step 1:

Cover the end of the beef jerky stick with melted chocolate.
step by step instructions for making a turkey cheeseball, step 2

Step 2:

Stick your whopper head onto the stick. Hold it until the chocolate is cool, OR even better go put it in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
Step by Step photos for how to make a thanksgiving turkey shaped cheeseball, step 3

Step 3:

Don’t attempt putting the other pieces on until that whopper head is secure and the chocolate is cooled.
How to make a turkey cheeseball, step 4

Step 4:

Cut your thin slice of fruit roll up for your turkey gobbler.
Thanksgiving Turkey Cheeseball photo tutorial, step 5

Step 5:

Add melted chocolate to the whopper for the eyes and nose.
photo tutorial for how to make a thanksgiving turkey cheeseball, step 6

Step 6:

place on your candy eyes
step by step instructions on how to make a turkey cheeseball, step 7

Step 7:

Add the candy corn for the nose
How to make a turkey cheeseball for thanksgiving
Step-by-Step photo tutorial for making a turkey cheeseball

Step 8:

Add the fruit roll up piece by laying it over the candy corn. You’re done! If you have time put it back in the fridge to get all of the chocolate hard and then put it on the cheeseball before serving. I hope you love it as much as I do! 🙂
After you make this turkey cheeseball check out my penguin cheeseball for your winter parties. He’s SO stinkin’ cute 🙂 
The perfect Thanksgiving Appetizer
You can make the cheese ball ahead of time and even the turkey head and then assemble it right before guests arrive. This is the best Thanksgiving appetizer!
Thanksgiving Turkey Cheeseball Appetizer

Thanksgiving Turkey Cheeseball

Yield: 1 cheeseball
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

We love having this turkey cheeseball out for a little laugh and delicious appetizer before the big meal! He is the perfect turkey cheeseball decoration for your Thanksgiving table.


  • 2 8oz pkgs of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced green bell pepper
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple well drained
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • pretzel sticks
  • whopper candy
  • beef jerky stick
  • candy eyes
  • candy corn
  • fruit roll up
  • melted chocolate


  1. Mix all ingredients other than the pecans together until well combined, I use my Kitchenaid stand mixer. With damp hands roll the mixture into a ball and then roll in chopped pecans. Wrap it in wax paper and put it in the fridge to chill and firm up a bit.
  2. Decorate: To make the turkey “feathers” stick your pretzel sticks into the back 1/2 of the cheese ball. To create mr. gobblers head take a stick of beef jerky and “glue” a whopper candy on top with melted chocolate or icing. You can see in the video I put melted chocolate into a plastic bag and then clipped the end. I find that the melted chocolate creates a very strong “glue” once it is dried. Sometimes I even attach the whopper and then put it in the fridge to get it nice and attached before I move on to the rest of the face. Then attach the nose and eyes also with the chocolate. We made the gobbler by cutting a little strip of fruit roll up and then laying it over the candy corn, no need for glue. See the photos below for a step-by-step photo tutorial or the video above!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 205mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

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If you make a Turkey Cheeseball please let me know! It makes me so happy to hear when you make recipes from the blog! I’d love to hear in the comments or tag me on Instagram (@handmadeintheheartland) or Facebook! I just love seeing pictures of your turkeys every Thanksgiving!!

Be sure to check out my post for 45+ Leftover Turkey Recipes to help you figure out a way to use up all that leftover turkey!



45 recipes for leftover turkey

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