Easy pepper jelly and cream cheese football! When a cheeseball is creamy, crunchy, sweet and salty you know it will be the star at your tailgate or Super Bowl Party! Bacon studded cheese football made with mild pepper jelly with a jalapeno kick is a simple game day appetizer everyone will cheer for!
With all the emphasis on five alarm chili for tailgates and Super Bowl, it is nice to have something cooling on the appetizer table. How can you go wrong with bacon and sweet pepper jelly with cream cheese? Joyce Pinson, Friends Drift Inn
Cheeseball Recipe at A Glance
Ingredients Cream Cheese – Friends Drift Inn Pepper Jelly – Hickory Smoked Bacon – Jalapeno Peppers – Crackers
Equipment Mixer – Measuring Cup – Baking Tray for Bacon – Paring Knife- Skillet and Spatula for Jalapenos (optional) – Plastic Wrap
Yield – 1 football cheeseball
Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese Football Kick-Off!
I usually serve cheeseballs that are firm. But for this cheese ball recipe, I opted for a smooth and easy-to-spread concoction. With football fans averaging age 5 through 83, the spreadable cheese football keeps the line moving and no one is struggling to make the cheese and cracker unite!
Yes, a football shaped cheese ball is a little kitschy. But who cares? By kickoff time, all you will remember is everyone loved it. In fact, they liked it so much, the plate is clean!
Here in the South, football is a way of life. Charlie’s side-hustle is a sportscaster, so I have hosted my fair share of tailgate parties and game day shindigs. Of course, one of the biggest games is Super Bowl.
“No Southern appetizer table is complete without a cheese ball.
That is especially true for Super Bowl Sunday! A little bit of cream cheese soothes out the chili burn and tastes just fine with a cold beverage.
Cue the Budweiser Clydesdales! Giggles
What is Cream Cheese?
According to cheese.com, an industry expert:
Cream cheese is a fresh, soft mild tasting cheese produced from unskimmed cow’s milk. Given that it is made from a combination cream and milk, the cheese has a high fat content. In the US, cream cheese needs to contain at least 33% fat content while in Britain it should be a minimum of 45-65%. The cheese has a mildly lactic aroma and a slightly salty taste.
If you throw parties, if folks just up and drop by your homestead, you probably have cream cheese in the fridge.
It is so easy to pop open Friends Drift Inn Pepper Jellies (red, green, peach habanero, or strawberry jalapeno) and just plop it over the top of a brick for a quick game day appetizer!
But Super Bowl? Well we plan to make the party extra special.
Make Ahead Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese Super Bowl Cheeseball
This game day recipe is easy and can be made a day before the big party.
Like most cheeseballs, allowing the ingredients to meld together produces a more cohesive flavor profile. We do everything but placing the bacon and jalapeno “laces” in advance.
- Bring Cream Cheese to room temperature for easier mixing.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and bake bacon about 15 minutes until crispy.
- Place bacon strips on paper towels to drain.
- Save those bacon drippings! You will need a couple tablespoons to fry minced jalapenos in, before incorporating them into the cheese ball. (Kudos to David Leite for this tip! )
- This is a SOFT cheeseball. When you are ready to shape the football, put the cheese on whatever plate you intend to serve it on. This is not one you can pick up and move!
- Wrap top with plastic film and chill until about 30 minutes before the appetizers are served.
- On game-day, coat the cheeseball with postage stamp sized bits of bacon. Cut a few strips of jalapenos to make the football laces.
- Flat leafed parsley makes a football cheeseball presentation appear fresh and inviting. A little bit of parsley perks the flavors even more!
Friends Drift Inn Pepper Jelly
Friends Drift Inn Classic Pepper Jelly is made with sweet bell peppers and just a hint of jalapenos. It is a mild pepper jelly, sweet and comforting.
As with all of our pepper jellies and jams, there is no high fructose corn syrup, no added preservatives, and no added food colorings.
We grow a portion of the peppers at the Friends Drift Inn Farm – but demand has pushed us to buy peppers from many sources. We use Kentucky Proud and Appalachian Proud ingredients as availability allows.
Side Note – Growing Peppers Down on the Farm
Back in the 1980’s growing peppers was promoted as an alternative crop to growing tobacco here in Kentucky.
Bell peppers were one of the top three fresh vegetables with acreage increases in Kentucky during the early 2000s. In the past Kentucky farmers also grew considerable acreages of peppers for processing, but that ended when the processing companies closed or moved out-of-state. California and Florida dominate fresh bell pepper production, producing about 80 percent of annual volumes.
Growing peppers is not easy.
On the farm, our biggest struggles are stink bugs (nasty vile creatures) and deer which browse the plants, biting out the tops and thus stunting the growth. We are experimenting with a trap crop of sunflowers to draw the bugs away – and we are budgeting money to install deer fencing. (Buy more jam so we can buy more fence! Giggles)
Throughout Kentucky, and much of the Mid-Atlantic pepper production requires many inputs. The Center of Crop Diversification estimates:
Production will require approximately 25 hours per acre for transplanting. Harvest will require 140 hours per acre, with an additional 75 hours for grading and packing. Harvest times can vary by pepper variety, size and pack preference. Post-harvest black plastic removal will require additional equipment and about 10 hours per acre.
What Else Should I Serve at a Super Bowl Party or Tailgating Party?
- Orange Marmalade Chicken Wings
- Deviled Eggs Simple with Red Pepper Jelly or Jalapeno Deviled Eggs
- Hot Apple Cider and Bourbon Wassail
- Sausage Balls
- Five Alarm Chili
- Football Shaped Apple Butter Hand Pies
- Bourbon Peach Cobbler Jam Bars
Especially well suited for game day tailgates and Super Bowl parties, this cheeseball recipe has it all! Creamy, crunchy, salty and sweet – this is a fan favorite that comes together quickly!
- 1 8 oz block Cream Cheese
- 3 large Jalapeno Peppers
- 6 Strips of Bacon – oven fried
- ½ cup of Friends Drift Inn Pepper Jelly
- Parsley for garnish (optional)
- Bring cream cheese to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Line baking tray with foil, and crisp bacon 10-15 minutes until crispy.
- Drain bacon on paper towels. Save the bacon drippings accumulated on tray.
- Finely mince 2 jalapenos. In hot skillet, add 2 tablespoons of bacon dripping and wilt down peppers.
- With a mixer (or a spatula) mix together cream cheese, minced jalapenos and Friends Drift Inn Pepper Jelly in large mixing bowl. Combine well.
- Place mixture on final serving piece, shape into a football, cover with plastic film and chill until just before serving.
- Just prior to game time, strategically place postage stamp sized chunks of bacon over the cheeseball – leaving room to add jalapeno pepper strips for football laces.
- Garnish with parsley. (Optional) We like a sea-salt pita cracker with this cheeseball recipe.
Can be made one day ahead.
Generally, chilled food should not be held more than 2 hours at room temperature. But this pepper jelly and cream cheese appetizer will disappear quickly-so no worries!
As with all our recipes, this method was developed with Friends Drift Inn products. We cannot predict how other recipes will perform.
Keywords: pepper jelly and cream cheese, how to make a football cheeseball, jalapeno and bacon cheeseball, super bowl cheeseball, tailgating cheeseball, game day appetizer