This cheese ball is such a simple and delicious alternative to carrot cake. It has all of the classic flavors with a fraction of the work!
I discovered a fondness for carrot cake flavors mixed with sweet, cheesy goodness when I made this Carrot Cake Swirl Cheesecake. (It’s sooo good!). This cheeseball recipe tastes a lot like carrot cake cheesecake, without having to bake anything. It makes a great starter if you’re entertaining, but it’s also sweet enough to serve as dessert.
The first order of business is sautéing up some grated carrot in butter. You could skip this step and use fresh carrot, but sautéing makes the carrot tender and it incorporates easier in the cheese.
A touch of honey and spices, along with raisins, pineapple and pecans… heaven! If you love carrot cake you’re going to love everything about this cheeseball.
When everything is mixed and folded together, you’ll plop the cheese mixture in the center of a sheet of plastic wrap. Then, gather it up into a ball shape. An overnight chill is best for this, and it can be made a couple of days in advance.
The coating is all about texture! Toasted coconut, fresh grated carrot, and pecans are the crunchy wrapping for all the creamy goodness inside.
We’ve almost completely polished this cheeseball off in just a few days! It’s so easy to sneak a few bites on from the fridge on a graham cracker. It’s also really good with buttery wafer cookies, as pictured. And you cannot go wrong serving this with pecan sandies.
This is a great little recipe for Easter, and a good alternative to making an elaborate dessert for the holiday. It’s chock full of good things – and most are fairly wholesome ingredients!
Carrot Cake Cheeseball
This cheeseball is great for entertaining and can be served as an appetizer. Or serve it with cookies and it’ll be sweet enough for dessert! It can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
For the cheeseball
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup freshly grated carrot
- 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 1/2 tablespoons wildflower honey
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits drained and patted dry
- 1/4 cup raisins
For the coating
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans toasted
- 1/4 cup sweetened flake coconut toasted
- 1/4 cup freshly grated carrot
For the cheeseball
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and add the grated carrot. Cook until the carrot is softened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to a plate and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, honey, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Beat together with an electric hand mixer. When smooth, fold in the pecans, pineapple and raisins. Fold in the grated sautéed carrot. Coat a large sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place the cheese mixture in the center. Gather up the edges of the plastic wrap to shape the cheese into a ball and twist together the ends. Secure with a rubber band or kitchen twine. Refrigerate overnight, or 8 hours.
For the coating
Mix the pecans, coconut, and carrot on a large baking sheet and pat out in an even layer. Uncover the cheeseball and place it on top of the coating on the pan. Pick up the coating and pat it onto the edges of the cheeseball, until it is completely covered. Transfer the cheeseball to a serving plate and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make ahead and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To toast pecans and coconut for the coating, place them on a large baking sheet and bake at 350F for 7-8 minutes, checking often. Serve with any of the following: graham crackers, butter wafers, vanilla wafers, pecan sandies cookies, apple slices and baby carrots.