This Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Turkey Platter is big enough to feed a hungry crowd on Thanksgiving. It’s super cute too and will really make your table look festive and fun.
What party would be complete without a platter or plate of cheese? Whether you like to serve cheese slices, dips, or cheese balls to your party guests it can be fun dressing them up for the holidays. This Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Turkey Platter will look amazing on your table this Thanksgiving.
I’m going to guess that you have seen pictures of Turkey shaped Cheese Platters online and perhaps you have even made one. They make great appetizers for a large crowd for Thanksgiving. I’ve wanted to make one for years and am excited to finally share my version of this fun Thanksgiving appetizer with you.
If you follow me here you know how much I love making fun cheese balls. I’ve made so many including a Cheese Ball Cauldron, Mini Melting Snowman Cheese Balls, Baby Chick Cheese Balls, Birthday Cake Cheese Balls, Wedding Cake Cheese Balls, and even a Spa Party Cheese Ball that looks like a woman getting a facial. So for my cheese platter turkey, I just had to include a cheese ball.
How to make a Turkey Cheese Ball
Supplies and Ingredients:
- Town House (or other oval-shaped) Crackers
- thin slices of cheese (I used CoJack, Sharp Cheddar in orange and white)
- leaf-shaped plunger cutter or metal cookie cutter
- bacon ranch cheese ball (recipe below)
- cream cheese
- ranch dressing
- cheese (I used the scraps from the slices)
- Worcestershire sauce
- knife or kitchen scissors
- round cookie cutter
- black and red food coloring markers
How to make the cheese and cracker turkey feathers:
- Cut leaf or oval shapes out of the cheese slices.
- You can use a leaf plunger cutter which makes cutting the leaves super fast and easy.
- Or use a leaf-shaped cookie cutter.
- Or simply cut them out using kitchen scissors or a knife.
- You just want the cheese to be slightly smaller than the cracker so you get a lot of color contrast and some dimension to the turkey feathers.
- Set one slice of cheese onto each cracker.
- Arrange the crackers into 4 rows of “feathers” in a half-moon shape.
- Start by placing one cracker in the center at the top of your platter then arrange the top row of crackers going down towards the bottom of the platter.
- Set the first cracker of the second row in the center overlapping the bottom edge of the cracker above it.
- Continue around overlapping the crackers as you go.
- You want to pack these crackers in so there is very little space between them.
What type of cheese should I use?
- Use any cheese you like but be sure it has some nice color to it.
- I chose Co-Jack and Sharp Cheddar and like how they looked.
- You can add spicier cheese like pepper jack or milder cheese like Colby.
Do I have to put cheese slices on the crackers?
- No. If you want to just serve the turkey cheese ball with crackers that will work too.
- I added the cheese to add some color to my platter.
Can I add meat to my turkey cheese platter?
- Yes, slices of pepperoni, salami, or summer sausage would be great additions.
Make the cheese ball turkey.
- Combine 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with 6 ounces of cheese.
- You can weigh out 6 ounces of cheese or measure out 1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
- You can also use the scraps of cheese you have leftover after cutting all the leaves. I used 6 slices of Co-Jack cheese and 9 slices of Sharp Cheddar cheese for my leaves. After weighing those scraps I needed to add one more slice of cheese to get to 6 ounces.
- Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of ranch dressing and a 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.
- Stir until well combined.
- I like using a food processor to make my cheese balls but a mixer works well too.
- Scoop out about 1/3 of the cheese ball mixture and place it in a bowl filled with 1 cup of finely chopped bacon.
- Roll that into a ball coated in bacon.
- Remove from the bacon and set aside.
- Scoop out the remaining cheese mixture into the bowl of bacon, reserving about a tablespoon of the soft cheese to use later.
- Roll that into an oval-shaped body for the turkey.
Decorate and assemble the turkey.
- Set the body section of the cheese ball in between the cracker leaves leaving room for the head.
- Use a small amount of the reserved cheese spread to attach the head to the body.
- Cut out two round eyes from a slice of white cheese and draw on pupils using a black food coloring marker.
- Cut out a beak, a wattle, and two feet from a slice of orange cheese.
- Color the wattle piece using a red food coloring marker.
- Let the colored pieces dry before arranging them on the turkey cheese ball.
- Attach the pieces using some of the soft cheese spread.
- Serve to your Thanksgiving dinner guests.
How far in advance can I decorate this Thanksgiving appetizer?
- No more than an hour before your party guests arrive.
- You can cut out your cheese slices and keep them wrapped in plastic wrap, stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to a few days.
- The cheese ball can also be made and refrigerated for several days but don’t decorate it with the eyes, beak, wattle, and feet until it comes out of the refrigerator. Those cheese slices will dry out if not wrapped well.
- Do not refrigerate the crackers or they will get soft.
Dress up your cheese ball for Thanksgiving by turning it into an adorably cute turkey complete with cheese and cracker feathers, cheese eyes, a beak, wattle, and feet.
- 15 slices orange or orange and white cheese (cheddar, Co-Jack, etc.)
- 60 oval crackers
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups or use scraps from cheese ball)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ranch dressing
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup finely chopped bacon
- 1 slice orange cheese
- 1 slice white cheddar cheese (or any other white cheese)
- black and red food coloring markers
Cut 4 leaves out of each slice of cheese and set one slice on each cracker.
Arrange in four rows in a half-moon shape on a large serving platter, overlapping the crackers as you go, leaving an opening on the interior of the half-moon for the cheese ball.
Stir together the softened cream cheese, shredded cheese (or scraps from above), the ranch dressing, and Worcestershire sauce until well combined.
Scoop about 1/3rd of the cheese spread into a shallow bowl filled with the bacon.
Coat the cheese spread in the bacon and roll it into a ball.
Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cheese spread for later.
Roll the rest in bacon shaping it into an oval-shaped turkey body.
Set the turkey body in the opening in the crackers.
Attach the cheese ball head using some of the reserved cheese spread.
Cut two circle-shaped eyes out of the white cheese and draw on pupils using a black food coloring marker.
Cut out a triangle-shaped beak and a teardrop-shaped wattle from the orange cheese.
Brush red food coloring over the teardrop-shaped wattle.
Cut two triangle-shaped feet each with 3 toes.
Attach the Turkey Eyes, Wattle, Beak, and Feet to the cheese ball using the remaining cheese spread.
Serve and enjoy!
This recipe was originally published on November 8, 2018.
You might like these other cheese ball recipes…
You can find more fun Thanksgiving recipe ideas here.