Recipe courtesy of Michelle Buffardi

Nacho Jack-o'-Lantern Cheese Ball

You don't really need any fancy equipment to make a cheese ball; as long as the cream cheese is at room temperature, you can mix everything in a bowl with a spatula. I just like to use a mixer because it's easier. I prefer to buy a brick of cheese and shred it myself; the pre-shredded cheese has a funny texture from the powdery stuff added to keep the shreds separate. And to crush the Doritos, you can put some in a resealable plastic bag and roll over it with a rolling pin or wine bottle. Or you can buy a medium-size bag of chips, remove (eat) half, roll the top of the bag down, and crush the Doritos in the bag. That option is as satisfying as it sounds.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr
  • Yield: 1 cheese ball
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Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar

3 tablespoons minced onions

2 tablespoons prepared salsa (your favorite kind will do)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno (without seeds, unless you want it spicy, then include the seeds)

12 Doritos, original flavor, crushed

1 nice-looking stem of a bell pepper (reserve the pepper for another use)

Black bean chips, crackers or crudite, for serving


  1. Put the cream cheese, Cheddar, onions, salsa, cumin and jalapeno into the bowl of a mixer, and blend thoroughly. Form into a pumpkin-like shape, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. 
  2. Before serving, roll the cheese ball in the crushed Doritos. Arrange the cheese ball on a plate, and press the bell pepper stem into the top - it should like a mini pumpkin stem. 
  3. You can serve the pumpkin as-is, or break off pieces of black bean chips to form a Jack-o'-lantern face. The chip pieces should adhere to the pumpkin cheese ball if you gently press them onto it, but you can also stick them on using a very small dab of the cheese ball mixture on the back of the black bean chip features; this will act like glue. Serve the cheese ball with black bean chips, crackers or crudites.