This fun and festive appetizer is a great way to kick off Thanksgiving dinner. Kids will love making (and eating) this turkey-shaped cheese ball—the hardest part is shopping for all of the crackers! Look for the specific crackers listed in the recipe, these shapes will make the best looking wings and tail feathers. The cheese ball, which comes together quickly in a stand mixer, is flavored with Worcestershire sauce and a dash of hot sauce and made with cream cheese so that it is easy to spread. Set it out with some extra crackers and crudité and watch everyone gobble it right up.

Southern Living


Credit: Greg Dupree; Food Stylist: Emily Neighbors Hall; Prop Stylist: Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary test

20 mins
1 hr
Serves 12 (serving size: about 3 Tbsp.)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Beat Cheddar, butter, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 8 ounces of the cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Shape mixture into a ball.

  • Place pecans in a bowl; roll cheese ball in pecans to coat. Gently press bell pepper strip into 1 side of the cheese ball to make the turkey “head.” Stick whole cloves into bell pepper strip to make the “eyes.” Chill, uncovered, 10 minutes.

  • Cut off (and reserve) 2 inches from cheese ball side opposite the “head” side (this will be the back side of the turkey). Stick 2 round crackers together using some of the remaining cream cheese; carefully place on 1 side of the cheese ball to make “wings,” using a dab of cream cheese as glue to hold in place. Repeat process with remaining 2 round crackers and some cream cheese. To make “tail feathers,” overlap oblong and triangular crackers along back cut side of cheese ball, using cream cheese to hold in place. Adhere pretzel sticks to oblong and triangular crackers using remaining cream cheese. Gently press the reserved 2-inch portion of cheese ball onto bottoms of pretzel sticks, covering bases of “tail feathers” and pretzel sticks. Chill at least 20 minutes or up to overnight (or 8 hours).

  • To serve, let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours. Serve with assorted crackers.